Sometimes it can be too much work to get off the sofa, slob over to the wall switch and turn the lights down, can’t it? In which case, smart home gadgets are for you. A smart thermostat means you can turn the heating on before you get home, smart speakers can play music when you talk to them and a smart camera can alert you when there’s an intruder – or even feed your dog for you.
There are several main control systems: Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo. Other companies have their own systems, such as Panasonic and Samsung. They are not compatible with each other, so make sure your gadget of choice works with your system. Some work with more than one. The Google-owned Nest, for instance, does not work with Apple.
Google Home and Amazon Echo are hardware hubs, but Apple HomeKit means gadgets from Elgato, Philips, Honeywell, Netatmo and more are controlled using the Home app in the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV (until December, that is, when the just-announced Apple HomePod smart speaker goes on sale). There are a number of emerging brands, but for the time being, we think these are strongest products on the market.