6 Smart Devices That Raise Your Backyard to the Next Level
Your smart home setup doesn't have to end where your house does.
Your doorbell might record every delivery in 1080p, your thermostat might be smart enough shut off the A/C as fall weather approaches, and your house might not have a single Alexa-free room, but real tech-forward families know that the smart home doesn’t end where the smart house does. Extend that Wifi into the backyard and you’ll find that there are a ton of connected devices that can make outdoor activities from pool parties to lawn care easier than they’ve ever been.
Here are some of the best smart devices that will can extend your smart home into the great outdoors.
What the Roomba did for vacuuming this robot mower from Husqvarna aims to do for cutting the grass. It mows quietly, day or night, and has a very useful app that lets you adjust settings easily. The only installation is laying a hidden boundary wire around your yard. It can handle an incline of up to 22 degrees, cut grass anywhere from 0.8 to 2.4 inches, and last 70 minutes on a single charge. Not that you'll have to worry about it getting stranded—when this thing starts running low on battery it automatically returns to the included docking station to recharge.
If your lawn has a built-in sprinkler system, a smart controller could save you money. A lot of money. The Rachio 3 has weather intelligence that won't run the sprinkler if it's raining, too windy, or too cold. The app lets you run the sprinklers, change scheduled watering times, and even estimate total water usage. It can also take into account the specifics of your lawn like plant time, soil type, and sun exposure to ensure you're watering enough to keep your plants healthy without waste.
Pellet grills are great because they make it easy to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ al fresco. This particular model from industry leader Trager also includes a smart controller that let's you change the temperature, monitor your meat's doneness, and even create alerts that remind you to check on your food with an app or Alexa.
If you already have an outdoor cooking situation you love, you can still make it smarter with this wireless meat thermometer. Insert probe, connect to your phone via wifi or Bluetooth, and you'll get a chirp when your brisket or pork shoulder is approaching doneness.
The Philips Hue ecosystem includes smart bulbs that plug into existing fixtures, wall lights you can install yourself, and spotlights and bollards (like this model) you can plug in, daisy chain-style, to easily create an endlessly customizable lighting setup. Create scenes with varied brightness and color ambience, control the lights with the app and your smart speaker, and even use your arrival home as a lighting cue.
This dual smart plug is waterproof, which means it's great for the stuff you already have plugged in outside, from Christmas decorations to string lights, that you simply want to control with your phone or smart speaker. It's the lowest-commitment way to expand your smart home into your backyard.
You could install a permanent set of speakers in your backyard, but the sound quality of portable Bluetooth speakers and their ease of use mean we think it's better to just invest a good one. And the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a great one. It has the sound quality of a big speaker because it is one, and the 24-hour battery, IPX4 water resistance, and ability to connect to four devices at once make it the perfect speaker for whatever outdoor party you want to throw. Plus, its portability means you can get a lot of use out of it even during the winter months when your backyard is closed.
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