There is every possibility, especially if you love watching movies, you have seen a scene where someone walked into a house and voiced out, “Light on” or clapped his hand twice, and the light went off.
And if you have recently visited a friend living in a smart home, you may have heard something like, “Alexa, play me a song.” And the magic happens, music fills the atmosphere.
You see that, and it looks cool. You also wish you could just control your house with a tap or by voice.
But then, it does look luxurious and expensive, right? I know you are wondering how expensive it is to have such an installation in your home. Not to worry. We’ve got you covered. In this guide, you’ll find out how much smart home systems cost.
Before we get into the crux of the matter, it’s proper to start by explaining what a smart home system looks like.
What is a Smart Home?
In simple terms, smart home automation refers to implementing automatic control or operation of your house with advanced technology.
Generally, what a smart home automation system does is monitor or control house features such as appliances, lighting, entertainment systems, home security systems (like alarm systems, access control), and so on.
In recent years though, smart home systems have become more impressive than ever. That is, beyond using “Alexa” to play the classic Nina Simone Blackbird song, or calling a friend to come over for dinner, you can now use smart home devices to do house chores, tackle and handle more substantial needs.
Have you ever heard of the internet of things? Yes, home devices, when connected to the internet, become an integral constituent of IoT.
How does it work?
Simple. A house automation system or a smart home system connects desired house devices (that you’d like to control) to a central hub. The user interface for controlling the system can either be a mobile phone, or desktop computer, or tablet, or a wall-mounted terminal (which is quite common), or a web interface (that you can access through the internet even when you’re not at home – sounds cool, right?).
At this junction, for the sake of clarity, there is a seemingly little contrast between smart home systems and smart devices.
Smart Home System
A smart system is the all-embracing command center that controls individual house devices; for instance, you have heard of Google Assistant or Alexa. What you do is basically to speak to the system when you want something done.
Smart Home Devices
On the other hand, a smart device is an individual house device that reports back to the system; for instance, LG Smart TV, or Amazon Echo.
Building a smart home used to be very expensive (don’t worry, we will get to the cost soon) and relatively inaccessible, but the system’s status quo at large has seemed to change in recent years. It doesn’t take too much stress or time to upgrade your house with up-to-date technology to make your house incredible and convenient to live in and out of it, I suppose.
As I earlier mentioned, you can now control house temperature, lighting system, security system, etc., even when you are far away on vacation. In fact, you’ll find upgrading your house in this way an exciting adventure. A few companies can guide you through your choices and help you build your desired smart home system. Nevertheless, you can find my guide (in the next paragraph) useful.
What is Smart Home Systems Cost?
Averagely, a low budget for smart house installation is within the range of $1,000 – $4,000, an average cost is within $5,000 – $9,000, and a high cost is within $10,000 – $15,000.
The following are the major smart home systems I can vouch for:
- Amazon Alexa
Amazon Alexa is unarguably one of the most comprehensive smart home ecosystems and (with thousands of) third-party integrations of smart devices available today. You must have definitely heard of Alexa in Eco-speaker form, like asking what the weather is for the day, you should also know that (it? She? Your choice, but I’ll go with she) she is now incorporated into other smart devices like TVs and light systems.
You can also use Alexa to control apps; that is, you can speak to a music app just as easily as you can turn off your TV with a voice command.
Most smart devices, including Samsung, Schlage, Philips, etc., integrate seamlessly with Alexa, seeing that Amazon’s smart home ecosystem is one of the most prevalent in the industry. This implies that you would almost certainly not have compatibility issues with your smart devices, making her one of the best choices out there. However, you can be sure to know if Alexa can work with a particular device by looking for the Works with Amazon Alexa tag.
- Google Assistant
If we are ranking these smart home systems, the Google Assistant is undoubtedly a true runner-up to Alexa. Although the Google Assistant does not support third-party integrations as much as Alexa, it comes second because it tends to give more accurate answers to specific questions that its counterpart and complete commands than Alexa can’t perform. Dentsu digital agency 360i reported research showing that Google Assistant understands humans’ speaking constructs and is five times more likely to answer correctly than Alexa.
Here’s a practical example: if you were listening to a channel, and you tell the Google Assistant, saying, “I don’t like this channel,” it will change it to a different channel; Alexa, on the other hand, would simply tell you that “likes” and “dislikes” are not supported on the channel. In the real world, that little difference could be very helpful and less frustrating and could sway you towa
The Google Assistant supports integration with smart products of major brands, such as August, Philips, Nest, Belkin, and popular apps, like Uber, Spotify, etc.
- Wink Hub 2
It is believed that Wink Hub 2 is the first smart home hub designed for the conventional consumer. Wink allows you to choose your desired smart devices (and of different product brands) and seamlessly integrate them. In other words, Wink, unlike the Google Assistant and Alexa, is not restricted to certain brands.
So, if your goal is to build a comprehensive, fully integrated smart home, Wink Hub 2 might be your best option. There is also the Wink Hub app with which you can control specific commands from your phone.
- Samsung SmartThings Hub
Samsung SmartThings Hub works by mounting a SmartThings Hub on the wall, which grants you full access to connected smart home devices through the SmartThings app either on Android or IOS. This Samsung smart system also supports the integration of smart devices from different brands. However, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub has also been growing its own collection of smart devices, with the recent addition of SmartThings Cam, SmartThings Light Bulb, and SmartThings Wi-Fi plug.
With the SmartThings Hub, you can set connected and compatible smart devices to perform specific actions like turning the light off or on when you walk out or into the room. Interestingly, you can also integrate the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa into the SmartThings system.
Prices of Smart Home Devices
- Amazon Echo $99.99 (Best Speaker)
The Amazon Echo speaker can perform various tasks, such as playing your favorite music, sending messages, answering phone calls, answering questions, and even setting alarms for you. You can also connect it to other smart house devices; for instance, you can use it as a channel for communication between you and your sprinklers. You can also order a product, create a to-do list, or turn on the TV with the Echo without having to leave the sofa. The speaker can be accessed anywhere as it uses noise cancellation technology to hear you from any direction.
- Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with Smart Chef Technology $166.99 (Best Grill)
Rather than having to walk in and out of the house to check the temperature of what you’re grilling so that your steak doesn’t get burnt, adding coals or lighter fluids in due time, this smart device handles everything. It does this by alerting you when the grill is preheated, what the temperature is, and when it is thoroughly grilled.
- Ecobee4 $249 (Best Thermostat)
You get to control air temperature with voice commands; with this device, unlike other thermostats, you don’t have to connect it with an Amazon speaker. It has its own speaker and can play music and control other devices as well. One of its advantages is that it can control the room temperature you’re in and not just the room where it’s installed.
- Ecovacs Deebot N79S $229.98 (Best Vacuum)
Four major superb features: it cleans quite well; it integrates with smart home systems and apps; it has a long battery life, and it offers a manual steering option.
- NetGear Arlo Q $119.94 (Best Security)
Here’s a useful smart device for home security. It records video and audio in high quality. Not even pitch-blackness could hide your face; I mean, what an exceptional quality image feature! You can either set it only to work when you’re at work or automatically record events whenever you’re not at home. Even though it’s a bit pricey, it’s worth your investment because it offers a seven-day free backup for your videos and audios, unlike other smart security systems.
- LG Smart TV ≥ $499.99 (Best Television)
Smart TVs afford you the possibility of connecting your cable box, streaming services, and other TV devices all in one place. Like the LG’s, some products have voice control features with which you can search for a show or movie by merely speaking to the TV.
- Perfect Bake Pro $86.49 (Best Cooking Device)
This device generates recipes you can use with food items you have; all you just need to do is input what those foods are, and you can also auto-scale your recipe for a certain amount of people. It can generate a shopping list for recipes you’d like to make and also measure ingredients – just pour them in the smart bowl, and it will tell you when to stop.
- Philips Hue $49.99 (Best Lights)
This bulb enables you to control both light intensity and color. You can customize lights for specific rooms and moods or set a particular color for your alarms, so you wake up every morning, to say, bright yellow lighted room. The Philips Hue works with most smart home systems.
- TP-Link HS200 $37.88 (Best Light Switch)
Most smart light devices work fantastically until a light switch is flipped on; hence, installing a smart light switch will do the trick to enjoy smart lights. You can control the lights whether the house light switch is on or off.
This particular device works with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa; therefore, you might need to consider other options if you use other smart house systems.
Those are the four major smart home systems that are making waves in recent years; let us now take a quick walk through the best smart home devices available today:
What to Consider when Shopping for Smart Home Systems
- Device Support
- IFTTT (If This Then That) support: for instance, even though a gas leak can’t communicate directly to the lighting system, you can use IFTTT to have the lights in the house turn red should there be a gas leak detected by your smart hub.
- Wired or Wireless connection. Note that in the event of power failure, the wi-fi set up system could cease to work. So, ensure you have a manual override.
- Sensor range
- Battery power/backup
- Mobile app support
- Sensor support
- Cellular radio backup for security systems
- A monitoring system, which incurs additional costs
- Service plan costs
Just like every other invention, smart home systems have their pros and cons.
Home automation benefits include convenience and efficiency of running and managing your house devices remotely, maximizing your home’s security, and saving you money (by saving energy; hence, reducing energy bills).
The disadvantages are a few: like a snail with its shell, introducing technology into your house system comes with the danger of cyber-attacks. You could also consider the expense of building home automation.
Although there are alternative options, house automation primarily requires a stable power supply and a reliable internet connection. The most concerning problem is compatibility as some devices may not be compatible with some systems.
There’s no doubt that house automation is the new big deal for house management; however, it is only wise to evaluate and install what you need and not just what you’d like to have. For instance, remote monitoring and a smart lock will be useless for couples who don’t have kids. Plan, make a wise home automation budget and turn your house into a smart house.