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These Smart Home Devices Can Enhance Independence for People With Disabilities and Mobility Needs

Updated Dec 17, 2022
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Smart-home devices can sometimes feel almost magical. They allow you to turn on lights without having to touch a switch, answer the front door from your bedroom (or a hotel room), and tweak your thermostat with a simple voice command. For many people, those capabilities are a convenience or a luxury. But for those who live with accessibility challenges, smart-home technology can be a powerful enabler, one that allows them to live a more independent and empowered life. Todd Stabelfeldt, CEO of C4 Database Management, is a quadriplegic and an avid smart-home user. As he puts it, “Convenience for you is independence for me.”

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen), a tabletop smart display

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

A tabletop smart display
This display and speaker allows users to watch video and chat face-to-face with friends, family, and caregivers. It also has built-in Alexa functionality, as well as a camera that can follow and frame the user.
We recommend
Apple iPad (8th generation), a portable all-in-one control device

Apple iPad (8th generation)

A portable all-in-one control device
This tablet has a large screen, includes Siri voice control, and is portable enough to take anywhere in the house. And this device makes it easy to engage in video and audio calls with family, friends, and caregivers.
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Amazon Echo (4th Gen), the best alexa speaker

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

The best Alexa speaker
Amazon’s flagship speaker makes it easy to play music, order pizza, get answers to questions, or control popular smart-home devices—among 10,000-plus other things.
We recommend
Wyze Plug, the best smart plug

Wyze Plug

The best smart plug
This plug is compact, reliable, and affordable enough that you could install multiple plugs around your home. It has an easy-to-use app and is compatible with most smart platforms.
We recommend
Wemo WiFi Smart Plug, an alternative for homekit users

Wemo WiFi Smart Plug

An alternative for HomeKit users
Though it’s more expensive than the Wyze Plug, the Wemo provides most of the same features and adds support for Apple HomeKit.
We recommend
Philips Wiz Smart Wi-Fi LED Color Bulb, the best smart led bulb

Philips Wiz Smart Wi-Fi LED Color Bulb

The best smart LED bulb
This model is cheaper than most smart bulbs, and it emits bold colors, is easily controllable via app or smart speaker, has useful Scenes (presets of color and dimness), and is widely compatible with other smart devices.
We recommend
Lutron Caséta Wireless In-Wall Smart Dimmer, the best smart in-wall dimmer

Lutron Caséta Wireless In-Wall Smart Dimmer

The best smart in-wall dimmer
This in-wall light switch works with most any electrical system, integrates with a lot of smart-home devices, and offers an easy-to-use keypad for dimming and powering lights manually.
We recommend
Google Nest Learning Thermostat, the best smart thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

The best smart thermostat
Nest’s most-advanced smart thermostat is easy to use, and it learns to adjust to your preferred comfort levels.
We recommend
Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control , an alternative for homekit users

Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

An alternative for HomeKit users
This thermostat has better remote sensors than the Nest, works with more smart-home platforms, and has a built-in speaker so you can talk directly to it via Amazon Alexa.
We recommend
Lutron Serena Shades, the best smart shades

Lutron Serena Shades

The best smart shades
These quiet, reliable smart shades come with a choice of fabric (including blackout options). And because they’re custom-made, they match any window size and decor.
We recommend
IKEA Fyrtur, low price, but limited options

IKEA Fyrtur

Low price, but limited options
These are the cheapest off-the-shelf smart shade options we’ve found that also work with every major smart-home platform. However, they come in only one color and in fixed sizes.
Budget friendly
Tailwind iQ3 Smart Automatic Garage Controller , the best smart garage-door opener controller

Tailwind iQ3 Smart Automatic Garage Controller

The best smart garage-door opener controller
The most responsive of all the models we tested, the iQ3 uses geolocation technology (Bluetooth and GPS) to automatically open and close the door.
We recommend
Aqara Motion Sensor, a low-cost motion sensor

Aqara Motion Sensor

A low-cost motion sensor
It seems a little large when mounted, but this motion sensor is cheap and works well. Just know that you also need to purchase an Aqara Hub.
We recommend
Aqara Door and Window Sensor, a low-cost contact sensor

Aqara Door and Window Sensor

A low-cost contact sensor
This sensor is smaller and cheaper than a lot of other contact sensors, and it works reliably. But it does require the use of an Aqara Hub.
We recommend
Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, the best smart lock

Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro

The best smart lock
It features six different ways to unlock the door, including automatically and by fingerprint. We recommend adding the Ultraloq Bridge, which adds remote control.
We recommend
Google Nest Protect, the best smart smoke detector

Google Nest Protect

The best smart smoke detector
This smoke and carbon monoxide alarm warns of danger by voice and siren, sends smartphone alerts to as many as six contacts, and has a self-check feature and a built-in night-light that changes colors if there’s an incident.
We recommend
Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wired, the best doorbell camera

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wired

The best doorbell camera
This doorbell can alert you to people, packages, animals, and cars going by. It also has a wide-angle lens that can provide a full picture of who or what is in front of the door, from head to toe.
We recommend
Google Nest Cam Outdoor, the best outdoor wi-fi camera

Google Nest Cam Outdoor

The best outdoor Wi-Fi camera
The Nest requires a subscription to capture recordings, but you can choose whether you want to record 1080p video 24/7 or just motion events.
We recommend
EufyCam 2 Pro, a cordless alternative for homekit users

EufyCam 2 Pro

A cordless alternative for HomeKit users
This camera is cordless, so it’s especially easy to install. It also has a strong battery life, a great image, HomeKit support, and three options for storing footage.
We recommend
SimpliSafe The Essentials, the best diy security system

SimpliSafe The Essentials

The best DIY security system
SimpliSafe’s starter kit is easy to self-install and use, is reliable when responding to incidents, and offers several add-ons.
We recommend
Abode Smart Security Kit, an alternative for homekit users

Abode Smart Security Kit

An alternative for HomeKit users
Abode has a number of useful accessories. But, unlike some systems, it’s also compatible with a range of third-party devices, as well as all the major smart-home platforms.
Another good choice
D-Link DCH-S161, for detecting water leaks

D-Link DCH-S161

For detecting water leaks
This sensor issues a loud alarm when water is detected and sends quick smartphone notifications. And you can silence it on the device or in the app.
We recommend

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