That box sitting alone, often in a dark and unvisited corner, is more than just an interface to get you online, it's also your gateway to fancy new devices.

We've picked ten of the best home gadgets controlled using your wi-fi network - many of which work by connecting to your smartphone (some using Bluetooth) and are controlled by an app. Most of them can save you time or money.

 

TEA/COFFEE

iKettle

iKettle

Price: £78.77

Website: Amazon

Get woken up with the ultimate room service, the brilliant iKettle. Each morning it can wake you up with an alarm, then start boiling the kettle for your early morning cuppa. It’ll even send a message to your phone when it’s done.

There's more too, you can pre-select from four different temperatures, depending on your tea preference, and, best of all, at the end of a hard day, it welcomes you when you come home and offers to put the iKettle on.

The Smarter Coffee Machine (£179.99) does similar for coffee fans.

 

WASHING

Samsung WF12F9E6P4W

Samsung WF12F9E6P4W

Price: £739

Website: Peter Tyson

Not only is this a quite superb washing machine both in terms of specifications and eco credentials, it is also one you can control with your smartphone.

One of the first in its class, you can control and monitor your washing load from just about anywhere, start and stop cycles and see how long your wash has to run. Chores have never been so fun.

 

HEATING

Hive

Hive heating app

Price: £249.95

Website:  John Lewis

Being able to control the temperature with an app when you are already at home is probably just lazy, but being able to do so remotely from your smartphone is sensible, convenient and could save you some cash too.

This system can be installed in less than 30 minutes by an engineer, and then you'll have access to set timers for your daily heating needs, and you can adjust the levels in case you're home early or late/ the weather is hotter or colder than the forecasters promised.

Hive recently announced the Active Plug (£39) that lets you turn devices off remotely, and window and door sensors (£29) that send alerts to your phone when triggered.

[Related article: Improve your wi-fi signal - where to put your wireless router]

Elgato Eve Thermo

Elgato Eve Thermo with app

Price: £59.95

Website: Apple

Heating bills are perhaps the biggest household expenses. The Eve Thermo is a Bluetooth-enabled thermostat valve that hopes to reduce your bills by allowing you to control your radiator using an Apple tablet or smartphone.

Unlike the Hive system, you don’t need a new thermostat. Instead attach the valve to your radiator and use the Eve app to create a personal program, including the minimum temperature and the times of day you want the house to be warm. The thermostat will ensure the room is warm when you return.

Powered by two AA batteries, the device works with Apple HomeKit, which allows you to control it using your voice with Siri..

 

SOUND SYSTEM

Sonos Play 1, 3 and 5

Sonos Play 1, 3 and 5

Price: from £155

Website: John Lewis

Start with a single unit, send music over the airwaves from your smartphone or tablet using your wi-fi, and in no time at all you'll be hankering after multiple units, which will allow you to play music in every single room in your abode.

The quality of this delivery system is unmatched, especially when you can use an all-important app to control it.

The range also offers a soundbar (£549) to sit by your TV, offering a quite superlative surround sound - cinema, who needs it?

 

HEALTH

Withings WiFi Smart Body analyser

Withings WiFi Smart Body analyser

Price: £129.99

Website: Amazon

The humble weighing scales with their twitching dials and up-and-down readings have been given a much needed makeover.

This set allows you to share (if you are feeling brave), monitor and keep on top of your weight as well as monitor any changes with some graphs automatically sent to the app on your smartphone.

Set goals and get encouraging reports by email, share progress with friends on social media (again, bravery-allowing) and let them cheer you on.

 

CHILDCARE

The Smart Pacifier

The Smart Pacifier

Price: £39.99

Website: Pacif-i

For many parents the dummy is a sanity saver, helping to sooth your child and keep them calm.

Blue Maestro has made the pacifier even more useful, including a thermometer that allows you to monitor your child’s temperature.

Information is sent to the Tempo app via bluetooth, where you can track it over time using an app and enter information about any medication use.

Designed for children up to three years old, it works within 30ft (9m) and you can even monitor more than one child. Lose the pacifier and it can send an alert to your smartphone.

 

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Eyefi Mobi (8GB)

Eye fi card

Price: £19.95

Website: Amazon

The Eyefi Mobi is a wi-fi connected secure digital memory card that allows photographers to send images straight from a camera to a computer or tablet as soon as they take them.

Photos are sent to the free Eyefi Mobi app that works with Android, Apple and Window Phone devices.

The connection uses encrypted wi-fi to ensure your photos are transferred safely.

 

GARDENING

Parrot Flower Power Wireless Plant Monitor

Parrot Flower Power Wireless Plant Monitor

Price: £39.13

Website: BT Shop

If you love plants and flowers, but forget to water them, the Parrot Flower Power can help.

Pop it in your plant pot and sensors analyse the sun, temperature, moisture and fertiliser, sending an alert to your phone when you need to water or add fertiliser.

The app includes a database of 7,000 plants with photos and care information. 

Water resistant, you can use it inside and out, and the monitor’s battery lasts six months.

 

TELEVISION

Various manufacturers

Samsung TV

Price: From £169

Website: John Lewis

Connected television sets allow you to access internet services via your goggle box.

TV manufacturers like Panasonic, LG, Sony, Philips and Panasonic all make connected sets. Each manufacturer’s interface is slightly different, but all use apps allowing you to watch the new House of Cards series on Netflix, or catch up with Happy Valley via BBC iPlayer (also available to watch through BT TV), as well as services like the weather forecast.  

Prices start at £169 for a Full HD 22-inch set like the Samsung UE22H5600, rising to a staggering £7,999 for a 78-inch Ultra HD/4K curved set like the Samsung UE78JS9500.

Do you have any connected gadgets in your house? Let us know in the Comments section below.