If you own a home, there’s a good chance you’re working on some kind of fix-up project right about now. Americans spend more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs, according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University — and June is one of the busiest times of the year for upgrades.
Whether you’re fed up with a leaky washing machine, or trying to figure out which neighbor’s dog is using your lawn as a personal porta-potty, here are a handful of impressive, new AI-powered gadgets that can do most of the thinking — and even some of the heavy lifting — for you.
TAKE A LOAD OFF
Short of hiring a maid to do your laundry — we can always dream! — Whirlpool’s Smart Front Load Laundry Pair (starting at $1,499 for each) is like a stain-fighting magical genie. Equipped with the Load & Go Dispenser, the washer automatically manages both laundry soap and fabric softener for up to 40 loads on a single fill-up, so you toss a load in and get on with the rest of your day. It senses how big each load is on its own, and adds just the right amount of detergent.
A built-in touchscreen remembers what settings you use the most and, with the Whirlpool app, you can store up to 35 personalized cycles and access them in an instant. I especially like the built-in Alexa features so I can control the washer and dryer with simple voice commands from just about anywhere in my home.
“Hey Alexa, tell Whirlpool to order a pizza!” Just kidding, it can’t do that… yet.
The Camera Pro works in concert with Vivint’s wall-mounted Vivint Smart Hub control panel, which has an integrated 7-inch HD display. If you already have Vivint Smart Home service, the new camera costs $399, including installation.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE A VACUUM?
No really, I’m asking that seriously, because the Tineco PURE ONE (starting at $449) smart cordless vacuum cleaner makes me enjoy vacuuming every single day. Like maybe a little too much.
A unique sensor that Tineco calls the iLoop detects hidden dirt as much as four times smaller than a grain of sand. Then, it automatically adjusts suction power based on the surface, size of dirt or dust, and soil level.
One of my favorite features is a spotlight on the bottom front of the vacuum head base that illuminates every speck of dirt and pet hair on the floor in front of you. As you pass over it, you see the clean path you’re making as you vacuum, in a satisfying way.
It also stays charged longer than any other cordless stick vac I’ve reviewed, as in what seems like hours longer. And, it’s so quiet compared to most other vacuums, that I can talk on the phone while I’m vacuuming.
If it lasts keeps up this kind of performance over the next several months, it will be one of my favorite gadgets of the year.
DESIGNATED TO DECLUTTER
ROBOT LITTER BOX IS THE CAT’S MEOW
Inviting a four-legged furry friend into your home is a joy on so many levels, but cleaning up after kitty-kitty isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Litter Robot 3 ($449) — yep, it’s called the “Litter Robot” — is magic. It senses when your feline friend has done their business, and then, after either a 3, 7, or 15 minute delay — enough time to let your cat saunter away with satisfaction — the “globe” portion of the robot rotates, sifting out the waste and storing it in a drawer for easy disposal.
The Litter Robot app makes upkeep even easier by telling you how full the waste drawer is and letting you know as soon as you need to empty it.