The Best Smart Home Devices for Renters
If you’re one of the millions of Americans renting a home, you can still be part of the smart home conversation. There are tons of devices that are affordable, easy to install and portable enough to take with you no matter where you call home next.
Here are the best smart devices for ease, convenience and style that will work in any rental home.
Along with the ability to control lights remotely, smart bulbs can also enhance the ambiance of your spaces and make your lighting feel custom.
A lot of renters love the Philips Hue Starter Kit. It includes four energy-efficient bulbs that can be installed into nearly any existing lamp or light fixture, controlled via your smartphone or a smart hub like Alexa and adjusted to display a pretty astonishing range of colors. You can even set routines for your smart bulbs, like having them slowly brighten in the morning with your alarm, dim around your bedtime or turn on while you’re out to discourage intruders.
A smart speaker won’t just come with you during a move—these easy-to-use devices can travel with you anywhere, from the beach to a road trip, and typically do a whole lot more than act as a speaker no matter where you are.
Devices like the Amazon Echo Dot and the Apple HomePod mini are especially unobtrusive for small-space dwellers. Along with blasting your favorite tunes or putting you to sleep with soothing ambient noise, smart speakers can act as the hub that controls your other smart home devices, connect to your phone to allow you to make phone calls or send texts hands-free, give you reminders throughout the day or wake you up with the weather or traffic reports that help you plan as needed.
Smart plugs and power strips
Also known as a smart switch, this intelligent little plug lets you control all kinds of devices from your smartphone. They’re affordable, easy to squeeze into small spaces, can be used in any home or apartment and can bring you peace of mind as you manage all your devices.
The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug is both affordable and tiny. Plug it into your existing outlet, connect it to your phone and never wonder if you’ve turned off all your devices again. You can disconnect a curling iron or coffee maker via your phone from miles away, which is a welcome option for keeping your home safe if you forget on the way out the door.
Smart plugs are also typically Alexa-compatible smart home devices, so you can connect the outlet to your smart home hub and control plugged-in appliances with your voice.
Smart smoke alarms and air purifiers
Smart smoke detectors are more efficient than standard ones, as they can alert you remotely via your phone if there’s smoke or carbon monoxide. This is especially useful if you rent out your apartment on a service like Airbnb or are away from home regularly or for extended periods of time.
Smart smoke alarms like the Google Nest Protect have a voice and color-coded lights that alert you to issues, and you can answer the alerts right from your smartphone. Available as both wired and battery-operated models, the unit also provides the specific location of the source.
You might want to check out a smart air purifier like the TruSens. A cylindrical hub that sits on your floor, it can be used anywhere (you can even take it on vacation). The smart home model can help provide insights about the air around you via a Wi-Fi–enabled app, then purify when possible.
Don’t have the space or access to a backyard to grow your favorite plants? You can still grow green in your home with a smart garden.
Devices like the Click and Grow Smart Garden or the AeroGarden are super easy to use and install. The LED lights provide enough light to grow plants like herbs or lettuce without needing any natural light. They can sit atop any surface, making it easy to bring the outside in, and you can take your garden with you if you move.
Smart water leak detector
A smart water leak detector can be a huge asset. Sensors alert you, either via an alarm or a notification on your phone, if there’s a problem like a leaky fridge or a burst pipe. Even if you’re away, you can alert your landlord.
The Resideo WiFi Water Leak & Freeze Detector is the best bet for renters, as it doesn’t have to be connected to a building’s main water source or even to a smart home hub (though it can be controlled via devices like an Amazon Echo, if you want). Simply plug it in and connect it to your Wi-Fi—and find out if there’s a leak before it turns into a catastrophe.
You may not be able to change the locks to your building (or even your own apartment), but you can make your current lock better with a smart door lock. This can be especially helpful if you have housemates you want to make sure stay out of your room or if you’d like additional security.
The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect attaches to any door and is easy to install and uninstall when you move. You can set it to automatically lock behind you, or control it from your phone or smart home hub. Plus, you’re always able to check in with the lock, receiving notifications if someone tries to enter or just getting a peace-of-mind update that your home is secure.
The smart lock can even recognize you as you approach to make hands-free entry possible, a huge bonus if you’re carrying groceries or a toddler—or both!
A smart lock also allows anyone you give access to enter your home through keyless entry, which is great when guests are staying with you or, say, a contractor needs access when you’re not home.
When it comes to smart home devices for rentals, there are plenty of options to make your place comfortable, convenient and safe.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.