Smart home gadgets can make life easier, increase your productivity, and keep your family safe in your home. They can even make your home more attractive to prospective cash buyers. But how exactly do you create a smart home with the latest, most reliable gadgets?
With all the talk about smart homes and Internet-enabled devices and appliances, homeowners may experience confusion, not knowing where to even start. If that’s you, know that you’re not alone. We suggest starting with a voice-based home assistant. Then you can explore other gadgets that keep your home safe, as well as those that entertain you and your family.
Voice Assistant and Home Speaker
Lots of internet-connected gadgets work with several different voice assistants (or don’t need to be paired with an assistant or home speaker to work in the first place). But there are some types of smart home technology that only work with Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant. (Apple’s Siri is another contender here, but doesn’t have quite the reach that Alexa and Google Assistant do currently.)
Choose the one that makes the most sense to you based on your current technology environment and preferences. If you watch a lot of Prime Video, listen to Amazon Music, or shop Amazon products, you’ll have an easier time adapting to Alexa. If you know you want a Nest camera, you’ll want to choose Google Assistant.
Smoke and CO Detectors/Alarms
Move beyond traditional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by choosing the smart versions of this all-important safe home technology. They emit the same (extremely loud) localized alarm noise, but they’ll also ping your smartphone. That way, you’ll know when there’s a problem, even if you’re not at home. Many versions will also notify whoever you designate as an emergency contact so that if you aren’t able to respond, someone you trust will know you’re in trouble and can send emergency responders.
Doorbell and Home Security Cameras
Who’s at the door? The moment you open that door to find out presents an advantageous opportunity for bad actors who want to gain unauthorized access with criminal intent. Criminals don’t even need to gain entry into your home to wreak havoc, though. “Porch pirates” regularly steal all kinds of packages that have been delivered to your front door.
Instead, rely on a doorbell or porch-mounted home security camera to record and display a visual and audio record of everyone who approaches your home’s front door.
Everyone has floors that get dirty, which is probably why robot vacuums are so popular. Smart robot vacuums won’t entirely replace your full-powered standup vacuum cleaner, but they’re the perfect solution for regular light cleaning. Because you can set your robot vacuum up in the morning and then let it run all day, while you work from home or elsewhere, these handy devices can really free up your time and energy.
As with all smart gadgets, do some research before you buy a smart robot vacuum. Even with this highly targeted device, you can find lots of options to suit individual needs.
A smart plug can turn just about any corded device into a smart one. Simply insert the smart plug into an outlet, then plug the device’s cord into the smart plug. By pairing the plug with your home assistant, you can then control the device no matter where you are either through vocal controls or through an app.
Smart plugs work best with devices that are either on or off, such as fans, lamps, and coffee makers. Just make sure the plug you choose integrates with your selected home assistant.
Transforming your house into a smart home helps improve your living environment and may even help increase its appraised value. Always compare current pricing from various vendors to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Check the generation (or version) of each gadget and make sure you understand the vendor’s return, refund, and exchange policies before you make a purchase.