Smart Home Devices You Didn’t Know You Needed
Home automation with smart devices can streamline your space. You don’t need fancy gadgets to set up your smart home. Start with a few basic items before investing a significant amount of time and money in smart devices.
Smart speakers are an excellent pick for your first smart device purchase. You might already have an Amazon Echo or an Apple HomePod. If you don’t, deciding between Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri isn’t easy. Each has advanced features, including Bluetooth connections and integrating with other smart home devices.
Connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi to play your favorite music. Most smart speakers are compatible with Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.
Got a question? Your smart speaker can also provide answers and a variety of information. It can serve as a central information source for weather, recipes, directions, and more.
Smart lighting can be a fun addition to your home. Philips Hue offers color-changing smart bulbs to bring some color into your home.
Adding smart lights to your home is also a fantastic security feature. Next time you’re on vacation, set an automated schedule to turn your lights on and make it look like you’re home when you’re not.
You could also program an entryway light to turn on automatically when you arrive home. That way, you’re not stumbling around in the dark looking for a light switch.
Programmable thermostats have been around for a while. Smart thermostats are an entirely different device altogether. Connect a smart thermostat, like an Ecobee, Honeywell, or Nest learning thermostat, to your Wi-Fi and you can control the temperature in your home from anywhere in the world.
If you go out of town for the weekend and forget to turn the heat down, log in on your smartphone to adjust your thermostat and tap into energy savings.
Speaking of savings, Energy Star reports smart thermostats can lower your heating and cooling costs by 8 percent each year.
Since every home has a front door, smart locks are one of the best options to get started in home automation. Smart garage door locks can also add remote access and voice control when you connect them to Wi-Fi.
Some smart locks are large enough to include a keypad for coded entry. However, most aren’t big and clunky. Several, like the Kwikset Kevo, look like a regular lock, even up close. But when you approach it? Your door can unlock using an app or with the touch of a finger.
Home Security Cameras
Over 18 percent of property crimes are burglaries, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. For the ultimate peace of mind about your home, consider installing a smart home security camera. Security cameras can record video when they detect motion and send a message to your mobile device to alert you that someone is on your property.
Keep in mind that more features usually equal higher prices. SimpliSafe home security system includes several monitoring packages such as motion sensors, door and window entry sensors, and water sensors. But these come with a higher price tag.
However, plenty of affordable options exist. For example, Arlo has wire-free video monitoring and floodlights to brighten even the darkest night. Ring makes a video doorbell that’s easy to install on your own and allows you to control other smart locks and switches.
Despite the cost, a smart home security camera might be worth the investment because it can lower your homeowners insurance premium. You might save anywhere from two percent to 10 percent off your annual bill.
Multi-Room Audio Systems
Smart speakers are one thing, but multi-room audio systems take it to a new level. You install speakers in two or more rooms and control them from a central source. You can play the same music in all rooms or set up each room to play different music.
Smart multi-room audio systems can connect in several ways. Your home’s Wi-Fi network can distribute music to smart speakers from your phone or a computer. Wired systems are another option, though they require you to run wires between speaker locations throughout your home.
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be life-saving devices in your home. In 2018, the National Fire Protection Association reported that fire departments throughout the U.S. responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
Instead of just sounding the alarm, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can alert your smartphone and other smart devices. It’s one thing to be alerted to danger nearby. But what’s even better is a smart alarm that tells you there’s a fire or carbon monoxide threat no matter where you are.
Traditional sprinkler and irrigation systems operate on a pre-programmed schedule. It’s a fantastic option to keep your lawn and gardens looking fresh and healthy. With smart technology, your yard can be the envy of the neighborhood.
These systems can streamline home lawn and garden care even further. They monitor the weather, soil conditions, and plant water use to adjust the watering schedule.
Smart home devices extend beyond basic home comfort and security. Home automation and convenience have brought “smart” capabilities to traditional appliances found in most homes.
A smart refrigerator includes a touchscreen system and camera feed to view the contents while you’re away from home. If you’re at the grocery store, view your refrigerator’s camera feed to determine if you’re low on milk or other items.
Smart vacuums, like the Roomba, can connect to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control them from anywhere you have an internet connection. With a smart slow cooker, schedule or adjust the cooking time or temperature, and dinner can be ready by the time you get home from work.
A TP-Link smart Wi-Fi plug can turn any appliance into a smart device. The plug lets you turn electronic devices and lights on or off, check their status, and set a schedule for use.