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We may be some ways off from having a robotic housemaid like Rosie Jetson, but smart devices are proving to be equally convenient at home. Building a smart home from the ground up improves comfort, energy efficiency and market value — prospective buyers have indicated that home automation is highly desirable.
With so many products available — and more on the rise — it’s easier than ever to make your house intelligent. Here’s everything you need to know about the most popular smart products you can buy.
Smart Homes: The Future Is Now
While some might have presumed innovative home technology was another fad, Google Home Assistant and Amazon’s Echo Dot — known as “Alexa” — have, in some ways, become beloved family members just as much anyone else in the household.
Experts predict that 57% of Americans will own smart home devices by 2025, with most currently owning smart speakers, televisions and streaming devices.
Benefits of Building a Smart Home
Smart devices can connect to entertainment systems, HVAC, alarms and appliances, allowing you to control them from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. Smart product owners often claim the following benefits of a smart home:
- Deliver insights into energy consumption for greater efficiency
- Automate things like thermostats, lights, blinds and sprinkler systems
- Safeguard your household —from belongings to the people who live there — with ramped-up home security in real-time
- Customize settings and preferences for enhanced comfort
- Increase safety through automatic shut-off, contact sensing and detection
Before You Build a Smart Home
Some people integrate home automation simultaneously, while others connect their devices gradually. Regardless of your approach to building a smart home, it would be best if you considered some things beforehand.
For instance, how reliable is your home wifi? Smart devices rely on a dependable internet connection to communicate with each other. A large home, in particular, may need upgrading with multiple routers.
You should also consider your household’s current needs and begin researching products. There are countless devices to choose from, and some brands are better than others.
7 Must-Have Products for Building a Smart Home
Some intelligent home technologies have become staples in homes nationwide — others are gaining popularity quickly. If you’re building your smart home from the ground up, you might want to look into these seven common products first.
1. Smart Speakers
Echo Dot and Google Home Assistant are foundational smart home technologies. By calling out “Alexa,” you can stream music, find out the weather, play games and get news updates.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home also allow you to connect other devices within their respective series, meaning you can have intelligent speakers in each room that communicate with each other.
2. Smart Thermostat
The cost of utilities has outpriced many American households as homeowners eagerly look for ways to save on electricity bills. Smart thermostats are an adequate solution, maintaining heating and air conditioning preferences on an automated schedule.
You can control smart thermostats from your smartphone, so you can set your home temperature exactly how you want it to when you get home from work. Some smart thermostats have motion sensor capabilities, adjusting the indoor temperature by room based on the number of occupants.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ENERGY STAR-certified intelligent thermostats save you 8% on heating and cooling bills, equal to $50 annually.
3. Home Security
Secure your property with an intelligent home security system, enabling remote control access to your alarm, even if you’re traveling.
Some smart home security systems comprise full-scale surveillance, including doorbells and locks, which we’ll discuss later in this guide. Of course, the number of security devices you install may be dependent on crime rates where you live and comfort levels within your surroundings.
Smart home security products are incredibly convenient when you’re away from home and want to double check your home is secure. You can also turn your alarm on and off from your phone to let someone in while you’re not there.
4. Smart Lighting
Like smart speakers, lighting is usually one of the first smart products homeowners buy when building a smart home. Some lights can be integrated with Echo Dot or Google Home Assistant, enabling voice activation. Others have scheduling features and geofencing, which turn them on or off depending on if you’re at home.
You can turn your lights on or off from your smartphone — this is most suitable for making your house look occupied while on vacation, ensuring optimal security against potential break-ins.
5. Smart Doorbell
Smart doorbells have grown in popularity in recent years. These products come with a camera to see who is at the door. However, not all intelligent doorbell systems are created equally.
Homeowners should look for models with at least 1080 progressive scan (p) resolution or higher for the most detail. Additionally, some products have 180-degree views of who or what is in your front doorway.
6. Smart Door Lock
Smart door locks — also known as keyless door locks — increase security and ease of entering and leaving the house. Keyless locks can connect to your Echo Dot, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit for smartphone control. However, these products also have an app to register and manage your smart door lock.
You have options for using your smart door lock. Most products allow you to open locks with a code, fingerprint, geofencing or the app. Fortunately, these systems are easy to install in a matter of minutes.
7. Smart Blinds
Imagine sitting in the bathtub and realizing you’ve forgotten to close your blinds. Now consider how awkward it’ll be when the neighbors see you walking around naked and dripping. Wouldn’t it be easier to close them with the click of a button on your mobile phone?
Yes, even smart blinds are available for purchase to build your smart home. Smart blinds are motorized and connect to your smartphone’s smart home hub. From there, you can conveniently roll your blinds up or down, even if no one’s home.
Smart Homes Made Easy
Building a smart home from the ground up is easier than ever with the wide range of smart devices available. Remember that what you install in your home should meet your household’s needs to be worth the investment. Overall, you’ll reap the benefits of more comfortable and convenient living.