How to Make a Smart Home

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Smart 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 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 devices and solutions you can drastically improve many aspects of your home life. By using smart 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 detailed steps of how to make a smart home with smart home systems such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.

How to Make a Smart Home

Step 1: Choose A Smart Home System (Platform)

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal

If you opt for a smart speaker without a built-in hub The first and most important step to making your home a smart home is to choose a smart home platform. Smart home platforms allow you to set up, organize, and control your smart home devices and automation with greater ease. The two best smart home platforms are Amazon Alexa and Google Home with Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings trailing closely behind. 

These smart home platforms come in the form of smart assistants usually smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo, Google Nest Audio, and Apple HomePod assistant. However, 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, shop, set reminders, and much more. However, there are some major differences you should consider for each of these devices.

One is the different products and services each is compatible with. Another is that there are different tiers of smart speakers ranging from the smaller new Echo Dot 4th gen and Google Nest Mini 2nd gen, medium-sized Amazon Echo 4th Gen, along with the larger Google Nest Audio mentioned above and Amazon Echo Studio high-fidelity smart speaker. You can also utilize smart speakers with screens on them such as the Echo Show 10Nest Hub 2nd gen, and Nest Hub Max.

The main differences between these smart assistants are the speaker quality, price, physical size, and the fact the Amazon Echo and Echo Studio contain a built-in smart hub. However, their built-in smart hub only supports ZigBee smart devices. Meaning that it doesn’t support Z-Wave smart devices. ZigBee and Z-wave are two different protocols that certain smart home devices use.

This lack of a standardized protocol currently creates the problem of lock-in when you choose one smart home platform over another. Meaning that certain smart devices you buy for one smart home platform may not be compatible with another platform.

Luckily, the leading smart home companies and smart device manufacturers have come together to create Matter. Matter is a protocol that allows for smart devices from different brands to work natively with one another for a secure, reliable, and seamless smart home experience. This protocol is slated to release later this year, therefore it may be worth it to wait until the matter versions of the smart home devices you are looking to incorporate in your home are released. You will know that a smart device is Matter compatible via the Matter Logo on its packaging.

Video Explaining Matter Protocal

But if you do decide to buy a smart home device before the Matter standard comes out, make sure to check online to determine if it will be compatible with the new protocol as some current smart home devices will be while some won’t. You can learn more about Matter here.

Video of How to Smart a Smart Home

Step 2: Choose A Smart Hub

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If you opt for a smart speaker without a built-in hub or you would like access to both Zigbee and Z-wave smart devices, a smart home hub is the next smart device you should consider getting. This device allows you to control and 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 Z-wave 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.  This makes managing your smart home much easier and less complicated without the hassle of dealing with multiple apps. We recommend the Aeotec Smart Home Hub with Aeotec now being the Samsung SmartThings Hardware brand. This smart home hub wirelessly connects and controls a wide range of compatible smart devices and smart home platforms including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and of course Samsung SmartThings. 

Step 3: Gradually Add Smart Devices to Your Home

Now that you have selected your smart home platform and a smart home hub if so inclined, the next step is to incorporate the smart devices you which to add to your home. We have provided 17 ways to make your home a smart home with the smart devices below, choose the ones that best fit your smart home needs and wants for efficiency, automation, and aesthetics.   

Smart Lighting (Smart Lightbulbs)

Adding smart lighting to your home is a great way to start your smart home journey while making your home smart life a bit easier. Using your smart home assistant or the app on your smartphone you can control all smart light bulbs in your home via voice or by the push of a button. You can also control and have different settings for the lighting in each room including turning lights on or off 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. The Sengled A19 RGB Smart Bulb has all the necessary features and comes as a 4 pack at a great price.

Smart Thermostat

Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automate the temperature throughout your home. Additionally, many smart thermostats are compatible with the top smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. They can also be controlled via their apps on your mobile device meaning no need to get up and go adjust the thermostat manually. The Google Nest Thermostat as it is ENERGY STAR certified, helps save energy, and is also fairly cheap. However, you will need a c-wire or c-wire adapter.

Smart Doorbell

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 or Google Assistant, 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, some 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. The Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell has HD video, a 180-degree view so you can see who’s at your door from head to toe, two-way audio, motion sensing, along with other essential features making it a great smart doorbell for your home.

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 using your IOS/Android smartphone.

Many companies provide good smart door locks, however, the August Smart Lock has all the necessary features you need in a smart lock, has a beautiful design, and is highly rated throughout the smart home industry. It can also be fitted in your existing deadbolt door in minutes.

Smart Security Cameras (Indoor and Outdoor)

Installing smart cameras both inside and outside your home is another great way to make your home smart, safer, and secure.

Smart indoor cameras allow you to see what’s going on in your home in real-time. This allows you to monitor your kids and pets to verify that they are safe and not up to no good. Blink Mini compact indoor smart camera is one of the best smart indoor security cameras available in the market. All you have to do is plug it in to have features such as 1080 HD video, night vision, motion detection, and two-way audio all at a fairly cheap price.

Smart Outdoor security cameras are essential to anyone serious about their home’s security. They provide a more effective field of view, better overall efficiency, and performance when compared to traditional security 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 Outdoor Surveillance Camera can record 1080p footage, has excellent night vision,  as well as a130 Degree view. It also has 24/7 live video streaming, 3-hour snapshot history plus motion and sound alerts making it the ultimate smart outdoor security camera.

Smart Plug (Outlet)

Utilizing smart plugs is a great and cost-effective way to make non-smart electrical devices and appliances in your home. Some smart plugs also give you the ability to monitor and manage the power consumption of devices within your home. You can group and automate your electrical devices via your smartphone, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant-enabled devices. We recommend the Kasa Smart Plug because it is highly rated by its users, cheap, comes in a 4 pack, is easy to install, and works well with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, etc.

Smart Sensors (Multipurpose)

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 turns on the lights when you arrive home late at night without you having 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.

The Aeotec SmartThings Motion Sensor is great. Via Zigbee, it allows you to detect motion up to 15 feet with a 120-degree viewing angle. The small size of this sensor also allows it to fit almost anywhere in your home.

Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Smart robot 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.

Moreover, Wi-Fi connectivity allows a user to control and schedule them via a smartphone or other smart assistants/devices. Smart robot vacuums also come with charging docks that allow them to charge themselves.

The iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum is one of the best smart vacuum cleaners you can get for your home. This is because it has all the necessary features you would want in a smart vacuum. It cleans both carpets and hard floors excellently, has an intuitive app, and is not too pricy. You can also connect it with Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung Connect.

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. Smart robot lawnmowers use advanced intelligence algorithms to accurately navigate while effectively cutting your grass autonomously.

There are currently a few smart robot lawnmowers out there but the WORX WR147 Landroid M Robotic Lawnmower is one of the best robot lawn mowers currently on the market. It features an 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 up to ¼ acre of grass.

Smart TV

Adding a Smart TV to your home is a good idea if you already haven’t done so. With a smart TV, you don’t have to worry about hooking an external device such as Roku or Apple TV to access your favorite apps as they are conveniently located on your smart TV. This also saves space and removes the need for multiple remotes as well as having to deal with HDMI inputs. But it is important to make sure that the smart TV you choose has vast app support for your favorite services as well as a great display.

Smart Refrigerator

A smart refrigerator is another great way to make your home a smart home. You can 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. Moreover, with a smart fridge like the Samsung – 28 cu. ft. 3-Door French Door Smart Refrigerator, you can also listen to music or watch youtube while in the kitchen.

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, 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 is essential.

There are many smart fire & CO detectors in the market but the Google 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 types 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 Garage Door Opener

Managing the opening and closing of your garage door can be made a lot easier with a smart garage door opener remote. With a smart garage door opener remote such as the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Remote, you can conveniently open and close your garage doors using Wi-Fi. You can do this via your smartphone, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or SmartThings 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 or with your voice via a smart assistant like Echo Auto.

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 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 Smart 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 Water Sensors

Smart water/flood sensors are an essential part of any smart home. They allow you to detect early-stage water damage such as drips and leaks within your home which could potentially end up saving you quite a bit many and time. Smart water sensors also send real-time alerts, but if wifi is not available they also have built-in alarms. The Govee WiFi Water Sensor is a fantastic option as it has all the features you would be looking for in a smart water sensor.

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 cans and for good reason. Other than its beautiful design, this smart trash can has many useful 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 Blinds and Shades­­­

Installing smart blinds or shades is a great way to make your home more automated, 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. The Yoolax Motorized Smart Blind is a great option as it looks great and is highly rated by its users.

Video of Smart Home Automation Ideas

Final Thoughts

As you can see, making a smart home has never been easier as there are tons of smart devices available on the market. These smart devices can help you automate and manage your home more efficiently while also saving money on your electric bills. There are also various price points of smart devices, so if you find a smart device to be too expensive, try searching for a cheap version that has the main functionality you are looking for while also being highly rated and reliable so you can get your desired smart home at an affordable budget.

Moreover, make sure to pay attention to the compatibility of your chosen smart home system and the smart devices you choose to implement. Hopefully, with the release of Matter soon to come, compatibility issues of different smart systems and devices should start to subside and eventually disappear. We hope that you will find this guide useful and good luck in making your home a smart home.

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