Thanks to the Coalition’s tax cuts, a record number of Australians have already lodged their tax return for 2018-19 and have a nice little lump sum burning a hole in their bank account. But what to spend it on? You could sock it into the savings account, but surely it’s your patriotic duty to spend it and stimulate the economy. At least, that’s our justification!
To help you decide, we’ve put together a wish-list that might make home life a little easier – and a lot more fun.
1. Smart home hubs
Imagine coming home after a busy day to find the house warm, with ambient lighting and your favourite playlist on the stereo. Did you forget your wedding anniversary? Nope. This charming scene can be yours every day with the new generation of smart home hubs.
Home hubs should be at the top of any smart shopping list, they’re the key to making your other smart devices work together seamlessly from a single interface. Use voice commands or set up rules and routines to keep your home running without you lifting a finger.
The Samsung SmartThings Hub allows for more automaton than any other device at time of writing, including both Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, and boasts Wi-Fi so you can put it anywhere in your house.
2. Smart thermostats
Smart thermostats are taking the temperature up – or down – a notch or two, with the 2019 Nest Thermostat E leading the pack. It works with a huge range of heating and cooling systems so you can walk into a climate-controlled house every evening. More than that, though: this intelligent device learns your family’s schedule and finds efficiencies in your system, so you’re not heating or cooling an empty house.
The Nest works perfectly with other Nest devices, like security cameras and the Protect, as well as smart devices from other manufacturers.
3. Smart audio
Listen to a podcast in the shower, rock out on the treadmill or let ambient whale sounds send you off to sleep in the bedroom. There are several competitors for the title of best smart audio, but you can’t go wrong with market leader Sonos. Offering rich audio quality, the Sonos range comes with Alexa, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2 integrated into the latest models, so it’s easily voice activated. Not only that, Sonos supports most streaming services from Spotify to Deezer so you can stick with your favourite platform.
4. Smart cleaners
No amount of ambient music can hide that mountain of chores waiting for you at the end of the day, so why not throw some money at a solution? You could spend your tax return on a weekly cleaner, but the smart money is on smart appliances instead. They’ll do the work for you at any time of the night or day – and if you take care of them, they’ll never need sick leave.
The iRobot Roomba is the best known robot vacuum cleaner, and for good reason. While a number of competitors are nipping at its heels, the Roomba is still the most comprehensive and the smartest of the lot.
Now on its seventh iteration, you can choose from the Roomba i7 or the i7+, depending on which bin size you prefer. It’s compact and low profile, allowing it to access spaces a traditional vacuum cleaner can’t, like under the sofa. It copes well with carpets as well as hard flooring and is excellent at mapping the space. Use the app to name individual rooms and tell the Roomba which ones to stay out of for a smarter, more efficient clean.
5. Smart appliances
Wake up and smell the coffee with the Smarter Coffee, a second-gen small appliance that works with home hubs to give you a fuss-free caffeine hit. There’s an integrated grinder so you can grind the beans and make the coffee in one seamless operation, while a remote app lets you start the process from the comfort of your bed.
Want to think bigger? Try Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, this smart fridge is the brain. There’s a large tablet screen embedded in the door so you can jot down shopping lists, add things to your calendar or play videos while you cook. Even better is the camera inside the fridge which can be accessed via your phone. No more standing in the supermarket wondering if you’re out of milk: a quick check and you’ll know!
The home of the future is more seamless than ever, so why not let technology lift the burden of your busy life? Happy spending!