Smart home components are popular these days, with many people owning at least one device to keep their homes connected. In fact, Statista notes that over 32 percent of households have such devices—and the number is expected to pass 52 percent by 2024.
If you are considering jumping on the trend, the budget is a primary consideration. Fortunately, there are plenty of budget buys plus tips that can help lower the expenses of outfitting your smart home.
Search for Deals First and Foremost
Before you start comparing products and researching how-to guides, consider where you plan to purchase your equipment. Amazon can be a great choice, but if you want to see items in person, look to stores like Best Buy, Target or Walmart. Plus, if you employ tips from resources like this Best Buy shopping guide, you won’t have to overpay for basic equipment. With deals of
the day, membership privileges, free shipping and price match guarantee, you’ll be able to stack your savings. And regardless of where you shop, look to retailers that can offer you expert insight when it comes to installation if you plan to DIY.
Decide Which Devices You Need (and Those You Don’t)
When it comes to decking out your property with the latest technology, there’s so much to choose from. Voice assistants can activate a range of services and features (and blend in with your décor), accessories can be operated hands-free, and security equipment helps provide peace of mind.
Here are the most common smart home components and the available products in each category.
Smart Home Assistants
● Amazon’s Alexa, which works through the Kindle Fire devices as well as in-home equipment. You can pick up an Echo (full-size cylinder speaker), Echo Dot (a smaller cylinder), Echo Show (a rectangular screen), or Echo Spot (a round device with a small screen).
● Apple’s Siri, a voice assistant that comes on all Apple smartphones (iPhone) and tablets (iPad). Siri also works through the Apple HomePod, a speaker device like Amazon’s Echo. ● Google Home and Google Home Mini, speaker devices that use the Google Voice Assistant. Voice Assistant capabilities are also available on Google and Android phones.
Smart Cameras (and Doorbells) ● Ring Video Doorbell, which allows you to view and speak with visitors from inside (or away from) your home.
● Ring motion-detecting cameras are also available, and all Ring devices connect with the brand’s Neighbors app and most voice assistants.
● Google Nest Hello, a Google Home-compatible video doorbell.
● Nest Cam Indoor or Outdoor; Google’s Nest cameras are compatible with its other tech. ● Amazon’s Blink cameras are available in indoor and outdoor configurations and use motion-sensing technology. They can report to your Alexa device (or smartphone/tablet) and connect with the Blink app.
Other Smart Devices
● Google and many other brands offer Wi-Fi-connected thermostats for your home. ● Digital locks detect your smartphone with geofencing and open doors for you only. ● Smart plugs and lighting accessories let you customize your smart home and turn on lights and devices with your voice. Lighting options are an excellent way to complement your décor without sacrificing utility.
Choosing the Right Smart Products for Your Home
It can be tough to decide which suite of products to go with. Especially if you already own devices from Google, Amazon, or Apple, you may feel tempted to choose one out of brand loyalty. But pricing varies widely among the product options, so seeking out a good deal should be a priority. In some cases, though, it’s tougher to determine what option is best—such as the Nest versus Ring video doorbells—because they’re priced similarly. Consumer Reports awarded the Google Nest Hello top honors in a hands-on review because it has impressive hardware and features, plus 24/7 recordings for optimum security.
Once you’re ready to take the plunge on smart home tech, make sure to read reviews on competing products for honest feedback from real users.
Outfitting your home with smart tech can provide peace of mind and optimal connectivity. Keeping costs low doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the latest innovations, though. With a bit of planning, you can have a completely connected smart home for much less than you might think.