February 26, 2017
The typical smart home costs between $564 and $2,260, according to HomeAdvisor, which is a pretty huge range. The discrepancy can be attributed to the price of smart home components. Not all smart home gadgets are created equal. A lot of them cost more than they’re really worth.
Fortunately, there's good news: the overall cost of outfitting a smart home — even a cutting-edge dwelling with all the latest features — is falling dramatically. The bad news: it’s still possible, even easy, to spend way too much.
Each of these seven smart home gadgets are priced reasonably relative to the competition. (Precise pricing is subject to change, so we’ve eschewed current figures here. Do your own research; it’s not like they’re hiding.) If you’re looking to outfit your smart home on a tight budget, start here.
Amazon Echo and its little brother, Echo Dot, are the Cadillacs of the home automation hub niche. Luckily, they don’t have that Cadillac price tag, nor do they require any tech fumbling, thanks to a super responsive voice command system that lets you dim the lights, turn off the music, and order an Uber without taking out your phone.
Canary Flex is among the top home WiFi security cameras for a reason. It’s a rugged, weatherproof, indoor-outdoor device that swivels on a flexible axis and boasts a powerful night vision camera. Use it as a wired, real-time monitor or a time-delayed video recorder that you can play back if and when something goes awry.
Hue bulbs come in a stunning variety of colors. You can set them to dim or raise on a schedule, opportunistically from your phone, or command them with your Amazon Echo. And they’re LEDs, meaning they’re super efficient. Whether you’re set on an unforgettable look for your next New Year’s party or just trying to set the mood on a quiet night in, it’s hard to go wrong here. Plus, with Hue’s super-long lifespan, you can put “replace light bulb” way at the bottom of your chores list.
According to the Canadian Housing Information Centre, wired-in smoke alarms work 95 percent of the time. That’s far higher than battery-operated alternatives, which work just 75 percent of the time. Smart smoke alarms like Nest Protect are even more effective — and more capable. It boasts a WiFi connection that lets you shush from your phone, self-testing capabilities that eliminate the dreaded “chirp,” and an early-warning system that alerts users in a calming human voice.
The ultimate in discreet nanny-cam technology, Piper is perfect for keeping tabs on the babysitter or pet-sitter, or simply making sure your home doesn’t burn down while you’re away. It also boasts a powerful intruder-deterrent siren and two-way audio for added insight into what’s really going on back at home. Unlike most home security systems, it doesn’t have a monthly fee.
Two smart home devices for the price of one? Not quite, but they’re both cheap. The August Doorbell Cam lets you screen visitors from your phone (or smart TV, if that’s your thing). The smart lock allows keyless entry for authorized residents and visitors — and keeps everyone else out.
Ecobee3 is a WiFi-enabled smart thermostat that lets you manually raise or lower your settings from your phone. But hopefully you won’t have to. With room-specific sensors that automatically trigger core system responses and a learning mode that adapts to your preferences, this device can operate entirely on its own. Ecobee claims to reduce average home heating and cooling bills by 23% per year, meaning it’s likely to pay for itself before long.
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