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Building a smart home? You need these essentials

Just a few decades ago, it was uncommon for average people to own a computer and have the internet in their homes. Today, however, almost all of us carry handheld internet-connected computers (ones we can even make calls with) around in our pockets. Things change quickly in the world of technology, and if the ’80s and ’90s saw the rise of the personal computer and the 2000s ushered in the mobile revolution, the 2010s and 2020s will go down as the era of the smart home.

Maybe an internet-connected refrigerator doesn’t appeal to you just yet, but there’s no denying that technology can do a lot in the home. Today’s smart home tech can save you time, energy, and even money, and if you’re looking to turn your house into a smart home, then these essentials from Best Buy are the perfect place to get started.

Ring Wire-Free Spotlight Cam + Solar Panel Charger — $220, was $250

One of the most useful and impressive applications of smart home technology is security, with smart cameras like the Ring Spotlight Cam offering a fantastic (not to mention dead simple) way to keep tabs on your property and your kids no matter where you are. In contrast to traditional wired cameras that can be a huge hassle and expense to install, the Ring Spotlight Cam sets up in minutes — because it’s wireless, there are no cables to rout or fuss around with — and sends a live video feed, motion detection alerts, and more right to your connected mobile device or PC.

As you probably surmised from the name, the Ring Spotlight Cam also features built-in floodlights that automatically activate when the camera detects motion (and you can, of course, pause this feature when you don’t want the spotlights to be flashing on and off constantly, such as during a backyard party). This model also includes the solar charging panel that keeps it juiced up, meaning you don’t have to fiddle around with batteries — and a $30 discount lets you grab the Ring Spotlight Cam with solar panel charger for just $220 right now.

Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System (3-Pack) + Echo Dot — $250, was $300

Pretty much all of us rely on wireless internet in today’s mobile world, but traditional Wi-Fi routers are often not enough to prevent “dead zones” — that is, areas in your home where your wireless signal is poor or cut off completely. Mesh Wi-Fi routers like Amazon’s own Eero system solve this age-old problem by essentially blanketing your entire home in wireless connectivity. The Eero system does this by utilizing multiple relays instead of just a single router, projecting your network’s Wi-Fi signal across a much wider range.

This Eero mesh Wi-Fi system comes with three relays that allow it to cover up to 5,000 square feet — perfect for medium-sized to large homes — and is a great value even at its normal price. However, Best Buy is also throwing in a free Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker (a $50 value) with your purchase, making this Eero whole-home wireless router bundle a steal.

Shark IQ Robot Self-Emptying Vacuum — $600

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty Vacuum

Robot vacuums were among the first smart home devices to hit the market. Once regarded by many as an inefficient gimmick, these handy little robotic helpers have come a long way over the past decade and the Shark IQ Robot packs all the modern features we love about today’s robo-vacs: It delivers great suction power to clean both slick and carpeted floors, it features a self-learning navigation system to create a map of your home’s layout, and it’s easy to set up and control with the SharkClean mobile app. This allows you to create cleaning schedules, tell the Shark IQ robot vacuum when and where (and where not) to clean. It also works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to give it simple voice commands and integrate it into your wider smart home ecosystem.

The Shark IQ will automatically return to its base station to recharge, and this dock also serves as a self-emptying station where the robot vacuum will dump the dirt, hair, and debris that it has cleaned up off your floors. Some name-brand robot vacuums with similar features will set you back a grand or more, but the Shark IQ self-emptying robo-vac can be yours for a much more reasonable $600.

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