Smart Products To Gift The Technology-Obsessed
We all have that one friend that loves smart products. They upgrade their phone every year, have every type of tablet, have a smart tv in every bedroom (and maybe even a small one in the bathroom), and just have to have every cool gadget they find. So when it comes to finding a gift for them on their birthday, for Christmas, or any other special occasion, the answer is clear on what to get them: some kind of tech.
Okay, that’s not that clear. There’s more tech today than there are fish in the sea (maybe that’s an exaggeration… maybe), and because your loved one loves tech, they may already have everything you can think to get them.
Well, we hope to solve the dilemma with this list of the best products to gift to the tech-obsessed in the following categories:
Before You Buy: What Gadgets Do They Already Have?
Before you take the plunge and press purchase on any cool smart products, you need to pause and take an assessment of what your loved one already has.
If they’re really obsessed with having the latest tech, they may already have what you’re ready to buy. Though they may not mind having an extra smartphone or VR system, you probably want to get them something they’ve been longing to have or haven’t yet discovered.
Now depending on your relationship, or you’re proximity to them, it may be a bit of a challenge figuring out what they have or need in the smart product category.
A few ways you might be able to see what they have or what they want:
- Rope in someone that lives with this person (if you don’t and if they don’t live alone).
- Talk to friends and family that see them a lot, and ask if this person has complained about any of their existing tech or the lack thereof.
- Pretend you’re buying a gift for someone else and ask your loved one what they think would be a great tech gift.
- If you’re around your tech-obsessed loved one regularly, you may have picked up on off-hand comments they make about what they like, don’t like, and would love to have.
- Take them to a tech store and see what they’re drawn to.
- Take an unsuspecting tour of their home and note all of the tech they have stashed.
- Think of a problem your loved one often has at home, work, in their car, with their pets… most likely there’s a tech product or solution that they’re just not aware of, yet.
About Smart Home Product Systems
Home automation is peaking at the moment, with everything from a remotely controlled smart lock for your main doors and smart plugs for all of your hooked up products to security cameras with night vision and smart light bulbs with various on-cue hues.
If you decide to purchase smart home products for your loved one, make sure they’re all on the same system as their existing products and home hub for better control and ease of use.
(Here are some smart home ideas to help you save time on chores.)
What defines a smart home product? Is it the voice control, the connected smartphone app, the artificial intelligence? Is a garage door opener “smart”?
Classically, it’s anything that connects to other devices via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or networks like Zigbee. Google Home Vs Amazon Echo Vs Apple HomeKit
Another thing you have to be aware of before buying any smart products, is what home system your loved one has – such as Google, Amazon, or Apple.
Reason? Well, a lot of tech connects to the IoT (the Internet of Things), meaning they can talk to each other and even control each other.
For instance, if you have a home system like Amazon Alexa, you can connect most of your home gadgets to it – your coffee maker, smart thermostat, smart lights, and on and on it goes (quite literally) – and sometimes even control them with voice commands.
All you’d have to do is say, “Hey Alexa, tell Roomba to start cleaning” and like magic, your Roomba® robot vacuum will start buzzing around the house.
Some tech will connect to multiple systems like Google Assistant, but you really have to be sure that they do – or in the very least make sure the smart product matches up with what ecosystem your loved one already has in their home.
Wi-Fi Vs Bluetooth Connectivity
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are exceptionally similar. They both use radio waves to transfer high-speed data without a physical wire connection.
But there is a difference, and that separation can be the difference between your tech purchase working and not working for the giftee.
Here’s what makes them different:
- Wi-Fi is open to a lot of devices and users at once
- Bluetooth limits the number of devices and users connected at once
If you’ve ever tried to use Bluetooth speakers on your computer when they’re connected to your phone (or to someone else in your household’s devices), you know what we’re talking about here. It’s not a two-way street.
This is really only a problem if the device you’re trying to connect is also connected to something else – especially if you’d like to have both of them running at the same time.
What About Zigbee?
For devices to remain connected and to speak to each other, you have to use a hub of wireless protocols.
It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, but essentially Zigbee lets you bypass both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by creating a network on it’s own that supports up to 65,000 devices.
Smart Product Gifts For The Health & Fitness Enthusiasts
Okay so your friend or loved one likes a lot of tech, but maybe they like to stay trim and healthy as well (or would like to start).
Tech in fitness isn’t exactly new, but much of the advances in the past were related to things like therapy after an injury, or were relegated to sports teams, colleges, and training programs.
Meanwhile, at home, you’ve been stuck pumping the same style dumbbells that’ve been around since the dawn of cavemen.
Well, welcome to the era of in-home fitness apps, and some truly advanced health tech. Here are some options your loved one might… love… or hate, it really depends on if they want to be fit or it was a resolution they gave up after two weeks.
Smart Home Gym Equipment
Okay, even we’re shocked at the amount of tech there is in the workout from home space. Some that we found, and are deeply impressed by, are:
- Smart punching bags and boxing gloves that measure things like your punch count.
- Hydro powered rowers that measure calories and display videos of watery locations (so you’re not so tempted to stare at the seemingly never-changing workout timer).
- Vertical climbing machines with classes, community challenges, and app connection.
- Treadmills that alter the height and intensity of the mill to match workout and trail videos.
- Stationary bikes with classes, heart-rate based workouts, and even a system that tailors workouts to your body.
- Total home gyms – there are a lot of various home gyms with mirrors, classes, weights and resistance bands.
Gone are the days of simply stepping on a scale to check your weight. Here are the days of stepping on a smart scale to check your body composition, water weight, and even your heart rate.
For The Homebodies
Most people like being at home to some degree, but there are others that are downright homebodies.
They like home. Home is the comfy place, where there are lots of fluffy pillows and blankets, favorite foods, pets that love you unconditionally, shows to stream, and bath bomb soaks to take.
Smart products for home might be some of the best gifts for them.
Is your loved one someone who likes to cozy up on the couch with the temperature down really low so they can pile blankets on top of them?
Are there a lot of people in their home with different temperature preferences, and they just want one space that could be theirs?
Most smart thermometers measure the temperature only in the room they’re placed in (much like traditional thermometers). The difference is, often they come with sensors that you can place in each room to control the temperature in each space.
This may mean some electricity savings, or it may just mean fewer fights over the thermostat and more comfort across the household.
Smart Shower Controller
Doesn’t everyone love a good, warm shower set at the perfect temperature? It can be hard to get that for those who have finicky shower gauges (you know, the ones where if you move the knob even half a centimeter it goes from okay to scorching).
A smart shower controller makes it easy to get showers to the perfect temp, every single time AND they’ll often save settings for different profiles – so everyone in the household benefits.
We all have that special someone that never has a charged phone or is always sitting close to an outlet with their phone tethered to the wall. Then there are the friends that have so many devices spread throughout their home, always needing a charge.
For the Foodies
Okay, who isn’t a foodie?
Haven’t met a person who isn’t, but we’ve certainly met those who are just over the top with their love for food. These smart products are for them.
If you have that friend that loves easy, but delicious food, count an air fryer as the next best thing to heaven. Have them make you the crispiest wings, fry up some healthy seasoned chickpeas, or do the opposite and make donuts or pasta chips – the world is their fried oyster (hmm, is that not how the phrase goes?)
Have you ever known that guy (or any person who likes a good smoked brisket, really), that would visit the hardware store again and again just to look at the smokers they dream about?
Yeah, thought so. Time to move on that desire and get them the smoker.
Slow cookers are pretty common in households across the country. So common even our grandmothers will attest to them.
But slow cookers aren’t just a pot with a knob anymore, and they don’t just slowly cook either. Now they can brown/sauté, steam, rice, bake and slow cook. Oh yeah, and you can control them with your phone.
Who ever thought a toaster could become more advanced? Well, we’re here to tell you that a gift for your favorite tech and toast lover is here.
Toasters are now so advanced you can change the settings to whichever kind of bread you’re cooking, and some will even burn pictures onto your food.
Braava® Robot Mop
After all that cooking, your loved one will need something to clean up after them. You know, because it’s the future and manual cleaning should be a thing of the past.
A Braava® robot mop is the perfect helping hand (maybe that’s a little insensitive?… robotic, uh, wheels) for your favorite messy cook.
For those friends or crazy grandparents that get up at five in the morning and can’t wait to get a jump start on their day, do a little business, a little fitness, a little healthy reflection – these gifts are for them. (Here’s a blog if you’re looking for gifts for grandpa specifically!)
From listening to podcasts during a walk, music during a work out, answering emails and texts on the go, and just monitoring your health – a smart watch is a pretty versatile assistant.
It’s perfect for those that want to remain productive at every moment of the day.
Have someone in your life that is a persistent note-taker? A writer? Do they just love making to do lists, writing recipes, or find they remember things better when they write them down?
Then they need a digital notebook. It gives them that same feeling (and sense of mental relief) as physically writing, but it’ll save a few trees along the way and quickly get all of their notes onto the computer or other cloud-connected devices.
Smart coffee makers will grind the beans and turn them into coffee at the touch of a smart phone button or at the prompt of a regularly scheduled brew. There’s no guesswork, and it’ll always make the perfect cup- whether it’s a cappuccino or tall, dark, and foamy.
There are some that like their coffee, but some that get so distracted by their work that by the time they get to their coffee, it’s cold.
For The Pet Lovers
Oooo those cute and cuddly fur balls. They might be a handful for your friend/ loved one, and could probably use a few tech solutions.
Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Oh, man, have you ever experienced the wonder of a self cleaning litter box? It senses the pressure of the cat entering and leaving the litter box, then activates the rakes, which pull away the litter and store it underneath or behind the litter compartment until you empty it.
This is one of those new products your cat owning friends and family know about but likely haven’t jumped on yet (that’s your cue).
There are plenty of pet owners, and we’re sure you know one or two, that just love checking in on their pets while they’re away.
For them, the perfect gift is a pet camera that syncs to an app on their smartphone, so they can watch them in real-time.
Sometimes pets, especially puppies, get a little antsy during the day. If they don’t have anyone to watch and play, they may destroy things, or just become depressed.
A remotely controlled ball launcher makes it easy to play with them during the day, or even schedule automatic launches throughout the day.
Know someone with a pet that loves to escape for a little roam around the neighborhood? Or just know someone that worries about their fur babies?
A GPS tracker for pets might be a smart gift idea for them.
Pets are lovable and all, but they can be messy, and your loved one knows that all too well (they’re probably cleaning up after their pet right now).
Have a loved one that travels a lot? They know the hassles of leaving their home secure, packing the right amount of clothing for their trip, and all the planning that goes into coming and going.
These tech gifts are for the travelers.
You might not think luggage can be “smart”, but it can be in today’s world. Smart luggage has features such as USB ports, charging ports, RFID scanner blockers, and some even come with an app that’ll alert you every time your luggage is opened.
Oh, and then there are the fun motorized suitcases.
Tablets are already pretty smart. They’re basically large phones without the calling (unless you count messenger and Facetime) or small computers.
For those tech-loving travelers in your life, a tablet gives them similar functionality as their laptop, but with less space and more chance to entertain themselves on the plane.
Keeping your phone charged is kind of essential for travel today. Travel plans are on there, tickets, transport apps, and your source of communication with loved ones.
For the traveler in your life, who has trouble keeping their phone charged, a portable charger is a pretty handy gift.
Know a friend that takes their home security very seriously and travels a lot? A video doorbell can keep the riff raff away (or at least let you know when it’s arrived). Not only will it alert your giftee to the intrusion so they can alert the police, it’ll record the incident as well.
Home Security System
Like a video doorbell, a home security system adds that extra protection and sense of security for those friends and family that are often away from home.
Becoming a parent for the first time is daunting. Thankfully, there are a lot of time-saving, safety-boosting, and life-easing smart products to gift them.
(Try saving this toy organization ideas post for when the toys get out of hand!)
If there were any technology to put a new parents’ mind at ease, it’s a baby monitor. Not the old-fashioned baby monitors that were basically just a one-way speaker. These monitors have cameras with night vision, motion sensors, and tracking for breathing, heart rate, and sleep patterns.
Sound machines are a blessing for parents that live on noisy streets, in apartments, or in a home with thin walls.
Modern smart noise machines have nightlights as well with various colors that change with the sounds, and a selection of noises to can schedule or change by phone.
Smart Changing Pad and Wi-Fi Scale
For parents that like to keep track of their baby’s weight in between check- ups, or just want to monitor their baby’s growth, a smart changing pad is a special gift. Not only will it tell them their baby’s weight, but it also builds trend reports that they can check on their phones.
Smart Air Purifiers
A baby’s lungs are very delicate, and especially so if they were born with a respiratory issue such as asthma. A smartair purifier, with phone acting as remote control, is a way to help them protect their child by removing smells, dander, and toxins from the air.
If you have children, you understand how difficult it is to keep a home clean with their dropped food and crumbs and slobber-coated fingers. For the new parents in your life, the gift of an iRobot bundle will help them keep their home clean and remove a few tasks from their lives.
Have a friend or loved one that just LOVES to have people in their home, drinking good drinks, eating good food, chatting and listening to music? These smart products are for them.
Lighting may seem pretty simple, but nope, in today’s technology-fueled world, even lighting is “smart.” These lights sync with phone apps to be turned on or off, dimmed, and even to change the colors.
Some smart lights even align with music and movies to reflect moods and the action happening in a movie.
Smart speakers are an entertainer’s dream, because you can place them all over the house and the quality will still be just as amazing.
They connect with smartphones for volume and sound alterations in the bass, treble, and so on. The best part? Many smart speakers are voice-activated.
Cocktails are just… a fun time, and if you know someone that likes to make or drink them, or entertain regularly so they can make and drink them, a smart cocktail machine is the perfect gift.
It’s essentially a coffee- pod coffee maker, but for cocktails (if that isn’t the best ending to this article…).
Did you find the perfect gift idea for your tech-obsessed loved one? Was it a Roomba® robot vacuum or Braava® robot mop?
Our robots give the gift of extra free time and cleanliness – because we all need a little more of both in our lives.