East Coast living means four full seasons, with many states typically experiencing hot, stormy summers and cold winters — especially in the Northeast. On top of the regular climatology that goes with this part of the country, East Coasters must also contend with a yearly hurricane window, known as the Atlantic hurricane season.
Lasting most of June through November, hurricanes are notoriously difficult storm systems to track and predict — and they can be incredibly dangerous. They are responsible for more deaths and destruction than any other weather phenomena — for example, there were more than 50 hurricane-related disasters, with losses over $1 billion, between 2018 and 2020.
If a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, the only thing most of us can do (outside of traveling to another part of the country or overseas) is ride it out. Unfortunately, a number of our home’s most vital resources are rendered useless with the loss of electricity, a common occurrence with any major weather event. However, there are a number of smart home tools available just for this reason.
For those stocking up on hurricane must-haves, here are seven smart home gadgets tailor-made to help you during the next stormy stretch.
A smart camera that works offline
When a hard-hitting storm powers through your zip code, one of the first things you’re likely to lose is your Wi-Fi network. An essential part of any smart home, your internet connection is relied upon by everything from laptops and tablets to home security hardware — specifically, Wi-Fi-powered smart cameras. You’ll want to keep your cameras rolling during a storm, especially if you want to keep an eye on your property when you can’t get outside because of all the wind and rain.
One great smart camera for Wi-Fi dropouts is the Arlo Go. Supporting up to 720p resolution, the Arlo Go is a battery-powered cam that connects to your mobile 4G LTE cellular plan, allowing the cam to remain usable even when the internet goes down. With the Arlo app, you’ll receive motion notifications and other types of alerts directly to your phone, and you can view a live feed from the Go whenever you want to.
The Google Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery) and the Wyze Outdoor Cam are two other contenders. With its optional battery power, the Nest Cam delivers stunning HDR images for day and nighttime viewing of your storm-besieged residence. While the Wyze Outdoor Cam can be a bit spotty in terms of video quality, the camera can operate offline and features local storage, abilities not available on the Nest Cam.
A full security suite that works without Wi-Fi
A top-notch smart camera is only one part of a full security system. Motion sensors, window and door sensors, floodlights, and recording modules are just some of the other pieces that make up a complete security package. Like cameras, many of these components require a network connection to operate, and are rendered them useless the moment your Wi-Fi dies. Fortunately, there are a number of security systems that still operate when the internet goes down.
Commonly known as CCTV (closed circuit television) or DVR camera systems, most packages of this type will typically come with a series of wired cameras that all link back to a DVR module for live viewing and recording purposes. While a number of these systems feature network connectivity options for mobile live feeds and notifications, in the event of internet loss, you’ll still be able to view and record as long as the cameras are connected and offloading to the DVR.
Do keep in mind that these systems require power to operate, no matter what. In the event of an oncoming storm, you should ensure that the recording module is connected to a fail-safe power source for continued operation if your electricity takes a hike. And speaking of remote power …
A backup battery to keep your gear going
When the power goes out, we’re forced to live as in the days of olde. While hazardous candles have given way to battery-powered flashlights, there are appliances and other home staples that simply can’t operate without electricity. That’s where a portable battery comes into play.
The next time your electricity kicks the bucket, you’ll want to have this Jackery Portable Power Station for all your hardware. Featuring DC, AC, and USB connections, this rechargeable 518-watt power pack is easy to transport and provides enough juice to keep appliances like mini fridges powered for up to nine hours. Best of all, you can pair the Power Station with a Jackery solar panel for when the storm has passed and your Power Station needs a sun-driven recharge.
A solar-powered cooler for your food
Don’t worry about tossing out all the food in your fridge. Owning a rechargeable electric cooler will put you a step ahead in the event of a power outage. Our preferred model is the GoSun Chill.
The Chill can be charged up with the included GoSun PowerBank, an AC adapter, or a 12-volt cord for vehicle charges, as well as GoSun’s solar panels. There’s plenty of internal storage for all of your must-haves and, with no ice required, the cooler can keep your food, beverages, and medication cooled for over 14 hours on an 80-degree day.
If you need more cooler capacity or something with more power, the rest of GoSun’s chilling lineup is well worth looking into, hurricane season or not.
A portable fan for staying cool
No power means no HVAC. As most hurricanes hit during the summer and autumn months, your treasured central air system won’t be operating in the event of a power failure (unless it’s hooked up to a generator). So how does one stay cool if it’s a particularly muggy time of year? A battery-powered fan, of course.
The Xiaomi SmartMi Standing Fan 3 is one such contender. You can use the Mi Home app to adjust temperature settings from your phone, then switch to the fan’s physical buttons to adjust it when the Wi-Fi goes down. The real beauty of the SmartMi Standing Fan 3 is how long it lasts on a single charge. Where many other battery-powered fans will start to falter after a few hours, the SmartMi Standing Fan 3 is equipped to last for up to 15 hours on a single charge.
While the $140 price point may be a bit much for some buyers, the relief you’ll get when nothing else in your home will cool you is hard to deny. Best of all, Xiaomi makes floor-standing fans, too.
A solar-powered oven for dinnertime
Living off of room-temp canned goods is never an easy proposition to stomach (literally). For those that can’t bear the thought of packaged rations for dinner when kitchen appliances are inoperable, look no further than the GoSun Sport.
Capable of steaming, baking, roasting, or frying a perfectly cooked meal in as little as 20 minutes, the Sport is a lightweight, solar-powered oven that can reach temperatures as hot as 550-degrees. It’s also easy to unpack and repack, and its vacuum tube insulation traps the heat inside the Sport while keeping cold air out.
An emergency hub to weather the weather
Last but certainly not least on this list of hurricane smart gadgets is the formidable BodyGuardz Portable 5-in-1 Emergency Hub. No bigger than an external hard drive, this little titan is packed with plenty of tech to keep you powered and informed during the next major storm.
For starters, there’s a built-in power bank for keeping your phones, laptops, and other devices charged during the event of a power outage. Without Wi-Fi or cellular connections, getting intel about the weather can be tough, but fear not, for the Hub includes an FM receptor for receiving emergency broadcasts.
There’s also an onboard siren for signaling to friends and family, a hybrid flashlight/night-light combo for keeping things luminous when your fixtures aren’t operating, and a customizable alert system that allows you to choose from over 28 weather and civil alerts based on the area you live in.