Smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo aren’t the engine that makes smart homes go, but they are one of the most critical components to having a complete smart home. If there is one piece you want to add to your home to begin adding smart home elements to it, you NEED to start with the smart speaker. Smart speakers not only play music and tell you the weather when you ask, but they can sync with nearly every smart device on the planet and allow you to control everything without anything more than your voice. If you want to unlock the door because your kid is coming home in a few minutes, simply tell Alexa to unlock your smart lock. If you want to turn on the cool air, both Google Home and Amazon Echo can sync with your Nest thermostat and lower the temperature. But before you decide on which is right for your home, first let’s look at what makes them different.
Remember when we had to use a physical key to both unlock our car door and start the engine? How inconvenient now that we can leave our keys in our pocket and just open to door and push to start the engine? Someone smarter than me figured out that we can use similar technology to sync our smartphones with smart locks to open and lock doors. The two best products on the market are the Kwikset Touch-to-Open™ Kevo smart lock and August smart lock.
While everyone wants to update their homes with smart thermostats, smart bulbs, and just about anything else that can be automated, we often overlook our wall outlets. Smart plugs allow you to connect your wall outlets to your home’s wifi, and turn on/off any device that is plugged into that outlet. They offer a simple and relatively cheap way to control lights, fans, or just about anything via your smartphone.
Smart thermostats begin saving you money the moment you hook it up to your home. Three of the most popular smart thermostats are the Ecobee, Nest and Sensi. These three products allow you to control your homes temperature from your smart phone, pair with virtual assistants like Amazon Echo, and can even learn your patterns and preferences. Each of these thermostats have some key advantages over the others, but the Ecobee smart thermostat has the best features and has a seriously easy set up so anyone can hook it into their home’s HVAC system. Plus, Ecobee’s “Follow Me” feature is one of the coolest things we’ve seen from a smart thermostat, and it sets it over the top as the best smart thermostat you can buy.
Smart cameras and new ways to monitor your home are becoming more and more prevalent, and two of the best smart cameras are the Nest Cam Outdoor and Ring Stick Up. Both of these products offer many of the same features, like night vision capabilities, direct link to your smartphone, as well as a number of other features that allow you to see what is going on inside or outside your home.