With smart home devices, you can set your air conditioner to automatically turn on as you leave the office. Then, as you pull into the driveway, the lights in your living room all turn on. And as you walk up the steps, your front door unlocks for you, so you don’t have to fumble with your keys. If you haven’t already started to set up your smart home, here are some of the best smart home devices for beginners.
1. Smart Home Speakers
In order to set up a smart home, one of the first things you need is a smart home speaker with a voice assistant built-in. This will allow you to control your other smart devices with voice commands or an app. You can say something like, “turn on all the lights in the living room,” and your smart home speaker will send that command to your smart lights, instantly turning them on.
The three major voice assistants are Alexa by Amazon, the Google Assistant by Google, and Siri by Apple. However, the Amazon Echo with Alexa is the best smart speaker for beginners. Echo smart speakers are usually cheaper than the competition, and they work with over 140,000 different smart home devices. So, when you buy a new smart home device, there’s a good chance that it will work with Alexa.
It is important to note that smart speakers are not compatible with every smart home device. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick your smart home speaker first. That way, you can know if the smart devices that you buy later are compatible. Alexa is perhaps one of the most well-known smart assistants around. However, competitors are quickly catching up to Amazon’s technology.
One of the best smart home devices to start with is a smart light bulb. There is no feeling like being able to turn off all your lights before bed with voice commands. You can even schedule your smart lights to turn on and off when you’re on vacation, so buglers will think that someone is still home.
If you are looking for a simple white light, the LIFX smart bulbs are easy to use and compatible with Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant. If you are looking to add a little color to your home, you can also try the Philips Hue, which let you set any kind of mood with over 16 million different colors. Philips Hue blubs only work with Alexa and the Google Assistant unless you buy a hub.
It is important to note that some smart light bulbs require you to buy a dedicated hub for them to work with your smart assistant. However, there are many smart lights that you can control with your smart speaker or an app. So, if you don’t want to buy an expensive hub, make sure to check that it says “no hub required” or it has the Bluetooth symbol somewhere.
Smart Plugs make it easy to turn your regular household appliances or any other device into a smart device. With a smart plug, you can use voice commands or an app to control coffee machines, lamps, computers, TVs, and anything else that you plug into an outlet.
With a smart plug, you can also set your devices to turn on or off on a schedule. For example, if you want to make sure that everything is turned off when you leave the office, you can just buy a few smart plugs and set them to turn off just at the same time every day when you leave.
The best smart home lights for beginners would have to be the WeMo Mini because it works with Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Siri. It is very easy to set up, it supports high-power devices, and it is small enough that you can fit two smart plugs in the same outlet at once.
If you like the idea of smart devices, but you don’t want to set up a whole smart home, you can always try a few smart appliances to start with. There are smart microwaves that can scan barcodes on food items and cook them to perfection, smart fans that remove dust and allergens from the air, and even smart mugs that keep your beverages at the right temperature all day.
The Hamilton Beach smart coffee maker is one of the best smart home appliances for beginners because it works with Amazon Alexa. This way, you can use your smart speaker to ask Alexa to start brewing, change the brew strength, and turn it off. You can also use an app to schedule your coffee to start brewing just before you wake up, so it will be ready when you need it.
A video doorbell lets you see who’s at the door before answering it. Most of these smart devices have a built-in camera and motion detector that will send you a video clip whenever someone approaches your home. These video recordings can usually be saved to the cloud, so you can review them later.
The Ring Video Doorbell is a great smart home device for beginners because of how easy it is to set up. You can either replace your existing doorbell wiring, or run it on a battery that lasts around six months. While there are many different models of the Ring Video Doorbell, Amazon recently released an updated version of the original model that is cheaper and has more features.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2020 records video in high definition and night vision. It also has Advanced Motion Detection that can tell the difference between people, pets, and other objects. This way, you won’t get annoying notifications every time a car drives by. However, in order to watch your recorded video clips, you will have to sign up for a Ring Protect Plan subscription.
With a robot vacuum cleaner, you’ll be cleaning smarter, not harder. These smart home devices use various sensors to navigate around your home on their own, avoiding your furniture and stairs. Many of these smart vacuum cleaners can also be set on a schedule, so you’ll come home to a clean house every time.
There are a lot of smart vacuum cleaners on the market, but the Eufy RoboVac 11S is considered to be the best for smart home devices for beginners. This 2.85-inch tall robot vacuum cleaner has powerful suction that’s good at cleaning everything from dirt to pat hair. It can fit under most couches, it’s as quiet as a desk fan, and it has a 100-minute battery life as well. When it runs out of batteries, this robot vacuum will find its way back to its charging base, ensuring it will always be charged.
A smart lock allows you to lock and unlock your front door from anywhere in the world. You can even get smart locks with geofencing, which automatically locks the door when you’re far enough away from home.
Smart locks don’t only keep people out, they also allow you to let people in when you’re not at home. You won’t have to leave a key under the mat with a smart lock, you can just give your guests a digital code that lets them unlock the door for a set period of time.
One of the best smart locks for beginners is the Kwikset Convert Smart Lock because it only takes a few minutes to set up. This smart lock only replaces the internal hardware of your lock, so you can keep using your existing keys. This is also one of the only smart locks that works with Amazon Key, so you can let delivery drivers drop your packages inside your home.
A smart thermostat can save you a lot of money on heating and cooling bills by letting you change the temperature from anywhere in the world. You can also set a smart thermostat on a schedule, so you can turn it off all day and turn it on just before you leave work, so your home will be comfortable when you get there.
Although it is more complicated than many other smart home devices, the Nest Learning Thermostat is still good for beginners because it actually gets smarter over time. It uses artificial intelligence to adapt to the temperature you like at certain parts of the day.
The Nest Learning Thermostat has a simple round shape with a minimalistic design that’s easy to understand. It is also Energy Star certified and compatible with lots of other devices. While a smart thermostat might be more expensive than your current set up, Nest claims that it will save you $131 to $145 a year. That means it will pay for itself after only two years.