Smart products are pretty awesome.
Things like smart thermostats, smart robot vacuums and smart lights make home life more convenient and can actually save you energy.
But some companies are going overboard with this whole ‘smart products’ thing, creating products that don’t make much sense or have any practical benefits over the non-smart alternatives.
Here are the worst offenders.
Smart Water Bottle
You may already have noticed a pattern with these nonsensical smart gadgets. They come in all flashy and techy promising to revolutionize simple everyday tasks.
Smart water bottles are such gadgets.
These are surprisingly popular. Customers on Amazon say the smart features have helped them stay hydrated.
The bottles glow, vibrate or send a phone alert to remind you to drink water. With others, you can set a daily hydration goal and track your intake.
Some will automatically set an 8-glasses-a-day target despite the fact that there’s no research supporting that you need to drink precisely this much water everyday.
While hydration reminders are great, you could just as easily use the reminders function on your phone or download a water drink reminder app.
No Need to buy a $60 smart bottle.
Companies like Oral-B and Colgate have gone one step up from electric toothbrushes. Now they are touting the ‘many’ benefits of their new smart Bluetooth electric toothbrushes.
In truth, there are hardly any added benefits.
These smart toothbrushes use Bluetooth to link up to an app on your phone.
Then as you brush, you get live feedback about which areas to cover, when you are applying too much pressure and how long you’ve been brushing.
Some smart toothbrushes like the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 even have a camera to track the position and movement of the toothbrush in your mouth.
The thing is, brushing your teeth is not terribly difficult. Your dentist can help you refine your technique to make sure you are brushing all areas without using too much pressure.
Smart features are unnecessary for most people. They are also impractical.
Imagine brushing your teeth while looking at your phone’s screen. How many people even bring their phone to the bathroom?
The worst thing is that companies use the term ‘smart’ as an excuse to jack up prices. You can pay as much as $200 or $300 for a smart toothbrush.
Smart toothbrushes are simply novelties and pricey ones at that. A good old electric toothbrush will do.
I’m specifically referring to the Kérastase Hair Coach, which is the only smart hairbrush in the market as far as I know.
The brush is the result of a collaboration between L’Oreal and Withings. They claim that the brush will revolutionize how you tame your hair in the morning.
Again with the ‘you’ve been doing everything wrong’ products.
The hair brush is equipped with several sensors: a microphone to identify patterns in your hair like dryness through sound, 3-axis load cells to measure pressure, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a conductivity sensor to tell if your hair is wet or dry.
All the data collected by the sensors is transmitted to the phone app via Bluetooth or WiFi.
All that at an absurd price tag of $200. For a hairbrush.
The companies claim that the brush will help you keep your hair strong and healthy.
But you could just as easily do that with a normal hairbrush, the right hair products and regular visits to your hairdresser.
The list of pointless smart products is far too long to describe each individually. So here are other products that deserve recognition for their expensive vanity.
There’s the i.Con Smart Condom that tracks things you didn’t know you needed to track during sex, a smart fridge, a smart iron, a smart skipping rope, smart trash cans and many others.
If you are looking for smart products that will actually help you, see my blog post on the best smart upgrades you should make in your home including a smart thermostat like ecobee and Nest, robotic vacuum cleaner and a smart speaker.