How to Make a Smart Home: A Beginner’s Guide

Erin Gobler
Updated Apr 21, 2021
5 min read

As people become more reliant on their smartphones, it should come as no surprise that smart homes are taking the world by storm. A smart home setup allows individuals to connect their home appliances and devices to their smartphone and control them remotely. According to research from Clutch, more than half of people have a smart home device in their homes today. In fact, many new homes come with smart devices already installed. In this article, you’ll learn what a smart home is, how to set up a smart home, and the best devices to start with.

 

What does it mean to have a Smart Home?

A smart home is one where the devices throughout the house are connected via the internet and controlled through a smartphone or other remote device. Smart home is an incredibly broad term — it might be used to describe a home where just one smart device is in use, or a home that uses multiple smart devices in several rooms.

The list of products available for smart homes continues to grow. Popular smart devices include light bulbs, video doorbells, and thermostats. But those items are just the beginning. Anything from your vacuum to the irrigation system in your yard can be connected to smart technology.

 

Should I make my home smart?

As smart home devices become more popular, you might be wondering whether you should make the switch to a smart home. It’s true there are some drawbacks to consider. For those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy, setting up a smart home might seem too complicated. And another significant concern is the vulnerability of these products to hackers. As soon as you connect a product to the internet, you do run some security risks.

But overall, smart home technologies provide an incredible amount of convenience. As people increasingly want to be able to do everything from their smartphones, a smart home helps to make that possible. Smart home technology can also make you feel safer since you can stay up-to-date with your security system and doorbell camera from anywhere. Finally, many companies are taking ongoing steps to address the security risks. Before choosing your smart products, do some research to learn what steps the company has taken to keep its customers safe.

 

How to make your home a smart home

Setting up a smart home is easier than ever. And while it might sound like it’s going to be costly, that’s hardly the case today. One of the benefits of today’s smart home technology is that you can buy each piece individually — you don’t have to drop money on every piece of smart home technology at once.

First, consider what types of smart devices you’d like in your home. Consider which upgrades would make the biggest improvement? Maybe you just want to start with lights or a thermostat that you can turn on from your phone. As you’re moving forward with your smart home installation, be sure to pay attention to integration capabilities. Some smart home devices can connect to other products of any brand. But some companies only allow you to integrate your smart home devices with their own products.

 

Smart home technology

Many different products can go into a smart home, and you can mix and match to end up with the perfect smart home for you. Let’s talk about some of the most common smart home products.

  • Smart lights: Smart light bulbs connect to your smart devices and allow you to control your lighting from anywhere. You can set up lighting schedules, so the lights adjust as you need them throughout the day. You can set your lights to automatically turn on in the evening and then slowly dim as you approach bedtime. Finally, smart light bulbs often come with motion sensors, so they activate when someone enters the room. Some of the best smart light bulbs creators on the market include ADT and Philips Hue.
  • Smart locks: A smart lock is intended to replace the traditional keyed lock in your home. These locks connect to your wifi and allow you to remotely lock and unlock your door. These locks are perfect for when you’re arriving home with your hands full. You can disable the lock before approaching the door. You can also lock the door remotely if you leave home and realize you forgot to lock up. Some smart locks also come with a keypad, allowing you to unlock your door with a code. Some of our favorite smart locks include the SimpliSafe Smart Lock and the Yale Lock with Nest Connect.
  • Smart doorbells: A smart doorbell doubles as a home security camera. This product replaces your existing doorbell, allowing you to see who is at your door. Even when you’re away from home, you’re alerted when someone is at your door and can monitor your home. There are plenty of great options for video doorbells on the market. Our favorites include the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, the Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera, and the Ring Video Doorbell. 
  • Smart home hubs: Your smart home hub is the very center of your smart home system. A hub allows you to integrate all of your smart home products together. It allows you to control all of your devices from a central location. Smart hubs come with the added benefit of being able to control everything via voice command when you’re at home. And when you’re away from home, you can control your devices using a single mobile app instead of a separate app for each device. Just be aware that some smart devices may only be compatible with devices from the same company. Some of our favorite smart home hubs include the Google Home Hub and the Samsung SmartThings Hub.
  • Smart speakers: Smart speakers are devices in your home that serve as voice assistants, music players, phones, alarm clocks, and more, all in one device. Some of these devices can also double as your smart home hub. Our favorite smart speakers include the Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home Max.
  • Smart home security: Home security systems have been around for a long time, but they’ve come a long way with newer technology. With a smart home security system, you can control the whole system remotely from your phone. You can monitor your security cameras and get an alert anytime a camera or sensor is triggered. Many traditional security companies like ADT offer smart home security. But others such as SimpliSafe and Ring allow for DIY installation and self-monitoring, which make them more affordable.
  • Smart thermostats: Smart thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature remotely. These thermostats are easy to program, so you can create a customized schedule based on when your family is home. You can control the temperature from your smartphone. These devices can also sense activity, meaning they can adjust the temperature when people are home. Our favorite smart thermostats include the Nest Learning Thermostat, the ecobee4 Smart Thermostat, and the ADT Smart Thermostat.
  • Other smart products: As technology advances and demand increases, the list of smart home products continues to grow. Plenty of other home products can now be purchased as smart home devices. These products include vacuums, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, kitchen appliances, and yard irrigation systems.

 

Conclusion

Getting a smart home set up in your home is easier today than ever before. Today’s smart home products are the most affordable they’ve ever been, and they’re easy to install. You can pick and choose which smart home devices best fit your lifestyle. Just remember to do your research ahead of time to achieve the best smart home compatibility and security.


Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a personal finance writer with published works in sites such as Safety.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage, The Lending Tree, among others.

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