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Use Prime Day to turn your dumb home into a smart one

An Amazon Smart Plug connected to a coffee pot.
An Amazon Smart Plug connected to a not-very-smart coffee pot.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Amazon Prime Day, the company’s two-day discount-deal bonanza, is in full swing. There are millions of discounted products available July 15 and 16, yet very few are actually good deals—apart from the products Amazon itself makes.

Some of the best deals on Prime Day, perhaps unsurprisingly, are on Amazon’s own gadgets, including all manner of Echo speakers, Ring doorbells, Kindle e-readers, eero wifi routers, and Fire tablets. Many of these, however, are still quite expensive. And some are superfluous devices that prey upon homeowners’ biggest fears.

There are, though, a few extremely well-priced deals that can add some simple automation to your home.

Smart Amazon electronics, cheap

If you’re after a few internet-connected plugs to help you turn on or schedule things like lights, coffee pots, or air conditioners, Amazon’s own smart plug is a simple solution.

The plugs usually cost $25 apiece. Now a somewhat secret deal has them going for just $5 each during Prime Day. If you own an Alexa-enabled device, ask it, “Alexa what are my deals?” and it will offer you the option to purchase one at a very discounted rate. Annoyingly, the deal doesn’t appear online or in Amazon’s app.

Amazon is also offering the Kasa Smart WiFi Power Strip for $60 (it lists at $80), which allows you to control six devices via the web at once, as well as individual Kasa smart plugs for $11.68 (usually $16.99) and WeMo smart plugs for $17.99 (usually $34.99).

A smarter TV

The $15 Fire Stick.

Instead of forking out for a new smart TV (although this TCL one is only $99 if you can stand 720p resolution), you can keep the TV you have right now and plug in an Amazon’s Fire TV Stick streaming device. For only $15 (it usually retails at $40), you can access shows on Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, ESPN, HBO, and other streaming sites. The device’s remote also has Alexa built in, which you can use to navigate through the system and ask it questions like any other Alexa-enabled device.

Build an Echo Show, at a fraction of the cost

The $30 Fire 7 tablet.

If you’ve been eyeing an Echo Show, the Alexa-powered smart speaker with a large, HD touchscreen, you can get one during Prime Day for $160 (instead of the usual $230).

Here’s an even cheaper solution: Buy one of Amazon’s heavily discounted Fire tablets instead. A Fire 7 tablet is on sale for just $30 (down from $50) and the Fire 8 HD tablet has been discounted to $50 (from $80). Both have Alexa built in, and when you ask the virtual assistant questions, it’ll use the screen to display your answers, just like the Show.

The Show Mode stand for the Fire 8 HD tablet.

Add the on-sale Echo Dot (just $22, down from $50) to the setup and you’ve got an Alexa device that can hear you ask random things and have the answers show up on your new tablet. You can also buy a custom-built dock that leaves the tablet in an always-on mode that resembles the screen of an Echo Show (it’s $5 off today at $39.99). Propping the tablet up on any surface works just as well.

You could also pick up the smaller Echo Show 5 for about the same price as a Dot and a Fire 7 tablet (the Show 5 is currently about $2 cheaper than this combo). But then you wouldn’t be getting a portable tablet as part of the arrangement.

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