The main purpose of a garage is and has always been storage, whether or Christmas decorations, old paint, or, you know, cars. But the garage is also where Americans tackle DIY projects, pursue hobbies, and otherwise escape, just out of reach from whatever craziness is happening inside.
It hardly makes sense, then, to exclude the garage when making a dumb home a smart home. Just as the backyard can be home to some surprisingly useful wifi-connected devices, any garage, no matter what it’s used for, can be improved with the right devices.
Here are some of our favorites.
For any of this stuff to work, you'll need a solid wifi signal in the garage, a space that's likely separated by both distance and walls from your router. This nifty extender is a cheap way to add a dual-band wifi signal to up to 1,200 additional square feet.
A smart controller like this popular model from Tailwind easily connects to tons of garage door openers. The obvious abilities it provides are checking on your garage door and opening and closing it with a companion app or your smart speaker. You can also grant one-time access to a delivery driver or activate night mode so that the doors close automatically when it's late. But the coolest feature of this thing is how it senses when you pull into the driveway and opens the door automatically.
Unless you're serious enough to have a separate dedicated workshop, the garage is the natural place for weekend warriors to do much of their DIY work. And if you're going to be spending time in the garage, a smart display is a must-have. It will keep you connected to the rest of the house with doorbell alerts and intercom capability that will save you from yelling to the rest of the family. It also makes watching YouTube videos—an invaluable source of information for those of us figuring out home improvements—easy and hands-free, which is great if you're doing something like painting. And a smart display like the Echo Show is also, of course, a connected speaker. Because what's a weekend in the garage without blasting some oldies?
If you have kids, your house is probably already crammed full of stuff. That means the garage is the natural place to pursue new projects like, say, growing your own vegetables. This smart hydroponic growing system from Aerogarden is an easy way to get started growing your own herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, and more. You can monitor and control the progress of your plants from the Aerogarden app, which is smart enough to make anyone think they've got a green thumb.
You probably haven't given much thought to the water heater sitting in the corner of your garage, but it's high time you did. Install this Aquanta controller and you gain the ability to turn it on and off remotely and see how much hot water is available. It can also shut off automatically if things start overheating and alert you if there's a leak. And in a manner similar to the Nest thermostat, the Aquanta will learn your water usage patterns and match your water heater to them. So if everyone in your house showers in the morning, for instance, it will make sure there's enough hot water for everyone. And more importantly, it will save energy and money by turning off the water heater when no one is at home.
It's 2020, and there's a much more elegant way to park in a tight garage than a tennis ball hanging from a string. You strap a sensor to your garage door, and its accelerometer activates when it opens. That sends a signal to the Bluetooth-equipped, ceiling-mounted laser unit that then projects a red dot down to the spot you've precisely aimed it. Once that dot hits a certain spot on your hood like, say, the windshield fluid sprayers, you'll know that you've parked perfectly. And because it has two lasers, it's a great choice for two-car households.
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