What I Learned After Buying Six Smart Home Devices


I bought a smart thermostat and it’s the greatest thing ever. I also bought a smart water shut-off valve, which wasn’t so great. After those two devices came on board, my house was ready for an upgrade—but instead of buying everything at once, I decided to take it slow and see what else was out there. What follows is a list of six different types of smart home devices that are worth considering (and some that aren’t). At the end, we’ll talk about how you can use these products together to make your home smarter without breaking the bank.

Smart light bulbs are the best thing ever

The best way to get started with smart home technology is by buying a smart bulb. If you’re looking to upgrade your home, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a new thermostat or security system, smart bulbs are the perfect place to start.

Smart light bulbs are easy to install and use–you just screw them into any standard socket and download an app for your phone (or make sure they work with Alexa). They’ll automatically turn on when it gets dark outside, so there’s no more fumbling around in the dark trying not wake up everyone else in your house at night! And because they use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs do, they’ll save you money over time too.*

Don’t buy a smart water shut-off device

If you’re thinking about buying a smart water shut-off device, don’t.

I know what you’re thinking: “But what if I leave my faucet running when I’m not home? Or forget to turn off the sink?” Well, here’s the thing: those scenarios are extremely unlikely to happen. And even if they do, it’s not like your house is going to flood or anything–it just won’t fill up with water as fast as usual and then eventually stop when it hits its natural level (which may be higher than normal).

The problem with these devices is that they cost $50-$100 each and require professional installation by an electrician who will charge another $60-$80 per hour for labor plus materials (and possibly more). For example, here’s one such product from iDevices:

Don’t buy a smart air purifier

I’m going to be honest: I don’t think smart air purifiers are worth the extra cost. Smart thermostats can already adjust the temperature in your house based on the current conditions and whether or not you’re home, so they do much of what an air purifier might do by themselves. Plus, a smart air purifier may be more effective at reducing allergens than simply opening up windows or using a fan (which also helps circulate air), but it’s unlikely that you’ll notice any difference between having one and not having one–and if you have allergies yourself, then chances are good that opening up windows will help even more than an expensive gadget could ever hope to achieve alone!

So why did I buy one? Well…because it was on sale for $40 off during Prime Day earlier this summer…and then again when Black Friday rolled around…and again when Cyber Monday came around….I guess my advice would be: If you really want one but don’t have room in your budget right now–or if they’re just too expensive where they live–then wait until there’s another sale before buying anything at all!

Smart smoke alarms are the way to go

I learned that smart smoke alarms are the way to go. They’re more affordable than ever, and they can alert you when the battery is low and when there’s a fire–a feature that I consider an absolute must for any smart home device.

Forget about smart security cameras for now

One of the biggest mistakes I made was buying a smart security camera. They’re expensive, require some technical skills to set up and the technology is still evolving so it’s best to wait a few years before you buy one.

I learned this lesson after spending $500 on an Arlo Pro 2 camera system (the indoor version). It worked well for about three months before I started getting error messages that said: “Arlo Camera not responding.” When I checked its status on my phone app, it showed that the battery level was at 40{b49b303a7b364ea97526b80c05df49c778ed6cb5d57b8fb402e2f2bd6d1200d4}. But when I replaced the batteries with new ones, no difference–it still wouldn’t work properly!

There are lots of great affordable smart home devices, but you don’t need them all right away.

You’re not going to get it right the first time. You might spend $100 on a smart plug that doesn’t work with your existing lightbulbs, or you may have to re-learn how to use your phone’s Bluetooth connection after you replace it with an Alexa device. The thing is, though: these issues are part of what makes smart home technology so exciting. It’s not just about having fun new toys for your house–it’s about learning how those toys work together and figuring out what works best for your lifestyle and needs as an individual or family unit.

That said…you’ll probably still want some guidance when making these decisions! So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:


I’ll be honest, I was expecting to have a lot more negative things to say about smart home devices. After all, these are things that are supposed to make your life easier and better, right? But in reality, most of them were pretty simple and easy-to-use. I mean sure there were some exceptions (like my air purifier), but overall these gadgets will definitely save you some time around the house!

Jimmy Hadlock

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