The CRTLabs Gift Guide, Day Three

On our final day of gift recommendations, we’re featuring three smart home devices that most of the time pass the $200 mark.

Gifts between 100 and 199 dollars

  1. Smart Things Home Monitoring Kit For $249 (MSRP), you’ll get a hub, one smart outlet, a motion detector, and two sensors that can tell you if your windows or doors are open. Samsung’s starter kit is a great way to start building your smart home network.
  2. Neurio Intelligent Home Energy Monitor You may suspect that running your old wonky refrigerator is costing you way too much money; the Neurio($249 MSRP) will let you know for sure. It installs directly into your breaker panel and tracks your power use in real time.
  3. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit For right around $200, the Hue Starter Kit lets you “paint” your room in millions of colors and set the mood for just about anything. Utilitarian tasks such as scheduling when your lights go on and off are covered, too.

The CRTLabs Gift Guide, Day Two

Yesterday, we featured some great tech gifts that cost no more than $99. Today, we’ve upped the ante. Note again we’ve provided the suggested retail price, but shop around and you’re sure to find some great deals.

Gifts between 100 and 199 dollars


Netatmo Weather Station

The somewhat oddly-named Netatmo Weather Station (only half of it provides weather data) is a $149 home data powerhouse. The indoor module tracks air quality, CO2 levels, sound, temperature, and humidity; the outdoor module keeps an eye on temperature, humidity, air quality, and barometric pressure. Home health monitoring doesn’t get any easier than this.

Amazon Echo

Yes, the Amazon Echo ($179, but frequently on sale) is cool all on its own, allowing you to control it with just your voice. “Do I need an umbrella today?,” “what time is the Bears game this Sunday?,” and “how many cups in a pint?” are questions it can answer with aplomb. But it’s the compatibility with devices from Philips, Belkin, Samsung, and Wink that make the Echo a slam dunk for home automation.

Canary Security System

There’s no shortage of home security cameras on the market, but the Canary ($199) is a favorite of CRT Labs. It has all the things you’d expect (night vision, motion detection, a 1080p HD camera), as well as some things that are nice surprises (air quality and ambient light detection).

August Smart Lock

Lock and unlock your door, issue virtual keys to guests, and find out who’s coming or going into your house with the August Smart Lock ($199).

Get Smart About Thermostats

Smart Thermostat Tearsheet
Our initial tearsheet: Smart Thermostats


As part of our work in the smart home space, we need to educate membership and offer tools that can be easily shared with homeowners, buyers and sellers. As part of that work, we are going to produce what we’re calling tearsheets. Our first offering in this space covers smart thermostats. Above you see what this looks like. We didn’t try to compare every feature as there are plenty of sites that do that. What we wanted to create is something you could give to your clients that gives a nice comparison of the thermostats. You’ll note for ‘Online Compatibility Check’, we have a link to the respective websites for each thermostat.

We looked at the aesthetic quality of the devices as this matters to clients. Rather than overwhelm with information, we thought it would be nice to give just enough to be helpful.

We are working on tearsheets for the following:

  • Smoke/CO detectors
  • Locks
  • Lights
  • Hubs
  • Security/Cameras
  • Smart Metering
  • Power Monitoring
  • Environmental Sensing

A big thank you in the research needed to produce these goes to our Information Services group, specifically:

  • Sarah Hogan
  • Abby Creitz
  • Anne-Marie Siudzinski
  • Mary Martinez-Garcia

Let us know what you think! You can reach out to us using Twitter @crtlabs or you can write me directly at chad (at) crtlabs (dot) org.

The CRTLabs Gift Guide, Day One

Today, we’re featuring some of CRT Labs’ favorite tech products, all of which cost less than $100. Tomorrow we’ll feature more gift-giving ideas that cost between $100 and $199, and after that we’ll help you bust the bank with stuff that costs more than $200 (but which is totally worth it).

(Note: we’ve provided the suggested retail price, but shop around and you’re sure to find some great deals.)

Gifts for under 100 dollars


  1. Hiku Shopping Button Did someone just eat the last Hot Pocket? The hand-held Hiku (normally $79; $49 holiday pricing) shopping button adds items to a shopping list by scanning barcodes or by listening to your voice. Consult the list on your Android or iPhone when you’re at the market.
  2. Roost Battery The Roost battery (MSRP $34.99) turns your “dumb” smoke alarm into a smart device, sending low battery alerts to you, and notifications to you (and others) if smoke is detected. Best of all (?) it can silence the alarm when you tell it you’ve only burned the toast.
  3. Parrot Flower Power Sensor Need a gift for a green-thumbed friend? The Parrot Flower Power sensor (MSRP $59) measures sunlight, temperature, fertilizer and moisture and sends an alert to your Android or iOS device when your plant needs some love and care.
  4. Cree Connected Dimmable Light Bulbs Is there someone on your list just getting interested in smart home technology? There are few more reasonably-priced ways to get into smart home technology than Cree connected light bulbs.