Gadgets for Summer 2020

By Tracey Dowdy

For many of us, summer 2020 means a lot more time at home and a lot less time at the community pool, beach, or parks. While COVID-19 restrictions are lifting in some areas, rising hospitalization numbers mean there’s a good possibility some states and communities could start moving back, rather than forward with reopening plans.

That means it may be time to upgrade with a few simple gadgets that will make the dog days of summer a lot more fun.

The CleanPod UVC Sterilizer may be the gadget of summer 2020. It emits a high-energy beam of UVC (ultraviolet C) light, sanitizing surfaces without chemicals and killing up to 99.9% of germs on surfaces. It’s portable enough to fit in a pocket or purse, so it’s perfect for sanitizing shopping carts, door handles, and phones. Plus, a portion of the proceeds of every sale goes to the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

Movie nights are going to look a little different as theatres slowly reopen and try to accommodate social distancing requirements. The Anker Capsule Projector is a fantastic alternative. This soda can-sized point-and-play projector allows you to streaming movies anywhere, including your backyard. It features 360-degree sound, four-hour video playtime, and projects a screen size of up to 8.3 feet. It uses Android’s OS, meaning you have plenty of streaming options. 

The Nest Thermostat is every “Who touched the thermostat?” dad’s dream. Via the Nest app, dad can set and forget the thermostat for the whole house. Plus, over time, the Nest “learns” dad’s thermostat preferences and monitors heat and cool for you. It works in 95 percent of homes with low-voltage systems, features Auto-Away and System Match features, and will send monthly reports via email. 

If you don’t have air conditioning in your home or apartment, the Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler is a reliable option. Its 3-in-1 functionality serves as a personal ac unit, a humidifier, and an air purifier. With a range of about 45 feet, it’s perfect for your desktop or nightstand. The water tank can last up to nine hours without needing a refill. Plus, because it doesn’t use freon or other hazardous liquids, it’s environmentally friendly, and the filter cartridges are anti-bacterial. 

Finally, no summer is complete without a backyard barbecue, so high-tech gadgets like the Char-Broil SmartChef 420 TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cabinet, low-tech like a ThermoWorks ThermoPop, and no-tech like the Blue Rhino Melt and Steam Dome are essential. The Char-Broil SmartChef is a Wi-Fi-connected grill you can control via your smartphone. Adjust the burner temperatures, monitor the cooking time, set reminders to flip the meat, check the temperature, and access their library of recipes from your device. The ThermoPop is a highly accurate thermometer, with an easy to read backlit display with large digits. You can flip from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and you can rotate the screen so you can read it from either side, the top, or underneath. As a bonus, it will shut itself off after 10 minutes to save battery life. And it doesn’t get much more low-tech than the Blue Rhino Melt, and Steam Dome is the perfect cover to ensure that cheese melts perfectly over your burger. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.