What is Smart Home Technology ?
What if all the devices in your life could hook up with the internet? Not just computers and smartphones but everything: clocks speakers lights doorbells cameras windows window blinds predicament heaters appliances cooking utensils you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate send you information and take your commands? It’s not science fiction it is the Internet of Things (IoT) and it is a key component of home automation and smart homes.
Home automation is strictly what it sounds like: automating the power to regulate items round the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with an easy push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities like fixing a lamp to show on and off at your whim are simple and comparatively inexpensive. Others like advanced surveillance cameras may require a more serious investment of your time and money.
There are many smart home product categories so you’ll control everything from lights and temperature to locks and residential security devices. They also happen to form fantastic gifts whether you’re buying the vacations or buying a housewarming present. Here’s a rundown of the simplest products we’ve tested for each room of the house.
- Amazon Alexa
With quite 20,000 third-party integrations, Alexa is undoubtedly one among the foremost comprehensive smart home ecosystems available today. While you’ve got likely heard of using Alexa in Eco-speaker form (“Alexa, what’s the weather today?”), you would possibly not know that Alexa is now built into many other smart products, including thermostats (i.e. Ecobee4) and TVs (i.e. Fire TV).
Alexa makes every aspect of your smart home easy to access and control. you’ll use Alexa to talk to apps like Spotify even as easily as you’ll ask her to show off the lights. Since Amazon’s ecosystem is one among the foremost prevalent within the industry, most smart products integrate seamlessly with Alexa, including products made by Philips, Samsung, Nest, and Schlage — meaning, Alexa can now close your garage, lock your doors, and adjust your home’s temperature. to understand if Alexa will work with a particular device, just search for the ‘Works with Amazon Alexa’ tag.
Ultimately, Alexa’s ability to integrate and speak to most other smart devices and apps (Alexa has the foremost third-party integrations of any smart system) makes her one among the simplest choices for your smart home.
2. Google Assistant
If there’s any true runner-up to Alexa it’s Google Assistant. albeit Google Assistant has less third-party integrations it can often answer questions and complete commands Alexa can’t because of Google’s major ownership of the program space. Research from Dentsu digital agency 360i found Google Assistant was five times more likely to offer an accurate answer than Alexa. Ultimately Assistant wins when it involves understanding how people naturally speak.
For instance if you tell Assistance “I don’t like this song” on Spotify it’ll skip to subsequent one while Alexa will simply tell you “Thumbs up and down aren’t supported on Spotify.” Small differences like this might sway you towards Assistance since it’s often more helpful (and less literal) than Alexa.
Assistant also can integrate with products from most major brands including Philips Belkin August Nest and popular apps like Spotify and Uber.
3. Wink Hub 2
Wink Hub 2 is touted because the “first smart home hub designed for the mainstream consumer.” Unlike Alexa or Assistant, Wink doesn’t have any brand loyalty, allowing you to select and choose different smart product brands and merge them seamlessly with each other .
Wink Hub 2 supports smart home protocols including Bluetooth LE, Kidde, Lutron ClearConnect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and more. If you’re looking to make a totally integrated smart home with kitchen and wall appliances in-sync, this could be your best choice . you’ll also download the Wink Hub app and control commands, like light switches or garage door, from your phone on-the-go.
4. Samsung SmartThings Hub
This Samsung system unites a good sort of smart devices from different brands including smart thermostats, Wi-Fi router, lightbulbs, and security devices. Users with the smart system get a SmartThings Hub wall mount and may get full access to the smart devices connected to the hub through the SmartThings IOS or Android app.
Samsung’s SmartThings Hub has been growing its own smart-device offerings for the past few years. In fact, the Hub’s product lineup recently grew with the addition of the SmartThing Wi-Fi plug, SmartThings Lightbulb, and a SmartThings Cam.
Through the SmartThings Hub, you’ll also set compatible smart devices to try to to various actions like turning on or off once you enter or out of an area . While you’ll formulate commands to the SmartThings wall hub or app, you’ll also integrate and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to the system.
5. Sonos One
If you cannot decide between Amazon and Alexa and Google Assistant, you do not need to . The Sonos One supports both popular voice assistants, and sound-wise, it’s head and shoulders above other smart speakers in its price range. It also connects with other Sonos speakers just like the Arc, Beam, and Move to deliver superior sound quality and voice assistant access throughout your home (and backyard).
6. Smart Plugs – ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2
If you are looking to feature some smarts to small home appliances like coffee makers, lamps, and TVs, the ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 is a superb choice. This versatile dual-outlet smart plug are often controlled with an Android or iOS mobile app and works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice commands. It lacks IFTTT support, but you’ll make it work with other smart home devices using HomeKit Scenes and Automations, and it monitors energy usage for both outlets.
D-Link mydlink Outdoor Wi-Fi Smart Plug
With the D-Link mydlink Outdoor Wi-Fi Smart Plug DSP-W320, it’s easy to regulate outdoor devices like decorative lighting and pool pumps together with your phone and a mobile app. Equipped with two outlets and a USB charging port, this weatherproof plug installs in minutes, supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, and can work with other smart home devices using IFTTT applets.
7. Philips Hue
Philips Hue bulbs answer voice commands and settings changes from your smartphone app. Some bulbs, like Sengled A19 smart bulbs don’t require a hub, which may make it easier (and cheaper) to line up smart lighting in your home.
If you would like to stay your regular non-smart bulbs, but you continue to want smart lighting, you’ll choose smart light switches instead. You can still voice-control your lights and power your lights on and off remotely. The benefit? A smart light switch is a permanent way to get smart lighting, as you don’t have to change it out (like you have to change out a bulb). The downside is that you simply need to affect a touch little bit of hassle upfront, as smart light switches take some effort to put in . WeMo’s Smart Light Switch is one of our favorite options.
Some people also like smart plugs because they permit you to voice-control the facility on virtually any device . Smart plugs are especially useful during the holidays, as they let you turn your holiday lights on and off with your voice.
8. Ecobee SmartThermostat – The best smart thermostat
Like its competitors, the Nest Thermostat chief among them, the Ecobee SmartThermostat may be a Wi-Fi-based thermostat that allows you to control your home heating and air con system with an app or using your voice. a couple of features help it stand out.
Ecobee set itself apart with its earlier products by including a foreign temperature sensor within the box with the thermostat. The thermostat itself can read the ambient temperature of whatever room it’s in and adjust accordingly. If you would like it to regulate the temp supported the conditions in another room, just switch it over to the remote sensor. this is often a useful accessory if your thermostat install point isn’t during a central location, or if you would like to form sure a nursery or your headquarters is that the focus for the Ecobee’s temperature readings, instead of a far-flung hallway.
9. Wyze Cam v3 – The best home security camera
Smart home gadget maker Wyze features a remake of its flagship product: the Wyze Cam v3, the corporate is looking it. The redesigned security camera will still cost just $20, in line with Wyze’s aggressively low-cost smart home strategy, and preorders start today with a ship date of mid-November.
Beyond the new design, the Wyze Cam v3 features a few key differences from its predecessor. The new camera are often used as both an inside and outdoor model, because of its IP65 weather resistance. It also has double the infrared LEDs for improved night-sight and to support its use within the home and out of doors .
The new model comes with a replacement color night-sight option, because of a replacement lower-aperture sensor that permits it to require in 40 percent more light. Wyze says the choice are going to be enabled on Wyze Cam v3 by default, unless users enable classic black / white night-sight instead.
There are another subtle changes worth mentioning. as an example , Wyze Cam v3 captures five extra frames per second than the prior model, at 20 during the day and 15 in the dark . It also features a wider field of view by 20 degrees for a max of 130 degrees and a built-in 80-decibel siren to use an automatic alarm which will be triggered when the camera detects an individual in its field of view.
New to version three is simultaneous two-way communication (without wanting to press a push-to-talk button) for speaking through the camera if you would like to, say, mount it outside next to your front entrance or use it as a baby monitor.