8 Cheap Gadgets to Make Your Home Smarter

8-cheap-gadgets

Owning a smart home might be your dream. You might even have Jetson-like visions of computer-generated dinners and cars that drive themselves. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ve probably even read about some of the new technology that indeed resembles something straight from the futuristic cartoon. Of course, as most new technology does, smart homes come at a price.

 

But the cool thing is, because technology is changing so rapidly, there are tons of cool gadgets you can add to your home to make it smarter without breaking the bank.

 

Listed here are a few of the coolest and cheapest gadgets we found:

1) Sensorwake ($109)

Instead of waking to the sound of an annoying alarm, how about waking up to the smell of fresh sea air, grass, espresso, or even chocolate? But, if you’re a little afraid appealing smells won’t awake you, you can always set the backup alarm.

2) Parrot Pot ($149.99)

If your thumb is decidedly not green and if you’ve ever killed a plant or two, you will love the smart planter. It holds 2 liters of water and dispenses it when needed. Not only that, but it’s programmed to “know” how much water your particular plant needs!

3) Echo Dot ($49.99)

This voice-activated Amazon device allows you to control apps like Pandora and Domino’s hands-free. Its voice recognition gets smarter every time you use it and has a far-reaching range. It also has a built-in smart alarm and virtual digital assistant to help you do things like cook with recipes you’ve chosen.

4) Logi Circle ($199.99)

This little smart home-monitoring device was designed by Logitech. Its 135° camera is mountable, rechargeable, and small enough to fit anywhere. It’s also portable so it can be moved from room to room as needed. It works by connecting to any of your smart devices, so you can have peace of mind from any room or while traveling.

5) Kwikset Kivo Bluetooth Smart Lock ($229)

This easily installed lock allows you to use your smart phone as your key. In other words, when you’re loaded down with grocery bags, you can simply touch the lock for easy access. It works by “seeing” your smart phone approaching.

6) Clocky Robot Alarm Clock ($39.99)

You’ll either love it or toss it out the window. This robotic alarm clock by Nanda Home rolls around the room beeping until you chase it down and turn it off. It could be the perfect gadget for those hard-to-wake teenagers!

7) SnapPower Guidelights ($15)

Of course we have to toot our own horn a little! Our smart outlet covers are designed with led lights that turn themselves on when they sense the room darkening. They also take up no extra space since they fit right over the outlets on your walls.

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8) SnapPower Chargers ($20)

Our other space-saving gadget is the USB charger. It’s also designed right into the outlet cover so it takes up no space, and the USB port is on the side, so your furniture can still fit right up against the wall.

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Conclusion

Whatever smart home designs you have in mind, using a little bit of technology here and there can transform your home in small ways, making you the envy of your neighbors. And as you can see, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

How to Create the Perfect Home Theater for $600

design and furniture in modern home theatre

How to Create the Perfect Home Theater for $600

Most of us would love to have a home theater – a room where we can create a fun atmosphere for entertaining guests in front of a big screen. If that’s you, you may be thinking it’s something you can only have when you win the lottery and buy that big house you’ve been dreaming of.

But what if we told you that you can turn an ordinary spare room, basement, or guest room into a fun theater room that will make your friends green with envy, all for much less than you think?

Sound intriguing?

Let’s find out how!

The Movie Room

For the best acoustics, the room you choose for your home theater should be carpeted, small and have ceilings no more than 8 feet high. If the room you have available doesn’t fit the criteria, you can still make it work. Just know you may need to make some adjustments or spend more on sound equipment to get the sound quality you want.

Once you’ve chosen your theater room, you will want to choose a medium to dark paint color to paint your walls. You will also want to paint your ceilings either the same color or a complementary shade that is also medium to dark. The purpose of this is to make sure there are no bright surfaces in the room to reflect light.

If you prefer a neutral color scheme, you might like something like Behr’s Swiss Brown.

brown paint

 

Or if you’re a little more adventurous, something like January Garnet is a great choice.

paint red

Whatever color you choose, just make sure you purchase a flat paint. Satin or gloss paint will reflect even the smallest amount of light and diminish the effect of the darkened room.

Window Dressing

The next thing you will want to choose is your window covering. Blackout curtains can be purchased fairly inexpensively from a number of stores. If you want the complete movie theater look, you can even find red velvet curtains for your windows and the sides of your movie screen. But these from Wal-Mart work great and look fantastic with most wall colors.

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Theater Seating

While there are many high-end home theater seating options, you don’t have to break the bank to get the commercial theater feel you are trying to achieve. Placing a few inexpensive recliners in the room is an economical way to get the same look.

seating

Depending on your budget and the size of your family, however, you might opt for an affordable sectional or even bean bags!

Movie Screen

If you don’t already have a big-screen to spare for the movie room, an economic option is a projector and screen combo. There are hundreds of options and price ranges for both products, so it’s not difficult to find some to fit even the smallest budget.

This option on Amazon is under $25 and covers a 10’ area. You will probably never need a larger screen than that!

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Projectors also vary greatly in price, but even the cheaper projectors will serve the purpose. For a more streamlined look, buy a projector that can be mounted to the ceiling.

projector

Theater Lighting

No home theater is complete without some subtle pathway lighting. SnapPower Guidelights are the perfect lighting solution for any home theater. Costing around $15 each, they are the most economical lighting solution you can buy without sacrificing the aesthetics of the room.

Easily install these covers on every electrical outlet in the room for a sleek and modern pathway glow. Because they automatically light up as soon as the lights are dim, you won’t have to set up complicated lighting systems every time you use your theater room!

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Final Cost of Project

Based on a 10×10 room with one window, using the products recommended here, your final project costs will be $613.31.

  • 3 gallons paint: $71.88
  • 2 blackout curtain panels: $50.48
  • 3 recliners: $379.66
  • 10’ Projector Screen: $24.41
  • Projector: $44.88
  • 3 Pack SnapPower Guidelights: $42

Who would’ve guessed you could create such a fun and modern movie theater in your own home for around $600? At SnapPower, we are always looking for innovative ways to improve your home and your lifestyle!

2016 Parade Of Products Winner

The Parade of Products, or POP as it’s known, is a competition that occurs during the largest homebuilding trade show on the West Coast, PCBC, and is a celebration of the most inventive new product solutions of the past year. The new ideas and products on display at the show, and especially those selected as POP winners, represent the fruits of labor of some of the most innovative minds in the home building world.

 

A panel of industry judges consisting of builders, engineers, designers, journalists, and architects rated the products based on innovation, practical application, and design, and, for 2016, came up with a list of 20 winners that embodied those qualities the best.

 

From built-in ovens and remote controlled toilets to clear vinyl retractable screens and bamboo-based wall systems, the winning products run the gamut of what a builder may hammer, caulk, or install on a daily basis.

 

Here is what POP said about the SnapPower Guidelight that was selected as the 2016 POP Winner:

 

“The SnapPower Guidelight looks like most other wall outlets but has LED lights installed on the bottom. Two metal prongs use less than $.10 per year of electricity from the outlet to power them. A photo sensor in the Guidelight turns it on when the surrounding area is dark and off when light. It comes in several colors and styles. The easy-to-install and energy-efficient design safely transforms the outlet coverplate into a convenient night light and it requires no wires or batteries.”

“#1 Night Light Available” Feature in Macaroni Kid

-#1 Night Light Available-

Snap Power was featured on the Macaroni Kid blog! They said a lot of nice things about our Guidelight and we wanted to share this information with our loyal followers!

 

“We recently got the opportunity to review the SnapPower Guidelight, and let me tell you- they are an absolutely brilliant invention.  The SnapLight Guidelight is an outlet cover plate that transforms into a convenient night light. It is designed to look like a standard outlet cover by day and has 3 LED lights that provide ambient lighting at night. Its replaces your standard plug-in night lights, leaving all of your outlets free for use! It was very easy to install and requires no wires or batteries.”

 

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Please head over to their blog and read the full story here.

Featured on the Today Show

The New Household Standard (1)

 

SnapPower was featured today on the Today Show! We are so thrilled about being one of the top products on the show. Here is the clip of the show you can watch below:

 

Chicago Tribune: The New Household Standard

The New Household Standard

What if outlet cover plates doubled as night lights, thus freeing up prime real estate? That's the idea behind the SnapRays Guidelight, a sleek little product that recently came on our radar. Created by SnapPower — a Utah-based startup that invents lots of “Oh, duh!” solutions for powering lights and electronics — the Guidelight is a replacement outlet cover with built-in LED night lights and a sensor that automatically turns them on/off based on how dark it is. It's one of those products that make so much sense we can't believe it's not already a household standard.

 

Read the full story on the Chicago Tribune here!

 

Best New Home Tech Product In 2015

Best New Home Tech Products - This Old House

We were named the “Best new home tech product in 2015” by This Old House! Here is what they had to say:

 

Remove an outlet's cover plate, replace it with this one, and suddenly you have a USB port on the wall that lets you charge without a power block. Its contacts capture juice from the terminals, without getting in the way of the receptacles.

 

See the whole story here!

Top Interior Product 2015!

Top Interior Product 2015

The House Designers just named the SnapPower Guidelight one of 2015′ Top Interior Products! This is exciting news for us at SnapPower! We love to provide a quality product to our customers!

An outlet upgrade to light the way

 

Imagine being able to easily navigate through your home at night, without even having to think about it. Thanks to SnapPower Guidelights, you can keep your outlets free for other uses while always having an automatic nightlight on hand as soon as it gets dark.

 

No special wiring is required either—just turn off power to the outlet, remove the original coverplate, insert the SnapPower Guidelight, and screw it into place! The LED lights draws electricity from screws on the side of the outlet, costing less than 10¢ to power per year, and lasting at least 25 years! This highly practical and efficient solution will make your home safer at night, and the only thing you have to do is install it. You can buy SnapPower Guidelights singly or in packs of up to 10, in White, Light Almond, and Ivory.

 

See the entire post here!

 

 

Featured In Designer Dream Homes Magazine

Another featured write up of our SnapPower Charger in this months Designer Dream Homes Magazine! We were the first in the line up under their trend watch section on page 6. Here is what it looks like:

Easy Power-Up SnapPower charger

Easy Power-Up

 

The days of having to use bulky USB adapters to charge your devices are finally over. In just a couple of seconds the new SnapPower Charger allows you to convert your current outlet to accept USB plugs without the need for a USB adapter.

 

The SnapPower Charger is a cover plate with a built in USB port on the side which allows you to charge your electronics while leaving your outlets open for other uses. To get its power, the Charger has two metal prongs located on the back of the plate that automatically make connection with the draw power from the sides of your outlet. The only installation required is removing the old cover plate and replacing it with the new one – It's that easy!

 

Watch how easy it is to install!

 

 

The Best Nightlight In History

We love getting the word out about our products but to be written up as the “Best night-light in history” is quite a compliment! Here is a snapshot of a recent article featured in the Family Handyman magazine in March 2015 edition:

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Watch how easy it is to set up our nightlights in a snap: