I’ve decided to start a series of posts about the ever-growing list of smart home devices I’ve decided to bring into my home. These won’t be on a regular schedule, but as I continue to add functionality to my house, I’ll do my best to provide my opinions and experience with those products.
Today, I want to talk about Garageio.
You can probably guess from the name, but Garageio is a device that you connect to your garage doors to open/close them, as well as monitor their state. In addition, you can connect Garageio to Alexa, and make all of that functionality happen with your voice.
Yes, there are certainly cheaper options. Yes, you could probably build one yourself. But to get all of this functionality in a package that works reliably, had IFTTT integrations, a great mobile experience, AND works with Alexa? That’s a tougher deal to beat.
In fact, I tried. I bought a WeMo Maker device ($70) and hooked that up to my garage door. It worked, but it didn’t manage state. So I added a webcam to my garage so that I could see whether the door was open. It also only allowed me to send an “event” to my door, which meant that it would close if it was open, and open if it was closed. Not a great experience.
Installation was surprisingly easy. The entire contents of the box boiled down to five parts. (I have the two-door model, but the different models really just determine how many wires you get. It appears it’s always the same box.)
- The Garageio Black Box
- Wire for connecting box to garage door opener #1.
- Wire for connecting box to garage door opener #2.
- Sensor for garage door #1.
- Sensor for garage door #2.
Basically, you connect all four wires to the box, connect the box to your wifi, and you’re off and running. Incredibly easy.
Using the Garageio App
For most smart home devices, the app that drives everything is a make-or-break experience. Thankfully, the Garageio team knocked this one out of the park. I have a horizontal scrolling list of my doors, and swiping up on a door opens it, swiping down closes it.
I also get notifications if a door stays open for 15 minutes. This is a nice feature, but as a parent of two active kids, the door is constantly open in the afternoons after school. My daughter gets home at 3pm, and so nearly every day at 3:15pm, I get a notification that the door is still open. You only get one notification, however, so it’s not annoying.
You can see from my screenshot that there’s also the ability to “Share Doors.” This allows me to grant temporary (or permanent) access to my garage door to others.
As expected, they also did an excellent job with their IFTTT integrations, so that all of the functionality I want can be triggered by all of the other services I use. For example, I can set a geofence on my phone, so that if I enter a specific area, my garage door automatically opens.
I can also set specific times for it, so that at 10:30pm, it automatically shuts both of my doors so that I don’t leave them open all night.
If you’ve used IFTTT, you know this is only scratching the surface of what is possible, but there’s only so many creative ways to open and close a door. So far, I’ve been delighted, however.
“Alexa, ask Garageio to close Bike Door.”
It works exactly as you would expect.
Garageio was an early entrant in to the world of Alexa, which is awesome. I think that they will eventually hook it up to the new smart home skill API, which helps in simplifying how I communicate with it, but even now, it’s perfect. It recognizes the names I gave my doors, and works every time. I’m really happy to have this device in my house, and I would highly recommend it for yours.
You can pick one up on Amazon for about $200.