Types of Thermostats
- Low Voltage and Line Voltage – If your home is old or uses electric resistance heaters or baseboards, you’ll be required to buy a line-voltage thermostat which is directly installed in the electrical system of your home to allow you to control your cooling and heating units. However, the majority of the homes now have oil, gas or electric-powered heating systems and a low-voltage thermostat will be required with such families. An ideal way to know whether you have a low voltage or line voltage thermostat in your home is by checking the wiring. Low voltage thermostats have thing wiring, just like the one that is used in your speakers, whereas line voltage thermostats have thick wires.
- Programmable Thermostats ($20 to $200 and even more) – Majority of the modern thermostats are programmable. These thermostats allow you to pre-set an upper and lower limit of temperature, based on which, the thermostat will turn your air conditioner of the heater on and off.
- NonProgrammable Thermostats ($20-$50) – Also known as mechanical thermostats, these thermostats do not provide you with the ability to pre-set temperatures. They only offer basic control of house or room temperature, and you need to adjust them manually to control your cooling and heating unit. Moreover, the non-programmable thermostats that use bimetallic strip are known to respond slowly to temperature variations. Also, remember that not every digital thermostat is programmable.
- Smart Thermostats ($200-$800) – What is a smart thermostat? The latest addition to the world of thermostats are learning thermostats. These are programmable thermostats that do not require you to pre-set the temperature limits. Learning thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, learn about your preferences over time and then adjust themselves accordingly to offer enhanced comfort. They can be connected to the Wi-Fi network of your home and can be easily managed from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Moreover, many of them are internet-based and allow you to control the thermostat through a mobile application even when you are away from home. As they offer a large number of innovative features, the cost of a new thermostat of this type is generally higher than all the other types of thermostats.
Types of Robot VacuumsThere are many ways to categorize robot vacuums, mainly due to the vast diversity of the various products available in the market today. However, even with all the unique features, it all boils down to two distinct group based on its cleaning patterns.
Random PatternAs the name suggests, this type of robot vacuum will clean your household area in a seemingly random pattern. This type doesn’t have a built-in mapping technology, thus, you will only have a limited control over the cleaning area. One thing to remember, although this type doesn’t have any mapping technology, all robot vacuums have some form of avoidance technology. We will discuss the different types of avoidance technology further below in the key features section. One common reason to purchase this type is that it is significantly more affordable. If you will only be using the robot vacuum in a small area, or your house only has a small number of rooms, this type might be a better overall choice.
Mapped PatternAs we have briefly discussed above, this type of robot vacuum has some form of integrated mapping technology. As a result, this type of robot vacuum cleaners often has better cleaning efficiency. The automation process is also often better, both in the sense of time and placement. There are many different mapping technologies utilized in robot vacuums today, but commonly it can be divided into two big groups: laser mapping and visual mapping. Visual mapping technology, commonly utilizing digital cameras, is deemed the superior one, mainly because laser mapping usually has issues with shadows and can falsely recognize obstacles. The latest visual technology used in robot vacuums is known as Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), where the robot can simultaneously keep track of its position while mapping out new terrain in real-time. As a result, the robot can avoid obstacles much better, while also increase the overall efficiency of the cleaning process. As the downside, robot vacuums with mapping technology are often more expensive. The better the mapping technology used, the more expensive it will be.
Key FeaturesWith the wide array of different robot vacuum products available in the market today, it’s hard to keep track and list all the unique features of each product. However, here are some of the key features you might have to consider before making your purchase.
Avoidance TechnologyAs mentioned above, not all robot vacuums have their integrated mapping technologies. However, having at least the simplest form of avoidance technology is a necessity for any robot vacuums. There are many forms of avoidance technology utilized in various robot vacuum products. However, at a bare minimum, a robot vacuum will have cliff sensors to avoid cliff surfaces, such as stairs. Older models often utilize bumpers as the most basic technology to avoid obstacles. With bumpers, the robot vacuum will recognize after it has hit an object, and then will move to another direction. Newer models utilize all sorts of different technologies, such as infrared sensors. Some robot vacuums also combine the avoidance technology with their integrated mapping technology, using digital and infrared cameras. Newer high-end robot vacuums even utilize ultrasonic frequency technology.
Mapping TechnologyWe have discussed how robot vacuums utilized the mapping technology above, so refer to the Types of Robot Vacuums section.
Cleaning FeaturesWhile the most important feature of any robot vacuums is the ability to move around effectively while avoiding obstacles, the second most important feature is the ability to clean. As with the avoidance and mapping technologies, there is also a wide array of diversity in robot vaccums’s cleaning technology. Some of the most common ones are:
- Traditional brush – Quite similar to what you usually find in a traditional upright vacuum. Plastic or nylon hairs are utilized to sweep up dirt and dust. Commonly found in most lower end robot vacuum products.
- Bladed Brush – In this type of brush, rubber ‘blades’ are incorporated into the design. These rubber blades are more effective in cleaning up pet hair.
- Combo Brush – While the bladed brush is better in cleaning pet hairs and similar dirt, traditional bristle brush is better in cleaning smaller dust particles. This designed combined the both of them to gain both benefits.
- Brushless – As the name suggests, no brush is utilized by the robot vacuum in its cleaning process. In its basic principle, the brushless robot vacuum will operate like a suction hose. This design is a bit rare and is not as effective on rugs or carpets.
- Suction Strength – The strength of the motor and the overall design will affect the overall suction strength. Although on hard surfaces, the difference is minimal, it will be noticeable on carpets, rugs, and similar surfaces where stronger suction is necessary, On the other hand, stronger suction strength might increase the noise level of the robot, which might be disruptive for some. Higher end models usually have several strength settings to tackle this issue.
- Brush Position – There are typically three common positions for the primary brush: front, center, and back. Although the effectiveness of the position will vary depending on the technology used, in general, the front position is the most effective. The key disadvantage of placing the brush in the center or the back is that the dirt material will touch a significant amount of the robot vacuum surface before the brush or suction hole. Thus, the dirt will collect on the underside of the vacuum, and will require regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Dry/Wet Mop – Most of the robot vacuums available nowadays are using dry mop feature, using a microfiber cloth or similar material to collect dust and dirt. Some robot vacuum products are offering the wet mop function, using a moistened cloth designed to clean the area more thoroughly.However, of all the robot vacuum products available today, none are offering a significantly useful wet mop function, mainly because of the lack of downward force necessary for an effective wet mopping.
Smart ConnectivityA relatively new feature found on the newer robot vacuum products is the ability to wirelessly connect to smartphone or tablet, along with the inclusion of the companion app. This allows a better range of personalized control, such as smart scheduling, monitoring, and remote control. Some robot vacuums even provide live video feed straight to the mobile app. Lower end robot vacuums often use basic radio frequency connection with a simple remote control. Although not as useful as having a smart app to assist, a remote control will certainly help to avoid having to constantly move the robot around.
Battery Power and Charging StationEven the best and the most expensive robot vacuum products nowadays can only manage roughly the maximum of 2-hours of active time before it will need to charge itself. Remember, robot vacuums work much slower than a traditional upright vacuum, and with an average battery power of 1 to 1.5-hours, it might not be enough to clean your whole household. With that in mind, having an automatic charging function is certainly a plus point. Some robot vacuums have the ability to return to its charging station on its own and resume its operation once it’s fully charged. Review blog extract from thehousetechblog To check out the latest range of Smart Vacuums, select the link Smart Home & Business > Smart Cleaners https://urbanelectronics.net/product-category/smart-home-smart-business/smart-cleaners/
Types of Smart Wireless Cameras
Indoor Smart Security CameraAs the name suggests, this wireless surveillance camera is intended for indoor usage. For indoor cameras, durability and waterproofing shouldn’t be an issue, as well as wiring. Arguably, the most important qualities for indoor cameras are size, and how easily it can be installed and used. If you have children or pets in the household, you might also need to consider the safety, and how it will be mounted.
Outdoor Smart Security CameraFor outdoor applications, things get more complicated. First and foremost, wireless outdoor security cameras should be waterproof and weatherproof to withstand rain and snow. They can also benefit from having a wire-free installation from a built-in battery. Considering it might be located relatively far from your Wi-Fi router, a strong Wi-Fi receiver is also a must.
Key Features You Should Consider
Video QualityBeing a camera, video resolution should be your first consideration. 720p is the standard nowadays and will provide you with a nice balance of quality and speed (depending on your internet connection). There are products offering 1080p, or even 1440p resolutions, which is, of course, a nice luxury to have. You should also consider how they performed at night. All of them should have some sorts of night vision technology, either with Infrared or native night vision technology.
Sound QualityIf it’s outdoor home security cameras, it’s good to consider whether the camera has some form of noise cancellation technology.
Smartphone AppBeing a ‘smart’ security camera, it should be able to be monitored and controlled from a smartphone app. The quality of the app will vary with different manufacturers, and should also be a thing to consider. Check how intuitive the smartphone app is, and how easy to monitor and control the camera. Can the app integrate with other smart home products or control several cameras at once?
Ease of Installation and UseThere’s no use of a smart security camera with all the rich features if it’s overly complicated, and will only add more headache instead of being practical. Some of the smart security cameras will come with a wire-free approach, some wired. Nevertheless, it should be simple enough to install, integrate, and control. Review Blog extract from thehousetechreview To check out the latest range of smart cameras, select the link, Smart Security - Smart Cameras https://urbanelectronics.net/product-category/smart-security/smart-camera/
Looking to get the best wireless doorbell, but unable to choose between so many different options? We got you covered! We compared and tested the top available models.Nobody could ever be safe in their homes or offices without the help of security technologies. Thankfully, these technologies are being mass-distributed to give an equal chance to the public to protect their homes and offices and secure their assets in one place. It also offers convenience and assurance that the home will remain as a haven for the family to relax and have fun. As for offices, security technologies can stop theft and illegal activities on the company grounds. Nowadays, wireless technology is becoming popular. Wires are common eyesores or nuisances in one’s home or office. Furthermore, improper handling of wires could endanger the property and the people in it. Wireless home intercom systems are convenient to use and easy to install. Despite an expensive price tag, wireless technologies are indeed the thing of the generation. The absence of wires makes the setup simple and hassle-free. Furthermore, criminals won’t be able to detect hidden security technologies if they do not see the wires in the first place. One of the security systems that rely on wireless technology is the long range wireless doorbell. A conventional new doorbell system commonly wired into the electrical system of the house. It depends on internal wiring to doorbell ringer the chime box when a visitor presses the doorbell. Nowadays, security wireless doorbells have no internal wiring and could be installed with minimal tools. Since it relies on wireless technology, the chime box should be placed within the range of the doorbell transmitter to ring. The wireless doorbell only has two components. The first is the doorbell transmitter, which is connected to the bell’s button. Once it is pressed, the second element rings. This is called the chime box receiver that receives the frequency emitted by the battery-operated doorbell transmitter. The signal is detected, and the chosen electronic tone will be triggered. Owners can use more than one chime box, and all of them could still get the transmission of the doorbell transmitter and ring simultaneously. Chime boxes could play distinctive sounds or a standard chime, depending on the user’s preference. If privacy is desired, there is also a silent feature. Choosing the best wireless doorbell intercom systems for the home can be tricky because of a wide price range, A variety of functions, and quality differences. It is best to list down the features that you need, such as customizable chimes, self-limiting radio frequencies, wireless intercom systems for home, and remote access. Take note of the quality and installation process also. Invest in the best value-for-money doorbell to improve the convenience and security of your homes. Here are the following product suggestions that might strike your fancy.
Wireless DoorbellsWireless technology has changed the way we live. So much so, that no one wants to go through the trouble of having anything wired in their homes or offices. This has led to many intriguing discoveries in the field of wireless equipment. This has also triggered the need for better doorbells. Whether you need a Loud wireless doorbell or not is completely your choice. And these are not just ordinary models that you can find everywhere and anywhere. But these are doorbells that make are completely different and are more technologically advanced. Not to forget, they also come with more expensive price tags. We bring you some of the elitist models in the world of doorbells, reviews, and comprehensive reports on what makes this medium of home security specialists. Check out the review of some of the top wireless doorbells options.
Types of Wireless Doorbells
- Motion Detectors – Many models today come with visual alert icons that can be connected to door contacts or motion sensors.
- Self Learning Code – This is a very efficient wireless doorbell system. The doorbells wireless comes with a self-learning code system, and you can easily reduce any interference from the outside. This also enhances security every time the door is answered.
- Plug-in – Some come with a built-in strobe light, and all it needs is to be connected to an electrical socket via a plug. This is a great power saver and works when you do not want to waste time installing the wireless doorbell. This is one of the many features that save electricity too. These usually come with adjustable volume levels features and are great.
- Adjustable Audio – Some models in office door chime offer you changing volume levels. Which means you are not relying on only a handful of steps or volumes which are being offered. Instead, you can adjust the volume just like any CD. This is handy when you do no want a deafening chime.
1. SCHEDULINGImagine you are in bed about to fall asleep and suddenly remember you have an appointment first thing in the morning… or was it the next day? With a smart speaker, all you have to do is ask “What’s on my calendar tomorrow?” You can also add appointments to your calendar, change them, cancel them, and even reply with calendar invitations to other people all with your voice. Check your device’s instructions for details on how to integrate it with your calendar. Note: Amazon Echo can integrate with most calendars, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple, while Google Nest and Apple HomePod currently only integrate with their respective calendar apps. Did You Know? Amazon Echo, Google Nest, and Apple HomePod are all capable of learning different people’s voices and linking each individual with their own account, making it easy for multiple people to control their personal calendars, make and receive phone calls, play their own music, and shop from their own accounts all through the same device.
2. REMINDERS AND ALARMSWhether you want a daily reminder to take your medication at a certain time or a one-time reminder to take the chicken out when you get home, your smart speaker has you covered. Reminders and alarms can wake you up in the morning, help you stay on schedule, and make sure you don’t forget something important. Using Amazon Echo, Google Nest and Apple HomePod, you can set a reminder by time of day or by location (for example, set a reminder to check in with your boss when you arrive at work). You can also set reminders to be recurring or one-time-only, and you can select which device you want to play the reminder.
3. EMAILJust as easy as accessing your calendar with your voice, you can listen to and reply to emails using your smart speaker too. Amazon Echo has this functionality built in, all you have to do is connect your device to your account (Amazon currently connects with Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail and Live.com). Google Nest, on the other hand, doesn’t officially offer this feature yet, but there are a few possible workarounds.
4. NEWS, WEATHER, INTERNET SEARCHES, AND MOREWhether you want to know what the weather forecast is for the day, what the score was from the game last night, or how to spell “quarantine,” your smart speaker is ready to find the answer and report back to you. What’s even more impressive? You can teach your Amazon, Google, or Apple device more about your preferences and you’ll get more personalized information when you ask. Did You Know? You can set up routines with most smart speakers to combine several actions together. For example, if in the morning you always ask to hear the weather, then your calendar appointments for the day, and finally a certain radio station, you can link these actions together with one verbal cue such as, “Alexa, what’s my morning update?” Read about routines for Amazon Echo, Google Nest and Apple HomePod.
5. COMMUNICATIONPerhaps one of the most powerful features of your smart speaker is its ability to help you communicate with others by making phone calls. If you use Amazon Echo you must associate your calls with your mobile phone for contacts and caller ID purposes. However, you are technically making the call through Amazon’s free Internet cloud services for the connection, not your phone, so your minutes are spared. Google has various methods to use phone numbers for caller ID and, like Amazon, there is no charge. A story from Suria, a member of our Smart Home Technology Advisory Committee who has a spinal cord injury, demonstrates just how impactful this can be: “This morning I was in the shower chair and about to fall off – I can’t move, I can’t grab the phone, it won’t hear me – Echo was the only one there. All I had to say was, ‘Echo, call Kirby.’ It dialed his Echo and his cell phone and I was able to tell him, ‘Come back! It’s an emergency.’ I almost fell to the floor, but thankfully I have a superhero,” Suria said, “It’s my Echo!” Did You Know? There are two other communication features you should know about: Announcements and Ask My Buddy. Amazon Echo and Google Nest both have an announcement feature that makes it possible to broadcast a message via multiple devices throughout a home at one time – anything from “Dinner’s ready” to “Help, I’ve fallen!” Ask My Buddy is an independent service available for both Amazon and Google smart speakers that lets you create a personal alert network. If you have an emergency, all you need to do is ask your smart speaker to “Ask My Buddy to send help” and a notification will be sent by phone, text, and/or email to a list of predesignated contacts. Ask My Buddy also has a way to contact emergency numbers like 911. 6. CHECKING IN ON A PERSON OR A LOCATION Before we dive into this topic, let us be clear: it is PATF’s belief that monitoring should only be pursued after receiving full, informed consent from the individual who may be impacted. While some people find the idea of monitoring to be invasive, others have expressed that they appreciate giving another person – family member, caregiver, or friend, for example – the ability to check in on them using their smart speaker. With Amazon Echo’s Drop In feature, another person can listen in from afar to make sure everything is OK. This feature is even more powerful if you have a smart display like an Amazon Echo Show with its built-in camera and screen. Please note that before connecting, an Echo Show will blur the screen and play a notification which allows the person receiving the Drop In to cancel it by saying “Alexa cancel/stop/hang-up/reject” if they do not want to accept the Drop In. You can also turn on Do Not Disturb to temporarily block Drop Ins on a device. Note: Smart displays, such as the Amazon Echo Show family of products or Google Nest Hub, are smart speakers with the addition of a camera and touch screen. If you have one of these, here are a few extra things you can do with your device: Show and Tell feature with Amazon Echo Show – If you are blind or have low vision, you need only hold up an object in front of your device’s camera and ask “Alexa, what am I holding” to find out what it is. Make video calls – Just like you can use your smart speaker for phone calls, you can use your smart display for video calls. Stay connected with your friends and family, access your physician for telehealth, or give a loved one the ability to check in on you from afar with video calling on the Amazon Echo Show line of products. Entertainment – Connect your smart display with a streaming account to watch TV shows, movies, and online content. Just check your device to see which content providers it can connect with: Amazon and Google.. The above blog contains affiliate links and is an extract from smarthome made simple.
- A heated blanket If you’re yet to experience the joy of a heated blanket then you’re missing out. The traditional heated blanket sits on top of your bed under the sheet and above the mattress and can be used to pre-warm your bed before you get in or to keep you toasty on a cold winters night. As the popularity of heated blankets has grown you can now buy heated blankets for your car or even for while you’re snuggled up on the sofa. Easy to use and easy to store in the warmer summer months, a heated blanket simply plugs into the electricity, and with an automatic cut off they safe to use while you sleep and will never get too hot.
- An electric fire starter There’s something so lovely and comforting about the warm glow and gentle heat of a real log fire in the winter months. The only thing that’s not so lovely is the difficulty getting the fire started, but with an electric firestarter this never needs to be a problem again and you can get a fire roaring no matter how poor your fire building skills are. Electric firelighters aren’t just useful for winter indoor fires but are perfect for getting the BBQ going in summer too. Click here to learn more about how they work and to read a review from Grill Seeker.
- Touch screen gloves With so much of our lives now involving technology wearing gloves in the winter can be a real pain – taking them on and off or just simply deciding to suffer from frozen fingertips. But not any more thanks to the wide variety of touch screen gloves which with their electro conductive technology can enable you to use your smartphone and other touch screen devices as normal whilst keeping your hands nice and toasty.
- Bluetooth earmuff headphones Earmuffs are a great way to not only look stylish but keep your ears warm in the colder months, but that can be a pain if you’re an avid music listener. Not any more thanks to Bluetooth earmuff headphones! That’s right you can now listen to your favourite tunes through a pair of fluffy ear muffs, and with Bluetooth technology, you remain wire-free, so no one would be any the wiser.
- Heated gloves If your fingers are still cold even while wearing gloves then give them their own little heat source with a pair of heated gloves. Rechargeable and waterproof heated gloves will keep your fingers nice and toasty even on the coldest days, perfect for people who spend a lot of time outdoors or ride bikes or motorcycles in the cold.
- A mug warmer A nice hot mug of tea or coffee can help warm you up from the inside out, but on cold winters days if you don’t drink them quickly they soon go cold – which is where a mug warmer comes in. A simple heated plate for your mug to sit on a mug warmer will keep your drink hot while you get back to those important emails.