The year of 2017 was quite eventful for the smart home automation industry. You got to explore a lot of different facets of this technology. And because of that, your home feels a lot better today. The next year, 2018, has even bigger surprises for you. And you would want to know all about it.
There is so much that you can control with utmost ease with the latest range of smart home automation devices present in the market. Whether it is home security, lighting, music or any other aspect; you can control them all with the freshly launched smart home gadgets.
Before you line up to buy your favorite or all of them, you might want to do a bit of research. Now, you might spend days and days doing your fair share of the research and compare work. Or you can just keep reading and know it all.
Next Chapter in Smart Home Automation
- 1 Top Rated Smart Home Products – 2018
- 2 Conclusion
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. What was considered savvy yesterday becomes obsolete by tomorrow! But, if you are comfortable with the smart home setup of your home. Then you should just keep on enjoying it.
Or, you can take a look at the latest models. Sometimes it is those crucial things that we wish in our favorite equipment. They are already amazing but there is always some room for the improvement. You never know when your payers get answered and you end up with the smart device of your dreams.
There is a lot that you can upgrade to your smart home at present too. But the time and budget constraints always hinder your plans. That is why we have come up with this smart guide to lighten your workload. You can browse and make the right selection within seconds with this guide!
Top Rated Smart Home Products – 2018
We are about to discover the best that the home automation industry has to offer in the cyber market. Keep reading to know which home automation system will go perfectly with your home sweet home. And which could have been an unfortunate choice if you had zoned out after this sentence!
1. Smart Home Starter Kits and Hubs
When you want one King to rule them all but can’t seem to find it, you settle for the next best thing! These hubs and starter kits come with all the works you might need to get your automation party started. The weatherproof sensors, Wi-Fi enabled hubs and interactive apps together simplify your life for the better.
a. Insteon 2244-234 Starter Kit
This kit comes with a powerful home automation hub and two dimmer modules. You can get a more detailed review of Insteon Starter Kit here.
• Schedule the smart hub response based on the time of the day.
• Enough framework extensibility to accommodate the automation of entire home.
• Motion sensors and water leak sensors considerably help in bringing the energy and water prices down.
• Can be integrated with your smartphone and Apple watch to control the home setting from within your comfort zone.
• The beginners might find the documentation a bit difficult to follow.
• The Android application has been long overdue for a much-needed update.
b. Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
As the name suggests, this kit is meant for monitoring and controlling your home automation system from anywhere in the world.
• Network your appliances, lighting, security cameras, sensors and thermostat together for that smart futuristic living experience.
• Get instant alerts on your smartphone in case any out of the ordinary activity is detected by the strategically placed sensors.
• This hub is highly compatible with products of several popular brands including the one from Honeywell and Bose.
• You get two multi-purpose sensors, one motion sensor, one hub and outlet with the Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit.
• Some users are facing malfunction issues.
• You might find it problematic to connect with devices beyond 10 feet from the hub.
c. LUTRON P-BDG-PKG2W-A Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Deluxe Starter Kit
This hub is invested in controlling the lighting system of your home including an additional device of your choosing.
• It can control lights of all nature such as the halogen, dimmable LEDs, and the incandescent.
• The Lutron app is absolutely free with this kit and available for both Android and iOS users.
• You get Caseta In-Wall Dimmers with Wallplate, Pico Remote Controls and Smart Bridge with the kit.
• The hub offers seamless compatibility with Ecobee, Nest, Honeywell, the Google Assistant, Logitech and Samsung SmartThings.
• You might encounter flickering issues while dimming the light.
• The dimmer is not functional with the three-way switch.
d. Amazon Echo
It is the perfect option to merge all your music collections and play them with the ease of voice activation.
• Enjoy the 360º Omni-directional immersive audio quality.
• The sound sensors pick your voice even when the music is on from across the room.
• Its functionality can also be extended to other home appliances with products from Philips Hue, WeMo, Nest, and Ecobee.
• Also comes handy to read out loud the weather update, traffic news, audiobooks using Audible and Alexa Voice Service.
• The hub is not compatible with the Smart TV models as of now.
• The portability problem makes it a necessity to plug it in whenever you want to use it.
e. Echo Dot (2nd Generation)
The second generation update of Amazon Echo streamlines the entertainment with daily chores for you.
• Can easily connect headphones and speakers for playing your favorite music from Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.
• Can be connected via both stereo cable and Bluetooth depending upon the connectivity options available in the other device.
• The Echo hardware is highly portable and sleeker than the previous version.
• The built-in speaker lets us wear multiple hats and serve you perfectly for different applications.
• It still does not provide audio support for multiple zones.
• The microphone does not function well in a noisy location.
2. Smart Lighting
If you want to light up your mood every time you turn on the lights, go with the smart lighting system. It lets you turn the lights on, off and set the brightness level with just a few quick clicks. Explore every color of the rainbow through these artificial fireflies that are thankfully not limited to the wilderness.
a. MagicLight Pro Bluetooth Smart LED Light Bulb
With a color palette of over 16 million colors, there is a lot that you can expect from this smart light bulb. You get the perfect solution to get rid of all your too bright or too feeble lighting troubles. You get an energizing morning, entertaining evenings and relaxing sleep with its varied mood lighting features.
• You can use these bulbs individually or together depending upon your budget requirement.
• The installation and monitoring of these bulbs can be done very effectively with its mobile app.
• You only need a tablet or smartphone to change the lighting in your room to match your mood.
• You can schedule various modes including ‘sunrise’, ‘sunset’ and ‘vacation’ seamlessly through the app.
• Synchronization issues might arise between the app and the smart light bulb.
• Sometimes you might encounter a buzzing sound when you install these bulbs with old switches.
b. Maximus Smart Home Security Outdoor Light and Camera
The light and security camera duo by Maximus Smart Home lets you finally take that sigh of relief. This seemingly decorative outdoor light does a fine job of secretly monitoring everything happening on the other side of the door. The voice-controlled functionality extended by Amazon Alexa makes it a must-have for a safer home.
• The two-way intercom facility lets you be home even when you are out conquering the world.
• The smart motion detectors send alerts directly to your phone within seconds of detecting any suspicious activity.
• Full HD live streaming and recording facility lets you keep a track of the day-to-day activities without much trouble.
• The 720P wide-angle camera, 100 dB alarm siren, and smart light control keep you well aware of your surroundings.
• You need to pay the subscription fees for enjoying the advanced features.
• The absence of a helpful phone support makes the installation process a chore for the technically inexperienced folks.
c. TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
You just need to say it out loud with TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb. The Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice support let your mood reflect in your room lightening within few seconds. It gives 2700K soft warm white light and glows at least as bright as the average 50 Watt bulb.
• The technical support is available round the clock at no extra charge.
• It comes with a 2-year warranty to ensure you that you have invested in the right product.
• You can connect it to your home router without the need of buying another dedicated hub.
• You can set specific alarms, countdowns, and timers to make this light bulb work around your schedule.
• You have to pair the bulb with your home router everytime you turn it back on after a long while.
• The ‘away’ feature, wherein the bulb will randomly turn on to give the impression that someone is home for safety reasons, is missing.
3. Smart Home Appliances
You can also take baby steps with the automation process by going for one smart appliance at a time.
You can save a fortune on energy bills while enjoying the best living experience. Make your home icy cool or warm and cozy. Give a new spin to that ceiling fan of yours. Or better yet, purify every molecule of air you inhale.
Do all this and more with just a single tap!
a. GermGuardian CDAP4500BCA WiFi Smart 4-in-1 Air Cleaning System
If you are looking for a reliable and smart air purifier system, go for this model. It comes with voice support from none other than Amazon Alexa. The Wi-Fi enabled setting lets you browse and regulate the air makeup of your residence any time of the day.
• It comes with its very own app to simplify its usage from anywhere and any time of the day.
• It minimizes odors, germs, and allergens to make sure that you breathe easy at home.
• The True HEPA filter traps 99.97 % of the allergens to help you and your family with their allergy troubles.
• The UV-C light and charcoal filters work upon the undesirable odors and germs to fill your home with only fresh and clean air.
• The bright indicator light remains on even at night thus making it a bit difficult to sleep in pitch dark as one might prefer.
• The app might drain your battery power even when not in use.
b. Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
This third generation thermostat is best for you if you want a device that can sense your temperature requirements.
• Within a week it would be able to learn your temperature setting patterns and program itself accordingly.
• You can benefit from the voice control feature by pairing it up with Amazon Alexa.
• It automatically goes into power saving mode when one is at home.
• The Wi-Fi connection helps you control the home setting conveniently with your tablet or phone from anywhere.
• It might try to charge its batteries first when any of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are running.
• It does not display the actual temperature of the room but only its own temperature setting.
To know how the Nest 3 compares to its other two competitors, you need to check this one out:
c. SYLVANIA LIGHTIFY by Osram – Smart Home LED Flex Strip RGBW Expansion Kit
This expansion kit ensures that you have full control over your home lighting system. It also offers access to certain interesting lighting options.
• It produces bright RGB and White light for the lighting system that it powers.
• These flex strips have extremely flexible yet rigid body for durable use.
• The app lets you monitor and regulate its features via your tablet or phone at any moment.
• You get unlimited mood lighting options with a palate of over thousand colors.
• The connectors have to be purchased separately.
• The color options might seem a bit washed out sometimes.
d. Haiku Home L Series Smart Ceiling Fan
The market has been ripe for the advent of such a smart ceiling fan for quite a while. It is about time you update your living room too!
• The Wi-Fi connectivity lets you manage its functionality from near or far with the same ease.
• Let Amazon Alexa pass on your message to this smart addition to your home in seconds.
• It exceeds the efficiency requirement by 450% and is the rightful holder of Energy Star certification.
• It offers good coverage for both indoor and outdoor settings in a hassle-free manner.
• The plastic body disappoints the metal gloss fans.
• The installation process can be time-consuming even if you are a pro.
Read a more detailed review of Haiku fans here.
4. Smart Kitchen Appliances
Cooking is an art. And with the right and smart tools, everyone can be Gordon Ramsay (minus the explosive temper!).
And when you are not busy panning out restaurant quality food, you can brew barista-quality beverages, both hot and chilled.
In short, you get to remove the mess from your cooking regime and make more space for Instagram-worthy spreads.
a. Mr. Coffee Smart Wifi-Enabled WeMo 10-Cup Optimal Brew Coffeemaker
If you want your coffee to wake up even before you do then go with Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker.
• You can use the coffee maker both with and without the app.
• Enjoy the artisanal style coffee brew with its Optimal Brew Technology.
• It works effortlessly with both Amazon Alexa and Echo.
• The single coffee pot fills up to 10 cups of coffee so that everyone gets their coffee right on time.
• It lacks the hot plate for keeping the carafe warm for hours.
• The WEMO app is not as user-friendly as one would expect it to be.
b. Crock-Pot SCCPWM600-V2 WeMo Smart WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker
Now use your Wi-Fi to control the temperature as well the time for which you will be slow cooking your favorite recipe.
• Easy access to all the features of this appliance through the WeMo app.
• The three heat setting lets you customize the cooking experience according to your imminent needs.
• The WeMo app is available for both Apple and Android users for this appliance.
• The6-quart capacity makes it your perfect companion for every big and small get together.
• The absence of the locking lid requires you to be delicate with its handling process.
• The blinking amber and yellow lights don’t guide you efficiently through the various steps involved.
c. Anova Culinary Bluetooth Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Enjoy the thorough and accurate cooking style of Anova Precision Cooker with every averagely sized utensil in your kitchen.
• Follow the chef recommended ‘sous vide’ technique to cook intricate recipes with utmost finesse.
• Sink your teeth into restaurant quality food on a daily basis which will be impossible without this smart gadget.
• The Bluetooth connectivity makes sure you can enjoy your favorite shows and cook simultaneously without burning the house down.
• This device is very easy to incorporate into your cooking style without investing in any other fancy equipment.
• The Bluetooth range for this smart kitchen accessory is only 20 feet.
• The app interface can use an update or two.
5. Smart Home Security
Just because you don’t live in a fort does not mean you can’t get the royal treatment when it comes to security.
Keep your virtual eyes on your home round the clock with these razor sharp security widgets and sleep as carefree as a baby every night.
Listen and see everything with extra clarity when you are away. Get instant alerts when you need to be aware of something urgent and rest of the time, just relax.
a. Nucleus Anywhere Intercom with Amazon Alexa
Be just seconds away from everyone you love with the smart family communication device of Nucleus Anywhere Intercom.
• The communication network extends from opposite sides of the room till opposite sides of the country.
• Alexa support lets you make video and audio calls whenever you want with premium comfort.
• You can use Ethernet or WiFi to connect it to the internet.
• Nucleus companion mobile app keeps you connected with your family on both Apple and Android smartphones.
• It lacks the basic ‘Page All’ intercom feature.
• The ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode is also missing in its software.
b. Schlage Connect BE469NX CAM 619 Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm with Camelot Trim
Forget the old lock and key methods for home security and let a smart lock system guard your dream home, day and night.
• Lock and unlock your home anytime via phone or online with the help of cutting-edge Z – technology.
• The three alert modes, namely – forced entry, temper and activity lets you sense you the gravity of the situation immediately.
• Leave no trace about the security codes with the help of Fingerprint-resistant touchscreen.
• It has been given the ‘ANSI Grade 1’ security rating considering its impenetrable security cover.
• The battery usage might become a problem if you use it multiple times in a day.
• The app is of no use without a pre-existing home security system.
Read a detailed comparison between Schlage Sense and Connect here.
c. EZVIZ Outdoor 720p Video Security Surveillance System
Zoom in on the smallest activity happening in the vicinity with the 4 HD cameras visual you secure thanks to the EZVIZ Security Surveillance System.
• The vast inbuilt 1TB hard drive lets you record anything and everything that you feel crucial to track.
• The weatherproof feature of these HD cameras adds to their full-proof security shield.
• Make nights even more secure with the ‘100ft Night Vision’ feature.
• Suitable procedures are set in place to weed out false alarms.
• The tech support is not of much help when the need arrives.
• The videos do not play smoothly on the app’s interface.
6. Smart Entertainment
Smart automation appliances give a whole new dimension to the world of entertainment. The aim is to make the picture bigger, brighter and more vibrant than you ever imagined.
The sound quality, on the other hand, focusses on more effects and filters to hit that sweet spot between life-like and legendary. Together, this brings to you an entertainment experience worth a million smiles!
a. Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 Next Generation Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Take your music everywhere you go with Cambridge SoundWorks Bluetooth Speaker.
• It is water-resistant which makes it perfect for shower, golf, beaches and any other place you love to hear the music.
• Enjoy crystal clear sound thanks to its dual precision acoustic drivers.
• Listen to the perfect stereo sound and greater bass effect with each track you play.
• Being less than 10 ounces makes it highly portable for day-to-day needs.
• The forward and backward controls are missing from the panel.
• You cannot pair two such speakers together without a Bluetooth adapter.
b. Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The ultimate hands-free way to play your favorite music from miles afar has finally arrived.
• Stream all your playlists from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and iHeartRadio with a single tap.
• Use the amazing Amazon Alexa to use your voice as its central controlling unit.
• Aside from the music, you can also hear weather updates, latest news and even order a scrumptious pizza with this innovation.
• The dual stereo speakers and Dolby-powered sound offer 360º Omni-directional audio.
• Some users are not happy with the sound quality.
• The power does not last as much as other Bluetooth speakers in the market.
c. Sonos PLAYBAR TV Soundbar Wireless Streaming TV and Music Speaker
Listen to the same crisp audio quality as you enjoy your music on your TV too.
• A total of nine amplified speaker drivers delivers the crystal clear sound experience.
• Stream all your favorite tracks in a wireless manner with this dual purpose speaker.
• Perfectly syncs up with other Sonos speakers to offer a truly amazing surround sound quality throughout the house.
• You can control it with your pre-existing TV remote too with the same ease.
• The home theater setting is not at par with the one users are used to.
• It is quite expensive for the limited number of features it comes with.
d. ViewSonic PRO7827HD 1080p HDMI RGBRGB Rec.709 Lens Shift Home Theatre Projector
Bring the multiplex big screen into your homes with the competent and extraordinary ViewSonic Theatre Projector.
• Feast your eyes on the surreal clarity delivered by it in full HD 1080p.
• It uses a mix of 709 Colour Accuracy, a 100,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio and RGBRGB Colour Technology for that life-like picture.
• It is very much compatible with Blu-ray players, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, Windows, and Mac.
• Its configuration is suitable for a variety of purposes including high definition presentations, gaming, and lively multimedia entertainment.
• It does not show movies in 1080p high quality.
• The documentation does not help much in figuring out any lesser known feature of the product.
Click here to find out which is the best quality projector under $200.
7. Smart Home Utility
On a slow day, you have a million house errands to run. And this chaos wreaks havoc on your peace of mind on a daily basis.
The best way to get rid of this never-ending cycle is prompt and smart home automation. Let the chores work themselves out as you sit calmly in your backyard and read your favorite comic strips like you used to before life got in the way!
a. ACEMAX Smart Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier Works with Alexa
Aware of the aromatic therapy? Yes? Ok, so you must have bought this amazing oil diffuser humidifier by now. What, you haven’t?! Well, you need to read the review below!
• You can easily control it through the app and make the room more or less fragrant as per choice.
• There is no need to buy an additional hub to remotely control it through your smart gadgets.
• Its smart sensors offer the automatic shutdown functionality too.
• It serves the dual purpose of humidifying and freshening up the ambiance.
• The communication between the app and the actual device is not ideal.
• The app can only be used to turn the diffuser on or off.
b. Chamberlain MYQ-G0201 MyQ-Garage
Get rid of the garage door worries once and for all with this remarkable next-generation product.
• Monitor your garage door from anywhere now.
• Get instant notifications on your smartphone about any activity related to the garage door.
• Works perfectly with a variety of popular garage door openers.
• The quick and easy installation makes it a must-have for all kinds of homeowners.
• You might miss the IFTTT while using it.
• The option for automatic door closure is not yet available.
c. Samsung POWERbot R9040 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum
After the air, it is time to automate the floor cleaning part and making it easier than ever for years to come.
• Almost ten times greater suction power delivers drastically better results.
• FullViewSensorTM and Visionary Mapping Plus help to make a uniform sweep throughout the target area.
• WiFi and Alexa connectivity makes it easy for you to instruct and monitor the cleaning process.
• CycloneForce Technology makes for a clog-free and powerful performance.
• The cleaning cannot be performed effectively over the patterns.
• Its heavy body makes portability an issue.
d. Accutracking VTPlug TK373 3G Real-Time Online GPS OBD II Vehicle Tracker
Vehicle tracking just got a whole lot simpler with the introduction of Accutracking VTPlug Real-Time tracker.
• It comes with roaming SIM card for best results.
• There are no hidden charges other than the subscription plan.
• You can pick from four different plans priced at $12.99/$15.99/$20.99/$25.99 to suit your budget.
• Enjoy real-time GPS tracking round the clock and any day of the week.
• There is no app to extend its functionality to our laptop screens.
• The monthly fee makes it a costly service overall.
Find out the reviews of the best item trackers available in the market here.
e. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Keep the small fires from becoming a major tragedy with the help of the incredibly useful Nest Protect alarm.
• WiFi connection keeps you posted about the concerning activities taking place when you are away.
• Its voice support actually tells you the location and nature of the problem.
• You can silence the app directly on your phone too with the help of the Nest app.
• Split-Spectrum Sensor helps in differentiating between fast and slow burning fires.
• The price is quite steep compared to other alternatives in the market.
• You cannot customize the alarm setting to skip any noise sensitive rooms (e.g. baby room, etc.).
f. Rachio Iro 8 Zone Smart Sprinkler Controller
You can save a lot of water, money and time with the help of this quick fix solution to all your watering troubles.
• It smartly adapts to the changing seasons and weather updates.
• This EPA WaterSense Certified appliance helps you in saving over 50% on your total water consumption.
• Easily connects with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and Nest for maximum utility.
• It incorporates the application of proven irrigation science and advanced watering algorithms for stellar performance.
• The replacement adapter is not easily available.
• You lose the connectivity when the servers are down temporarily for maintenance purposes.
8. Luxury Smart Home Ideas
Luxury is not always glittering rubies and velvet robes. Sometimes it is humming along your favorite track in your temperature controlled shower. While other times it is coming home to squeaky clean home without having to even lift a finger.
Smart Home Automation System lets you make the wish and then see it come true with a single swipe!
a. Raumfeld Stereo M Wireless Streaming Bookshelf Speakers
Stream music from any known source through these speakers and listen to your favorite ones all day.
• The WiFi connectivity lets you pair these speakers with a number of music sources.
• The HD sound quality makes the entire listening experience worth every penny.
• You can use the Raumfeld App for the music selection when you don’t want to do it manually.
• Its unprecedented audio quality is achieved by a 3-way arrangement for stereo imaging, incredible sonic detail, and integrated 320-watt amplifier.
• The slot for optical cable connection is missing in the back.
• The app does not offer a great deal of control over the speakers.
b. Moen U Shower Smart Home Connected Bathroom Controller
Taking a shower will be all the more enjoyable now with the myriad of features brought to you by Moen Bathroom Controller.
• You can set and maintain the water temperature till you are ready to take bath.
• The smartphone app, available for both Apple and Android phones, lets you control it effortlessly and efficiently.
• The LCD screen of the controller is WiFi connected and outlet powered.
• The soft touch buttons on the control panel let you regulate the shower manually too with utmost ease.
• The battery backup does not do justice to its price.
• The valve requires a good amount of space for glitch-free installation.
For reviews of some of the best smart shower heads/systems available in the market, click here.
c. iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Getting that spotless clean throughout the home was never so easy until you got the iRobot Vacuum Cleaner.
• The iAdapt 2.0 Navigation comes with the Visual Localization feature for unsupervised end-to-end cleaning.
• The battery backup lasts for whole 120 minutes.
• It has been programmed to recharge itself automatically and repeat until the assigned job is finished.
• The Carpet Boost feature of the AeroForce Cleaning System offers up to ten times better cleaning.
• Its navigation suffers if the room is poorly lit.
• The mobile app is not fit for effective usage of the device.
Click here to find a detailed comparison of Neato, Roomba and other popular robotic cleaners.
So here we are. You got to know all about the next big thing in the smart home sector for each domain. The premium and the budget-friendly brands are all in your notice now. You will finally be able to make the right choice for your home without a doubt in mind.
The lighting and security gadgets are always evolving a lot sooner than you expect. The features which you are getting in the above-mentioned models might not be present in any of your present smart appliances. But you are hesitating because you have just made the purchase.
In such a case, you can just go for the exchange schemes. There are so many brands that offer a heavy discount if you want to exchange your recently bought and fully functional smart appliances for your next buy.
Only the Best For Your Home
Smart homes are supposed to be updated and well-adapted to your requirements. So before making any purchase, have a clear perspective about what you want in your next upgrade. This way you will be able to always make the smart choice.
This will also ensure that you don’t get swept away in the trend wave. Being updated is a good thing. But blindly following every other smart home trend is not advisable either. So go through this guide carefully. Let that information open you up to the required changes in a gradual manner.
And when you finally zero in on a product, you will know that it is the right addition to your smart home network. Till then, keep reading and do let us know how can we make this guide and this column better for you. We are always eager to listen to your useful suggestions and comments.