Smart lights

You don’t have to own a home to have a smart home. Whether you’re a long term renter or staying in a short-term rental, don’t be afraid to invest in smart home products because you can take a smart home with you wherever you go. With that in mind, let’s look at some smart home products that are perfect for renters. If you’re travelling and staying in an Airbnb, I’ll also cover some portable smart home gadgets to set up on the road. 

Smart Display

Smart speakers and displays in every room

At the most basic level, a smart home is an ecosystem of devices controlled by smart speakers and displays. It determines the ecosystem you’ll live in. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple all have their own smart home ecosystems. With wakeup words, users talk to voice assistants to turn devices on and off, play music, and retrieve information from the Internet. 

No matter where you live, chances are you’ll have a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. It’s a good tip for renters to install a smart speaker in each room. Better yet, place a smart display onto a kitchen countertop. It’s basically a smart speaker with a built-in display. Renters can use it to watch cooking videos, have video cooking sessions with grandma, or glance at the weather forecast before you leave for work. 

Smart Speaker

Using smart speakers and displays during your morning routine

With smart speakers and displays, you can also play music, podcasts, and radio throughout your home. This is perfect for setting up an effective morning routine. For example, you can listen to your favourite podcast while you shower, then keep listening to the episode as you head into your room to get dressed, and finally  head into the kitchen to quickly make breakfast and continue listening on the smart display. If you group your smart speakers, what you’re listening to will follow you from room to room.

With smart speakers, you can hit two birds with one stone by listening to your favourite content while you get ready. That’s basically a podcast a day. And, best of all, if you move to a new place, you can take your devices with you to continue your routine wherever you are. 

Smart plugs to control devices and save money 

Smart plugs are the next accessory any renter wants after smart speakers. With voice and app control, smart plugs allow you to control a variety of devices in your home. For example, you can connect a coffee machine to a smart plug. Then you can turn it on via voice through a bedside smart speaker. By the time you get up and into the kitchen, you’ll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you. 

Another idea is using smart plugs to reduce rental electricity bills. It’s an energy saving solution for rental places that have electric baseboard heating. How? Instead of keeping the baseboard heaters on all day, you can use a smart plug with a portable heater. For example, on your way home from work, turn the heater on remotely with your smartphone. That way, the heater will be off when you’re at work, but your home will be warm and cozy when you’re back.  

Finally, smart plugs can also help save time and give you peace of mind. For example, you could connect it to a curling iron. That way, you can turn it on via voice from any smart speaker. By the time you get to the bathroom, it is preheated and ready to go. Set an off schedule when you leave for work and you’ll never leave it on. Since virtually all bathrooms have wall outlets, this routine is perfect for renters who move around a lot. 

Smart Lights

Smart light bulbs for custom room lighting

Most rental units come with lighting, but renters can use their own smart lights to personalize their new space. Smart bulbs are perfect for most rental suites that use standard light sockets. Setting them up is as easy as changing a light bulb, pun intended. There are many smart bulbs that don’t require a hub. That means, as long as you have a Wi-Fi network, you can connect them to smart speakers and smart displays. Through voice commands, you can then turn lights on and off, change colours, and adjust brightness. Renters can group multiple bulbs together for ultimate lighting control. 

Smart LED strip lights are another great option for renters. Instead of installing them in a rental suite, you can add them to your furniture. For example, run LED strips behind your television. No matter where you live, the colours add flare to any living space. Another idea is to install LED light strips under desks. This will brighten up any rental office space. Plus, it will become a semi-permanent addition to your desk or table.  

Smart home products for better Wi-Fi 

More people are choosing to stay in Airbnb and other short-term accommodations instead of hotels during travel. The one feature no one can live without is reliable Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, not every host is an expert in setting up a good Wi-Fi network. Worse yet, they might be using old outdated equipment. 

A small wireless router is always a good product to bring for short-term accommodations. This allows you to tap into the main router and create your own separate Wi-Fi network. Not only is this more secure, it may also provide better wireless coverage than the router the space already has. It’s a good option if you need reliable and dependable Wi-Fi during your stay. 

Smart indoor camera

Indoor security cameras during short-term stays 

For peace of mind, consider bringing a wire-free security camera like a portable indoor security camera. They simply require Wi-Fi access to set up and operate. Most short-term accommodations provide guests with Wi-Fi upon check-in. 

Simply set up an indoor security camera upon arrival and use it to see if someone enters your space unannounced. If the camera detects motion, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. Plus, the footage will be recorded to the cloud. You will also be able to see a live video with audio to see footage in real-time. It’s the ultimate peace-of-mind solution if you’re planning to stay in any space, hotels included. 

A smart home is not just for homeowners

Many renters may think a smart home is only for homeowners. The truth is, most smart home products are portable and only require a Wi-Fi connection for setup and operation. That means you can take them anywhere you live. In fact, many smart home products like smart speakers, smart displays, and smart plugs become indispensable tools in your life. They help you keep the daily routines you develop through life, no matter where you live. 

To get started, read this smart home buying guide. This will help you decide which smart home product is right for your current and future living space. 

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.