Christmas is Coming, the House is Getting Smart: Sweet Gadgets to Buy a Technology Lover

December 20, 2013

This guest post comes to us from Karen Clark, Freelance Technology Writer
[email protected]

In a previous article, Jim Arnold referenced smart lighting in the home with Control4, and it got me thinking about other smart home devices that would make unique Christmas presents.

Here are some fun, and practical, smart home gadgets that a tech-savvy person would love. But before you add more smart devices to your home, make sure you have the Internet bandwidth to support them. With so many devices vying for an Internet connection, your other web-enabled devices might suffer from latency. Hopefully you're lucky enough to have fiber Internet; Google Fiber ( or Verizon FiOS Internet aren't too shabby.

Gadgets for a Tech Lover

1. iKettle

A watched pot never boils. So forget the pot and get an iKettle, which you can program to boil water with your smartphone. Don’t wake up to a pesky alarm clock. Instead, wake up to a message on your phone that asks, “Would you like me to pop the kettle on?” Yes, please.

The iKettle tells you when your water is boiled, so you can go about your morning/evening ritual without habitually checking the stove. You can change temperature settings from your phone, so your tea and coffee can boil at the appropriate temperature – all with the click of a button!

Cost: $163.19 - available at Firebox. The company is UK-based. However, they do ship to the United States.

2. Nest Protect

Finally! A smoke detector that knows when I’ve made dinner a little “extra crispy” and when the house is on fire. Thanks to Nest Protect, don’t open all the windows and wave a towel when the device alerts you. Just wave your hand.

Nest Protect makers also have found a way to stop the cringe-worthy alarm that most smoke protectors give off. In fact, “Nest Protect lights up yellow and speaks with a human voice. It tells you where smoke is or when carbon monoxide levels are rising.”

Best of all, the Nest Protect dashboard for your smartphone or tablet alerts you to a fire or carbon monoxide emergency, and includes a “What To Do” feature that allows you to inform emergency contacts of a fire in your home.

Cost: $129

3. Petnet SmartFeeder

My husband will tell you that our cat Poe holds us to a strict feeding schedule – 4 a.m. for breakfast! The SmartFeeder is the perfect gift to give that person who has a cat or dog with similar eating habits but needs some extra zzzs in his/her life.

Not only is the design sleek and durable, it also lets you control your pet’s feeding habits from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Manage your pet’s feeding times, portions and food dispensing speed – which you can also tailor to your furry friend’s specific needs.

Cost: It currently isn’t available for purchase, but you can reserve the Smart Feeder for $199. The price will increase to $249 when it’s available in Q2 2014. Consider it a belated Christmas present.

4. iRobot Roomba 800

One of my favorite Christmas gifts I ever received was the Roomba. Just in time for the holidays, they’ve come out with a new version of an already amazing gift. The iRobot Roomba 800 is the pinnacle of robotic home cleaning. Not only can the 800 series Roomba pick up 50% more dirt than previous models, its innovative Tangle-Free AeroForceTM Extractors (brushless debris extractors) prevent you from having to cut out tangled air from your Roomba after excessive use.

The newest Roomba also has the convenience features of scheduled cleaning, alerts when your debris bin is full, along with advanced floor navigation.

Cost: $699.99

5. Samsung WF457 Wi-Fi Washing Machine

For the family always on the go, the Samsung WF457 Washer takes the guess work out of laundry time. This smart washing machine syncs to your smartphone, so you can choose what type of cycle you want to wash your laundry in (normal, light, heavy duty), the temperature, in addition to monitoring the cycle and receiving an alert when it’s through.

The machine’s touch-screen navigation also lets you control your laundry settings, so set it and go! Now if only they’d find a way to load and fold the laundry for you.

Cost: $1,599