Making, building or turning your home into a smart home I so cool. It’s even cooler when you build it with Alexa or Google Home, one of the very best and most intelligent virtual assistants.
A smart home should be easy to make and ideally it won’t cost you a ton of money. And you don’t need to be a “Smart Home Expert or Technician” in order to build a smart home.
Every Dick and Harry with the right information can build/make a home smart.
As such, this article is a simple DIY Guide to building/making a smart home.
Pros & Cons of Smart Home
Before we jump into the process of building your smart home. Consider some of the pros and cons of running a smart, so you have a better idea of what you are getting into.
Because running a smart home is not all roses.
Cons of Smart Homes
Here are the major cons running a smart home.
1. Expensive to Build
There is a widespread notion that building/running a smart home cost a ton of money. This notion can be true, nonetheless, not generally true.
If you decide to buy expensive smart home devices, of course, the cost of building your smart home will be on the high-end.
But there are now, a ton of cheap smart home devices that will significantly cut down the cost of building your smart home.
Generally, high-end smart homes are expensive to build and run.
2. Threat from Hackers
This is a major cause of concern among smart home owners. Smart home devices connects to the internet, in most instances, making them vulnerable to hackers’ attacks.
But this is no different from your phone or connected car being vulnerable to hackers’ attack.
If you choose smart home devices with advanced and sophisticated security systems, you should be just fine.
Pros of Smart Homes
There are so many benefits of running a smart home. And I know you have reasons why you want to make your home smart. So I will just list practical benefits of running a smart home.
1. Energy Saving
Cost of energy is high in most countries. Having smart home devices that are energy saving can help you cut down your energy bills significantly.
Buying energy efficient smart home devices should be a priority for you in this regard.
This is one of the key benefits of running a smart home. Smart homes gives you control over major devices in your home from any connected location.
You can be able to get different things done while sitting and taking coffee.
This makes your living at home more convenient, you will virtually eliminate small hassles like turning on and off various devices such as TVs, light and thermostats.
Smart home will in many ways make your home more secured. You will worry little about break-ins. Whether you are at home or not, you know your house is under watch.
Smart Homes Devices to Buy and Install Now
There are so many smart home devices in the market today. Almost everything in the traditional homes are getting smart.
In order to make or turn your home into a smart home, you don’t need to get every device in your home to be smart. What you need is to figure out the devices you use often or the devices you really need to be smart and buy those ones.
Making a smart home by yourself is not something that you must do all at once.
It can be a process that will take months or years.
There are so many ways to approach making a smart home.
And one of the best ways is to get the basic smart home devices and then you can gradually buy and install other smart home devices as your taste evolves.
The basic smart home devices you may need to buy now are smart light bulbs, smart plugs, smart thermostat, security cameras and smart home hub.
While considering buying this basic smart home devices, there are two kinds of devices to look into based on your budget.
I recommend you buy either the best devices in terms of quality, the best budget devices or a combination of both.
1. Smart Home Hub to Buy
Smart home hubs are smart devices that enables you control all your smart home devices from one interface.
There are many kinds of smart home hubs. But there is a growing preference to use smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo as the default smart home hub.
For an Alexa or Google smart home, I will recommend buying their budget smart speakers.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is Amazon’s budget smart speaker that come with Alexa. It will not just serve as your smart home hub, it can also function well as your intelligent personal assistant.
The Amazon Echo Dot is budget-friendly, available for $49.99. However, there are regular deals on the Dot which can get you significantly reduced prices.
So, if you are building an Alexa smart home, I recommend you get this or the Amazon Echo (3rd Gen).
Google Nest Mini
Google Nest Mini is Google’s budget smart speaker which features Google Assistant (Google’s virtual assistant). It’s the budget-friendly smart home hub for building a Google Home smart home, available for $49.00.
For better speaker quality, you can just buy the Google Home instead.
Google Assistant which comes with the Google Nest Mini, is a powerful and intelligent personal assistant. Getting a Google Home Mini is getting access to a world-class intelligent smart home hub.
2. Smart Light Bulbs to Buy
Smart light bulbs are cool smart home accessories that enables you control your home lighting from anywhere using your smart home hub or a dedicated app.
Smart homes needs smart lighting to truly look smart.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance is arguably the best smart light bulb in the market.
It’s easy to setup, integrates well with Alexa and Google Home, and has stunning color effects.
The major downside, however, is that it’s expensive.
Wyze Bulb is the cheapest smart light bulb with outstanding qualities. It integrates well with Alexa and Google Home.
You can adjust the brightness and the color temperature of the bulbs using Alexa or Google Home, or a dedicated Wyze App.
The major downside being that it has no color option.
3. Smart Thermostat to Buy
Heating and cooling systems helps us cope with different types of weathers comfortably. And smart heating and cooling systems enables us cope with it intelligently, conveniently and comfortably.
Using smart thermostat you can easily get the temperature in your home well regulated while saving you money.
Smart thermostats can be controlled using a dedicated app or a smart home hub like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat (5th Gen)
The Ecobee Smart Thermostat (5th Gen) is arguably the best smart thermostat overall and that’s also according to Toms’ Guide review.
It works well with Alexa and Google Home, so whether you are building an Alexa or Google Home smart home, this thermostat is a must have.
Beyond acting as you home temperature controller, it can also be used for playing tunes.
Ecobee’s remote sensors has great range and it also has a good battery life.
Although for more options you can also check out Nest Learning Thermostat which also works with Alexa and Google Home.
4. Smart Plugs to Buy
Smart plugs are smart home devices that gives you the ability to turn electrical sockets on and off.
As such, anything you plug to the smart plug can be remotely turn off or on by you either using a dedicated app or your smart home hub.
There are so many clever uses of a smart plug (18 ways smart plugs will make your life easier).
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Wemo Mini Smart Plug is a reasonably priced smart plug that works with Alexa and Google Home to give you control of your electrical sockets.
It can also your home Wi-Fi network to turn devices on and off, and has the capability of telling you how much power you are consuming through its outlets.
TP-Link HS300 is a smart power strip that can enable you turn one outlet into six independently controlled smart outlets.
It also has energy monitoring features that will enable you know how much energy you are consuming through the outlets.
TP-Link HS300 also has three (3) USB ports and works well with Alexa and Google Home.
5. Smart Security Cameras to Buy
Smart home cameras helps you beef up the security of your home.
In 2013, a UNC Charlotte researcher conducted a study on habits of burglars.
The study finds that burglars consider the presence of security cameras before choosing which homes to burgle.
Having a smart security camera allows you to visually monitor what goes on inside and around your home.
There are basically two types of security cameras to consider buying: Indoor and Outdoor Cameras.
Wyze Cam Pan
Wyze Cam Pan is an indoor camera that will give you the best value for your money. While Arlo Pro 3 sells for almost $169.99 for each camera deservedly, the Wyze Cam Pan is available for $29.99 each.
It works with Alexa and Google Home.
The Wyze Cam Pan can automatically detect, tag and track motions within its field of view.
With a 2-way audio, it can listen and talk to anyone.
Arlo Pro 3
Although it’s expensive ($169.99) for my taste, I can’t deny the fact that it’s arguably one of the very best outdoor smart security camera in the market.
It’s an excellent camera that has 2,560 x 2,560 pixel streaming, a built-in siren, built-in spotlight, color night vision and 12x zoom.
Arlo Pro 3 can also be used as an indoor security camera. And works with Alexa and Google Home, an easy to install.
6. Other Smart Home Devices to Consider Buying
i. Smart Robot Vacuums:
These are intelligent devices that can autonomously clear the floor of your home.
ii. Smart TVs:
Smart TVs enables you to easily stream movies and shows, and the intelligent ones like LG TVs with ThinQ also offer voice control and smart home integration.
I recommend buying the LG B9 65inch Class 4K Smart OLED TV as it is a budget LG TV with ThinQ, it also works with Alexa and Google Home.
You can also get Samsung’s 65inch Class Q80R QLED Smart 4K UHD TV, it’s an amazing smart TV that also works with Alexa and Google Home.
iii. Smart Smoke Detectors:
To offer preventive protection to your home, getting a smart smoke detector like the Nest Protect (3rd Gen) is highly recommended.
Nest Protect is a Google product that works with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa.