It is that time of the year and again, and what a great time for that special someone to convert their home into a smart home (even if that someone is you!). This has been a great year for smart home tech and whether you have been building or evolving yours or you just starting out fresh, there is some great things to pick up this season. So this guide won’t be a suggestion list, this is really hands that the essential things you should pick up this season if you really want to DIY some smart home stuff.
EERO & Google WiFi: The Backbone
Before we even talk about having a smart home, you will need that WiFi infrastructure in place for it to run on. For years having seamless, consistent WiFi has been a challenge to attain. A mix of extenders, routers, repeaters, and more that never got the job without struggle or stress. This isn’t the case anymore with new mesh network devices like EERO. EERO is a device that connects to your router or modem and provides WiFi. The beauty of this is you can add more units in different parts of your house. They will all connect to each other and create a consistent blanket of WiFi around your home.
EERO can be brought in packs. You can buy a single unit for $199.99, a two pack for $349.99, or a 3 pack for $499.99. If that is a little expensive for your taste, Google recently got into the mix with the own smilier product called Google WiFi. Google WiFi offer the same mesh seamless consistent WiFi around your home but with a cheaper price point. Google offers a 3 pack for $299.99 and a single unit for $129.99. Google WiFi will officially be available on December 6th, so still in time for this holiday season!
SmartThings Hub: The Command Center
Before you can truly have a “smart home” you need to have a core, a center, the brain of the operation. The SmartThings Hub is what talks to all the devices in the home, relays commands, and is your command center to smart world.
The SmartThings Hub is the best choice for this, as the platform is very open and the most compatible with a variety of vendors and components. It has an app for Android and iOS and it will run you $99.99 buy itself, but you can also get it apart of a bundle from smartthings.com or other retailers.
Google Home & Amazon Echo Dot: Speak Naturally
Once you do have you smart home in place and running, now it is time to take it to the next step. Amazon kicked off the voice command race with the Amazon Echo and the now widely known “Alexa”, but this yea Google has step into the mix with Google Home. This is a device that while just launched and has some partner integrations to add to the fold, is off to a good stuff. If you are a Google services user, this will be a great device to add to your home. Google Home is both a WiFi connected speaker and a hub for sending commands to your smart home. It also can answer a ton of questions you have due to the power of Google search. You can pick up a Google Home now for $129.
But let’s now forget Amazon, while the Echo was their first products; I suggest this year picking up the Amazon Echo Dot. Smaller, cheaper ($49.99), and it still had that Alexa voice-controlled functionality! The Amazon Echo Dot is Amazon’s latest device in this space and if you favor Amazon over Google, this is definitely something you’ll want apart of your smart home.
Ring Video Doorbell: Be Home Even When Your Not
I’m not going to lie, ever since I’ve had the Ring Video Doorbell I’ve love it. It was instantly useful to me the day after I installed it. Since then it has been great whenever I receive a package and can let the delivery men know where to place my package when I’m not there. Ring has a couple products in their portfolio, but I highly recommend the Video Doorbell and the Video Doorbell PRO. The PRO I would suggest if you want to hardwire a replacement for you traditional doorbell, and the first gen if you would not messing with hardwiring as this has a builtin rechargeable battery.
Once you add and install a video doorbell, you can be alerted on your smartphone when someone rings your bell or if there is motion by yourself. You can set zones and be alerted when there is motions in one of these zones. The first gen will cost you $199 and the PRO $249. Both are available now
While there are a ton of devices and products you can use in your home to make it smart, this is a great starting point. From here you can add smart lights, bulbs, vents, thermostats and more. Be sure to check out our Building a Smart Series. We’ll be updating that and expanding on the home in the near future, so stay tuned!