Are you renting an apartment or home? A connected home isn’t a luxury only homeowners can enjoy — there are plenty of products out there that are perfect for renters looking to upgrade their living space into a smart home. Whether you want improved lighting, better home security, or voice control, these smart home products were designed with renters in mind. And don’t worry, your landlord won’t mind if you install them, because they’re all easily removable.
August Smart Lock ($150)
Tired of fumbling for keys on your doorstep? You can say goodbye to that with an August Smart Lock on your front door, as it auto-unlocks when it detects you approaching the door and automatically locks again after you enter. You can also authorize guests to enter your home even when you’re away, such as the dog walker or your old college buddy. The 24/7 activity log on the corresponding app lets you keep track of who opened the door and when. And since it slides over your exterior door lock, it’s perfect for renters who may not be staying at a place forever. Installation is easy, and you can start using the smart lock in just a few minutes.
Amazon Echo Dot ($40)
It comes in a tiny package, but you’d be surprised how much the Amazon Echo Dot can do. This hands-free, voice-controlled virtual assistant can play music, make phone calls, report the news, forecast the weather, read audiobooks, and a whole lot more. Leave it in your bedroom to act as a wake-up alarm, or put it in the kitchen to read you recipes while you cook. Thanks to seven far-field microphones that are built in, Alexa will be able to hear you from anywhere in the room, even if the environment is a little noisy. Since it plugs right into an outlet, it doesn’t require any installation, which is perfect for renters who may not be staying in the same place long term. Plus, if you have other smart home products, such as Philips Hue bulbs or Nest security cameras, you can control them with Alexa voice commands.
Philips Hue 4-Pack White Dimmable LED Smart Bulbs ($50)
These LED smart bulbs are easy to install, as you can screw them into your lamps just like you would with ordinary bulbs. Pair them wirelessly to the Hue Bridge (an extra $50 or so), and you’ll be able to control all the bulbs via the Philips Hue app or an Alexa-enabled Amazon device, such as the Echo Dot you just bought off this list. Once your Philips Hue bulbs are installed, you’ll be able to turn them off or on with a simple voice command or via an app. You can also schedule the lights to turn on at a certain time of day, or make sure they’re off even after you’ve left the house already. These bulbs are a great fit for renters, as they utilize your existing lamps to upgrade your home lighting. To give you peace of mind as a first-time buyer of Philips Hue bulbs, this four-pack of Energy Star-certified white bulbs comes with a two-year warranty.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($28)
If you’re a renter, you know that utilities can start costing a whole lot more than you expected if you’re not careful about your power usage. With these mini smart plugs, all you have to do is plug it into an outlet, plug your device directly into the smart plug, and you’ll be able to control the appliance from anywhere using the Wemo app. Forgot to turn off the living room lamps? Do it remotely from the app. Not sure if you left the flat iron on? Check to make sure on the app. You can also schedule certain devices to turn on at a specific time; for example, schedule the lights to turn on in the morning so you can wake up without the shrill noise of an alarm clock. The Mini Smart Plug also features a mechanical timer that lets you turn on “Away Mode,” which turns your lights on and off randomly to make it look like you’re home when you’re actually not. Who knew saving on electricity could also be good for home security?
Frigidaire Smart Window Air Conditioner ($329)
Not all rental units come equipped with air conditioning, which can make summers unbearable, especially if you live in a city with a particularly warm or humid climate. With this smart air conditioner from Frigidaire, you can install an affordable air conditioner unit directly in your window. You can even turn it on remotely from your smart device so that the room can start cooling down before you arrive home. The Frigidaire App also lets you remotely change the temperature and fan speeds. Not sure when the AC filter needs cleaning or replacing? You’ll receive up-to-date alerts from the unit itself. You can also create custom schedules that will program your AC to turn on or off at specific times of day. With this unit, you won’t have to turn down an otherwise great apartment just because there’s no AC. Simply install this smart one on your own.
Wyze Cam v2 ($20)
Need a basic home security camera that will help you keep tabs on things at home without breaking the bank? The affordable Wyze Cam will set you back only $20. It provides live streaming so you can see what’s going on in your home in real time, and the camera also lets you record videos and take photos directly from your device. The enhanced night vision feature ensures you’ll get a clear view whether it’s day or night. The Wyze Cam also offers smart sound recognition, so you’ll get notifications if the camera detects the unique sounds of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector. Plus, with the recent hardware upgrades, the camera now comes with a powerful CMOS sensor for even clearer footage, as well as a Class-K audio power amplifier for crisper audio. The new Motion Tagging technology will also outline motion when you’re watching footage, so you can tell exactly where the movement is coming from in your home.
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