Putting together smart home systems can be tough, but worth it. The sooner you've installed your new smart home technology, the sooner you can start saving valuable time, energy, and money each day.
How do you know which smart home products are reliable, compatible, and easy to install, though? I'll tell you how. This article is a compilation of our top picks for every relevant smart home automation device on the market.
"The Chicago Tribune says functioning smart home systems can increase the property value of your house if you're planning to rent or sell."
Our Top Picks
Smart Home Hub
The Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot's 2nd generation smart home hub provides smart home enthusiasts with seemingly endless possibilities. For example, it comes with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built-in. As a result, you can potentially control every electronic in your house with your voice. Control smart lights, fans, garage doors, smoke detectors, sprinklers and more.
The Echo Dot is cheap right now too, at just $50 on Amazon. That's cheaper than any smart hub on the market has ever been before. The best part is, the Amazon Echo Dot Smart Home Hub will allow every smart device in your home to communicate flawlessly.
You don't have to worry about compatibility; the Echo Dot is compatible with WeMo, Samsung SmartTThings, Philips Hue, Ecobee, Nest and more. It also works with WiFi, Bluetooth and external apps. Once they're all connected, you'll be able to control and monitor each smart device from one collective app. on your iOS or Android device.
LIFX Smart Light Bulb
The LIFX Smart Light Bulb is the most advanced, reliable smart light bulb available right now. At $59.99 on Amazon, it comes equipped with every smart light feature you could ask for. For example, you can separate your home into zones and create timers for each zone.
Choose between 16 million colors and 1000 shades of white from warm to cool. This smart light is dimmable, energy efficient and bright, using only 11 watts to create 1100 lumens. It will only cost you $1.32 a year in energy to power and will even last you 22.8 years.
Another unique feature the LIFX smart bulb has is its scene settings. You can set and save color scenes to suit your different moods. For example, you can set "wake up" and "goodnight" scenes to gradually wake you up and put you to sleep. Implement your color scenes from your smartphone for your next party or bedtime.
Nest Smart Thermostat
The Nest Smart Thermostat is the best and most well-known smart WiFi thermostat around. Its sleek, circular design looks much nicer than your old traditional thermostat; and it's easy to install. The main reason people buy smart thermostats is to save money on energy. According to Nest's website, they have saved people 8 billion kWh of energy in homes throughout the world. That's not all Nest can do, though.
Control your Nest Smart Thermostat from your smartphone via iOS or Android app. The best part about it is its learning feature. You won't even have to worry about setting your thermostat on timers because Nest will learn your schedule and adjust itself accordingly.
It does this by using motion sensors to detect where you are in the house. If you're not home, the temperature will lower automatically, ultimately saving energy. If you're interested in a smart thermostat, you can't go wrong with Nest.
August Smart Lock
You have a friend coming over from an hour away. They want to leave early enough to beat traffic, but you won't be home from work by the time they arrive. What do you do? It used to be that you'd have to place a key under the mat, leaving your home vulnerable to criminals all day long. With the August Smart Lock, this is no longer necessary.
The best smart lock lets you create virtual keys for friends and family to get in no matter where you are. You can cancel these virtual keys at any time. See and speak to guests and unlock your door via your August iOS or Android app. whether you're home or away. You can even set timers to give access to your house at certain times of the day each week.
All in all, the August Smart Lock has perfected its duty: to keep its users safe. It will even lock automatically behind you and unlock automatically as you approach. There will be no more standing out in the rain while you struggle to find your key.
Ring Pro Doorbell Camera
The Ring Pro Doorbell Camera can be used for added security alongside your smart lock, home security system, or home alarm system. With the Ring Pro smart doorbell, you can two-way talk with guests from your iOS or Android smartphone app. anywhere you have WiFi.
This smart doorbell's motion sensors will allow you to receive video alerts when someone rings the doorbell or occupies your doorstep without ringing. Additionally, the Ring Pro's custom motion zones will let you receive alerts only when someone steps within a specified vicinity.
The Ring Pro WiFi Doorbell Camera provides 1080P HD video and infrared night vision. Live stream your doorbell camera's view whenever you want from wherever you are. It also offers a sleek design with customizable faceplates. If you're looking for stylish security, the Ring Pro best video doorbell is your best bet.
iHome SmartPlug Outlet
The most vital features provided by the iHome iSP8 SmartPlug Outlet are its energy monitoring and remote control. Smart outlets are one of those smart devices that can help you save you money on electric each month. Plug in any electronic you own to the iHome iSP8 SmartPlug to track how much energy it uses. Then, turn off power to electronics straight from your smartphone app. when you're away.
The iHome iSP8 SmartPlug Outlet is compatible with Samsung SmartThings for advanced features. For example, you can set timers on your plugged in electronics to turn off when you leave the house. You can also set motion sensor on/off options based on movement throughout the house. With the iHome iSP8 SmartPlug's sleek design, you'll even have room to plug something else into the adjacent outlet. It comes with its own remote control for you to use around the house if you can't be bothered with your smartphone.
DIY Home Security
Canary DIY Home Security
With a DIY smart home security system, you are in charge of contacting authorities in the case of an unexpected guest. What's great about the Canary DIY Smart Home Security System is that it will alert you via the app with a live video any time it senses motion in the area. It also has night vision, motion and temperature sensors, and a microphone.
Then, the app will give you the option to call the police, sound the siren, or ignore the situation. Whoever else you have given access to your system will also receive video alerts and options for action. The smart home technology comes with 12 hours of 1080p HD video history, three video downloads and five video bookmarks of storage for free. There are also various price options to explore if you'd rather have more storage.
Key Considerations Before Purchasing a Smart Home System
Whether you're looking for a smart thermostat and smart lights to save energy or a smart lock and smart video doorbell to give you peace of mind when you're away, you'll find the answers here. Consider the information below before you begin putting together your smart home technology.
1. What is a smart home?
According to the Internet of Things Agenda, a smart home is a home with wiring structured to allow users to control and monitor electronic devices from anywhere with a smartphone. They connect via an Internet protocol such as WiFi, Bluetooth Z-wave or Zigbee to communicate with your smartphone and other devices.
2. Why do I need a smart home?
Smart home systems are popular because they have proven to help consumers save money, save energy, and keep their homes secure from break-ins. They do so by monitoring energy usage and adjusting in order to use the least amount of energy necessary. Additionally, the Chicago Tribune says functioning smart home systems can increase the property value of your house if you're planning to rent or sell.
According to a survey from Coldwell Bank cited on VentureBeat, 31 percent of smart home technology users own a smart security device and 30 percent of smart device users own a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats and security devices supply added convenience for you and your family at a cheaper price than an intricate home security system.
On the other hand, 61 percent of smart device users said they purchased smart gadgets for reasons other than saving money in 2014, according to the Atlantic Council. One of the main reasons was to help the environment by wasting less energy. Conclusively, it seems that smart home systems will grow in popularity as companies continue to find ways to help consumers help the environment, stay secure, and save money.
3. What about compatibility?
Compatibility is important if you want to put together a reliable smart home system. Smart home products connect to each other via various Internet protocols, as I mentioned earlier. First and foremost, your smart home gadgets should be able to connect to each other via that protocol. Check to see if your smart device uses WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-wave, Zigbee, or another protocol before you buy.
Next, not all brands are compatible with others brands of smart home products. Smart home product companies will usually list who they are compatible with on their company website. If you can't find it there, look for a number to call and make sure you get the right answer.
I researched, evaluated, and compared smart home systems across the entire smart home technology market to come up with the absolute best smart home systems available. All in all, the most important characteristics to consider before purchasing a smart device are reliability, compatibility, and installation.
Once you have sorted out these three concerns, think about what features differentiate your favorite smart home products from traditional electronics. Then, make sure your smart devices are equipped with those features. If you start with any of the devices listed above, you will be on your way to easy, reliable smart home automation in no time.
"...the most important characteristics to consider before purchasing a smart device are reliability, compatibility, and installation."
Overall, the best smart home systems are a fantastic asset to any home or apartment. If you want to save money, help the environment, and give yourself peace of mind, you can start by purchasing your first piece of smart home technology today.