Today, putting together a seamless smart home setup doesn’t have to be expensive. Find out how to create one on a budget.
Looking for that luxury smart home experience but for a DIY price?
There are a ton of smart home products available on the market now. Just go search Amazon and you’ll see thousands of results and a variety of different categories for smart lighting, entertainment, comfort and security.
Smart home hubs
With Amazon’s Alexa home app, Google Home, Apple’s Home (previously HomeKit) or Samsung SmartThings, you can connect products from a variety of different companies and get them to work together. Create automations and routines — for instance, turning lights on a dim setting in the evening when motion is detected or turning on a fan when a room gets too hot compared to the rest of the home.
You don’t always need to spend top dollar for expensive products like Philips Hue. There are affordable lighting alternatives available from companies like Govee. These can be set up to create cool effects for holidays or to show support for your team on game day.
Smart home locks
If you purchase compatible devices you can integrate across product categories. Many smart locks can be controlled and monitored within security apps like Ring which includes doorbells, cameras and sensors. You don’t need to pay for expensive proprietary security systems with long-term contracts. Most smart home and security platforms are easy to install on your own.
Smart control panels
Smart control panels used to be reserved for luxury homes, but now you can install a simple tablet on the wall with some smart apps. Alternatively, use an off-the-shelf device such as an Echo Show or Google Hub to control devices throughout your home in one central location.
Smart switches and plugs
Advances in smart switch technology have made them more affordable and compatible in older homes that may not have a neutral wire such as Lutron Caseta. Zooz is a popular option that connects via Z-Wave. These can be controlled remotely through a compatible hub. Both are superior options compared to Wi-Fi switches which tend to bog down wireless networks.
Smart plugs and products like the SwitchBot can be used to make some everyday appliances smart. With these, you can set up a routine to have your coffee ready for you 10 minutes after you get out of bed, or simply turn off devices that may use a lot of power when not in use.
Smart pet products
There is even affordable smart technology for pets including RFIDs and Apple smart tags. These can be used to automatically open a patio door to let dogs in and out, a true luxury feature at a DIY price.
Security camera systems used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, but now you can get a good wireless camera for around $250 that comes loaded with features. When connected to your home network, you can now check in on your property 24/7 from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
Modern home networks allow you to monitor activity and even disconnect devices at bedtime. Mesh networks are great for smart homes with a lot of devices and provide a strong connection for streaming videos from cameras and on your smart TVs. Now, with TV immersion kits and LED strips, you can add dynamic backlighting to any screen that will wow your guests.
August makes smart cabinet locks to help keep kids out of areas like liquor cabinets or under the sink where cleaning supplies might be kept. These are great for retrofitting using existing hardware, work well for Airbnb and provide peace of mind.
None of the products mentioned in this article cost more than a couple of hundred dollars each. Most DIY smart home enthusiasts will end up spending a couple of thousand dollars to do their whole home, but even that is a fraction of what some of the luxury systems might cost.