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Which smart home gadget should you buy first?

Smart Home Tech is nothing new – hobby experts have been working in home automation for decades – but in recent years, they have been closer to the mainstream than ever before. In recent years, high-profile home networking appliances such as the Amazon Echo the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ring Video Doorbell have become attractive offerings and tangible benefits, many of them at prices that are not are unreasonably high.

The result? A mainstream smart home market with tremendous momentum. A 201

8 GfK study found that more than half of US households now include at least one smart home gadget. About a third of them includes two or more.

Of course, about half of us are left who have not yet shopped. Many may enjoy the idea of ​​connecting everything under one roof and sharing data collected by sensors, security cameras and microphones with Silicon Valley – with a variety of smart devices available at your local hardware store, others may not know where to start To this end, here's how to answer a not-so-simple question: Which smart home product should you buy first?

Disclosure: CNET may receive some of the proceeds from purchases made via the links on this page.

Planning for a Purpose Smart Home

Ask yourself: What do you want from your Smart Home? As a man who waits day after day for the latest smart home technology, I can assure you that you have many options. Want to keep track of things with a do-it-yourself security system and camera feeds that you can check from your phone? Do you want simple controls like Voice Controls for your lights and thermostats ? Do you want artificial intelligence and devices with cloud connection to freshen up the kitchen in the kitchen?

To find out what you want, think about the things you do at home every day and look for improvements that you think are worthwhile. Do you tend to wander from room to room before turning off the children's lights in bed? Intelligent bulbs that you can turn off or tap on your phone with a single voice command may make sense. Do you shop a lot online and worry about thieves stealing parcels from your porch while you work? A Video Doorbell with a Remote Feed may be a good choice.

For my money I think the smart lighting is a reasonable starting point for almost everyone. After all, we use the lights in our house more than anything else – and insert, for example, motion-activated lights (19459003) for the exterior of your home or to display automatic wake-up effects. Your morning alerts are very meaningful, as you will enjoy them day by day. To learn more about why it is a good time to try out Smart Lights, click here .

Versatility in Value

If you do not know anything specific and are generally curious about what the Smart Home has to offer, look for flexible multifunctional devices that you can use in many different ways. A small smart speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini is a great way to see what artificially smart home helpers like Alexa and Google Assistant are capable of, and none both will cost you more than $ 50. Belkin's WeMo Mini Smart Switch is even cheaper. With it, you can automate everything you plug in – lamps, table fans, pot pots, space heaters, whatever you call them.


The Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Switch is a versatile little gadget that automates everything you need to plug it in. Available for just $ 30, this is a good low-risk step into the smart home.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

As always, in case of doubt, start small. Once you've found a product you like, you can start building it by adding other compatible devices that make it even smarter and add a unique appeal. Our Smart Home Compatibility Tracker can be a really helpful tool.

Consider your platform options

When you buy a new computer, you have to decide which operating system you want to use – Mac, Windows, Chromebook, etc. Smart Home Technology is Similar Most of the popular devices are for a wider range of devices Ecosystem – the most popular voice control platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and the Siri controls supplied with Apple HomeKit. Control hubs of names such as Wink and Samsung SmartThings offer dedicated platforms that allow different devices to get along. You can also work together by following the gadgets that work with IFTTT, a free online automation platform.

Understanding The strengths and weaknesses of each of these options can make a big contribution to building a smart home setup that makes sense for you, especially if you want to use multiple types of gadgets Home is just better when everything works together.

However, most devices offer their own dedicated apps and controls, and can be used directly regardless of larger platforms. This means that you do not necessarily have to make commitments immediately. In addition, more and more products support multiple platforms. When you start using such smart devices, you can keep your options open if you have not decided yet.

I'll add that each platform has its own security certification process designed to pull unsafe, vulnerable hardware out of the mix. This means that a product that works with multiple platforms has essentially received several top marks from names like Apple. Amazon, Google and Samsung are concerned with the security of their respective platforms.

Here are a few quick suggestions that fit the bill:

Philips Hue's White Light Bulb Starter Kit with two or four incandescent bulbs is relatively cheap and easy to use and build on works with just about everything you can imagine.

Ry Crist / CNET

Intelligent Lights


Along with automating everything you need at the Plug in side of it The iDevices Switch monitors your energy usage while serving as a multicolor night light and works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Intelligent plugs

The Honeywell Lyric T5 is available for $ 100 and comes with helpful features. It is one of our most popular smart thermostat bestsellers and works with a variety of platforms.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Intelligent Thermostats

  kwikset-obsidian-product-photos-4 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/0BPH7RcEnnDQiqBxkbJ-yJUgays=/2017/103e9ef9c -dd9a-4293 -9710-2a16b3f40577 / kwikset-obsidian-product-photos-4.jpg

The Kwikset Obsidian is a keyless Smart Lock that supports a variety of platforms. including Amazon Key for delivery of in-home packages.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Intelligent Locks

I would also add that if you are interested in voice control, you can start with either a Amazon Echo Dot or a Google Home Mini is one of the biggest no-brainers in the smart home. Even if you ignore the smart home integrations that Alexa or the Google Assistant controls things like lights and thermostats, each device is worth the $ 50 price for voice-activated music, podcasts, headlines, and cooking timers alone.

Do Your Homework

The best way to choose the right gadgets for your home is to understand what all the different options have to offer and narrow things down. With so many alternatives to deal with in a complex arena of competing platforms and standards, this can be confusing in a hurry.

But hey, that's where we come in! Product Reviews Best-of-Lists, Purchase Guides Clues to Contents, Statements and contained information from the CNET Smart Home aimed to give you to show what a networked living space has to offer (and where this is not enough). If you're looking for ideas on how to make a smarter home, we'll help you brainstorm . If you want to stick between two seemingly identical devices, we can also help . If you want to delve deeper into confidentiality and security concerns before purchasing, we have covered you .

Conclusion: There has never been a better time to try home automation. Discover your options and you will find numerous ways to start your smart home directly.

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