Smart home technology continues to revolutionize how we live by making our homes more efficient, automated, and convenient. Therefore, making your home a smart home is one of the best things you can do to drastically improve the quality of your life. It is estimated that the smart home market is expected to grow from USD 78.3 billion in 2020 to USD 135.3 billion by 2025. Because of this trend, we have decided to create this comprehensive guide on how to make a smart home.
Think about it, most people spend the majority of their time at home. Therefore, by gradually implementing smart home devices and solutions you can drastically improve many aspects of your home life. By using smart home technology, you can also automate many processes throughout your home.
Additionally, smart homes are more energy-efficient. This will allow you to consume less electricity saving you money in the years to come. Below are ways of how to make your home a smart home with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and more.
How to make a smart home
Step 1: Choose a smart home assistant
The first and most important step to making your home a smart home is to decide which smart home system you want to utilize. Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home kit are the three major smart home systems (assistants). These smart home systems or assistants come in the form of smart speakers. You can use this helpful article to help you decide on which one to go with.
Currently, Alexa is the ideal choice as the Echo (4th gen) smart speaker has a built-in Zigbee hub. This means you don’t need an extern hub to get started with making a smart home. However, Google Home is also a great option as both they and Amazon Alexa have the two most developed smart home ecosystems. But, Home Kit is good also if you are an Apple fan.
Smart Speaker (Smart Home Assistant)
A smart speaker will act as your home’s digital assistant and allow you to control your smart home. The two best smart home assistants are the Amazon Echo (with Alexa) and Google Nest Audio in the form of smart speakers.
However, Apple HomePod assistant is also ascending in the smart home space, but as of right now you should mainly consider Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant as they are currently more developed and have better overall features.
At their core, these devices are pretty similar in functionality. They are used to control the other smart devices in your home, play music, answer your questions, shopping, set reminders, and much more. However, there are some major differences you should consider for each of these devices.
One being the different products and services each is compatible with. Another is that there are three different tiers of smart speakers ranging from the smaller new 4th Gen Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini to Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio mentioned above. The major differences between these tiers are the speaker quality, price, physical size, and the fact the new Amazon Echo 4th gen contains a built-in smart hub.
However, its built-in smart hub only supports ZigBee smart devices. Meaning that it doesn’t support Z-Wave smart devices. Though there are numerous quality ZigBee smart home devices to utilize with your smart speaker without the need to get a separate hub.
But if there are specific Z-Wave based smart devices you would like to utilize in your home, then the echo or Google Nest paired with a smart home hub such as the Samsung SmartThings Aeotec hub below would be the better choice over the echo plus for connectivity with a much wider range of smart home devices then just ZigBee.
Step 2: Choose a smart home hub
If you opt for a smart speaker without a built-in hub, a Smart Hub is the next smart device you will need to acquire to make a smart home.
A smart hub allows you to automate all the smart devices within your home. It is essentially the brains of your smart home operation. It connects to almost any type of smart home device be it Zigbee or Zwave to allow for the ultimate home automation.
More importantly, smart hubs allow you to control the majority of the smart devices and appliances in your home with only one app through helpful processes such as grouping and much more. This makes managing your smart home much easier and less complicated without the hassle of dealing with multiple apps. We recommend the latest SmartThings Aeotec Hub as it wirelessly connects and controls a wide range of compatible smart devices. Though the Hubitat Elevation Home Automation Hub is also a great option as well.
Step 3: Incoporate other smart home devices to your home as to your needs
Once you have selected your smart home speaker (assistant) and a smart home hub, you can now move on to adding many different smart devices and functionalities to make your home a smart home. We have included the top ways to turn your home into a smart home below. Just choose which smart devices you want to incorporate as to your needs and wants.
Smart Lighting (Smart Lightbulbs)
Adding smart light bulbs to your home is another great way to make your home smart and your home life a lot easier. Using Amazon Echo, Google Home, or the app on your smartphone you can control all smart light bulbs in your home via voice control or by the push of a button. You can also control and have different settings for the lighting of each room or turn lights on individually.
Additionally, depending on the smart lightbulb you purchase, you can light a room with any color you so choose via RGB lighting. This is a great way to change the mood of a room depending on the event or activity. No to mention these bulbs are also energy efficient and last a lot longer than standard light bulbs.
Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automate the temperature throughout your home. Additionally, many smart thermostats are compatible with both the Amazon Echo and Google Home or can be controlled via their apps on your mobile device.
We recommend the Nest Learning Thermostat which automatically learns your favorite temperature settings or the EcoBee4 thermostat with its sensors which can be used to monitor the temperature in different rooms of your home.
Replacing your normal doorbell with a smart doorbell is another great way to make your home smart and safer. What makes most smart doorbells great is that they come with HD cameras. These smart doorbell cameras allow you to see who exactly is at your front door via your mobile device. Also, through Alexa (Amazon Echo) or Google Home, some smart doorbells can recognize your visitors and inform you that a specific person is at your door.
You can also communicate with the person at your front door via your mobile device. This is a great way to monitor when your kids get home, your package is delivered, or see anyone who rings your doorbell.
Moreover, most home invasions start with a ring of the home’s doorbell to see if no one is home, so if an intruder tries to right your doorbell while you are away you can answer via your mobile device and deter your home from being invaded. We recommend the Ring Video Doorbell 3.
Smart Door lock
Replacing your regular door lock with a Smart Door lock is another great way to improve the security and smartness of your home. Smart Door locks will save you the hassle of having to find missing or forgotten keys. Moreover, it allows you to unlock the doors of your home by using a fingerprint, entering a special pin, or by using your IOS/Android smartphone.
There are many companies that provide good smart door locks, however, we recommend the August Smart Lock. This lock has an ANSI Grade 1 residential security rating, a built-in alarm system with 3 alert modes, and has a beautiful design to go along with its other amazing features.
Smart Security Camera
Installing smart cameras inside and outside your home is another great way to make your home smarter and more secure. They provide more effective monitoring, better overall efficiency, and performance when compared to traditional security cameras. Indoor smart cameras allow you to monitor the inside of your home even when you are away. As for Smart outdoor cameras, you can install 2 smart cameras in the front and back of your home. Or install 4 cameras with one on each corner of the outside of your home to have a complete view of what’s going on around you.
The Google Nest Cam indoor security camera is one of the best smart indoor security cameras available on the market. It has an 8-megapixel 4k image sensor allowing it to record amazing footage. This smart indoor camera also has 24/7 live video and night vision to go along with its other amazing features.
We also recommend the Nest outdoor security camera which can record 1080p footage and comes with excellent night vision. It has a built-in microphone and speaker as well. Also, you can use the Nest app to see live footage via your smartphone.
Smart Plug (Outlet)
Utilizing smart plugs is a great way to manage electrical appliances and power consumption within your home. With smart plugs, you can group and schedule your electrical devices via your smartphone, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant-enabled devices. You can also utilize outdoor smart plugs as well for your outdoor devices such as Christmas lights, pumps, sprinkler systems, etc. We recommend the Kasa HS103P4 Smart Plug because it is cheap, easy to install, and works well with your Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and other smart home solutions.
Smart TVs are another great way to make your home smarter. With Alexa or Google smart home assistants, you can seamlessly connect and control your smart TV via your voice. You can use your voice to do things like turning your smart TV on or off, controlling the volume, change channels, and more. We recommend the SAMSUNG Class QLED Q60T Series, as this smart TV will allow you to utilize the voice control features mentioned above.
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
A smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector is an essential component of any safe smart home. According to research by Michigan state university, smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death in home fires. Therefore, a smoke detector that can not only swiftly detect problems but also clearly notify by using clear spoken messages and sending notifications to your smartphone.
There are many smart fire and carbon monoxide detectors on the market but the Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector is the one we strongly recommend. It features an industrial-grade photoelectric smoke sensor that can distinguish between the different type of fires. The Nest Protect can also connect and communicate with other smart devices in your home including your smartphone.
Moreover, its state-of-the-art sensor enables it to ignore false alarms and it also alerts your phone when it thinks something is wrong so you can take precautions. It also comes with some additional sensors including an occupancy sensor, an ambient light sensor, and a humidity sensor to give you the information you need about your home.
Smart Multipurpose Sensors
Installing smart multipurpose sensors is another great way to automate and secure many processes within your home. Smart multipurpose sensors can be used for both convenience and security.
An example of its convenience would be a smart multipurpose sensor on a door that automatically turning on the lights when you arrive home late at night without you have to locate the light switch in the dark. Or you can simply add smart multipurpose sensors to the doors and windows of your home to provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind.
We recommend the Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor. This combined with a Samsung SmartThings Hub (number 2 on this list) allows you to detect vibrations, temperatures, and when things within your home are open or closed.
The small size of this sensor also allows it to fit anywhere and you can connect it to your Wi-Fi network in order to communicate with your smartphone and other smart home devices.
Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuums cleaners today have become so technologically advanced to the point where they can operate on their own without the need for human intervention. High-quality smart robot vacuum cleaners come with great sensors that allow them to intelligently navigate and clean your home autonomously. They also come with Wi-Fi connectivity that allows a user to control them via a smartphone or other smart devices within your home. These smart robot vacuum cleaners come with charging docks and they will even charge themselves.
The Samsung Powerbot R7070 is one of the best smart vacuum cleaners you can get for your home. Its noise level is only 71 decibels which is very low when compared to conventional vacuum cleaners. It also comes with a HEAP filter that can prevent allergens from spreading through the air. Its small size enables it to clean the places where you can’t reach with your regular vacuum cleaner.
You can also connect it with Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung Connect. Powerbot R7070 has a bin size of 300 ML which is sufficient however if you want more size you can go with EUFY Robovac 11 which has the same features but with a 600 ML Bin size. However, for a cheaper option, we recommend the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C.
Smart Robot Lawnmower
Mowing the lawn can be a very unpleasant experience unless someone or something else is doing it for you. Therefore, you can get a smart robot lawnmower that will automate your lawnmowing process. These smart robot lawnmowers use advanced intelligence algorithms to accurately cut your grass whenever you wish without you having to be there.
There are currently a few smart robot lawnmowers but the WORX WG7954 Landroid Pre-programmed is one of the best robot lawn mowers currently on the market. It features the advanced Intelligence Algorithm (AIA) which helps it to navigate and cut most grass types without any problem. It’s also able to dock itself for charging in case of low-battery or when it senses rain. Additionally, it can efficiently mow any lawn under 10,000 square feet.
A smart refrigerator is another great way to make your home a smart home. Via the app and voice control, you could easily monitor and adjust the temperatures within a smart fridge. You can also get alerts of when its doors are opened, receive reminders, along with other useful features. We recommend the Kenmore 4675049 Smart French Door Refrigerator as it is much cheaper than other smart refrigerators but offers comparable performance and smart home features.
Smart Garage Door Opener
Managing your garage door can be made a lot easier with a smart garage door opener. With a smart garage door opener like the Nexx Smart Wi-Fi Controller NXG-200, you can conveniently open and close your garage doors using Wi-Fi. You can do this via your smartphone, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. It is quick and easy to install and gives you the ability to control your garage door with a simple tap of your phone.
Smart Sprinkler Controller
Watering your garden or lawn is not something we remember to do regularly. However, this task can be easily automated by implementing a smart sprinkler controller. With a smart sprinkler controller, you can set your own automated watering schedules, input details such as plant type, and even sun exposure to water your lawn. Moreover, you can do this using your smartphone, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant-enabled devices.
The Rachio 3 WIFI Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller is one of the best smart sprinkler controllers on the market. It is fairly easy to install and its features make it intuitive to use. This advanced smart sprinkler controller not only adapts to your lawn but also adapts to your local weather using Weather Intelligence Plus to automatically adjust your irrigation schedule.
Smart Blinds and Shades
Installing Smart Blinds and Shades is a great way to make your home more sophisticated and stylish. It allows you to automate the management of the blinds and shades within your home via the tap of your smartphone or voice control through Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant-enabled devices. This saves you from the annoyance of having to get up every time you want to adjust your blinds and shades. We recommend using the Yoolax Motorized Blind Shade or Graywind Motorized Vertical Blinds to turn your regular binds into automated smart blinds.
Smart Trash Can
Getting a smart trash can that reminds you when it’s time to take out the trash or when you’re low on bags via your smart devices is also a good way to make your home smarter and more efficient. The TOWNEW T1 is touted as one of the world’s best smart trash can and for good reason. Other than its beautiful design, this smart can has a multitude of useful and quite frankly brilliant features.
Those features include automatic self-sealing and self-changing of its trash bag at the touch of a button. It also features a hands-free lid due to its built-in motion sensor and utilizes refill rings of which each contains up to 25 durable recyclable trash bags.
Smart Water Sensor
Smart Water Sensors use the power of wireless connectivity to alert you to leaks and water overflows even when you’re away from your Home. You are alerted either directly onto your mobile device or via the application of that specific sensor. These smart sensors are extremely useful for preventing minor leaks from becoming larger ones which could save a lot of money in terms of repairs.
These smart water sensors not only tell you when there’s a water leak, but they also come to equip with temperature sensors that can help you in winters by alerting you if it’s too cold which may cause water to freeze and pipes to burst. Smart water sensors like the Ring Alarm Flood and Freeze Sensor also come with the ability to connect to your smart speakers such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Nest.
Smart Microwave Oven
Smart microwave ovens allow for hands-free operation via the use of smart speakers such as Alexa. This brings added convenience by allowing you to control your microwave oven via voice command or through the app. You can also monitor the amount of time your food has to be completed via the app when you are away doing something else.
Moreover, in today’s world, we cannot go a day without thinking about energy sustainability. So, these smart microwave ovens come with energy-saving features that help to reduce power consumption. The Toshiba ML-EM34P(SS) Smart Countertop Microwave Oven is a decent option.
Making your home a smart home has never been easier as there are tons of smart devices available in the market. These smart devices are available at different price points which makes it easy to get your desired smart home device at an affordable price. Smart devices can help you manage your home more efficiently and save money on your electric bills. We hope that you will find this guide useful and good luck in making your home a smart home!