3 smart home devices worth spending extra (and 2 that aren't)

Cupertino, January 30, 2021

Everyone loves to save money, but the consequences of buying cheap smart home devices sometimes outweigh the low price.

We will show you three devices that are worth spending extra and two categories in which you can pay less without sacrificing quality.

Buy the best deals

1. Smart home security

Security camera on beige stucco wall

While it can be tempting to get rid of a security system for your home, remember that it is the first line of defense in protecting your family and valuables. Therefore, it is worth the extra cost to buy a system that offers quality services and durable hardware. For a good security system, expect to spend $ 100 or more and plan to buy the best thing you can afford.

Systems from companies such as Ring, Simplisafe and Abode are all supported by 24/7 monitoring for a small monthly fee. Many of these systems send instant notifications to your smartphone. Many also come with support for multiple entry points. Some systems use high-end motion sensors to detect intruders and even recognize the sound of broken glass.

Many manufacturers offer high levels of customization. Some, such as the Ring system, offer DIY installation. Others, like Abode, offer professional installation for a few extra dollars. Quality systems have the integration of Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home, so you can arm and disarm your security system using your voice.

Although $ 100 or more seems like a significant purchase, consider the total dollar value of the people and property in your home. With this in mind, these systems offer excellent protection at a reasonable price. Although expensive, a quality security system gives homeowners peace of mind.

2. Garage door openers

Pink house with three garage doors and hedge

If you want to automate your garage door beyond the standard button in the vehicle, then a smart garage door opener is for you. However, there are two ways to approach this project.

The first is to purchase a wireless garage door opener control unit. The other option is to purchase a garage door opener that comes with smart home technology already installed. The latter does not need a separate controller.

Both options have their merits. Usually, a smart controller for the garage door can be obtained for about 50 USD. While some of these controllers work well, concern about reliability is something to consider for cheap devices. For $ 50 or more, you'll find reliable controllers that work with major brands like Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

If you are installing an opener for the first time, a smart integrated garage door opener could be more cost effective. Instead of requiring a separate controller, these smart openers have the controller built-in. Complete units are usually retail for about $ 250.

When considering the number of years the garage door opener will operate, an integrated unit is often the best choice.

For all-in-one units, both Genie and Chamberlain have a number of different options available for less than $ 300.

For controllers, we suggest you select something like Chamberlain MyQ or Meross MSG 100. These two controllers have simple installation, similar functionality, a dedicated application and easy operation. It also works pretty well.

Both support Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. Chamberlain MyQ is slightly less expensive than Meross, but contains a unique feature - Amazon turnkey delivery. If you are constantly receiving Amazon packages, you have a problem with porch pirates, or you prefer that packages not be left out in bad weather, then this service may prove valuable to you.

If the idea of ​​an Amazon delivery driver putting you in space makes you feel uncomfortable, we understand. But don't cancel the MyQ opener yet. There is also an option to purchase an Amazon Key compatible room to monitor garage deliveries or you can choose to opt out of the Key service. You do not need to use MyQ.

Related: How to automate your garage door with a Raspberry Pi


3. Smart devices

Turnkey oven with shiny elements

The range of smart devices available is growing. Robotic vacuum cleaners, smart ovens, combinations of washing machines and dryers and many other large appliances are all available with smart technology installed.

By choosing one or more of these products, you strengthen your commitment to the smart lifestyle of the home in the next few years or more. So, don't be tempted to save some money when shopping. It is always advisable to buy the best you can afford.

In fact, we recommend that if you are forced to choose between a cheap smart device and a high-quality "stupid" device, you should choose the latter. We think you will be much happier. However, if you have decided that intelligence is the way to go, we recommend that you buy items that come with a minimum 12-month warranty for parts and labor.

Unfortunately, some smart device warranties do not mention key firmware updates, despite the constant change in technology. This means that if you have security issues with one or more of your smart devices, these issues may not be corrected quickly or at all.

In addition, it is unclear whether most homeowner's insurance policies or extended home warranties will cover smart devices. For these reasons, we suggest that you make warranty an important issue when making major decisions about smart devices. We also suggest that you check your homeowner's insurance policy or a home warranty to determine if these devices will be covered if one fails.

Save money on these devices

1. Smart plugs

White plugs on a white background

Thanks to the current offers available, we believe that buying expensive sockets for smart homes is not in your best interest. Wyze, Kasa and Samsung offer plugs that do almost everything you need them, without breaking the bank.

Smart plugs are also the easiest port of entry into smart home technology and give you a chance to test how a smart home setup can make your life easier.

We suggest that you do not spend more than about $ 30 for a single plug, although many could be consumed for about half of this cost. Some even offer two or more outlets for about $ 20.

Related to: IFTTT Automations to Try with a Smart Plug or Light Bulb

2. Smart bulbs

Vladmir Mokry bulbs on ropes inside with window in the background

Almost every smart home manufacturer has a range of smart light bulbs. Four packs of color-changing bulbs, compatible with Amazon Alexa, from companies like Sylvania can be purchased for about $ 30.

We believe that these bulbs are great to start building your smart home without too much commitment. If they work for you, you can always upgrade to more extensive systems, such as Philips Hue.

But if you find that you don't use smart light bulbs very often, then it's easier to cancel a $ 30 purchase than a $ 200 mistake.

Make the most of your smart home budget

With so many smart devices on the market today, it can be difficult to determine where you can cut costs. Security products, large appliances, and products that allow access to your home are always worth spending a little more on.

But products like light bulbs and smart plugs don't have to be expensive to work well. With this list in mind, you can save money without worrying about making a bad purchase decision.

And once you get into smart home devices, you can do much more than use smart sockets for automation.

configure the smart plug shown
How to set up a smart connector for home automation

Have you bought a smart plug, but don't know how to set it up? Here's how to put one together for use with your home.

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