7 Smart Home Devices that Started as Gimmicks

smart home devices

When it comes to smart homes, people usually associate them with smart lights or intelligent heating systems. However, in this blog post, we will dive into some gadgets that were initially considered gimmicks but have proven to be highly practical in certain situations.

Temperature and Humidity Sensors

A smart thermometer that monitors room temperature, potentially aiding in controlling heating, is quite common. However, knowing the humidity in each room can also be very practical, especially when combined with current weather data. For instance, receiving a notification on your smartphone when indoor humidity significantly deviates from outdoor levels can be quite handy, so you know when to open a window or turn on the AC.


Not every device comes in a ‘smart’ version, and even if it did, it doesn’t always make sense to replace it outright. Enter the Switchbot, a smart button pusher that can turn any device with a power switch into a smart device. For instance, we use it to switch on our coffee machine. If you’re interested in learning more about our morning routine, you can click here.

NFC Tags

Initially acquired as a gimmick, NFC tags have become indispensable for home automations. In a smart home, complex tasks can be simplified with NFC tags, acting as smart switches. A quick tap on a tag when leaving the house can turn off lights and switch the heating to Eco Mode. Similarly, for Netflix sessions on the couch, tapping a small tag next to the remote instantly switches the living room to TV mode, offering light control without the need for voice commands. It’s practical for those moments when you don’t want to use a voice assistant for everything.

Smart Media Player

Listening to music is my passion, whether it’s in the morning shower or while writing for Smart Home Dude. For example, as soon as I sit at my desk, an automation starts playing my focus playlist on the Sonos speaker in the office. Integrating music into my home automation has become indispensable for me.

Smart Light Switch

Typically, our lights are controlled by motion sensors. But what if there’s an update running or we have guests who still use the light switches? To prevent half of the Zigbee network from failing constantly, I highly recommend smart light switches. This ensures that each switch still functions without disrupting the system and complements the smart lighting setup, maintaining motion detection capabilities while offering manual control through smart bulbs (still I love zigbee – find out why).

Plant Sensor

Admittedly, this might be overkill! Nevertheless, I got myself a Xiaomi Vegtrug Flower Care Sensor last year and stuck it into my avocado plant. Unfortunately, I don’t have a green thumb, but the sensor warns me if my plant is in distress or if I’ve neglected it for too long. Now I can intervene BEFORE it’s too late.


When our new Siemens dishwasher was delivered, I was surprised to see the network symbol, hinting at wifi capabilities. For once, I hadn’t checked if the device could be integrated into our smart home via HomeKit or another platform (check out our comparison). But behold: we have a smart dishwasher. Thanks to its compatibility with Home Assistant, I can remotely control it and get a notification when the dishwasher cycle is complete and even when it’s time to buy new tabs. It’s not worth calling it essential, but still pretty cool!


Not everyone needs every gadget or novelty. However, there are some devices that have proven to be practical and have become indispensable. I certainly won’t stop feeding my curiosity with toys. Who knows, maybe there’s something great out there waiting to be discovered…

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