7 Ways On How To Make Your Home A Smart Home
You can almost find a smart device to replace any one of your average dumb devices. This allows you to control all of your favorite devices remotely. So below, I’m going to show you how to make your home a smart home.
Table of Contents
What Smart Home Devices Should I Get?
You have so many smart devices out there for you to pick from. The problem is some of them only work with certain products. This factor can make it a nightmare when you’re trying to set up your smart home, which is the main reason I wanted to start this guide.
I want to show you that it really doesn’t have to be hard nor expensive to set up a smart home. The first few steps will help you to make the foundation of your smart home. From there it’s all about picking the right products and services for your devices.
We’re going to start with…
#1 – Voice Assistants
You’re more than likely going to use a voice assistant to control your smart devices.
Which is why you need to make sure you choose the one that is best for you. You have a few options when it comes to voice assistants:
Siri – It’s the most secure voice assistant out of all of them, and it integrates with HomeKit devices.
But the problem is they don’t have as many products available to them. The other is that Siri isn’t great at understanding what you’re asking it.
Amazon Alexa – With Amazon Alexa, everything is speedy and easy to get started. It’s also a very cheap device to buy, but the most significant advantage is how many skills and third-party capabilities it has. The problem is their smart speaker, the Amazon Echo isn’t great, and it can struggle to understand you.
Whichever one you chose is down to personnel preference, they all make it easier to control your smart home devices. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, so what’s important is finding the right one for you.
#2 – Smart Home Hub
The next thing you should consider is which home hub you’re going to be using. A home hub is a device that all your smart products connect to and communicates with.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speaker can perform this task, but with a dedicated home hub, it opens up more possibilities.
The smart hub works as the brain for your smart home; it effectively sends out signals for your smart products to pick up.
They tend to use multiple protocols, including Zigbee and Z-wave, which is the language they use to talk to each other.
The two most popular home hubs are Wink and SmartThings. And if you are not sure which one is best, check it out in my Wink Vs SmartThings review.
#3 – Smart Lighting
This is a great way to start working out how a smart device works. Smart lighting is usually the starting point for most people to introduce themselves to smart home technology.
Most smart lighting systems don’t require a centralized hub for them to work with other devices.
Now, this isn’t always the case; the Philips Hue smart bulbs need a centralized hub if you want to control ten or more.
A smart light can usually be controlled with Bluetooth or WiFi, but as a rule of thumb, WiFi offers you greater control over the lights. You can set them to schedules, create scenes, and much more all from your smartphone App.
If smart bulbs like Philips Hue don’t interest you, you can also purchase the best smart light switch. They allow you to turn your traditional lights into smart lights and for a fraction of the price.
#4 – Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are great for a few reasons, they help you to control the temperature in your home in the easier way possible.
But the best bit is how much money they can save you in the long run.
They can effectively pick your heating and cooling needs and perform the actions in the most efficient way possible.
They can be controlled using your mobile phone App and in some cases, you can set it to learning mode.
No other smart device has the energy and money-saving abilities that come with a smart thermostat. For me the Nest Learning Thermostat is the best, it will effectively pick up your needs and learn your schedule. This means you rarely have to think about it.
It will schedule all your heating and cooling needs, as well as ensuring it knows when someone is at home. If it doesn’t detect anyone it will turn it’s self off.
If you’re not sure which thermostat you should purchase you should take a look at my ecobee vs Nest review. They are the two most popular smart thermostat on the market, you may earn you money back over time.
#4 – Smart Security
Smart security devices come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. You have plenty of smart security options for your home.
Which ones you choose really comes down to how secure you’d like your house.
Below I’m going to talk you through some of the options you have, or you could skip that and check out the best self-monitored security system.
#4.1 – Smart Security Cameras
They can range from indoors to outdoor security cameras, but the real beauty of them is how easy they are to install.
They can be connected almost anywhere around the house with little to no installation.
You can then view the footage from anywhere in the world from WiFi or cellular connection.
In some cases, you can even use Alexa or Google Assistant to cast footage from your security camera on to your TV. These are usually used with the doorbell cameras.
Other features include:
- Night vision
- Cloud Storage
- Facial recognition
- Motion sensors
Two security cameras really stand out above the rest, and if you’d like to learn more about them, you can check out my Arlo Vs Nest review.
#4.2 – Motion Sensors/Contact Strips
They are a great way of adding an extra level of security to your home. Motion sensors can be placed anywhere around your home.
You can use them to trigger your lights to come on, cameras to turn on, or sound an alarm if an intruder breaks in.
Contact strips are used on windows and doors, if either is opened, you’ll receive a notification to your phone, or it will sound the alarm.
#4.3 – Doorlock
Smart door locks can be used to improve the security level of your house.
They come with a fee style of opening the door, but the most popular locks use a key code or have Keyless entry.
You can control smart door locks with your App to gain remote access, or set geolocation actions for the door to look or unlock depending on your location.
The beauty with smart locks is the ability to set multiple codes for different users.
You can manage this all from your smartphone App. You can set up the codes for a one time use only, or a predetermined duration.
If you want to know which are the best smart locks, check out my comprehensive guide.
#5 – Smart Smoke Detectors
There’s a huge problem when it comes to traditional smoke detectors, and that is, if you’re not home when the fire happens, you’ll never hear the alarm.
This has resulted in people turning to the more reliable smart smoke detectors.
They can pick out a range of fires, so it doesn’t matter if the fire has just started or is in a full blaze.
They can also detect dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide. If anything harmful is detected, it doesn’t just sound a local alarm, but it will also send you a digital one, giving you more time to get people there to help.
Some smoke & carbon monoxide detectors come with an emergency light, while others can link up to your lighting system to turn them on and off repeatedly with the alarm. You can find out more about the best smoke detector right here!
#6 – Smart Garden
You have multiple options when it comes to automation your garden, they’ll leave you with a beautiful garden, the best bit is you have to put very little effort into it. Here are the two best smart devices for your garden:
#6.1 – Robot Lawnmower
Robot lawnmowers cut the grass for you; they’re a small mower with a brain.
You can use them to schedule when you want the grass to be cut, and what length.
This is great when you want to free up some extra time take a look at the best robot lawn mower.
#6.2 – Smart Irrigation
The best Smart irrigation controller leaves your grass looking beautifully green.
If you’re not great at remembering to water your plants, this might just be the smart device you’ve been looking for.
They use intelligent AI and an array of soil sensors to judge how much water your plants need. More importantly, it will skip the cycle if it’s already rained.
#7 – Cleaning
The whole point of smart home automation is to make your life slightly more manageable, so why not use it to take away the most tiresome chores.
Below are some great devices you can use to automate your home cleaning:
- Window Cleaner
- Pool Cleaner
- Pool Skimmer
- Smart Mop
- Smart Vacuum
They all operate with very little human intervention and can clean your home or pool quickly and efficiently. With the best robot vacuums, you can schedule the cleaning based on your daily routine. You can also get it to clean specific rooms.
You can even combine them with the best robot mop, this means as soon as the vacuum has finished the mop will go over and finish things up.
#7 – IFTTT
This is the last thing I want to mention, IFTTT is what brings all your smart home devices together. It’s a free service to use, and overall very easy to use, but it’s also very powerful when put to use.
The full name is If This (happens) Then That (should happen) and what it does is in the title, It allows you to set an action that will trigger multiple devices to perform a task.
Automating your home doesn’t have to be as hard as people think. The key is planing it out and making your purchases in the correct order. Make sure you know which voice assistant you want to use before you get started, it will help you build the foundations.
The same can be said with the home hub; it’s a lot easy to get the products to work together from one point. The system you can jump straight into is smart lights; they very rarely need a home hub. Once you have your foundation set up, it ‘s easy to lay the smart home bricks.
Before you leave, I want to make sure you understand, what is the risk of smart home technology!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s hard to answer precisely how much it will cost to make you home a smart home. And that’s because it all depends on what you want from it. So let’s break it down:
You’re looking at anywhere between $30 – $150 for a voice assistant; then, you’re looking at the same for your smart home hub.
Smart locks will cost you around $70 to $250; the same could be said for your thermostat. If you want to add cameras, it could cost anywhere between $50 and $200 per camera.
Smart lighting like Philips Hue can also be pretty costly at $50 per bulb; as you can see, it can quickly add up. My suggestion is to slowly build it up over time, that way it doesn’t feel as expensive
The place to start is with the foundations, which means choosing your assistant and smart home hub. From there, it’s all about finding out which intelligent devices will make your life easier.
This way, you can slowly build up the devices to make you house a smart house.
It’s quite a simple task; the trick is to find smart devices that work with Amazon Echo. The best thing is, Alexa is compatible with over 10,000 smart home devices, so you’ll have no trouble building a smarthome. If you’re looking for a list of Alexa ready devices, you can check this out.