Last week on the IoT Podcast, Doty called in and left us a voicemail question regarding her new home. She wants to know what five essential smart home devices she should include in her home design.
That’s a tricky question because not everyone wants the same smart gadgets or certain functionality in their house, but we gave this one a go. Here’s what we recommended to Doty:
- Some smart lighting with voice control to start with. Instead of recommending specific brands, it probably makes more sense to consider which assistant platform you want to use first; typically Amazon or Google for most people these days. With Wi-Fi or Bluetooth bulbs, there’s no need for a hub. If you don’t mind a small Zigbee hub or bridge, Philips Hue will do the trick. Consider our favorites such as Cree or Lifx, although C by GE is worth the look as well. If you’d rather go with smart switches instead of bulbs, Lutron with its required hub is our recommendation.
- Mesh Wi-Fi with some wired ethernet ports around the house, preferably in work areas and near televisions. Connectivity is king in the smart home, so don’t skimp here. I use Google Wi-Fi while Stacey’s home network runs on Eero equipment. Netgear’s Orbi and the Linksys Velop system are also excellent.
- A video doorbell and smart door lock. Again, choosing here may depend on your digital assistant platform. For doorbells, Google Home users will do best with the Nest Hello, while Ring is the better choice if you’re an Amazon Echo person. Stacey and I both prefer door locks with a keypad entry system so you don’t need a key. It doesn’t even need to be a smart lock unless you really want to know when the door is open or closed.
- Smart thermostats add a bunch of value in terms of comfort and energy savings. We’re fans of Ecobee mainly because it works well with both Google and Amazon products and uses remote sensors to help regulate temperature. Other thermostats now offer such sensors but Ecobee has supported them for longer.
- No-fee security. While you can get a whole-home security system with a monthly fee, I added the Canary system to my home. I do pay for video storage, but it’s far less than the charge that most security firms charge for their service. Abode and SimpliSafe are other options we recommend. You could even add some low-cost Wyze Cams around the house for very basic home monitoring.
As a bonus tip, we suggest having electrical outlets with USB ports installed where possible. This is great for charging devices or even running some smaller connected devices off of USB.
To hear Doty’s question and our discussion in full, tune in below to this week’s IoT Podcast.