Phones have changed. I mean they’ve really changed. They were invented to make phone calls, but now our phones can do just about anything.
Besides acting as your camera, your wallet and your daily newspaper, phones can also act as another great tool: remote controls.
You are probably aware of that fact, but you may be surprised at just how much they can control (we’re talking even your eggs, here). And do you know who the biggest fan of this is? Your house. Yep. Your house and your smartphone can be BFFs by introducing them to a few apps and products.
So if your thumbs are itching to do some tap-dancing on the screen of your smartphone, check out all these fun gadgets and services that will turn your home into a smart home in zero seconds flat.
In your living room, you can control your TV, DVR and speakers all without lifting a finger… OK, actually, all you have to do is lift a finger. Many available apps turn your smartphone into the one and only remote control you’ll ever need for all of that. Try iR Universal Remote, a free app to control your TV when you’ve misplaced the clicker.
And you know when you nestle into the couch, movie on, studio’s theme song beginning to draw you in — and then you notice that blaring light behind you reflecting on the screen? No need to get up or clap it off; just turn it off via your phone (that you hopefully also didn’t misplace), with a handy light-control app.
Need to vacuum before the guests arrive? Staaay right there, Missy! There are several smart vacuums on the market that you can turn on, turn off or schedule cleaning times from your phone. Last year, my boyfriend bought me a Neato vacuum for Christmas. No, that wasn’t really on my list, but I can’t complain — because it’s awesome! One of their newer models, the Neato BotVac Connected (Amazon, $700), however, can actually be turned on by your smartphone.
Oh my gosh, the options for smart gadgets are endless when it comes to the kitchen. Remember the eggs we talked about earlier? There’s actually a holder — like the Quirky Egg Minder Wink app (Amazon, $14) — that tells you how many you have left when you’re at the grocery store. But, that’s a cakewalk compared to some of the other things you’ll find out there. You can buy smart slow cookers, pet bowls, refrigerators (with LCD TVs!), ovens, pans, food scales, kettles, mixers, grills and coffee makers — coffee makers? We’re getting to the point where we don’t even have to walk into the kitchen to make dinner.
There are many things you can remotely control in your bathroom for luxury. You can buy a scale that syncs data to your phone and have your towels heated with the touch of a button. Get the Infinity Plug-In Towel Warmer with switch (Warmly Yours, $370). And, soon, you’ll actually be able to monitor all your shower stats (water usage, temperature, time) with the EvaDrop smart shower (you can only preorder).
And then there are some things you can control out of necessity — like outlets. How many times has your paranoia made you turn around halfway to work to check that you turned off your hair straightener? With synced outlets — like the Smart Plugs Wi-Fi-enabled wireless outlet for Android and iOS devices (Amazon, $20) — you can kill the power no matter where you are.
My boyfriend has one of these outlets and, from his phone, set our in-window A/C unit to turn off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. while we are both at work — otherwise, it would run all day. And I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cool.
Before you even step foot into your home, you can automate and remotely control locks, open your garage door and get alerts every time your front door is opened, all from the palm of your hand. Modern security systems offer lots of solutions for enhanced home safety, like cameras offering live-streaming video and motion detectors with triggered image alerts. You can even sync your phone to your smoke detector, flood sensors and thermostat. Check out Alarm.com for tons of ways to customize your smart home security system.
More: 13 Ways to protect your home while you’re away on vacation
This post was brought to you by Alarm.com.