When deciding which smarthome products to install in your house or apartment, there are a lot of things to consider. Your first step should be deciding which products will give you the most value.
Not all smarthome devices are useful to everybody. Some people might find a video doorbell, for example, a necessity while for others, it’s an interesting novelty. This makes an article like this on beneficial smarthome devices somewhat subjective topic, but we wanted to try our best to recommend specific products that might benefit most new smarthome users.
Whether it’s just a simple Wi-Fi camera or a full-fledged hard-wired security camera system, having a device like this to watch your house while you’re away (or keep an eye on a pet) is invaluable to a lot of people.
The Nest Cam, for instance, is easy to set up and use, making it a good option for those who want a no-fuss solution. However, you do have to pay for a subscription for things like 24/7 recording and people detection. Without that subscription, the system becomes a simple live-streaming camera with no real features.
If you want something a bit more robust with multiple cameras and local storage of footage, you might want to consider a hard-wired security camera system. You can place a handful of cameras around your home, and they’ll record 24/7 to a dedicated hard drive that can keep recordings for a long time.
The only issue is that they take way more effort to install and set up, so either hire a professional to do it or prepare to get your hands dirty.
Even if you already have a security camera, a video doorbell is a great supplement. Heck, if you could only afford to buy a single camera, a video doorbell would be the best option.
This is because it’s placed right at your front door and will capture any activity around this location, which is where you’ll have the most activity anyway—it’s the single best place to put a security camera.
There are several options out there on the market, like the Ring Doorbell, SkyBell HD, and Nest Hello. The Nest Hello is our favorite, but like the Nest Cam, it’s pretty useless without paying for a subscription. If that’s a dealbreaker, models from Ring or SkyBell are also pretty decent.
Smart plugs are nice to have because they can turn any “dumb” device that plugs into the wall into a smart device with the snap of a finger. And they’re pretty cheap too.
With these devices, you can control off/on appliances like lamps, heaters, and fans remotely from your phone by plugging them into a smart plug. It’s the most flexible device in the smarthome world because it present all sorts of possibilities, yet it’s a simple piece of machinery. Just make sure that what you’re plugging in has a physical on/off switch.
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One of our favorite smart plugs is the Kasa smart plug from TP-Link, which you can frequently find on sale for around $20 if you’re patient. Otherwise, you can expect to pay around $25-$30 for most smart plugs on the market.
Something like a smart thermostat can be useful, but since people use thermostats differently, a smart version isn’t necessarily right for everyone. However, lights are something that everyone uses constantly. So being able to control them in all sorts of really cool ways can be beneficial for everyone.
With smart lights, you can control them from your phone or using your voice if you have a voice assistant. You can also set schedules and timers so that they turn on or off at specific times (great for when you’re on vacation and want to make it look like someone is home).
We’re big fans of the Philips Hue system since it’s easy to set up and the app is pretty simple to use. However, you can also get bulbs that connect straight to your Wi-Fi network if you don’t want to deal with a hub.