It is not uncommon for apartment-dwellers to agree to a “no alteration” clause when signing a contract with a landlord or building manager. In fact, this is pretty much standard operating procedure. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the latest smart home tech. You might not have as many options, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the best smart home devices for renters.
Best Smart Home Devices for Apartments
When setting up a smart home in a rental apartment, you should look for smart home devices that:
Are easy to install
Do not require drilling or complex wiring
You can take with you when you move
With this in mind, here’s our list of the best devices for apartments:
Smart Speakers & Displays
A smart speaker or display is a must-have for smooth smart home management, whether you rent or own. There are many types of smart speakers and digital assistants, but the most popular one is Alexa.
We can’t recommend Alexa enough, especially for apartment-dwellers. As the most popular digital assistant, Alexa is compatible with most smart devices. You can get Alexa on the Amazon Echo, or check out our list of the best Alexa speakers.
Alexa can listen for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and breaking glass and send an alert to your smartphone. You can also ask Alexa to drown out the noise coming from the unit next door by playing some music. Alexa can also play nature sounds, so you can take a break from living in the middle of the concrete jungle.
Smart Security Cameras
Not all renters are lucky enough to live in a building with security personnel and lobby staff. If anyone can come and go in your hallways, a smart security camera is definitely one of the best smart home devices for renters.
There are several types of smart security cameras that you can choose from. We suggest looking into wireless ones or, at the very least, something that is extremely easy to install. You will want to avoid any devices that require complicated tinkering with your building’s wiring.
The Blink Indoor Home Security Camera is one of our favorites. It’s completely wire-free and will last up to two years running on two AA lithium batteries. You simply place it on a shelf, download the app, and you’re all set.
If your building doesn’t allow you to install dimmer switches, you can always get a smart bulb. In fact, if your budget allows, we recommend replacing all the bulbs in your home with smart ones. This way, you can control all the lights in your apartment with your voice or by using your phone.
Do you need special sockets for these bulbs? Not at all! You screw them into your existing sockets, download the app for them to your phone, and you’re all set. Depending on the brand and specifications, you can change the bulb’s color, dim them according to your preferences, switch them on or off remotely, or integrate them with your security camera.
Smart plugs allow you to control your regular electronic appliances like smart home devices. And no, they do not require special wiring. You simply plug them into your apartment’s existing outlet, and they’ll be ready for use right away. Just like the bulbs above, we suggest getting more than one smart plug. In fact, go ahead and splurge on a smart power strip.
If you don’t know where to start, check out our list of the best smart plugs on the market today.
Smart Leak Sensor
When you rent, you typically don’t have control of your apartment’s pipes. Leaks happen out of the blue, and they happen when the maintenance manager is out on holiday. To give you peace of mind, consider a battery and Wi-Fi-powered leak detector. It doesn’t need wires can be placed where flooding or leaking is most likely to occur.
Setting Up a Smart Home in an Apartment: What to Avoid
We recommend avoiding smart home devices that need to be set up with complex wiring. A thermostat, for instance, will permanently be wired into the wall. Even if you install it without a hitch, you might not be able to take it with you when you move. Smart devices that require access to your circuit breakers should be avoided as well.