Imagine coming home, and all your lights turn on before you get to the door. Then, when you reach the door, it unlocks before you can even reach for your keys. When you step inside, you ask your smart assistant to play your favorite song, adjust the thermostat, and review all the videos recorded by your smart doorbell that day. This might sound like the future, but it’s a reality now. Here’s how to set up your smart home so you can do all this and more.
How to Set Up a Smart Home
Since there are just so many smart home devices on the market, we suggest starting with one or two smart home devices at first. Consider the benefits of each of the following smart gadgets to see how to set up your smart home.
Start With a Smart Assistant
With a smart speaker, you get a smart assistant that lets you control your smart home gadgets with simple voice commands. For example, once you get an Amazon Echo, you can say, “Alexa, turn on my lights in the living room.” Then, all of your smart lights in that room will turn on. It’s that simple.
Aside from helping you control your smart lights, a smart speaker can help you manage your or your family’s schedules, summarize the top news stories of the day, tell you what the weather will be like today, and so much more. You can make calls, learn new languages, listen to audiobooks, expand your vocabulary, or sleep better at night with the help of soothing sounds. On their own, smart assistants are essential in any modern home. It should be one of your first purchases when you set up a smart home.
The most popular smart speakers on the market are the Amazon Echo with Alexa, Google Home with the Google Assistant, and the Apple HomePod with Siri. However, you don’t need a smart speaker to get the benefits of a smart assistant, since they already live in your smartphone. It is entirely possible for you to control all of your other smart devices with Siri on your iPhone, or with the Google Assistant on your Android device.
Here are the best smart home devices you should consider when setting up a smart home for the first time:
Smart Light Bulbs
Not only are smart lights some of the most affordable smart home devices on the market, but they are also quite easy to set up. All you have to do is screw them in and connect them to your smart assistant with an app. Then, you can control your smart lights with your smart assistant, or you can program them using the app. They can be switched on according to your schedule, or according to when the sun sets. You can even control the color and brightness levels on certain models.
Smart bulbs also consume less energy than regular light bulbs. Most smart lights are Energy Star Certified, which means they use up to 90% less energy than standard bulbs, according to Energy Star. LED bulbs also last at least 15 times longer, making them more cost-efficient in the long run.
Smart bulbs can also provide better home security, since they can come with motion detection features. They can be especially useful when you install them in your yard or on your porch. When they detect motion, they can turn on and send you an alert on your smartphone.
One top brand to consider for your first set of smart bulbs is Philips Hue. Here are other reasons why you should switch to smart bulbs.
Smart locks offer you convenience and security in one package. With a smart lock, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your keys again. Some models will lock when you leave the house, and unlock when you get close to the door. Other models come with keypads that let you unlock the door with a code, while others allow you to operate the lock remotely with a smartphone app. This way, you can let guests in, while keeping strangers out.
Smart Video Doorbells
Once you have a smart lock, you can feel even more secure with a smart video doorbell. Even when you’re not at home, your video doorbell will let you see who is at the door and talk to them in real-time.
Most video doorbells will send you alerts when someone rings your doorbell. Many of them will also record video when the built-in motion detectors go off. With a smart lock and a video doorbell together, you can see who is at your door and unlock it for them – even if you’re away on vacation. This way, you won’t have to leave a key under the mat again.
If you want to know which video doorbell you should choose, take our quiz here.
Smart Home Security Camera
With a smart home security system, you get a 24/7 live video feed of your home, so you can have peace of mind when you’re away. Depending on which model you choose, you can receive alerts whenever motion or sounds are detected, or if there is a change in air contaminants, humidity, or temperature.
Some smart home security systems will also let you hear what’s going on in your house in real-time. Then, you can use a two-way microphone to talk to any guests or intruders. Many smart home security systems will also alert the police the moment a break-in is detected.
If you’re still using a traditional thermostat to monitor your home’s temperature, you can save you a lot of money by switching to the smart version.
Some smart thermostats can detect if a room is occupied or not. If it senses that there are no people in the room, it will switch off automatically. This can save you lots of money, especially if you tend to forget to switch off your thermostat when you leave the house. You can save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling if you use a smart thermostat in your home, according to Energy Star.
With a smart thermostat, you can turn up the heat using your phone, so your house will be nice and cozy before you leave the office. You can also get useful data about your energy consumption, which can save you even more money.
If you want to know which smart thermostat is right for you, take our quiz here.
Smart home devices can even help you with cooking and cleaning. You can get a robot vacuum cleaner that will clean your floors for you. The best robot vacuums can be programmed to clean certain areas of your home, and they will go back to their charging cradle once the battery is drained.
In the kitchen, you have refrigerators that can order ingredients for you when you run out, and cooking gadgets that can heat your dishes to precise temperatures. With smart kitchen devices, you can take the guessing game out of food preparation. You’ll know the right recipes to cook, according to what you have in your pantry.
Smart Home Theater
While the previous smart home devices will make your life easier and provide extra security, smart soundbars, TVs, and home theater devices can make it more fun.
Many home theater devices can be integrated with smart speakers. This gives you voice control over what you want to watch or listen to. You simply ask Alexa to turn on your TV, start your favorite show, and turn up the volume.
If you set up smart lights, you can program the perfect mood lighting for movie night. And, before you know it, you will have a smart home that will be the envy of the whole neighborhood.
How to Set Up a Smart Home on a Budget
All you need to set up a smart home is a few cheap smart plugs. With a smart plug, you can turn your regular appliances into smart devices. All you have to do is plug any electronic device into your smart plug, and you can control it using a mobile app or smart speaker.
For instance, you can plug your old coffee maker into a smart plug and then program it to start making coffee just before your alarm goes off every morning. Then you can also connect your smart plug to your smart speaker, so you can control your appliances with voice commands.
If you want to know more, check out our list of best smart plugs from top brands.
Is Your Home Ready to be Smart?
Before you start setting up your smart home, it is important to know whether your home is ready to be smart. This involves monitoring your WiFi connectivity and checking if you have the proper wiring for certain smart home devices. Some smart doorbells, for instance, require specific wiring in order to work.
To make this part of the process easy, we suggest you turn to the professionals. HelloTech offers a home technology checkup with our Smart Home Plus memberships. This includes a service that will determine whether your home is ready for smart home tech.