Get "smart" this holiday with these tech gifts

Smart tech gift ideas

Smart home technology has taken off this year. A recent survey shows the United States leads other countries in the adoption of smart home devices, and the number of U.S. homes using the technology is expected to jump from fewer than five million last year to 24.5 million in 2020.

But not all smart technology is worth your cash, said Consumer Reports’ senior home editor Dan DiClerico.

“The smart home space is just explosive, but not all of these products are actually smart. So it’s got to make your life easier or safer or fun,” DiClerico told “CBS This Morning” Thursday.

Consumer Reports magazine’s “2016 Holiday Gift Guide” features some of the most innovative smart home technology. Here are some of their top recommendations:

Oregon Scientific Wireless Thermometer — $40

With this leave-in digital thermometer, you no longer need to linger around the oven to make sure your meat doesn’t burn. All you need to do is select the meat type and doneness, insert the probe and a portable receiver will signal when your meat is done. 

“You’re not losing the heat. It speaks five languages. This is a very smart product,” DiClerico said. 

Consumer Reports

Cuisinart Steam Oven — $299

Full-size ovens can cost thousands of dollars. Not only is this option much more affordable, but it also comes with all traditional oven features and can cut the cooking time by 40 percent. Its steaming function also offers a healthier way to cook.

Consumer Reports

Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Speaker — $130

This portable wireless speaker has great sound and a battery life of eight hours. There’s a built-in microphone, plus it can take calls and access Siri and Google Now. It is also water resistant and comes in four different colors. 

Consumer Reports

Vizio D-Series D32X-D1 32” LED Smart TV — $200

This high-definition picture TV is a great, affordable option for those looking for smaller models. It also has access to Hulu, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube. 

Consumer Reports

LG 55UH6550 55-inch TV — $900

This ultra-high definition TV is more affordable than other options on the market. It has high picture quality, color accuracy and black levels, and also has comes with advanced internet and a full web browser. 


Dash — $150

Kids can also get “smarter” this holiday. This robot offers interactive educational games, responds to voice commands and can even sing and dance. 

“There are five free apps that become sort of progressively more sophisticated,” DiClerico said. “So by the end, your child is actually learning basic programming and coding to literally teach Dash some new tricks.”


Merge Virtual Reality Headset — $60-80

Made out of rubber and adjustable, these headsets are very comfortable and work with iOS and Android. 

Looking ahead to the new year and the future, DiClerico is certain we’ll be seeing more virtual reality technology.