Setting up a smart home was once a very expensive treat, only fit for the wealthy. The IoT (Internet of Things) and smart accessories continue to evolve, and now we find ourselves being able to turn any residence into a smart home. It’s just a matter of finding the right products.
We have put together a definitive list of products you can easily get. Their installation processes are also relatively simple. Some of these are still a bit pricey, but they are definitely worth their price. And the bet part is you don’t have to get them all at once. Just bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you are ready to make your home a bit smarter.
Phillips Hue Starter Pack
There are multiple choices when getting yourself a set of smart lights, but Phillips is by far the most popular, and likely the most supported. This starter pack comes with everything you need to get yourself a boost in the search for the right smart home experience. It comes with 3 light bulbs, and a Hue Bridge (which controls the lights).
What makes these awesome is that they are not just simple LED lights that can be powered on and off remotely. These are truly smart and connected to the internet. You can set your preferences with IFTTT. And because they can change lighting color, you can even use them to set different moods. Getting light notifications from your smartphone and creating a disco environment of changing colors are also options.
This set is a bit pricey, but it offers much more than just cool features. It can literally improve your productivity, as well as impress anyone who walks into your home.
Belkin WeMo Switch
The Phillips Hue set-up is stunning, but not everyone needs so much. OR they dimply don’t want to spend a lot of money in lighting. If that is the case, let me introduce you to Belkin’s WeMo switch. This outlet mount connects to WiFi and allows you to turn your electronics on/off remotely.
Like Hue, these also connect to the internet and can be programmed via IFTTT. You can also plug in your lamp and simply turn it on or off with an app… from anywhere. It can be used with fans, stoves or any other electronics that simply plug into the wall. To top it off, it’s super affordable.
Cable Matters 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector
The home of the future needs USB plugs, and there is no better place to have them than in your normal outlets. There’s a sea of outlets out there that come with integrated USB ports – which are great if you want to spend the time and money to actually install them directly. Many of us want something more flexible, though.
This is why I prefer something like the Cable Matters 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector. This multiplies your outlets to 6, as well as 2 integrated USB ports for charging your gadgets. And because it’s simply a mount, it can be switched to other places around your home whenever you choose. In fact, you can even take them on trips!
No smart home list is worth its salt if it doesn’t mention the Nest thermostat. The Google-acquired Nest Labs has created the most popular smart thermostat for your home. It can be controlled remotely, knows your habits and can be programmed to set temperatures depending on times, situations or even your location.
It is an awesome product, and is said to save energy in the long run, essentially paying for itself. This one does have to be installed into your home’s wiring, but it’s very much worth your time and effort.
How about a nice smart lock? Using regular keys can be a pain. Not to mention, very outdated. We can start using our smartphones as keys now, thanks to smart home gadgets like the Lockitron.
This happens to be among my favorite smart locks because it’s easy to install and works via WiFi. You can lock and unlock the door remotely, or you can give access to your guests (whether temporary or permanent).
It also works with any device. Literally… any. You can control it with your standard applications, as well as a website and even text messaging (for older phones). It’s not cheap at $179, but it’s worth every single penny.
SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell
You should also be able to find out whether you want to open the door or not, and the SkyBell video doorbell will be great for helping you decide. This little gadget literally replaces your current doorbell and offers you a much smarter experience.
This doorbell connects to your WiFi network. It’s camera sends a video feed directly to your smartphone iOS or Android smartphone. In addition, you can communicate with your guest via voice. And if those features weren’t enough to convince you, the darn thing even has night vision!
If you have a pet, you know it’s like having a kid. You need to give it attention, time and always make sure he is well taken care of. Are you feeling like you have left one too many reunions to go feed your pets? Now you can relax a little longer before you go rushing to your animal companions.
Petnet is a smart pet feeder that really does do it all. You can set automated times for feeding, or simply release some food remotely using the smartphone app. The unit even offers notifications and alerts, as well as giving you insight on your pet’s diet.
Mr. Coffee Smart
Don’t just treat your dogs, be smart and give yourself a cup of joe. Some of you can’t start the morning without a good cup of coffee, and Mr. Coffee has partnered with Belkin’s WeMo to make this more than your average coffee maker.
Just like with other WeMo products, you can set schedules for this coffee maker, as well as controlling it remotely. Never miss that war taste of coffee again!
Logitech Harmony Smart Control
Logitech is known for its awesome remotes, but we already carry a device that can do it all – why even use a remote?! I know… nothing really beats a good physical remote. Thankfully, you can have both with the Logitech Harmony Smart Control.
This remote comes with a hub and a free iOS/Android application. You can use the remote or simply pull out your smartphone and get your entertainment system going. It can control up to 8 devices, which not only include entertainment system products. You can even control gadgets like Phillips Hue lights and your Apple TV. Quite awesome, if you ask me.
Piper HD Security Camera
And finally, there needs to be some room for security in your list of smart home gadgets. If you want to keep a good eye on home when away, one of my favorite security cameras is the Piper HD.
This little camera does much more than simply give you a live video feed of home. You can go as far as using it as a home automation hub, as you can get extra accessories for controlling your lights and electronics. In addition, it offers real-time alerts and everything can be accessed from the application.