By Emily Moore
Most of us spend more time than ever using smart devices like phones and tablets for shopping, traveling, and communication, so why have so few of us made the leap of upgrading our homes? The best smart home systems offer unprecedented levels of convenience, as well as a range of options for lowering our payments on utility bills to make our homes more eco-friendly than ever before. They also offer residents a whole new world of digital security solutions to help keep their homes safe. Anyone keeping up with space news can appreciate that we’re on the cusp of a technological revolution that will change the way we interact with our homes. We’ve all had experiences leaving our homes, only to worry that we left a light turned on or a back door unlocked. However, if you had a smart home, you wouldn’t have to wait till you get back to fix the problem.
Smart home technology comes in many different shapes and sizes, from individual smart lightbulbs to digital voice assistants. You’ll be able to buy these devices off the shelf, but there are also other comprehensive smart home technologies like smart thermostats, which may require professional installation. We’ll look over the current cream of the crop for the best smart home devices currently available on the market to help you find the latest revolutionary innovations in smart home ideas.
Best Smart Lightbulb: Philips Hue
If you’re looking to dip your toe into smart home products, why not start with the Philips Hue smart lightbulb? Simply replace your existing bulbs with these devices, and you’ll be able to set your lights to turn on or off every time you enter or leave the room. Additionally, you can schedule your lighting patterns so that, for example, your back garden lights can turn on at sunset. You’ll need to purchase a Philips Bridge hub device if you want to control the lights remotely while you’re out of the house, but this device will let you integrate these controls with a voice assistant like Alexa.
Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo Studio
Till now, smart assistants have been shunned by the majority of self-respecting audiophiles for the simple reason that the audio quality was too poor to make them a serious option as a music player. However, the Amazon Echo Studio speaker could finally be the model that changes all this. The 3D audio helps create a deep and powerful audio output that’s great for filling up a room while also offering Amazon Fire TV integration to boost your audio while you’re watching TV. In addition to the stunning sound quality, the Echo Studio is packed with the latest smart assistant technology, which includes a ZigBee hub function to let you connect it to hundreds of other smart devices.
Best Smart Plug: Eve Energy
The most basic smart plugs let you remotely control the power outlets in your home, but Eve Energy goes far beyond this, allowing you to monitor your overall energy usage while being able to see which devices use the most power. Smart plugs are a powerful tool for anyone looking to make their home more eco-friendly or just cut down on their energy bills. The Eve Energy uses Bluetooth for local control when you’re at home. You can also control it through the wireless Thread network, but you’re going to need an Apple device like Apple TV or HomePod Mini for this, as the plugs aren’t compatible with Google Assistant or Alexa. The Eve Energy lets you set scheduled for which device you power, and a raft of other useful features make it the best smart plug currently available.
Best Smart Display: Google Nest Hub Max
If you want to create a fully-equipped smart home environment, it’s worth investing in a smart display to help you control all your various device settings from one central hub instead of having to fiddle with many different proprietary apps. The Google Nest Hub Max is Google’s latest smart hub offering and is compatible with a huge range of devices from different manufacturers. It is big enough to use to watch shows or play music while you’re relaxing at home, and the front camera can also be activated as a home security solution via Google’s Nest platform. All in all, the Google Nest Hub Max is a terrific foundation around which you can build the rest of your smart home network.
Best Smart Security Camera: Arlo Pro 4
Arlo’s line of smart security cameras has become a real hit with home security enthusiasts, and the Arlo Pro 4 might be their best-value offering yet. While it doesn’t offer the razor-sharp 4K resolution of the company’s more expensive models, the 2K camera is more than enough to provide clear and detailed footage. It also features automatic motion tracking and zooming, letting it follow the source of any activity it monitors. A built-in spotlight ensures clear footage at night, with the added bonus of deterring would-be intruders. Integration with Google Assistant and Alexa makes it easy to add the Pro 4 to your smart home system.
Best Smart Thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest’s latest smart thermostat continues the company’s revolutionary implementation of machine learning into their products, resulting in a device that can intelligently calibrate the temperature in your home based on how long it takes for your living space to cool down and heat up. The design is sleek and elegant and very simple to use through Google Assitant. The only downside is that there are no zonal control options to set the temperatures for individual rooms or floors in your home. However, for most customers, the Nest Learning Thermostat can offer stable temperatures and lower energy bills.
Making the leap into smart home automation can seem daunting, but the range of different devices on offer allows anyone to jump in at a low price point. Smart home devices don’t just offer innovative features and greater convenience; they can also save you on all your future energy bills while lowering your home’s carbon footprint. Try starting out with smart plugs or smart bulbs, and then pick a digital assistant like a smart display or smart speaker to create a unified network for all your different smart home products. Once you get the hang of smart home technology, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Are there any smart home gadgets that have made a big (or small) difference in your life? Share them with us in the comments section below.
About the Author
Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.