Get into the Internet of Things game for as little as $50
The market for smart home technology has blossomed into a world of exciting potential for interested customers in recent years, but the entry price to turn your home into a smart home can be a little daunting.
In this article, we want to show you that you can smarten things up around your house without breaking the bank. In fact, you can add some smart home functionality with as little as $50 by purchasing a smart home assistant like the Google Home Mini.
Of course, it’s not the same without integrated smart technology around the house, so we’ve included some other options that will add more functionality for cheap.
If you want to get serious, read to the end of the article for some suggestions for different smart home tech that also exists.
Why Turn Your Home Into a Smart Home?
Many people will question what the purpose is behind turning their home into a smart home. To confront the doubters, I have two simple answers. One is convenience, and the second is energy efficiency.
Smart outlets, lights, blinds, and other smart home gadgets can make it far easier for you to manage everything in your home. Some smart equipment will even manage itself automatically. It adds a level of convenience to your life that is easy to miss once you have it.
With this added convenience and additional level of smarter tech, it becomes easier to lower your energy costs, too. Smart thermostats can help to monitor your heater or AC usage and create profiles that are both comfortable and more affordable for you.
Smart lights can be set up to be switched off when you’re out of the house, and smart plug outlets can have profiles that switch on and off to suit your lifestyle.
Starting With a Voice Assistant – Google Home Mini for $49
The best place to start your smart home experience is by purchasing a voice assistant. There are multiple choices on the market, but the cheapest options are the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Echo Dot. Both are available for $49.
For this article, we’ll be basing technology on the Google Home Mini, but you can easily find alternatives for the Amazon Echo. We also think that Google Home Mini better integrates with Android smartphone users. (And even iOS users if you download the Google Assistant app).
The Google Home Mini is a smart speaker that can be plugged into your home. Without any other smart tech, it’s essentially a voice controlled Google search on steroids. You can ask Google Home for any information available on the web, you can use it to check your schedule, or do tasks via integrated apps available on the app store on your smartphone.
The Google Home Mini adds a layer of convenience to your life that you wouldn’t ever have known existed without it. The Google Home experience gets better as you add more technology that can be used alongside it.
Making Your Lighting Smarter – Hue Starter Kit – 2 for $69.99
One of the cheapest smart gadgets you can bring into your home are Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs. You can then switch off, switch on, and dim these light bulbs from an app on your smartphone or by talking to your home voice assistant.
You can pay slightly less for smart bulbs with less functionality, but we’d recommend the Philips Hue Starter Kit for $69.99. With this, you get two light bulbs and the powerful Hue Bridge that can be used to control your light bulbs even if your internet goes down.
With Philips Hue, you can set up profiles for different times of the day, or set up schedules so that your lights slowly turn on in the morning to wake you up gently.
If you want to go bulb crazy, you can spend $99.99 on the 4-pack starter kit or spend between $15 and $50 on various types of bulbs for standard white lighting, ambient lighting, and much more.
Philips also sells Hue light strips and lamps, so over time you can convert your entire home into a home lit up with lights controlled from one single app.
Getting Energy Smart With Smart Plugs – 4 for $50
Smart plug outlets can be an incredible way to monitor your energy usage, switch off unused electronics remotely, and set up profiles unique to you.
You can purchase a 4 pack of smart plug outlets from Etekcity on Amazon for just $50. Installing these outlets is easy, you just plug them into your standard outlets and then plug your electronics into the Etekcity smart plug.
With the included app, you can control all of your electronics via WiFi, so you can even switch off things when you aren’t home. You can set timers on your plugs, useful for when you want to charge your gadgets for a set time but don’t want to keep checking up on them.
You can also create schedules so that the plug outlets switch on and off at specific times. The Etekcity even includes an energy consumption chart so that you can track how much electricity is being used.
Finally, you can name each of your outlets and then control them via Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Saving Money on Heating With Smart Heating – Nest Learning Thermostat for $245.99
The Nest Learning Thermostat isn’t a cheap smart home appliance, but it can help you to save money over time.
The Nest Learning Thermostat can be used in conjunction with Google Home or with your smartphone to control your heating and AC remotely. No more getting up to adjust the heating manually.
More importantly, the Nest Learning Thermostat will learn your usage patterns over time. As you use it for longer, Nest will become better at setting comfortable temperatures whilst keeping energy efficiency in mind. It takes roughly a week for Nest to learn your basic habits.
Another great feature with Nest is the ability to monitor and manage your home temperature whilst you are out. Nest can learn when you leave the house and you can manually turn your heating or AC on just before you return home so that your home temperature is comfortable for you when you return.
Other Great Smart Home Ideas
If you want to take things further, there are many other great smart home gadgets you can get your hands on. We’ve included a list of some of the types of smart gadgets that exist.
- Smart home assistants with great speakers for listening to music
- Standalone smart speakers
- Smart security cameras and baby monitors
- Smart locks
- Smart smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
- Smart doorbell cameras
- Smart kitchen appliances
- Smart blinds
- Robot Vacuums
I hope you enjoyed reading our guide to affordable smart home gear. Do you have any questions about the tech mentioned in this article? If so, feel free to leave a question and I can get back to you.