With nearly 4,000 home automation devices presented under a single roof at a recent trade show, it’s easy to see that smart home automation is no longer the future.
It’s the present.
With that in mind, there are so many ideas and products floating around right now that it can feel overwhelming. What are the truly good products and what are just gimmicky ideas that will never last?
Today, we’d like to pull back the current and show you the top smart home products for your consideration!
What Makes Good Home Automation Devices?
Just like smartphones and smart TVs, smart home automation is still relatively new and just gaining its footing (relatively speaking).
A lot of people want to know what makes a good device or system a good device or system.
You don’t want to be the product no one asked for and no one wanted in the first place. Home automation is part of the general idea called the “Internet of Things.”
It’s not just about automatic functions, but about how various devices, luxury appliances, etc. can seamlessly connect and work together.
It’s about making your life easier and more convenient while giving you access to functions you didn’t even know were possible.
The List You’ve Been Waiting For
Now, onto the show!
You’ve already decided you want to dip your toes into the world of home automation solutions, but you’re not sure where to begin.
Here are our picks for the coolest devices and systems that will help make your home smarter and more connected.
1. Wemo Mini Smart Plug
While not necessarily the most expensive or flashiest device on this list, the Wemo Mini Smart Plug is accessible and surprisingly helpful.
This device is perfect if you’re not entirely sold on the idea of home automation devices yet but want to see what it’s all about.
The idea is pretty simple: you plug the Wemo Mini into an outlet then plug an appliance, device, etc. into the Wemo Mini. Then, using an app on your smartphone or tablet, you can remotely control the device.
The easiest example would be using a table lamp or a television. Let’s say you left the house for the evening and realized you forgot to turn off the lights or TV.
Easy! Just hop into the app and turn them off remotely.
We would recommend the Wemo Mini rather than the Wemo Switch as it is smaller and only takes up one outlet rather than two.
2. Amazon Alexa / Amazon Echo
These devices are pretty popular, so there’s a good chance you already have them or are at least familiar with them.
For those not in the know, though, Amazon Alexa is Amazon’s voice-controlled hub. Amazon Echo is the compatible wireless speaker.
The speaker is slim, minimal, and doesn’t draw attention to itself.
When it’s well placed in your home, all you have to do is call upon Alexa and make some commands.
- “Alexa, dim the lights.”
- “Alexa, play The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes the Sun.'”
- “Alexa, search for ‘the best Thai food near me.'”
You get the idea.
While you could still do a lot of this on your smartphone, the seamless and responsive voice activation is what sets Amazon’s Alexa apart.
There are other alternatives to consider, such as Google Home, but Alexa still generally reigns supreme.
3. Smart Blinds
A lot of the top home automation systems seem to revolve around electronics, but what about practical applications that adjust your home itself?
Motorized (and smart) window blinds are perfect for the homeowner looking to set the mood with the touch of a button.
These blinds are usually installed with a battery-operated bar near the top that retracts or lowers the blinds.
You can find some that are compatible with smartphone apps as well, making opening or closing blinds in your home a breeze.
People who want to discover more about motorized window dressings will find that they’re more common now than they used to be. They’re clean looking and easy to use, so you’d be surprised to find out how much functionality it adds to your smart home.
4. August Smart Lock Pro
The title of this one kind of says it all. Lock and unlock your door remotely with the Smart Lock Pro.
Once again, you can use a smartphone app to do this. Now, you never have to wonder when you leave the house whether or not you remembered to lock the door!
No more entire work days left wondering and worrying. You can even link it to the Smart Lock Pro to Amazon’s Alexa for voice activation. See how all this smart home automation starts to connect?
5. Netgear Arlo Q
Similar to the August Smart Lock Pro, the Netgear Arlo Q also relates to smart home security.
The Arlo Q is a 1080p security camera that you can access remotely via an app. Monitor your house, specific rooms, or outdoor areas on the go and store up to a week’s worth of footage for free.
6. Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat
Lots of people like to save money by turning their thermostat off while their out of the house, whether at work, on vacation, or out for the night.
Returning to a house that’s too hot or too cold can be a drag, though.
Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat allows you to use an app to remotely turn your thermostat on or off and specifically set temperatures.
The Ecobee is technically the superior smart thermostat (and worth the extra cost), but if you’re on a budget, Honeywell is the way to go.
7. Samsung SmartThings Hub
We’ve gone over a lot of the top smart home products out there, but now it’s time to tie it all together.
Samsung’s SmartThings Hub is a smart home automation device that connects other devices (hence, “hub”).
The biggest draw to a device like this is that you no longer need to worry about all the various smartphone and tablet apps that control everything else. With SmartThings Hub, you can control almost all of them through one.
To top it off, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub can have up to 200 devices connected to it simultaneously.
Diving Into the World of Home Automation
Home automation devices are useful. Sometimes, they’re gimmicky, but other times they’re practical.
All in all, smart home automation is a way to keep your house connected and conveniently accessible.
Hopefully, this list gave you an idea of some devices to consider. Check out some of our other product blogs for more things you can add to your wish list!