The garage has a long-standing reputation as a stone-cold, utilitarian, often forgotten part of the house. You probably park your car there and get out as quickly as possible—that is if you haven’t filled it up with junk.

But your garage doesn’t have to be a glorified storage receptacle or parking spot. Today, with a few Wi-Fi connected upgrades, it can actually be a great addition to your high-tech home, using smart home technologies.

Here are a few ways you can bring you garage into the smart age, making your life easier while you’re at it.


Start With the Garage Door

Gone are the days when you get halfway to work and wonder, “Did I close the garage door?” Rather than turning around and driving back home, now you can simply pull out your smartphone, open an app, and make sure the door is closed.

Granted, replacing a garage door opener can cost a pretty penny. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace the garage door to make it smart. Simply pick up an affordable internet-connected garage door controller and wire it into your existing opener (according to manufacturer instructions, of course). Then enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with never wondering whether your garage door is open or closed. And the icing on the cake? Some of these gadgets cost as little as $50 dollars and only take a few minutes to install.

Connected Cameras

Looking for the next level of high-tech garage door openers? You can make your connected controller even more convenient by choosing a model with a built-in camera. Some options not only give you complete control of your garage door, but they actually allow you to keep an eye on it via your smartphone. Plus, they come with night vision and two-way audio capabilities, so nothing will happen in your garage without you knowing about it.

Connected Lighting

Most early smart-home adopters have probably already utilize Wi-Fi connected bulbs in their homes’ living areas. But many don’t think to include them as part of their garage lighting.

Extending your smart lighting system to your garage can prevent fumbling around in the dark for the light switch. This, in turn, can prevent injuries. Even better, you can integrate your smart lights with a home hub like Alexa so you can simply ask her to light up the garage before you go in.

Lights, Camera & Action

Most thieves strike when no one can see them. That’s why motion-sensor lights, paired with outdoor smart cameras, can be effective deterrents to a garage break-in. If a robber does break in, these systems could also help police to identify the intruders.

Plan Ahead

Even if you’re still driving a gas-powered car like most people, you’ve probably noticed that plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more common on the roads. It’s no surprise, considering that the federal government and many states offer incentives for those who replace their gas-guzzlers with electric vehicles.

If you’re thinking of making the switch soon, consider updating your garage with an appropriate outlet or 240-volt battery charger.

A Win-Win Decision

Experts have suggested that the shift to alternative vehicles will transform the real estate market, including the size and functionality of garages. So why not stay ahead of the game?

Outfitting your garage with these smart devices may add up to become a substantial investment. However, at the end of the day, they make your family safer and your home more valuable.

Jon Snyder is a Product Manager at Esurance, where he oversees countrywide design of property insurance products. Jon has over 25 years of industry experience in product management, design and management roles, as well as claims roles at Esurance and other major industry carriers. He writes about all things smart home, from security systems to the garage. Learn more about Esurance’s home and auto insurance policies (and how smart home products can help you save) by clicking here.