Smart technology is becoming all the rage of late, with more and more connected devices being released every year.
But while it's great to have choices, with so many devices on the market those wanting to build a smart home may not know what to get or even where to start. So to help surmount that challenge, here is a good starting list of smart devices for creating a smart home.
1. Smart Thermostat
There are a number of smart thermostats on the market but most agree there really is, at least for now, just one smart thermostat king. Founded in 2010 by two Apple engineers, Nest was bought by Google in January of 2014.
Nest has been hailed as the best smart thermostat on the market because it's easy to install and easy to operate. As time goes on the device learns a user's heating and cooling preferences. While Nest is expensive at $250, over time it will save the user money as it sets the house temperature at a level that is comfortable, nothing more and nothing less.
2. Smart Refrigerator
A few companies, including LG and Samsung, have come up with smart refrigerators over the past year or two. One that made a big splash earlier this year was the new Samsung RF28HMELBSR. Quite a mouthful of a name, but that shouldn't take away from what the device can do.
Samsung's latest smart fridge offering allows users to connect to Wi-Fi, use apps and more straight from a display on one of the doors. While some suggest this is a little pointless for a fridge, it lets users keep grocery lists right on the display as well as see updates on news, weather and more while cooking. Unfortunately, all this comes at a price of $3,599.
3. Smart Light Bulbs
The idea of smart light bulbs has gained some traction with companies such as Philips offering a number of different options. Another company, which focuses specifically on smart light bulbs, is LIFX, which raised a whopping $1.3 million in a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. LIFX's light bulbs connect to Wi-Fi and allow users to control brightness and color straight from their phone.
Not only are they a great idea, but they're also economical. The bulbs are rated at 40,000 hours, which, as the company says on its website, is 27 years at 4 hours per day. Not bad. LIFX bulbs cost $99 for a single bulb, $380 for a pack of four or $910 for a pack of 10. This may seem like a lot, but if you use them for the entire 27 years they will likely save money. LIFX also recently announced Apple Pay support, so you can buy your own LIFX bulbs straight from your iPhone.
4. Smart TV
With platforms such as Android TV and Apple TV being released, the idea of smart TVs is on the rise. While we're sure to see some great smart TV options being released over the next few months, that doesn't mean there's nothing noteworthy on the market now.
LG's smart TV options have been hailed as some of the easiest to use. They allow users to connect straight to the Internet and stream video from a variety of different platforms. They also have a number of apps, which is great for those looking for different forms of entertainment.
Another option is to buy a set-top box that essentially turns a TV into a smart TV. Google's Android TV was announced earlier in 2014, and the Nexus Player was released a few months later. The Nexus Player allows users to stream content from almost any major streaming platform, and it offers a variety of games through the Google Play Store. It even has its own gaming controller. All for $99.
Those more inclined to Apple can buy Apple TV, which does much the same thing and is also priced at $99.
Ah, yes. How could we forget the trusty smartphone in our endeavor to build a smart home? The smartphone is becoming the hub of the smart home. Users can control light bulbs from their phone, thermostats and can even use it as a controller for their smart TVs. I won't go into detail about "the best smartphone on the market" because, well, that's a topic for another article. However, any offering from the likes of Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola and more should offer more than enough power to be the hub of a smart home.