A smart home is a house that contains devices that are able to communicate with each other and automate your daily activities. Our comprehensive smart home guide will show you precisely what you should be focusing on when setting up your house with smart devices and features.
These smart devices may range from appliances and lights to televisions and security cameras. Technically, if you own at least one device that is connected to your network and can be controlled through it, you are a smart-home owner.
Today you can control smart tech in your home from anywhere in the world simply by using your mobile device.
These smart home devices serve to simplify your daily life, save you time on miscellaneous tasks, and even save you money in some cases. Not only do they make your daily tasks a breeze, but they also make your home a safer place.
There are cameras, locks, and motion sensors you can install to secure your home. All of these things can also increase the overall value of your property. More and more buyers are looking to purchase homes with pre-installed smart devices.
What Are the Benefits of Smart Homes?
There are quite a few benefits to home automation, which we can categorize in the following groups:
Devices like thermostats, light bulbs, and sprinklers can save energy and, therefore, money. Some home security devices can monitor energy usage, like water and electricity, which gives you a better overview of where you might be wasting energy.
You could say that most devices fall under this category. Many people want to make their home a safer place, which is why they might opt for something like motion-triggered smart lights in order to trick burglars into thinking someone is home while they’re really on vacation.
The best smart home security cameras are also a great way to see what’s going on in someone’s home from any location.
Convenience and Comfort
A lot of devices work together. You can, for example, program your door lock to switch on the lights when you unlock the door to enter the house.
It’s also convenient when someone is at the door. You can check who it is with your doorbell cam and let them in using a mobile app. You can also record shows with smart televisions, play music on command, dim your lights, and so on.
This is a useful one. People choose smart homes automation in order to have complete control over their homes at any time and from any location.
Is a Smart Home Worth It?
In most cases, it is. In order to properly assess whether it’s worth it for you, you need to think of how much you will be saving on expenses and time.
Here are some examples of why we think it’s worth it:
You can save on utility bills and water expenses by using smart devices like smart thermostats, lights, and sprinklers. In the long run, these devices practically pay for themselves.
You can monitor in-house activities remotely and receive notifications on your mobile device. You can get notifications when a pet cat escapes or when your children come home from school. Burglars also tend to avoid well-secured homes.
You can turn your home into a palace of comfort after a long and stressful day at work. Smart home systems allow you to manage your TV, answer and open the door, dim the lights, send emails, answer calls, and more, all from the comfort of your couch.
In addition, smart home hubs can help you with reminders, create grocery lists, and so on. And you can be sure when you leave the house that all appliances are switched off, so there’s no need for any double-checking or finger-crossing that everything will be the way you left it when you get back.
Best Smart Home Devices – Which Ones Are the Most Commonly Controlled in a Smart Home?
The four main categories of most-used devices are lighting, entertainment, climate, and safety.
Smart light bulbs are the easiest to install and use. They have features like timers, motion-sensing abilities, and schedules. For example, you can set the lights to turn on when you come home from work and have them automatically switch off after midnight.
The lights with motion sensor abilities can switch on when they detect someone coming into a room and switch off when they exit. Using a smart light switch, you can also set the lights to function based on the activation of another device. Like, for example, when you open the garage door, your house lights will switch on.
Here’s a selection of the top-selling & best-rated smart lights on Amazon.
These are also pretty common. They are relatively simple to install, though slightly more complex than light bulbs. They are also able to adapt to your climate preference and schedule, which is why you can look forward to a flawless home climate.
Here’s a selection of the top-selling & best-rated smart thermostats on Amazon.
Home security systems are a rising trend in the industry as more and more people are choosing to protect their homes and families, not just from burglaries and break-ins but also from damage caused by floods, fires, and the like.
Standard smart home products would be smart locks, security cameras, motion sensors, and flood and smoke detectors.
Here’s a selection of the top-selling & best-rated home security systems on Amazon.
Some people only use smart tech for entertainment, like smart TVs, speakers, and projectors. These devices can be pretty expensive and even require some installation costs in case you want built-in devices or ceiling speakers.
However, entertainment is by far the most vital aspect when setting up your smart home.
Here’s a selection of the top-selling & best-rated home entertainment units on Amazon.
Home Automation Guide – What Are the Basic Elements of a Home Automation System?
The most basic system will consist of just three elements: smart hubs, smart devices, and an app that connects them all.
However, some systems can even function with only two out of the three elements. Let’s check them out:
Smart hubs are the command points for all your other devices. Basically, a smart home hub connects all your devices and helps them interact with each other.
However, it’s important to note that there are some hubs that are only compatible with devices produced by the same company.
There are others, like the Amazon Echo, that work with a plethora of third-party devices.
By simply downloading the app and connecting it to your hub, you can control your smart homes gadgets remotely.
Here are some examples of the types of devices:
Access and Control
These would be cameras, locks, and motion sensors.
Practically anything can be smart. Refrigerators, dishwashers, machines, and ovens, for example. There are even smart slow cookers and coffee makers.
These are systems that optimize your energy usage, and one of the top smart homes devices here would be the smart thermostat.
These are essentially the devices that monitor energy usage and help you use them rationally. Examples would be smart sprinklers to reduce water waste or smart switches to reduce energy usage.
This would be smart TVs, speakers, and even projectors.
These are becoming more and more common by the day. An example of a healthcare device would be a smart humidifier.
Here you have options from light bulbs to dimmers to switches and strips.
Let’s not leave out your router, modem, and internet. They often play a vital part in your smart ecosystem. High-speed internet can make sure your WiFi-reliant devices are running smoothly.
Brilliant Smart Home Control (2-Switch Panel) — Alexa Built-In & Compatible with Ring, Sonos, Hue, Google Nest, Wemo, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit — In-Wall Touchscreen Control for Lights, Music, & More
Smart Home Setup – Do I Have to Make My Whole House Smart?
Not at all. You need to decide whether you want full automation or stand-alone smart gadgets. Usually, if you’re a new user, it’s better to start small and ease into it.
It’s easy to add on to existing tech rather than take down already installed devices, as their installation may have required some serious home remodeling. Sometimes you may just want to automate one or two tasks instead of the whole house.
For people who want to automate a few tasks or just one, it’s better to go for the thermostats, smart lights, smart locks, or maybe even a smart doorbell. These are the best options to start out with.
If you are all about convenience, then maybe smart switches are the way to go, along with some connected appliances. These appliances can tell you when you are out of juice or turn off the lights in the yard when you forget to switch them off before leaving the house.
There are people who opt for entire home automation systems. This means all smart home components that can be automated usually are. When it comes to security, comfort, and high-tech appliances, with a hardcore smart-house setup, you can have it all.
For access to security, appliances, and comfort, you can have it all. The best part is, even if you want to “smart” your entire home, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can set a budget, start slow, and gradually build onto your existing system.
Whether you automate only some parts of your home or the entire place, you will notice the time you save on specific miscellaneous tasks, and depending on the smart device, you might even notice a pleasant decrease in monthly energy expenses.
How Can I Save Energy with the Best Smart Home Technology?
Using smart devices helps protect your family and makes your home a safer place. But, it’s also important to note that smart-home technology can also save some serious money on miscellaneous expenses, all while helping the environment.
More specifically, automation helps you save energy by helping you optimize your resource usage.
Basically, automation helps you limit and control how you use your resources. That’s the good thing about our smart home guide — we try to showcase the positives, like having an overview of usage, so you can see exactly how much you use and when.
There are many elements you can optimize with smart home devices:
This can be controlled by an intelligent thermostat. They are able to monitor how much energy you use in the house in order to warm or cool your home in the most efficient way.
Smart lights are fantastic and some of the best smart home products that help you save on energy. There are options for setting timers to make sure all lights are switched off at specific times or when you are out of the house.
You can also opt for the ones that are triggered by motion sensors. This option means that the lights turn on when they sense someone entering or leaving a room.
This is where smart sprinklers come in handy. You can set timers to have your sprinklers turn on and off whenever you choose. This will reduce the amount of water you waste while keeping your grass and plants healthy.
Smart Home Guide 2021 – Is a Smart Home Affordable?
Home control systems are affordable if you opt for a simple setup. However, more complex setups with lots of tech involved can cost you a pretty penny.
Essentially, the price depends on what you want. Do you want everything to be controlled by smart devices or just the basics? It all comes down to your preferences when choosing the best smart home hub.
We recommend you give yourself a small starting budget and go from there. It’s easy to add on to existing tech, so don’t worry, by starting small.
You can maybe start with smart light bulbs, thermostats, or doorbells, and then gradually move up to full control of your home if you wish.
Can I Upgrade an Existing or Older Home with Smart Home Technology?
No matter the age of your home, you can always install a smart system. The majority of devices have a wireless connection, so the necessities will give you good coverage and connectivity.
There are also devices that create a mesh network, like Z-Wave and Zigbee technology. A mesh network is probably a better option for older homes that might have odd corners or thick walls, which can dampen WiFi signals.
If you want even more home control, upgrades can always be made—there is no limit to the number of devices you can have and use.
Best Smart Home System Installation – How Long Does It Take?
This entirely depends on what and how many devices you are installing. It usually won’t take more than a few hours to install a device unless you are opting for a more complicated smart home system.
For example, smart light bulbs only take a few minutes to install. Take the old ones out, screw in the new ones, connect them to the smart app, confirm the settings, and voila! You are ready to go.
Best smart home devices like smart speakers, on the other hand, can take longer to install depending on the type and quantity. Built-in speakers and ceiling speakers take more time because they involve extra work around the house.
Thermostats tend to also take more time to install since they require some wiring. For more complex installations, it would be best to hire a professional.
Placement is a key factor to properly installing your smart homes technology. Take the time to look for prime spots to install your purchase, like motion sensors, speakers, and so on.
Of course, we recommend you do the scouting before you purchase your smart tech. This way you’ll save valuable time and energy.
We also recommend professional installation, as it goes faster, and they can provide expert advice on prime locations.
Best Buy Smart Home – Does a Smart System Increase Home Value?
Yes, they do. More and more home buyers are taking the “smart” factor into account when purchasing a home. Of course, you should ask your real estate agent for an estimated selling price that includes the smart devices to make sure you are making the most of your investment.
However, 81% of buyers claim they would rather purchase a smart home instead of looking for ways on how to make a smart home.
There’s a high demand for automation, and it just keeps rising. The main reason is voice control.
Studies show that 72% of people in the United States who own smart devices want voice control capabilities.
Research suggests that there are three leading reasons people opt for voice control: hands-free capabilities, remote control, and practicality.
People of all age groups are choosing to use smart house setup to enjoy the best home automation perks, which will improve their quality of life and save time and money.
To be more precise, Millennials (58%), Gen X-ers (50%), and Baby Boomers (26%) are all adopting smart devices with voice control.
As people are increasingly choosing to buy homes with pre-installed systems, it’s safe to say that automating your home can increase your home’s overall value.
Smart Home Solutions – Can Smart Systems Be Used for Businesses?
Yes. However, businesses require a more sophisticated automation system. Usually, businesses focus on security, climate control, and energy-saving — though they sometimes also invest in smart tech to help them discover floods or leaks beforehand, saving on damage costs.
In the long run, smart-home systems can improve their bottom line. A lot of businesses invest in AI technology, and therefore in smart tech as well.
It’s also common for businesses to invest in motion-sensor-triggered devices when creating a smart home, both to save on energy and for security purposes.
Remember, the demand for smart technology and automation in businesses is increasing more and more, so hurry up and get your smart tech before prices rise to fit this demand. Don’t be fooled by the “home” in home automation — these companies want to turn a profit, and they will grab the right opportunity when it comes.
Smart Home Basics – Is My Information Secure if I Use Smart Devices?
Some automated devices use excellent bank-grade encryption. On the other hand, some devices can’t even change a default passcode. Essentially, your security depends on the devices you use and how.
Due to these potential risks, people turn away from automation, concerned that someone will hack their home, compromise a lock, or spy on them. This has been a top concern and will surely continue to be one in the future.
Here are some tips to help you choose a secure system:
Research Before You Buy
Read about the product, and look at reviews about searching for the best smart home security system. Manufacturers using the latest security practices are the best choice. Find out about these practices and learn their encryption standards.
Some smart devices collect more data than they should, so be sure to check that the devices solely collect the data they need in order to function in the home environment. It’s also a plus if you can find out about data storage, processing, and usage.
A lot of devices for best smart homes function solely through their companion apps, but there are some that allow third-party app developers to create their own apps, which can sometimes have troublesome loopholes. We recommend you stick to the ones that don’t require involving a third party.
Guard it with double and triple password protection, guest-access networks, firewalls, and even parental control. In some cases, owners can also set up a separate network for their smart devices—a lot of newer modems and routers have this option. Securing your network is extremely important.
Smart Home Guide Happy Thoughts
Smart devices and home-automation companies know about the potential security issues and are always working on them to better improve their security. Their main goal is to keep your home safe. They work with white-hat hackers in order to find and develop the best measures to protect their clients and provide them with the best smart systems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I setup my smart home?
To successfully set up and create your own smart home, you have to first build a foundation with the most important devices according to your style and preferences.
Compatibility is key, so here’s a list of items you need to prioritize before you start building your smart home:
- Security Systems
- TVs and Remotes
- Others (Kitchen Appliances, Outlets, Sprinkler Systems, etc.)
Once you get down the basic devices, it’s time to look for a smart hub to rule them all. And of course, hire professional help to easily, efficiently, and methodically install all devices.
Which smart home system is the best?
The answer to this question is not an easy one. At the top of our list of the best systems are Amazon Echo, Google Nest Mini, and Google Nest Hub.
However, browsing, selecting, and buying the best system is not a straightforward process.
For these reasons, we’ve created a plethora of reviews about home security equipment that would each suit many people’s needs.
Check out our reviews and find details about each product, its pros and cons, pricing plans, and important features.
What are the features of a smart home?
There are numerous awesome features of a smart home, but a few stand out massively. A simple wireless router is not enough to maintain a proper network of WiFi activity.
You’ll need full-on, high-quality networking equipment that would integrate all devices into one automated system.
With that in mind, here are the three vital components that every smart home needs:
- Automated treatment of windows and control of lighting
- Remote access
- Top-notch security
Fully remote control of your internal and ambient outdoor lighting, alongside impeccable home security in place, are the fundamental components of every smart home. These are the crucial features you’ll find in every smart home guide.