No doubt you’ve heard the term “smart home.” You’re just not sure what it means.
As it turns out, there’s no definitive answer. Home automation has been around for a while. But like all things technological, it’s changing all the time. A light that you could turn on via remote control from your couch gave way to an app that allowed you to dim the room from your smartphone. In turn, that evolved into using voice commands to bring up the lights or a setup that turned them on automatically as soon as you walked into the room.
It’s not what a smart home means. It’s what it means to you.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Dot is small, cheaper versions of Amazon's Echo, with bare-bones sound quality and the ability to control smart devices using voice commands. $50.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is a small, cheaper versions of Google Home, with bare-bones sound quality and the ability to control smart devices using voice commands. $49.
Ring Video Doorbell
This doorbell has a camera and speaker, so you can see whos at the door via your cell phone, even if youre not home. From $179 (depending on model).
The Nest controls your HVAC system via your phone, a set schedules or through connection to motion sensors to save energy while you’re away. From $169 (depending on model).
The Ecobee controls your HVAC system via your phone, a set schedules or through connection to motion sensors to save energy while you’re away. From $169 (depending on model).
Lutron Caseta Starter Kit
This starter kit comes with one smart dimmer switch, one remote control and the wireless bridge. Works with Amazon, Google and Apple. $100.
Philips Hue Starter Kit
The Philips starter kit comes with two standard smart bulbs and the wireless bridge. Works with Amazon, Google and Apple. $70.
Samsung SmartThings Hub
If you mix and match smart devices from different companies, this hub will allow you to control everything from one app. $80.
TP-Link Smart Plug
The Smart Plug allows you to control your devices via an app or an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, no hub required. $30.
GE Smart Motion Sensor
GE Smart Motion Sensors can be placed in rooms or hallways to trigger devices when someone is present. $45.
The Chamberlain MyQ connects to your garage-door opener and wi-fi network to allow you to open your garage remotely or check to see whether it’s open while you're away, via the app. $100.