Every damn gadget & appliance is now talking to each other. A big thanks to The Internet and then Home Automation came into the picture. Just think about a home where you literally asking to turn on the lights and it happens. You said, set the temperature to 70 and it happened. This is insane. To me, it is like Tony Stark’s home. Smart Home Technology is getting better and better and it is a great time to upgrade your home with Smart Home devices & appliances.
Best Smart Home Gadgets for Home Automation
If you are worried about the expenses or just confused about where to begin, I would suggest you start with cheap devices. Begin with getting a smart home speaker like Echo Dot or Google Home. Then install an Alexa or Google Assitant powered Smart Bulbs, Switches, Plugs. This will make things much easier. Slowly incline towards getting Thermostats, Smart door locks, etc.
So are you ready to control your home lighting, security cameras, big appliances, door locks, temperature & lot more using your voice? Here we go:
1. Amazon Echo (3rd Generation)
First thing first, you need a smart speaker that is going to control your entire home through your voice. And, for Home Automation, there is nothing better than Amazon Echo as of now. Alexa, which is Amazon’s Intelligent Personal Assistant just like Google Assistant and Siri. When it comes to Home Automation, the Amazon Echo has the highest compatibility with Smart home devices.
Almost every smart home device manufacturer be it Samsung, Philips, Nest, Harmony etc. are making their device Alexa ready. Once you set up the Amazon Echo with smart home devices, all you need to ask Alexa for the operation like Hey Alexa, Turn off the bedroom lights and Alexa will take care of rest.
Amazon Echo should be the first device when you are planning for Home Automation. The next one is an alternative to Amazon Echo.
Best Buy: Amazon
2. Google Home
While making rough notes about this blog post, I didn’t add Google Home to the list but then I realize that the reader should know about the alternative too because Hubs plays a very crucial role in Home Automation. So, here is Google Home.
It looks good, has a smaller size, comes in vibrant colors that match the home decor, and most importantly, it has Google Assistant. Just ask Google Assistant and you have all the information you ever wanted. At the 2019 Google I/O Keynote, Google announced some significant updates to Google Home which made Google Home even better smart home devices.
Like Amazon Echo, Google Home supports almost all the devices from all the popular smart home device manufacturer and there are no compatibility issues. Moreover, Google Home is now compatible with Google Chromecast, so you can ask Google Assistant “Okay Google”, play Stranger Things on TV (don’t blame Google assistant if you don’t have Netflix Subscription).
So, first thing first, decide which is going to be your Home Assistant and then set up an office for your assistant.
Best Buy: Google
3. Samsung SmartThings Home Hub
Amazon Echo and Google Home are the voice assistant that will respond when you trigger them using your voice but you do need a Home Hub that will automatically be taken care of things for you.
So for that, here is SmartThings Home Hub by Samsung. You can buy SmartThings Kit which includes a Home Hub and few sensors which may or may not be useful to everyone. The good thing, you can buy Home Hub and sensors separately.
Related: How to Secure Your Smart Home
To begin with, get SmartThings Home Hub and then gradually expand your smart home setup by integrating more and more sensors like Motion Sensor which turn on/off the lights or for getting a notification when there is any movement in the restricted area. You can also add Arrival sensors that will notify when someone enters or leave the place and even get notified when someone doesn’t reach on the preset time. There are a lot of other sensors by Samsung and by other manufacturers that are compatible with Samsung SmartThings that is going to make your home a Smart Home.
Best Buy: Amazon
4. Philips Hue Bulbs/Strips
Philips Hue smart Bulbs/strips are the easiest and most interesting addition to your smart home. Smart Bulbs from Philips can be easily connected to your main Hub be it Google Home or Amazon Echo. Setting up the Philips Hue with Google Home or Amazon Echo is really easy and barely takes a few seconds to set up. Once you set up the Philips Hue bulbs/strips, all you need to ask Google Assistant/Amazon Echo to turn on/off the bulbs or to change the ambient color of the bulbs that suits your mood.
It goes something like Okay Google, Change bedroom light to Orange. Along with Turning on/off, or to change Color, you can also set the timing to turn on/off lights that automatically turn on the lights on Sunset and Turn OFF on sunrise. Philips Hue LED Bulbs/Strips is indeed a must-have device while setting up Smart Home.
Best Buy: Amazon
5. Wemo Smart Plugs
What if you forget to turn off the bedroom fan and you are in the office? Or, you forget to turn off the tv and you left for the office or for that late-night weekend party? Here is when Wemo Smart Plug came into the picture.
Wemo Wifi enables Smart Plugs are something that going to make everything smart including TV, Fans, Refrigerator, Oven and what not. Wemo Smart Plugs are smart plugs that can be controlled through the app in your smartphone or using your voice through Google Home or Amazon Echo. You can also control the appliances through a smartphone app.
You don’t need to enter a dark house because you can schedule the lighting, fans, heater, and other appliances through Wemo Smart Plugs. The good thing about Smart Plugs is, you don’t need a smart device or appliance, a normal, non-smart appliance is good to go. You can ask Google Assistant to turn on/off any device/appliance with your voice.
Wemo Smart Plugs is another must-have device if you are looking for Home Automation devices. To me, it is one of the smart home gadgets that literally going to make your every regular appliance, a smart appliance.
Best Buy: Amazon
6. August Smart Lock
Security is something we can’t take a chance on it. Thanks to tech minds who are making security a primary concern when it comes to Smart Home Automation. Here we have Smart Locks from August. All you need to fit the August Smart lock on the door and set up it for the first time. Just install an app on your smartphone and connect it via Wi-fi. All done. You can lock or unlock the door even when you are not home. The app will take care of everything.
The basic kit of August Smart Lock includes a single August Smart Lock but you can add further Keypad lock that asks for Passcode to unlock the door. You can share the passcode with your kids and family member so that you don’t need to unlock the door from app again and again when kids are home from school or babysitter is waiting at the door.
When it comes to Home Automation, smart lock and Doorbell Camera from August is something you must have considering security as a prime concern. Apart from that lock, make sure you have secured your network as well that is connected to each and every smart device on this list.
Best Buy: Amazon
7. Nest Security Camera
Do you seek a piece of mind when you are not home? Well, we all do because we are humans and we care a lot about our homes. So, for all those Humans we have a Nest Security Camera for us.
There are two Nest Security Camera, one is for Outdoor use and another for indoor use. Nest Outdoor Security Camera is a smart camera that senses motion, sound, and any other suspicious activity at the place and then notifies you on a smartphone with a picture. Nest camera not only notifies you but automatically saves the picture of the event and keeps it on the Nest app for 3 hours. If you want a video history of more than 3 hours, you need to subscribe to Nest Aware that starts from $6/mo. In the basic $6/mo plan, you will get 30 days event video history. Event Video History means only those video playback where the camera sensed some motion or sound, not the complete video history. There is another plan called Nest Aware Plus, starting from $12/mo where you get 60 days event video history + 10 days 24/7 video history. Know more about Nest Aware here.
The nest security camera is weatherproof and works on power, which means you don’t need to worry about the batteries of the security camera. With an inbuilt mic and speaker, you can have a 2-way conversation right from your smartphone app. And yes, the camera is Alexa enabled and you can ask Alexa to show the camera video on Echo Show.
See Also: Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
Another one is the Nest Security camera for indoor use. This indoor security camera is also pretty smart to senses the motion in the home. You can see your kids from office or from any place for that matter and with inbuilt mic and speaker, you can connect with them from your smartphone app.
If security is your prime concern where you may need video footage of 10 days or more with some extra smart features (algorithmically), you can subscribe to Nest Subscription called Nest Aware. Here is what Nest says about Nest Aware subscription:
“When you subscribe to Nest Aware, advanced cloud algorithms kick in to give your camera smarter alerts and video history. Think of it like putting an entire supercomputer into your Nest Cam.”
If you are someone who remains out from home for a longer period of time and you are worried about the kids and home, these security cameras from Nest is one of the best smart home devices for a perfect smart home setup.
Best Buy: Amazon
8. Nest Learning Thermostat
Here is another device that is going to complete your Smart Home setup. This smart Thermostat by Nest will take care of everything that can make you comfortable in your home. There are a lot of Thermostats available in the market but what makes Nest Learning Thermostat differ from other is the smart feature that helps you in saving money on cooling and heating system. This smart Thermostat from Nest senses your lifestyle and then adjust the cooling and heating at the level that is efficient simultaneously provides you comfort. So that you can save bills on power.
The Farsight feature senses the motion of your hand on the device and it lights up the display to show you the temperature, weather or time and turned the display off when you are not around.
The Nest Learning Thermostat automatically turned off everything when you are not home. Moreover, you can set the temperature of your home when you are about to enter your home. You can set the temperature of your home right from the Nest app on a smartphone. Nest Learning Thermostat is Alexa and Google Assistant compatible and you can ask Alexa or Google to set the temperature of your home. Keep the temperature where Nest Learning Thermostat shows you a leaf on the display to save power.
Best Buy: Amazon
9. Nest Protect
It seems like Nest is sponsoring me for the post but unfortunately not. Anyway, here is another device for a smart home from Nest. This time, it is a Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector called Nest Protect. It is another great addition to your smart home.
Accidents can happen anytime and things like Fire in the house is something that doesn’t warn us. When you are not in the house, with the help of Split-Spectrum Sensor, Nest Protect will keep an eye on smoke and any other contamination in the air including Carbon Monoxide and then notifies you via inbuilt alarms, LED Lights and will also let you know via a notification on your smartphone.
Nest has a variety of smart home devices which really makes the setup convenient because different smart home devices will ask for different apps for each smart device which at times, is annoying. That is why I am adding Nest smart home devices which are indeed great and would be convenient for us to maintain the whole smart home setup with a single smartphone app.
Best Buy: Amazon
10. iRobot Roomba
Okay, this is not something you must have in your smart home but as we are talking about Smart Home Devices, how can I ignore the hygiene of your smart home. Well, here is iRobot Roomba. First thing first, I really liked the name of the Smart Vaccum Cleaner. iRobot Roomba is an intelligent vacuum cleaner. Mi also launched a Smart Vaccum robot recently. You can check that here.
Talking about Roomba, if you have carpet flooring in your home/office, you gonna love it. You can set a cleaning schedule as per your need, like if you want Roomba to clean your home when you are in office. Just set the time (not in all variants) and while you are attending boring meetings, this little guy will clean your home. You don’t need to tell Roomba about the area to clean because it will clean every corner of the floor. iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization tells Roomba to Navigate and Clean an entire floor of the home.
And here is another cute thing Roomba does. When it ran out of battery, it goes back to its dock for charging the battery and then goes back to complete the job. Roomba is Alexa and Google Assistant compatible and you can ask Roomba to start cleaning the home with your voice.
iRobot Roomba is not only a powerful vacuum cleaner but also an intelligent Vacuum Cleaner that senses the floor, cleans every corner and take care of battery itself. You don’t need to do the cleaning by yourself, all you need to set time for cleaning and just tap the Clean button or how about that “Okay Google, Ask Roomba to clean the Room”.
Best Buy: Amazon
Home Automation Devices: Conclusion
So these are some of the smart home devices for Home Automation. You are all set to set up Tony Stark’s home now. To begin with, you can start with very basics. If you are beginner and have no idea about the smart home, begin with this guide for smart home and then start installing systems. There are a lot of other smart home devices including smart sensors which sense the motion and turn on/off the lights. If you really wanted to add such sensors in your smart home, check out Samsung SmartThings Kits that has everything you need. Apart from that, there are Doorbells having an inbuilt camera from August and Nest that you can check out on Amazon.
You can do a lot of other tasks using your voice that are very useful in our daily routine. For example, Tweet my Instagram photo and there are a bunch of awesome applets you can create as per your need. You can make your own Applet on IFTTT and integrate it with Google Home or Amazon Echo.
If you are looking forward to making the smart home, these devices are a just perfect start. Adding these devices indeed going to make your lifestyle looks smart and intelligent. Moreover, accessing regular things like Fan, TV, Thermostat, Doors, etc with your voice is itself a great experience.