Create a Smart Home on a Budget
Smart homes sound expensive, but every year the devices that create them get cheaper. With a little creative thinking, you can maximize your savings.
Take Advantage of Sales
Get strategic by targeting holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Amazon's Prime Day.
Instead of a big bundle, assemble your smart home slowly, as your budget allows. More and more, these devices are designed to be modular, fitting into each others ecosystems with ease.
Get a Hub
Smart hubs can enable this piecemeal approach by unifying your products as you build your smart home inventory. Google and Amazon are the big names in this space—both companies offer hubs with plenty of affordable peripherals for specific functions. Apple has also been tiptoeing into the market with its HomeKit suite.
Though you might sacrifice some reliability, there are plenty of third party options that can pair with these fancier brands. If there's one place it makes sense to invest a little more in your smart home, it's probably the hub. It doesn't have to break the bank, though. Google's entry hub model clocks in at $60 as of this writing.
Hubs tend to offer access to entertainment features like music, and they're increasingly sensitive to voice commands, which can be magically convenient.
Buy Older Models
These days, virtually everything is being upgraded to the latest and greatest generation or model seemingly at least once a year. That doesn’t mean the older models aren’t also great, though! Take advantage of lower prices on last year's products and you'll save some serious dough while still enjoying features that make your home safe and convenient.
Cheap Smart Locks
None of these devices are dirt cheap, but would you really trust a $20 device to secure your home? That said, you can still find bargains on these products. The Kwikset 99070-101 Powerbolt is about $50 as of this writing, and the Schlage Connect Century Touchscreen Deadbolt or Z-Wave Connect Camelot are available for under $200.
Cheap Smart Lights
Smart lights are the perfect small way to add to your smart home, as you can get them at a low cost and add them slowly, bulb by bulb. For bargain basement prices, skip some of the higher-tech options like geo-fencing.
Two affordable bulbs we like are the C by GE Life LED (two for $25 as of this writing) and the Cree Connected LED ($12). Both can pair with Amazon, and the Cree can also connect to Wink, Wemo, and Zigbee certified hubs.
Cheap Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats can save you serious money by enabling automated temperature control. When these first hit the market, they were very expensive. Now, there are a range of more affordable options out there.
Two we like are the Honeywell Lyric T5 (as low as $66 as of writing) and the Ecobee3 lite ($169). In the long run, these investments will pay for themselves with reduced heating and cooling costs.