5 Tips

Smart devices like speakers and lightbulbs are cool, but they're not all that's available when it comes to smart technology for the home. Think a fridge is only good for keeping food cold? Think again. With a smart fridge, you can simply open up the connected app to figure out if you need more milk — while you're standing in the dairy aisle at the grocery store.

Smart appliances include the features you know and love, plus some extras that make daily tasks much easier. Here's what you should keep in mind during your search for smart appliances.

1. Type

Want to sweep the floors with just the press of a button? Or, do you want to use just the right amount of water to wash your clothes? Whether you want to upgrade an appliance you already own or buy something new that will make your life easier, you'll need to decide what type of smart appliances you'd like to add to your home.

2. Connectivity

If you already have other smart devices, choose appliances that work with your current setup. Smart devices — such as lights and appliances — can communicate through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a smart home hub that may use Zigbee or Z-Wave protocols. Before getting too far into your search, narrow down your options to those that can connect seamlessly.

3. Smart features

Need something that's easy to clean? Is voice control important, or would you prefer to control things with a smartphone app alone? How about an easy-to-use touchscreen? After deciding on the basic appliance features, make a list of the smart capabilities that are deal makers and breakers before you shop.

4. Price

Smart home products typically come with a higher price tag than their conventional counterparts. When it comes to investing in these improvements, consider how much you want to spend. A smart electric range can make dinner time easier, but it will cost a lot more than a smart frying pan and countertop oven would.

5. Energy efficiency

Smart refrigerators allow you to peek inside without opening the door and letting precious cold air escape. Connected air conditioners can be controlled from afar, so you never have to waste energy heating or cooling an empty home. If you're into efficiency — and you should be — consider adding these appliances to your home.

It's easy to get lost in all of the cool, new technology that's available. But, don't forget that ENERGY STAR®-certified appliances use 10% to 50% less energy than conventional models, adding some savings to the list of benefits that make smart appliances a wise choice.