DES MOINES, IA -- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) announces its first ever Editors' Choice Innovation product list. Chosen by Better Homes and Gardens editors along with trusted technology and digital media expert Shelly Palmer, the Editors' Choice list highlights the best of new and existing technology proven to make the homes and lives of consumers smarter, safer and more efficient. According to results of a nationwide survey conducted by BHG, smart appliance technology, home security and safety, money savings and energy efficiency all rank as top priorities for consumers when it comes to home innovation.
"We constantly hear feedback from our readers who are looking for easy-to-use products that eliminate everyday inconveniences and enhance their lives," says Better Homes and Gardens brand Executive Editor Jill Waage. "The products on our list meet those demands in that they provide solutions to common problems while also saving energy, consumer dollars, and they are simple to incorporate into reader homes and daily routines."
Told through BHG's trusted brand perspective combined with Palmer's expertise, the 2015 list and trend report aim to educate consumers on the true benefits and usability of home technology. "In a world that's overly complex, sometimes people just want to understand what's in the store and what features are valuable to them," says Palmer.
Selections from the 2015 Better Homes and Gardens Editors' Choice product list include:
•SAMSUNG CHEF COLLECTION DISHWASHER
Dishwasher features can leave you spinning, but this one won't. Samsung's WaterWall system uses a bar of vertical jets to sweep water back and forth rather than spinning in a circle, meaning dishes in every corner get clean. A Zone Booster also lets you target areas for a higher pressure, higher temperature wash. "Finally, a solution for loads that mix sticky pans and delicate glassware," Waage says. "Plus, a flexible silicone top tray holds hard-to-fit items like microplanes and spatulas."
•LG ECOHYBRID DRYER
It takes a lot of energy to do laundry, but this dryer uses heat pump technology to capture and recycle it, saving up to 50% more than conventional electric dryers. "Another drain is the cost of dry cleaning. EcoHybrid's TrueSteam feature reduces wrinkles and odors so you can freshen clothes right at home," Palmer says. Something on the fritz? Smart Diagnosis lets you troubleshoot the appliance without scheduling a service call. Savings all around.
•PELLA INSYNCTIVE WINDOWS AND DOORS
Home security doesn't have to be complicated. Sometimes we just need simpler peace of mind. Pella's Insynctive platform, which debuts in January, has sensors that assure your windows, doors, and the garage door are closed, the deadbolt is locked, and window shades are down. Forget to lower blinds on a hot day? Insynctive's bridge is compatible with several home automation systems, so you can tap an app to lower them and save energy while away. "This is a simple entry into home monitoring. Plus, the sensors are affordable and can be retrofit to almost any window and door," says Waage.
•SAMSUNG LED H6350 SERIES SMART TV
If you're ready to let go of your last big black box and befuddling remotes, the Samsung H6350 series is a good place to dip a toe into HD and Smart TV. It offers a quality picture and comes complete with the most commonly used features. It's thin profile looks high-end and a super simple Smart Hub makes sense of apps and content, so you can easily search the web, stream movies, check social media, watch TV, and play video games. "Overwhelmed by more complicated features and prices? Then don't go there yet; start here," Palmer says.
A new healthy habit can take weeks to adopt. And sometimes getting fit doesn't look pretty. Misfit Shine can help. It monitors daily physical activity, lets you set and check fitness goals, and easily shares results. Plus, its disc shape looks cool - not clunky - worn in a watch, pendant or pin. "Syncing couldn't be easier," adds Palmer, "and...it's waterproof!"
•KWIKSET KEVO SMART LOCK
No more digging for keys? Yes, please! The Kevo turns any Bluetooth 4.0-enabled device into a key that senses you're in the proximity and unlocks its deadbolt at a touch of your finger. Send temporary or permanent eKeys to guests or neighbors, too. "How reassuring is it to let a kindly neighbor tuck a package inside the door for you?" says Waage.
•DASH SMARTPHONE APP
Check engine lights can be serious or nothing at all. Learn without a trip to the shop using the Dash app. Hailed as the "Fitbit for Cars," the app helps drivers know what's going on under the hood. Available in the Google Play Store, and only requiring an inexpensive OBD port adapter, Dash offers vehicle diagnostics plus real-time feedback on your driving style. "It's also helpful even when nothing's wrong with your vehicle, as it offers fuel efficiency suggestions, trip logs, and directions to local gas stations," Palmer notes.
•SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 4
The Galaxy Note 4's massive 5.7-inch screen puts it in true "phablet" territory. A great choice for entertainment junkies by its size alone, the Note 4 also has the S Pen, a stylus with higher sensitivity levels that offer an elegant way to take notes, sign documents, or navigate the screen without leaving messy fingerprints. "While the screen is bigger than an iPhone 6 Plus, because of the smaller bezel, you can one-hand a Note 4, it's a fantastic device."
Light quality meets LED energy efficiency with Hue web-enabled light bulbs. For each bulb, which screw into regular sockets, you can set warm colors for relaxation or cool, clear light for a project. "The ability to adjust each bulb's light quality and brightness to a task makes every room more livable and every lamp more functional," Waage says.
•NEST LEARNING THERMOSTAT
In today's world, most people don't stick to a schedule. Neither does the Nest Learning Thermostat. It's smart enough to know when you're away and lowers the temperature after you leave. It can nudge you to make seasonal changes for additional energy savings—all while offering monitoring and control via your smart device. "It's a great product that is only going to get more interesting as Nest develops," says Palmer.
•MAKERBOT REPLICATOR MINI COMPACT 3D PRINTER
The possibilities of in-home 3D printing excite us. And Makerbot's Replicator Mini is starting to put it in the attainable range. "Our consumers are so creative and hands on. Replacement parts, action figures, home crafts and jewelry–and even food–could just be the beginning as this technology becomes even more affordable," Waage says.
More winners from the Editors' Choice list include the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2, Withings' Smart Body Analyzer, the LG G3 phone, Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung's Galaxy Note 4, the Apple TV, the Roku 3, and the Wink Home Automation system.
In addition to the products on this list, Waage and Palmer will be identifying items that meet BHG reader's needs in real-time on the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show. As Better Homes and Gardens continues to expand its coverage of home innovation and technology, including the brand's first-ever Innovation Home to be unveiled in BHG's October 2015 issue, editorial staff will continue pinpointing the latest advances in appliances and furnishings within the household and personal technology category.
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