There are many factors to consider when deciding which SmartHome products to install in your home or apartment. Your first step is to decide which products will bring you the most value.
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Not all SmartHome devices are good for everyone. Some people may find a video doorbell a must, for example, while for others, it’s an interesting novelty. This makes an article like this about useful SmartHome devices somewhat subjective, but we wanted to do our best to recommend specific products that can benefit the most new SmartHome users.
Whether it’s a simple Wi-Fi camera or a complete wired security camera system, having a device like this to monitor your home while you’re away (or babysit a pet) is invaluable to many people.
For example, the Nest Cam is easy to set up and use, making it a good option for those who want a no-fuss experience. However, you have to pay for a subscription for things like 24/7 recording and people detection. Without this subscription, the system becomes a mere streaming camera with no real features.
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If you want something more robust with multiple cameras and local footage storage, you might want a built-in security camera system. You can place multiple cameras around your house and they will record 24/7 on a dedicated hard drive that can store recordings for a long time.
The only problem is that they take a lot more effort to install and set up, so either hire a professional to do it or get ready to get your hands dirty.
Even if you already have a security camera, a video intercom is a great addition. Heck, if you could only afford to buy one camera, a video doorbell would be the best option.
That’s because it’s located right outside your front door and will capture any activity in that location, where you’ll be the most active anyway — it’s the single best place to install a security camera.
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There are several options on the market such as Doorbell, SkyBell HD and Nest Hello. The Nest Hello is our favorite product, but like the Nest Cam, it’s pretty useless without paying for a subscription. If that’s the deal, models from Ring or SkyBell are also pretty decent.
Smart plugs are nice to have because they can turn any «dumb» device that fits into a wall into a smart device with the flick of a finger. And they are pretty cheap too.
With these devices, you can remotely control on and off appliances such as lamps, heaters, and fans by connecting them to a smart jack. It is the most flexible device in the smart home world because it provides all sorts of possibilities, yet it is a simple mechanism. Just make sure whatever you’re plugging in has a physical switch.
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One of our favorite smart plugs is TP-Link’s Kasa smart plug, which you can often find on sale for around $20 if you’re patient. Otherwise, you can expect to pay around $25-$30 for most smart plugs on the market.
Something like a smart thermostat can be useful, but since people use thermostats in different ways, the smart version isn’t necessarily right for everyone. However, light is something everyone uses all the time. So being able to control them in every possible way can be beneficial for everyone.
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With smart lights, you can control them from your phone or with your voice if you have a voice assistant. You can also set schedules and timers to turn on or off at specific times (great for when you’re on vacation and want someone to be home).
We are big fans of the Philips Hue system as it is easy to set up and the app is pretty easy to use. However, you can also get bulbs that connect directly to your Wi-Fi network if you don’t want to deal with a hub.