What is Smart Home Automation? Smart home automation involves the use of technology and smart devices to automate electrical and technology-based tasks at home. It combines the use of hardware and software to control management over appliances and devices within a home.
If you’re a fan of smart home automation looking for the best of the best, here is an elaborate list of smart home devices you should try out. We have the basics like voice assistants and then we have the more complex smart displays, smart light bulbs, smart locks, etc. We’ll be discussing all these and much more.
Security System Cameras
When we talk about security system cameras, one that definitely stood out for us is the Arlo Pro 2. The 2 Camera Kit includes two Arlo Pro 2 indoor/outdoor cameras and a base station. You can get their two-camera set for $399.99 from their website. Every additional camera will cost you $179.99. This Camera System stands out because of the features it holds. From 1080 HD video quality to 7-day basic cloud recording (most cameras would charge extra for that), and compatibility with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, IFTTT & Stringify. The camera has a weatherproof design “IP65-certified to stand the rain, sun, heat or chill”, flexible powering options, and a six-month rechargeable battery. The magnetic base also allows you to easily position the camera however you like.
If you want to go for a cheaper option check out the $30 Wyze Cam Pan but for an indoor/outdoor, whole-home installation, the Arlo Pro 2 is definitely superior.
For smart speakers, the competition cuts close for the Google Home Mini ($49) and Amazon’s Echo Dot ($49.99). Both are quite similar and you can find them at discounted prices regularly. Although the Amazon might have a tiny edge due to its support for more third-party devices but there are no other major differences between the two.
Both devices can do the normal stuff when asked to, setting a timer, playing you the top hits for this week, or maybe a weather report for today. The only edge the Amazon Echo Dot has is probably the audio-out jack, which Google Home Mini lacks.
The Google Nest Hub is our top choice here although the Amazon Echo Show can be considered the runner-up. Both are available at $299. The Google Next Hub operates with the same Google Assistant features as the Google Home speaker. The display and interactive screen interface also give the Nest Hub an edge. You can also use it in collaboration with your Google-supported smart home cameras and video doorbells through their camera feeds onscreen. The Hub itself does not have a video camera due to privacy concerns but you can use third-party systems for video-chatting.
A smart plug is usually controlled by an app. The plug itself is inserted into a standard wall socket and can let you turn connected devices on and off. They’re cheap and simple to install and easy to use. For this category, we have chosen the TP-Link’s Kasa Mini. You can connect it to your Wi-Fi via a single outlet. You can easily program the plug to turn on or off according to a set schedule through the app. The plug also works with both the Google Assistant and Alexa. You can get it from Amazon at a price of $21.75.
In the smart lock community, we see fit to crown the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect king. Yes, people are tentative about installing a smart lock instead of your regular doorknob because of the risks it carries. Malicious hackers, and the possibility of technical failures. But the August Smart Lock Pro is something you should consider trying out.
It is simple and easy to install. You can fit it over the internal thumb latch of most existing deadbolt designs and since it doesn’t replace the lock mechanism itself you can still use your house keys. The lock is connected to your phone and can be controlled through an App. The connect accessory connects it to your wireless network. You can then control the lock from anywhere and also connect it to the Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri. You can get it for $279 from their website.
Smart Light Bulbs
The Philips Hue White LED is the smart light bulb that stood out for us. The company itself provides a variety of products including floodlights, light strips, fixtures, and even outdoor lighting options. You can get a set of two bulbs and the Hue hub for $139 or you can get a Bluetooth version of the bulbs without the Hub in case you already own an Alexa or Google Assistant device.
The Ecobee Smart Thermostat is a wireless bases thermostat that allows you to regulate your home’s heating and air conditioning via an app or through voice command. The box also comes with a remote control sensor. Its competitor, the Nest thermostat does not include one. However Nest works with Google Assistant and Alexa, Ecobee will support Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. The Ecobee thermostat can also operate under voice command with built-in Alexa, almost a basic version of it but equally useful. You can get the Ecobee thermostat for $249.