Converting your home into a smart home is an enticing concept for many people. However, the luxury that comes with the automation of your entire home also comes with a price tag. There are many costs associated with a complete smart home makeover, including installation expenses and the cost of products like smart home accessories and hubs. There can also be financial benefits to converting your home into a smart home. The automation of many of the tasks in your home can lead to saving money on monthly bills. But do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Picking a smart home hub
A hub is central to converting a home into a smart home. There are many things to consider when picking a smart home hub, including the price. You will need to consider what other products you want to incorporate in your smart home, and which hubs they are compatible with.
One centralized smart home hub
Hubs like Samsung SmartThings are the most affordable option at around $80-$100. This kind of hub will act as your central control station for all of the smart accessories you add to your home like lights, speakers, and window coverings.
Smart assistant speakers
You can also opt for speakers like the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. In this case, you would need a speaker in most of the rooms in your home, since they each include and act as a virtual assistant. Considering a typical American household, you would need about seven of these speakers throughout your home: one in each bedroom, one for both the living room and family room, and one in the kitchen. Since the cost varies for these kinds of smart speakers, you could opt for a lower cost option like the Echo Dot and spend about $350 for the whole home. Alternatively, pricier options like the Google Home Max could cost you around $2800 for the whole home.
Smart lights can be utilized for a number of reasons like setting bulbs throughout your house to dim as the light goes down outside and creating mood lighting in different colors.
If what you want out of smart lights is WiFi and smart assistant connection, you could opt for a basic white bulb, like the Samsung SmartThings LED bulb, that retails for $9.99. If we assume, in a seven room home, there are five bulbs per room, with a few more in larger living spaces, you'll need about 45 bulbs to have universal control of all of the lighting in your home. This standard option will cost you about $450.
If you want smart lightbulbs with different color options, Philips' Hue bulbs offer a lot of versatility. You can purchase a starter kit with three bulbs, a light switch, and a bridge, for around $140. You'll still need about 45 lightbulbs total (based on our seven room home), plus a few more light switches and bridges to cover your whole home. You could easily spend about $2100 on this kind of setup. Or, mix and match your lightbulbs - color-changing bulbs in some rooms, basic white smart lights in others. Although converting all of the lights in your home into smart lights can get expensive, it can also end up saving you money on your electricity bill, since smart LED lights typically waste less energy than normal bulbs.
With smart door locks, you can monitor your home's entrances from your smartphone and even lock and unlock them remotely. You'll probably only need two smart locks for your whole home. The Google Nest x Yale lock runs at around $280 and comes with a sleek keypad and premium automation features. However, you can get a basic doorknob with a smart lock from Wayfair for about $24. What type you choose will depend on how you plan on utilizing the locks in your everyday life and if you need automation or just on demand smartphone control.
With a smart video doorbell, you can monitor your porch from your smartphone and usually use the onboard microphone and speaker to talk to guests at your home remotely. Video doorbells that can connect to your smart home hub usually run from about $100-$230, depending on if you want them wired or wireless. Most homeowners just choose to have one at their front door, so this expense won't multiply.
Smart plugs are a great way to make all of your ordinary home devices smart. Plug in a flat iron or a toaster to a smart plug and turn it on from your phone, heating up your device before you're even near it.
There are a couple of ways to convert your plugs into smart plugs. The first is to plug in a smart adapter to your outlet. These cost about $10 each. If you plan to use two in each room, you'll need to budget for about $140 on plugs.
You can also invest in smart outlets, so you don't need to get an adapter for every plug. These are about $30 for an outlet with two plugs.
A smart thermostat is one of the smartest money-saving devices you can invest in for your smart home. It learns your temperature habits and environment and adjusts accordingly. It can maintain low energy heating and cooling and kick off when you're not at home. These kinds of smart thermostats range from about $170-$250. You may need two if you have a two-story home.
Smart window coverings
Automated window coverings can be set up with your hub to automate closing and opening, when the lights go down or to regulate the temperature inside your home. They are another money-saving tool that will cost you money immediately, but the expense will even out over time.
Smart blinds are a great option for spaces where you need privacy, like bathrooms and kids' rooms. Even when they are open, there is still coverage at the window. tilt offers options to automate your existing blinds with the Blinds Automation Kit or fully automated custom-fit blinds.
Roller shades typically come in more fabrics and colors and can add more decor-wise to a room. Like with blinds, tilt offers an Automation Kit for existing roller shades and multiple colors and textures of custom smart roller shades.
Making sure your smart home is secure and safe is important. Invest in products that make it simple to monitor the activity inside and outside of your home.
An alarm system inside the home that alerts you to open windows and doors and carbon monoxide and smoke can incur a lot of costs, but it's worth it to keep your home safe. Adobe and ADT offer installation services, alarms, a smartphone app, and coverage of your home for about $300. You can also purchase a Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide monitor that connects to your smartphone and hub for $119.
Monitoring activity outside your home can also be done with smart cameras. You'll probably want to opt for two outdoor cameras and one inside your home. Cameras range from about $20-$200 and usually incur a $10-$20 monthly fee.
The cost of a smart home can be steep, but it can ultimately help lower other costs in the home. tilt's window coverings and DIY automation (blinds and roller shades) can help regulate the temperature inside your home, lowering heating and cooling costs over time.