Set Up a Smart Home on a Budget
November 30, 2020
Every day, we see new home tech designed to make our lives easier. Connected devices can streamline tasks and information sharing, give us peace of mind, and save us money. But the problem is, many smart home gadgets carry a pretty high price tag. There are plenty of products on the market that appeal to people on a budget, so we put together a list of the smart home trends you can jump on without breaking the bank.
Smart Bluetooth Speakers
Portable Bluetooth speakers are excellent – you can carry them from room to room, you can connect them to any phone or computer in your house, and the sound quality is pretty high. Some smart speakers come with the added bonus of connecting with your Amazon or Google accounts, so you can listen to online playlists or podcasts or just ask about the weather. If you go for later generations, you can often pick these speakers up for under $50.
Smart plugs are easy to install and essentially turn any device into a smart one. For example, you can plug in a coffee maker or a table lamp into a smart plug, and it can run through Alexa or Google Assistant, another smart device, phone app, or even the sound of your voice.
You simply plug it into your outlet, plug something else into it, and then connect the plug with your preferred smart assistant or the smart plug’s app. You can then use your phone or voice to turn it on or off or issue other commands. The Wyze Plug comes in a 2-pack and costs just $14.99, is voice-activated, and allows for custom scheduling.
Smart Light Bulbs
The idea of swapping out all the light bulbs in your house for smart versions might seem way too expensive. But these light bulbs are surprisingly affordable and can allow you to lower energy bills by being able to adjust the lights (including turning them on or off) remotely.
On the fun side, smart light bulbs often offer cool lighting effects, such as colors or patterns, and smart device connectivity. YEELIGHT has a variety of Smart LED lights at relatively low costs.
Home Security Systems
You don’t have to contract through a security company to get the peace of mind that comes with home security. Homeowners can purchase smart security systems that record activity, allow you to speak to visitors, or even contact 911 if there’s a break-in. There are different security tiers – from a single security camera to house-wide contact sensors and alarm systems – so you can choose the level that fits your budget. Something as simple as the Ring Video Doorbell, which is battery-powered, has motion detection, and allows for two-way talk, offers security for around $100.
Smart Heating & Cooling
Here’s where you can start saving some serious money. Smart heating and cooling systems allow homeowners to control each room's temperature, create temperature zones, and set timers, so your home isn’t wasting energy when you’re not there. You can also get systems sophisticated enough to adjust humidity and air quality.
Automated, programmable temperature changes can save you money in the long run. You can program some smart HVAC systems to adjust automatically during specific weather conditions or temperatures. You can find smart heating and cooling systems for just a few hundred dollars. The Google Nest Thermostat, for example, is $129.99 each.
Get ready to meet your new best friend: a robot vacuum! You’ve probably heard of this one before – and have most certainly seen it. A smart vacuum allows you to enjoy a clean home without ever needing to touch your Dyson again. High-end models have smart navigation and learn the layout of your house over time. More affordable options include the VieOli Basic Robot Vacuum Cleaner for under $30.
There are plenty of other smart devices you can purchase for your house – fitness platforms, automated sprinkler systems, smart displays –. Still, we only included the most affordable options to get started. Begin by connecting some of your devices – install a few smart plugs and swap out a few light bulbs – and slowly grow your connectivity over time. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll appreciate turning lights on with an app or checking in on sketchy behavior through your smart security camera. A smart home doesn’t have to cost a second mortgage.