The 27 Best Smart Home Devices – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
When The Jetsons aired in 1962, a wisecracking robotic maid named Rosey seemed like something out of a science fiction novel. Fast-forward 60 years, and a robotic vacuum—with less sass—is just one of many smart-technology devices people have in their homes.
“Virtually everything in your home has the potential to become smarter,” says Ibrahim Mawri, a smart-technology expert and the founder of Electric Ride Lab, an education platform focused on green energy. “From your thermostat to your lights, everything around you could benefit from an upgrade to the latest technologies.”
Brian Harrington’s house is a prime example. Harrington, a product marketing manager for a bitcoin company, outfitted his home in Menifee, Calif., with an array of smart devices, including smart locks, cameras, a Roomba, an automatic pet feeder and a smart thermostat. He’s among a growing horde of smart home enthusiasts. More than half of U.S. consumers purchased at least one smart device for their home during the pandemic, a Xiaomi survey found.
Fortunately for budget-conscious consumers, smart home technology is becoming more affordable. “When I started covering smart tech in 2015, most smart home devices were luxury goods,” says David Priest, a smart-technology review editor at CNET.com. “Now the average consumer can purchase smart lighting for under $10 and even video doorbells for under $100.”
Smart tech can increase a home’s value, and some smart home products help trim utility bills. Seven out of 10 home buyers say they’re looking for a smart home, and 78% say they’re willing to pay more for a house with smart devices already installed, according to a recent Security.org survey.
Ready to make your house smarter? We have ideas for each space in your home as well as smart ways to control your devices.
Editor’s Note: Most prices are as of early June and may have changed.
Smart Devices Throughout the House
Lighting. A smart light bulb is a great product for smart home newbies, says Nicholas Millette, a smart home expert at The Home Depot, and the bulbs are cheap and easy to set up. A typical smart bulb lets you adjust a bulb’s brightness from your phone and program the light to turn on or off at certain times of the day. Brian Davis, a Philadelphia real estate investor and founder of SparkRental, a landlord-support software company, uses a Teckin smart bulb (starts at $11.50) to set the mood for intimate dinners at home. “When I cook a nice meal for my wife, I switch it to a low brightness, warm white setting,” he says.
Thermostat. A smart thermostat gives you the ability to regulate your home’s heating and cooling and set temperature schedules using a mobile app, enabling you to maximize energy efficiency. It can also shave money off your home’s heating and cooling bills. Larry Snider, the vice president of operations at Casago Vacation Rentals, installed a Google Nest Learning Thermostat (about $249) in his Scottsdale, Ariz., home last year. “It’s been a game changer,” he says. “It optimizes the temperature in my home by regulating the AC and heat in the most effective way possible so that I’m not wasting electricity.” Snider says the device, which is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, saves him about $17 to $19 a month on energy …….