The best smart home devices and systems for 2022


Smart homes are all the rage – and by ‘smart’ we don’t mean stylish. Rather, we are talking about devices and systems that use the Internet of Things to remotely control functions and features throughout the home.

Using an app or web portal, a smart home system lets you control your locks, lights, thermostat, security, and other features through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. You can set one up to automate tasks, like turning on the lights before you get home from work or turning down the heat when you leave for the day. It allows you to check your home when you are traveling.

Not only do you gain comfort, but you can also save money with smart systems. Many home insurance companies offer discounts if you install a security system that includes an alarm, door and window sensors, and motion sensors. And you could save on energy costs by setting your thermostat so you don’t use a lot of heating or cooling when the house is unoccupied.

Unsurprisingly, these benefits make smart home devices an attractive choice, so much so that 69% of US households own at least one smart home item. If you’re in the market, here are some of the latest and greatest gadgets available.

Energy monitors

An energy monitor helps you detect areas of wasted energy by monitoring the electrical power of devices you’re using (or not using, but plugged in). While individual outlets have been around for single outlets for a long time, there are now whole-home power monitors that track appliance usage throughout the home.

For example, the Sense Energy Monitor (one of the most recommended brands) works like a small computer, constantly analyzing where and when the energy is going. This type of tool allows you to monitor the power usage of particular devices (as big as a refrigerator or as small as an iron), make adjustments to reduce power consumption, and work with it. smart assistants to follow voice commands. You can also use it to check whether devices are on or off. But you’ll probably need an electrician to install it, because the monitor is attached to your home’s electrical panel.

Smart locks

Smart locks provide another layer of security, with logs that let you see when someone arrives and leaves in real time. You can check the log to check when your kids are home from school, if the house or pet sitter arrives on time, if UPS dropped off the package as indicated in their email notification. You can also assign temporary codes to those who need short-term access to your home, such as a contractor or real estate agent.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is often cited by real estate professionals because it offers exceptional connectivity via Wi-Fi and simple installation. “Thanks to the simplicity of this smart lock, all a homeowner needs to do is install it on the doors and invite people who need access,” says Vicky Norfaul, owner and associate broker of the Platinum Real Estate Group in Northern Virginia. “Access can be easily controlled through the home solution app and software, and the invitation can be extended or withdrawn at any time.”

Smart doors

Going better to the smart lock is the smart door. Masonite’s M-Pwr smart door is the first to offer a Yale smart lock, plus other devices like motion-sensor lights and a Ring video doorbell, in the same package as a mini security system . Connected to your home’s power source, it’s always on (with battery backup in case the power fails). You can use its mobile app to monitor who knocks on your front door and get notifications if it stays open. The doors are made of durable fiberglass and are available in a variety of colors and styles.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats let you adjust your room temperature even when you’re hundreds of miles from home, saving you money on energy bills by setting your thermostat higher (in summer) or higher low (in winter) when you leave for extended periods. CNET, Bankrate’s sister site, recommends the Amazon Smart Thermostat. It’s affordable, Energy Star certified, and its touchscreen interface is simple to use.

Intelligent security systems

Protecting your family is paramount. And smart security systems are equipped with everything you need to provide protection with peace of mind. The Vivint Smart Home system is among the best available, according to tech experts.

The system includes security cameras, window/door/motion sensors and a central panel. More importantly, it offers 24/7 monitoring with a subscription. If a sensor detects broken glass or something trying to break through a door, it notifies you and first responders. Plus, you also get 14 days of video clip storage, home installation, and warranties on all equipment. Even better, it integrates with other smart home ecosystems so you can manage everything from lighting to security cameras from your phone or tablet.

Smart lighting

With smart lighting, you can turn lights on and off with just the press of a button on your smartphone. The Wyze bulb is a sensible entry point. You can buy a white light or upgrade to the LED version, where you can change colors to suit your mood. Each Wyze bulb uses Wi-Fi radios, allowing you to control its functions through the Wyze mobile app, without having to wire it to routers or other hardware. Ranging from 880 to 921 lumens, they are also some of the brightest smart lights you can find.

Smart vacuum cleaners

Smart vacuums have come a long way since their inception. Now they can navigate the bends, turns and corners of homes big and small. The iRobot Roomba i3 EVO keeps track of the areas it cleans, handles thick rugs and carpets (formerly a weak point of robot vacuums) and is more than capable of picking up thick pet hair. Use the Wi-Fi app to turn the vacuum on and off or set an automatic cleaning schedule. Its smart mapping technology lets you give you precise commands over which rooms the vacuum should clean and when.

Home helpers

Smart home assistants: they are no longer just for listening to music. Devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can act as a command center for your smart home, connecting each compatible component. Nick Good, a realtor with The Good Home Team in North Texas, says, “These smart devices can help you adjust your home’s temperature and lights with voice commands. Also, if you have an Android device, you can use Google Assistant to access your shortcuts. Once you ask the assistant to open your shortcuts, it automatically suggests features, such as ordering groceries.

Things to consider with smart home devices

As beneficial as they are, smart devices come with a few caveats.

Installation difficulties

If you plan to use an energy monitor or home security system, it is wise to consult an electrician. Some DIY systems only take a few minutes to set up. If you have no experience with the equipment, however, it may be best to pay a professional to install it; indeed, if it is directly connected to your power supply (as are all energy monitors), it is vital.

Compatibility issues

Another common problem is that part of your smart home ecosystem doesn’t work well with devices from different manufacturers. For example, the Amazon Smart Thermostat does not pair with Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant. Therefore, if you already have a personal assistant or other smart home devices, make sure the new one is fully compatible, otherwise you will have to control it separately from the others. Before you fall in love with a product, be sure to read all the specs carefully and make sure it will work with your type and model of phone, tablet, or computer.

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