Best smart home starter kit

Smart Home

Though never sold on the consumer market, the first true smart home device was invented in 1966. The Electronic Computing Home Operator could perform the functions of a modern smart home, including relaying messages, controlling temperature and turning appliances on and off.

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Which smart home starter kit is best?

While the idea of having a home that possessed sufficient technology to automate functions like lighting, entertainment and appliances to create a smart home used to be science fiction, you can create your own home of the future right now. Whether you want to command your lights to change color, have your door unlock at your approach or have your home reach the perfect temperature, smart home setups are more affordable and accessible than ever before. No matter how smart you want to make your home, the Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit is a great entry point into creating an ideal home optimized by technology.

What to know before you buy a smart home starter kit

Make sure your WiFi is secure

The “Internet of Things” is a term used to describe the increasingly complex and interwoven web of interconnected WiFi-enabled devices. While this may come as a surprise for the less technologically inclined, your WiFi-connected slow cooker or coffee maker almost certainly lacks the security measures of more sophisticated devices. 

Since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, cybercriminals can use poorly secured WiFi connections like wireless printers and kitchen appliances to exploit vulnerabilities in your network security. That said, it is highly advisable to ensure that your wireless network is running at least WPA2 or WPA3-level encryption or make use of a VPN for additional security to avoid creating exploitable devices in the first place.

Consider your budget

When you hear the word “kit,” you might expect to purchase a set of devices that will completely blanket your home with all the conveniences that modern technology can provide. Unfortunately, unless you happen to have a few thousand dollars to spare and a couple of days worth of free time available, you will likely have to commit to a longer process of eventual automation. 

However, you can easily purchase a smart home device such as lighting, speakers with built-in digital assistants, smart thermostats and smart plugs to control individual appliances. Regardless of what kind of smart home upgrade you are looking to install, it can serve as a launching point for connecting other compatible devices and creating an entire smart home system in time. 

What to look for in a quality smart home starter kit

Easy installation

Since not every homeowner is familiar with the more intricate details and risks of hardwiring indoor and outdoor appliances, dealing with live wires and structural support is best left to the professionals. As such, it is highly recommended that you purchase a smart home starter kit that allows you to make upgrades with a minimum of technical knowledge and skills required.

For example, some smart home systems make things as simple for you as adding a smart plug to your coffee maker, inserting smart LED light bulbs in your socket, plugging in motion sensors and installing a smart light switch cover. Better still, many smart home starter kits come equipped with smartphone apps that give you full control and remote access to your connected smart home appliances while also serving as a hub for future expansions.

Connects to software easily

Whether you are looking for a complete smart home solution or just want to automate a few simple appliances, creating and customizing your daily routines is likely a major reason behind your interest in such technology. If so, you will likely want to purchase a smart home starter kit tailored to your preferences in management software and digital assistants. Fortunately, all the selected models have been chosen for their ability to provide an anchor point for you to expand your smart home setup with a variety of popular programs.

Doesn’t adversely affect your WiFi signal

Maybe you’d like to upgrade your home security with the addition of some indoor and outdoor cameras and top it all off with a doorbell camera managed by a single handy app. That would be wonderful, except you end up discovering that the additional security measures have reduced your WiFi to a crawl. Rather than having to trade your physical security for your digital convenience, the selected units are renowned for their ability to seamlessly integrate into your existing home WiFi network without compromising your overall security or network speed.

How much you can expect to spend on a smart home starter kit

Depending on your desired features, along with any budgetary considerations, a quality smart home starter kit can cost anywhere from $130-$530 and sometimes more.

Smart home starter kit FAQ

Is making my home a smart home worth the time and effort?

A. This can depend on your personal feeling regarding the potential invasion of privacy resulting from user agreements. Still, upgrading to a smart home not only makes it more secure and convenient, but it may also significantly raise the resale value of the home.

Can my smart home be hacked?

A. Absolutely, though, there are several steps you can take to mitigate the risks involved with creating your own smart home. For example, you should upgrade your router with the latest network security standards, always change the default passwords on any WiFi-connected devices and consider investing in a VPN for additional protection.

What are the best smart home starter kits to buy?

Top smart home starter kit 

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit

What you need to know: This is an excellent smart home starter kit with a truly impressive visual display.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button and 1 Hue Hub. In addition, it can control your lighting via voice commands to Alexa and other digital assistants, schedule custom light patterns for different times of the day, an easy installation process and convenient expansion into other Phillips Hue smart home products via their app.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with units either arriving with dead batteries or requiring frequent battery replacements.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top smart home starter kit for the money

WYZE Cam 1080p HD Indoor Smart Home Starter Pack

WYZE Cam 1080p HD Indoor Smart Home Starter Pack

What you need to know: This is an affordable smart home start kit that delivers plenty of bang for the buck.

What you’ll love: This unit includes one Wyze Cam w/ 32GB MicroSD Card, two Contact Sensors, 2 Wyze Plugs, 3 Wyze Bulbs, 1 Motion Sensor, 1 Wyze Sensor Bridge and installation accessories for each. It can also remotely monitor and control your home via the Wyze app.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues connecting their handheld devices to monitor their home setup via WiFi.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Samsung F-MN US-2 Home Monitoring Kit

Samsung F-MN US-2 Home Monitoring Kit

What you need to know: This smart home starter kit is ideal for devotees of Samsung products.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with a SmartThings Hub to facilitate wireless connection with all of your smart devices, two SmartThings Multipurpose Sensors to detect things like doors and windows being opened and a SmartThings Motion Sensor to detect your presence and start programs or ward off intruders.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with not being able to create custom lighting arrangements and poor sensor communication.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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