Control your lights from anywhere, set them to turn on or off at any time, or program them to work with other smart home products. Scene setting and RGB color options give you complete control over your home lighting, while saving money and limiting energy use. Learn More
Motion, sound, temperature, chemical and water detection can all be easily monitored and trigger immediate notifications to your phone wherever you are. Keeping your home protected has never been easier or more comprehensive than with the connected ecosystem. Learn More
Smart Hubs & Kits
Voice assistants, hubs, and beginner kits help bring the whole picture together. Controlling home functions with just your voice is a reality, and interconnecting all your devices brings your smart home to life. Learn More
Automatic thermostat control ensures your home is just the right temperature no matter what the weather outside is like, while saving you money and limiting energy consumption. Learn More
Indoor/outdoor surveillance cameras are critical to ensuring your family and home are kept safe. Instant alerts notify you when movement is detected, and video clips can be sent directly to you for complete control from anywhere in the world. Learn More
Door Locks & Access Control
Ensuring your home is safe and secure is a prime function for automation. Lock or unlock doors remotely, monitor who is coming and going, and always stay in control. Learn More
We’re inching ever closer to the classic vision of the home of tomorrow. With the evolution of computer technology, electronics are creeping their way into every aspect of our lives, from the things we occupy our time with to the core functionality of our homes.
If you’re looking to understand what smart home technology is, keep reading. We’ll help you understand the basics of smart home tech and cover some of the more popular smart home automation products out there.
What Is a Smart Home?
At its core, a smart home is a home that utilizes networking technology to monitor and control devices and appliances throughout the home. Smart home technologies offer to automate the mundane and allow us to monitor things left unnoticed. They provide remote control access to everything from lights and outlets, to kitchen appliances and HVAC systems, giving us more granular control over our home’s environment and utility.
Jump right in: 5 Budget-Friendly Smart Home Project for Beginners
Smart Hubs & Kits
The creation of a true Smart Home uses smart hubs and controllers to ensure your experience is as smooth as it can be, without needing to access a separate app for each device. Hubs connect multiple automation devices together across protocols and functions to simplify control. Whether your devices operate on Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, HomeKit, Insteon, or UPB, a hub can help link devices and make a more unified Smart Home. The rise of voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa offer a seamless way to control numerous devices with a phrase, this is where all the backend magic comes together — diming the lights, playing music, and turning up the temperature all without lifting a finger.
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Smart Home Lighting
Imagine coming home from work and having your lights turn on when you walk into the front door. Or being able to change the accent of a room with a simple push of a button. These are just a couple of the popular uses for smart home lighting. There are all sorts of smart home lighting gadgets available, ranging from smart light bulbs and LED strips to outdoor lights and switches.
By far, the simplest way to add smart lights to your home is with smart light bulbs. Smart bulbs offer remote operation, with some capable of changing colors, which allows for some incredibly customizable options. Pair them with other smart home tech, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.
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With smart dimmers and switches, you can control your lights from the switch, rather than the bulb itself. This allows lights to be used in a more traditional sense (controlling them at the switch) without cutting off the smart functionality of the lights.
Note that smart dimmers and switches vary in how you install them. Some require a neutral wire, which requires you to know if your home has neutral wiring. Contact an electrician if you are not comfortable rewiring the light switches yourself
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Smart LED Lights
If you’re just looking to accent your room and don’t want to fuss with smart bulbs and switches, then you might also consider smart LED lights. Smart lights, like nanoleaf lights and smart LED strips, are a great way to add flair to virtually any space around your home.
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Smart Outdoor Lights
Just like indoor lights, smart outdoor lights can make life a little easier and transform how the outside of our homes look. They also allow for some great automation opportunities (such as lighting your front porch when you arrive home from work). For outdoor lights, there are outdoor bulbs for regular outdoor light fixtures, as well as dedicated fixtures.
Jump right in: 5 Smart Outdoor Lighting Solutions for Garden & Patio
With wireless integration, smart thermostats give you the ability to control and adjust your thermostat’s temperature from your phone. Many of them also have voice control integration via Alexa and Google Assistant, making it a breeze to adjust your HVAC system from any room. They can also offer other benefits, such as the ability to create customizable schedules based on whether you’re home and what the weather is like. Some thermostats display the weather forecast.
Smart thermostats optimize your energy usage and provide significant savings on your heating and cooling bill. Smart thermostats can help you drill down into your home’s energy usage throughout the year, and some can even learn your preferences to automatically adjust your home’s climate
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Smart Home Security
Having a secure home is important, and thanks to smart home tech, it’s easier than ever to keep your home secure. There are many types of smart home security devices available, including home and pet monitor cameras, video doorbells, garage openers, and smart locks.
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When it comes to home security, cameras are one of the first things that come to mind. And there’s certainly no shortage of both indoor and outdoor cameras on the market. So what should you watch out for when buying a home security camera?
Well, you certainly want a camera that offers decent recording quality and has a wide viewing angle. You might also want something that offers night vision. And remember that you need to power your camera, which can mean running cables.
There are wireless, battery-powered cameras on the market, but you’ll have to stay mindful of battery life. Or you could opt for a model that includes a solar panel to help keep the battery charged.
Deep dive: How to choose the best surveillance camera for your home
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Video Doorbells and Smart Locks
Video doorbells and smart locks are another set of great smart home security devices that complement one another quite well.
One thing to watch out for, especially with video doorbells, are features locked behind a subscription paywall. Ring doorbells are notorious for this – they provide basic functionality, such as notifications and real-time monitoring, but access to video recordings are locked behind their Ring Protect plan.
Video doorbells can also require existing wiring, so that’s something to keep in mind. However, wireless doorbells are also a thing, so no worries if you don’t already have a doorbell and don’t want to go through the hassle of wiring up a new one.
And if you’re looking to pair a video doorbell and smart lock, consider getting both from the same manufacturer to avoid having to use multiple apps. For example, eufy makes both video doorbells and smart locks, meaning they should play well together and only require a single app to control both devices.
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Smart Garage Door Openers
Just like your outside doors, you can make your garage doors smart as well. Smart garage door openers allow you to remotely monitor and operate your garage door with your phone and voice. And some garage door openers allow you to control multiple garage doors.
Just keep in mind that some are harder to install than others. If you want to automate your garage door, you’ll want to do some research to ensure you pick the right one for your garage.
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Smart Home Appliances
We’ve covered many of the major smart home devices that dominate the smart home space. But there are even more smart gadgets that can help make your life easier. Here are just a few of them.
Robot vacuums are a great way to help keep your home tidy, and there are tons of options available. They can cost quite a bit of money, but for busy people with pets or children, a good robot vacuum can be well worth the price.
Smart Air Purifiers
Recent scientific studies have shown that air pollution levels are often higher indoors than outdoors. That makes air purifiers a necessity if you spend a lot of time inside. And with smart air purifiers, you can easily control when and how they work, to prolong the life of your filters while also keeping the air in your home clean.
Smart Coffee Makers
If you’re a coffee drinker, then having a smart coffee maker can be a huge quality of life benefit. After all, what’s better than waking up to a fresh, hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning?
When you think of microwaves, you probably think of reheating food or popping popcorn. But smart microwaves are so much more. With touchscreens, Wi-Fi connectivity, voice control, and sensors, microwaves are helping to usher in the future of the smart home.
Smart Irrigation Systems
If you have flowerbeds or like to water your lawn to keep it looking healthy, then you might consider a smart irrigation system. This can make it much easier to manage the vegetation in your yard, and can save on the amount of water you use.
There are smart irrigation controllers for sprinkler systems, as well as simple smart hose nozzles that can use weather data to help keep your yard healthy and hydrated.