Affordable. Clear and powerful sound. Control your entire smart home with voice commands. Intercom feature between Echo Dots. It works with a wide range of apps. New gen sports an LED clock. It’s easy to place them all over your home. Easy to set up. Available in 4 colors.
Lacks the Dolby Audio upgrade found in pricier Echo models.
This compact device serves primarily as an alarm clock, but it also works as a video caller/messenger and a micro entertainment center. Using Alexa, the Echo Show 5 can control lighting, adjust your thermostat, lock doors, and more.
Some users have noted that the Echo Show 5 doesn't seem to listen as well as other smart devices.
Straightforward installation. Controllable via smartphone from anywhere in the world, using an app that's very intuitive and lets users set light schedules quickly. The location-based automatic timer is a nice plus.
Wi-Fi range in-home isn't great. Some may have issues wiring the unit. Does not support 3-way switches. Firmware updates may be buggy.
The Kasa Smart Plug is easy to set up. It can either be controlled through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. If you'd like to use the Kasa app, it provides additional flexibility for remote operation and allows you to create operating routines.
Rarely, users experienced frustration with the plug dropping from the home WiFi network.
Honeywell's smart thermostat is easy to install and easy to learn how to use. It can help you save money on your energy bills and it can send you alerts when you need to perform routine maintenance such as changing filters.
A few users have noted that they had trouble with the Geofence technology accurately keeping track of the location of their phone.
We haven’t quite achieved Jetsons-style houses in the sky, but the breadth of smart home devices on the market brings us closer every day. Using voice control, automation, and Internet of Things remote control, smart home devices allow you to optimize and control your appliances and electronics even from thousands of miles away. Gone are the days of leaving for work wondering if you left the door unlocked or arriving home from a two-week vacation to discover that the air conditioner has been running the whole time.
There’s a smart home device for almost every household need and nuisance. Almost one-third of homes currently use smart products, and it’s predicted that over half of homes will be equipped with smart products by 2022. But how do you know where to start when shopping for one of these complex products? And how do you make sure all your smart home devices work well together?
At BestReviews, we make even the toughest purchasing decisions easy with our thoroughly researched recommendations and in-depth shopping guides. For everything you need to know about smart home devices before you buy, just keep reading.
A smart home device runs on an automated system, enabling it to react to changes in its environment on its own. A smart product allows you to control and monitor your home remotely through an app. Some smart home devices are remote-controlled and some are voice-controlled – and some are both.
Smart home devices have the ability to learn your daily routines by detecting and memorizing your usage patterns and responding accordingly. For example, a smart home device can learn to adjust your home’s lighting at the same time every day. Smart home devices can also automatically adjust your home’s temperature, lock and unlock doors, and even change the tilt of your home’s blinds.
Smart home devices send you email and text alerts through an app, and many keep track of your house’s stats and produce power usage reports.
Maybe you’re wondering why you would bother installing a bunch of high-tech equipment in your home. We get it. Manually-operated homes have worked fine up until this point, haven’t they?
But smart home devices are about making your house and life more efficient, helping you cut the amount of power you use or the time and effort you expend on daily tasks. You can access all of the world’s information with a voice command, and you can stop worrying about locks, lights, and thermostats with a smart home device.
Smart security systems allow you to feel safer in your home and can simplify dog-walking and house-sitting routines. Plus, using this fancy tech is actually better for the environment because it allows you to control your power usage.
A hub is a piece of hardware or software that connects your smart home devices to your network and other devices. When you’re shopping for smart home products, you’ll notice that some come with their own hubs, while others need to be paired with a central hub.
You can think of a smart home hub as a kind of digital house manager. You can set up your hub to allow your smart home devices to communicate with one another and respond together to stimuli, like a smart thermostat and smart light switches that adjust the temperature and lights in your home together according to input from sensors.
Hubs usually connect directly to your router or via WiFi, and you can access the hub through an app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. That said, you can run some smart home devices without a hub, so it isn’t a necessary purchase if you aren’t ready to commit to having a fully smart home.
There are about 29 million smart home devices in the United States. That’s a lot of products and opportunities for innovation, but all these different devices aren’t always compatible with one another.
Some smart home devices pair with Amazon Alexa, while others use Google Assistant. Some use Android, while others have iOS apps. If you have your eye on a smart home device that you’re only somewhat confident will be compatible with your other smart products, make sure to carefully review the seller’s return policy.
The cost of smart home products varies depending on the device’s function, aesthetic, and level of technology. You can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to more than $1,000.
At $30 to $40, smart plugs and light switches are the least expensive smart home devices, and many people buy multiples of each. In the $40 to $80 range, you’ll find mini personal assistant devices, as well as smart light bulbs and small gadgets.
Between $100 and $250, you can find smart smoke detectors, automated blind systems, and some camera systems. Most smart locks, security systems, high-tech cameras, and full smart lighting systems cost between $250 and $450.
Complete, top-of-the-line home automation systems offering end-to-end solutions, including a smart hub, multi-room control panels, smart thermostats, cameras, and blinds, can cost $1,000 and up.
Q. Should I worry about the security and safety of using smart home devices?
A. Although it definitely isn’t a widespread issue, there has been research and discussion around the possibility of hackers breaking into smart locks. Your smart smoke detector or light switch is unlikely to interest a crook, but it’s still a good idea to practice common sense. Use different secure passwords for your products, and update the firmware on your smart home devices to make sure they’re running the latest security.
Q. Can I install my smart home devices myself?
A. Depending on the complexity of the system or product, many smart home devices can be easily installed, only requiring tasks like unscrewing bolts. For larger, more comprehensive smart home devices (or if you just don’t want to take on the hassle), hire a professional for installation.
Q. How do smart home devices affect a home’s value?
A. Many home buyers are willing to spend more for homes equipped with smart home devices. A recent survey found that almost 75% of millennial homeowners would spend $1,500 or more to make their homes smart. Updating your home’s tech with smart home devices can be just as important as renovating that outdated bathroom.
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