Smart Home Hacks

Smart Home Tricks To Make Your Life Easier

Published 16th March 2021
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Smart home devices are the hot new technology that everyone’s talking about. Not only do they fulfil your science fiction home fantasies by turning your lights on with your voice, but fully integrated smart home systems can make your home safer and more energy efficient as well!

The only issue is that some of the coolest things you can do with smart homes are immediately obvious. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of smart home tricks. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert programmer to set up these terrific tricks and tweaks. From connecting your smart home gadgets together with applets to upgrading your garden sprinkler, we’ve got lots of great smart home ideas that anyone can benefit from!

Wake up smart

Smart phone coffee machine

Smart home tricks can optimise your day from the moment you open your eyes! A great place to start is with a smart alarm clock. These smart home gadgets can wake you up with more than just an incessant beeping. They can read you a morning news update, play a Monday motivation music playlist or wake you up slowly and naturally with a lamp that glows brighter every second.

If you wake up craving a fresh cup of coffee, a smart coffee machine can be programmed in advance. Fill it up with coffee grounds before going to bed and a steaming hot cup of java will be ready for you by the time you get downstairs - it truly brings a whole new meaning to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’! Prefer tea to coffee? Smart kettles will have water ready boiled for when you enter the kitchen.

Harness the power of IFTTT


IFTTT (pronounced ‘ift’ as in ‘gift’) stands for If This, Then That. The IFTTT service allows developers to write ‘applets’, which are little bits of computer code that connect different smart home gadgets together and perform tasks in a sequence. As an example, you can have an applet that connects a smart lock, a set of smart home lights and a smart speaker together. This means that when you unlock your door, your lights will come on and your speaker will start playing your favourite songs automatically! 

With so many smart home devices to control, the thousands of IFTTT applets can save you a huge amount of time. Alternatively, if you’re confident in writing your own computer code, you can create your own applets and tailor your own smart home tricks!

Optimise your electricity bill

smart thermostat

Some of the most popular smart home ideas are the ones that save you money on your electric bills, and there are two smart home gadgets that dominate in this area: smart home lights and smart thermostats. Smart lights increase the savings you already get from switching to LED bulbs by making it easy to reduce waste. If you forget to turn them off before leaving the house, you can turn them off remotely from anywhere in the world. You can also set up a lighting schedule for your home to dim or brighten the lights depending on the time of day.

Smart thermostats also let you switch them on and off remotely and set schedules, but some absolutely genius smart thermostats will automatically adjust their pre-set heating programmes depending on your usage. To find out more about how these AI-generated tweaks can help you wring pennies out of your boiler, take a moment to read our comprehensive guide to smart thermostats here.

Fight the energy vampires

smart plug

If you’re worried about a large electricity bill, you should fear energy vampires. These supernatural-sounding products can drain power from your electricity sockets even when you’re not actively using them. The biggest culprits are power chargers for smartphones and tablets, but prime suspects also include televisions, Hi-Fi systems and other devices that appear off when really they’re in a wasteful ‘standby mode’. You can unplug all of these devices when you’re not using them, but that’s a lot of work when you add it up.

The smart home tricks version of a stake to the heart is a smart plug. These nifty devices let you turn off appliances that couldn’t normally be turned off at the mains with a simple voice command. You can also set them up to cut the power at certain times during the day, like when you’re asleep. With these smart home gadgets, you’ll soon be slaying energy vampires as efficiently as Buffy Summers!

Have machines take care of your chores


Robots doing our chores for us has been a dream for decades - and smart home systems make this dream a reality! The most popular chore-busting smart home gadgets are robot vacuum cleaners. These disc-shaped wonders will hoover pet hair, dust and crumbs from your floor at a prearranged time, or from their app. Their smart sensors will guide them around your home, allowing them to cover every inch of carpet in your living room. Many units also have a ‘return to home’ option that sends them back to their charging pad when they’ve finished cleaning. Pretty nifty!

Having a robot vacuum your floors for you is great, but there are other smart home ideas that will cut down on your chore time. One example is smart washing machines, which can be controlled with an app to start washing remotely. Start the washing a few hours before you come home and it’ll be fresh when you enter the front door. You don’t have to wait around for your spin cycle to end, and your washing won’t start to smell from being left wet for too long.

Let your lights alert you

smart home lights

In Star Trek, any time an alien species attacked, the captain could simply shout ‘red alert’ and their ship would be prepared for battle. Okay, so smart home devices can’t surround your home with protective deflector shields, but they can alert you if something strange is going on. If you connect your smart lights system to a smart security camera or video doorbell, you can set your lights to change colour or flash in a pre-set pattern when someone approaches your door. For other smart home security tips, be sure to check out our guide to the best smart locks for your home.

Save water with a smart sprinkler

smart Lawn sprinkler

These days, it’s more important than ever to preserve water in every way we can. That means turning off the taps when we brush, taking shorter showers and limiting our hosepipe use. You don’t have to get rid of your garden sprinklers, though - not when you use a smart sprinkler system!

These smart home systems monitor the amount of water they pump out, making sure that it never exceeds the limit you’ve set. Some smart sprinklers include weather pattern monitoring, so if you have a rain shower in the middle of August, they’ll know not to add to the deluge. 

Some smart sprinklers are meant to be installed by professionals as part of an underground pipe system, but you don’t need to worry about that if your sprinkler uses a garden hose attachment. Some smart sprinkler controllers come with a fitted screw-on connector to attach directly to your garden tap, making for effortless installation without the cost of a call-out - sweet!

Press start on smart

Smart Phone Smart home

Our list of smart home tricks should help you squeeze as much value as possible out of your smart home systems. All of the different types of smart home gadgets we’ve mentioned, from smart plugs and switches to smart sprinklers, are available to purchase at OnBuy, as well as a whole variety of other high-tech gizmos and home improvements.

Want to find out more? Check out our range of informative buyer’s guides for a closer look into these smart home solutions. We’ve mentioned some of these guides already, but for even more information - including a handy explanation of smart home systems for beginners - navigate to the full list of our smart home guides.

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