5 Gadgets for the New Homeowner

From laser levels to ray gun thermometers, Tech Talker reveals 5 must-have gadgets to help homeowners save money and time.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #165

A few years ago, I bought my own house, and since then, almost all of my friends have purchased houses, too. And as new homeowners, there were a lot of gadgets out there that have helped us save money and time.

So this week, I’ll be covering the gadgets that I’ve personally put to the test - and that I recommend to all the new homeowners out there.

IR Thermometer

First up is the IR thermometer, a little tool that looks like a mini laser gun. All you do it point it at something, squeeze the trigger, and boom - it will give you a digital read out of the temperature.

This is extremely useful if you’re trying to make your home more energy efficient. You can walk around your house on a cold day and check doors, windows, and skylights to see which spots are letting in the cold.

You can also do this on a hot day to see where your cool air is leaking. I also like to use it on vents inside my house to see which have the warmest and coolest air coming out of them.

This thermometer is less than $20, and can easily save you much more than that in a single month if you use it to make your house more energy efficient.


I mentioned this little device in a podcast I did a few years back on how to make your home more energy efficient. It’s definitely worth mentioning again, though.

This device is extremely simple to use: you just plug it into a normal wall outlet, and then plug a power strip or an appliance into it. From there, it will tell you just how much electricity the device you plugged into it is using.

It’s really interesting to go around your house and test lamps, hairdryers, TVs, and everything else that uses electricity. I find that it can really help to weed out any device that is using a lot of power unnecessarily.

For example, when I took this around my house, I noticed that my TV and other devices plugged into my media center were consuming 100 watts of power...when they were turned off! So after making some changes to what devices I had plugged in there, I noticed a significant amount of savings on my next energy bill.

This is also super useful if you want to track the power consumption of an electric car, so you can see just how much it costs to charge it per mile.

Nest and Nest Protect

The next and final energy efficiency gadgets I want to mention are the Nest and the Nest Protect. I mentioned these in an earlier episode called  “What is the Internet of Things?"

The Nest device is an internet-connected thermostat that learns your behaviors. Initially, I thought that the most valuable thing about this product was that you could remotely control and monitor the interior temperature of your home, which is a really nice feature. However.....


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.