Smart homes feel pretty magical. Walk into a room, say the word and a light turns on or a lock slides into place. They’re also great for security: Out goes an SOS or medical emergency alert with a touch of the button.
That doesn’t mean you can skip steps to protecting yourself from hackers and nosey tech companies. Tap or click for five security settings to change if you have an Amazon Echo at home.
You might think you can’t afford smart home tech, but that’s just not true. Whether you’ve got $100 or $500 in your pocket, you can fill your home with this cool tech. Keep reading for the best gadgets you can buy on a budget.
What is a smart home?
A “smart home” is defined by automation. That means you have internet-connected devices that automatically take care of lighting, climate, alarm systems or even entertainment equipment. So if you have even one Amazon Echo, that means you’re technically living in a smart home.
Here are the componets we’ll focus on:
- Smart speakers: Play music throughout your house, talk to people in other rooms, hear the latest news stories and so much more.
- Smart outlets and lightbulbs: Automate your light switches and use your voice to control different outlets throughout your home.
- Video doorbells: Keep an eye on who’s coming and going, see who’s at the door and get a notification when packages arrive.
- Security cameras: Watch what’s happening inside and outside your home. Get a service with monitoring and you’re protected around the clock.
- Garage door and sprinkler system: Open and close your garage door or water your plants on a timer.
Only have $100 to spend? Choose from these packages
Amazon’s Echos are great all-purpose smart speakers. The Echo Dot is super affordable, and the latest generation has good sound quality to boot. Grab two and you can play music throughout your house and use them as intercoms to chat with someone in another room.
With MyQ Wi-Fi enabled garage hub, just tap a button on your smartphone to open and close the garage. It’s super simple to set-up and use. And if you’re a Prime member, you can get free in-garage delivery from Amazon. Click here for more details.
Option 2: Echo Dot + a Sengled Wi-Fi smart bulb
While this isn’t the latest generation Echo Dot, it packs a big punch in a tiny package. It comes with a smart bulb, too, and even two of these packages are well under the $100 budget. This is the perfect way to set up smart lighting, too. With easy voice control, set your lights to brighten ahead of your alarm to mimic the sunrise gradually. Just ask, “Alexa, wake me up at 7 a.m. with lights,” and you’re good to go.
Option 3: Echo Show 5 Sandstone + Amazon Smart Plug + 2-pack Smart Wi-Fi Light Bulb
What if you want an interactive screen instead? You’ll love the Echo Show 5 Sandstone, which allows you to watch videos, video chat with friends and family and read articles. Bonus: This package comes with an Amazon Smart Plug that lets you voice control basic appliances. For example, plug in a lamp to the outlet and now you can say, “Alexa, turn the light on.” It’s as easy as that.
For around $20, you can add two LED color-changing lightbulbs that are compatible with Alexa and Google Home Assistant. Want to bathe the room in pink, blue or gold? These Smart Wi-Fi Light Bulbs will light the way.
Option 4: The 3rd Gen Echo Dot bundle (grab 2 and you’re still under budget)
This bundle is a steal. It delivers everything you need to start your smart home in one easy package. The 3rd Gen Echo Dot lets you add voice control to any outlet. You’ll get four far-field microphones that help Alexa hear you from across the room.
Want to fill the whole home with music? You can do all that without a smart home hub. Start setting routines and schedules through your Alexa app.
Plus, it comes in four different colors. If you ever wanted a pink Echo Dot, you’re in luck!
Here’s what you can get with a $200 budget
Option 1: Ring Video Doorbell 3 with Echo Show 5
Video doorbells show what’s going on outside your front door, whether you’re at home or far away. You can get a Ring Video Doorbell 3 with Echo Show 5 for around $150. You’ll get mobile notifications whenever someone presses your doorbell or triggers your motion sensors. And of course, you’ll get that Echo Show 5 with a 5.5-inch screen included.
Option 2: Echo Show 8 with stand and Amazon Smart Plug + Kasa 3-pack Wi-Fi switch
Amazon’s Echo Show 8 is the upgraded version of its Show 5. It’s got a bigger, better screen and you can adjust the angle at which you’re viewing — super handy when you’re trying to watch a video about fixing a pipe with your head stuck under the sink. Turn off the microphone or camera with one press of a button and enjoy podcasts, movies, audiobooks and music.
This package comes with a nifty stand and smart plug, which lets you add voice control to any outlet
Plus, with the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Switch, you can control lighting from anywhere in the house. It’s easy to install and there’s no hub required — it works out of the box with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can even set a timer or countdown schedule to make your smart switch automatically turn on or off. How cool is that?
Got $500 in your pocket? Check out these bundles
Let’s say you’re working with a bigger budget and want to go all out. Each of these three bundles is a great way to set up your automated home. Which one sounds best to you?
Option 1: Amazon Ring doorbell 3 + Ring Indoor Cam x 2 + MyQ Garage Door Opener + Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
But what about your sprinklers? You can control your sprinklers from anywhere with the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. Set up smart watering schedules through the app based on your plants, soil type or even sun exposure. You can even use the standard weather intelligence program to skip unnecessary watering whenever it rains.
Now you’ve automated the outside of your house. Now, here’s what to do inside.
Check out the Ring Indoor Cams to strengthen your home’s indoor security. Mount the cameras on a wall or set them on a flat surface. Either way, you can record all your videos and watch over your entire home through the Ring app, even if you’re away.
Option 2: Echo Show 8 + August Smart Lock + Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat + Gosund 4-pack smart plugs + Ring Peephole Cam
There’s also the August Smart Lock, which allows you to lock and unlock your door from anywhere. You can grant friends keyless access when they arrive and keep track of who comes and goes and automatically unlock the front door whenever you arrive. Say goodbye to the awkward days of fumbling for keys, shopping bags or dogs when you leave or return to your home.
This bundle also nets you the Ecobee3, an easy-to-install smart thermostat. Now, control all temperature settings with your voice — no more squinting at and fighting with the thermostat. It will even get used to your schedule and make suggestions based on your preferences.
Just combine it with your Alexa-enabled device, and you’re good to go!
The Gosund four-pack of smart plugs rounds out this package. You can set up voice control for any attached appliance. You can even create a customized timer and schedule to automatically power on or off any home electronics. For example, you can disconnect the charger from your fully charged phone. Basically, it’s a great way to reduce energy consumption and save cash.
Just plug a device into the smart outlet, connect it to your app and you’re ready to rumble.
Option 3: SimpliSafe Security System
Leave all your preconceived notions about home security systems at the door. With our sponsor SimpliSafe, there are no expensive contracts, pushy salespeople or systems too complicated to get your family to use.
The 14-piece Haven collection includes a base station, keypad, keyfob, four entry sensors, two motion sensors, a panic button, smoke detector, water sensor, freeze sensor and 105dB siren to scare away any potential thieves. Get everything, set it up yourself in under an hour and get 24/7 protection.
Right now, when you buy a new package, you can get a free HD security camera. Just go to SimpliSafeKim.com.
Setting up a smart home can seem intimidating at first. After all, there are tons of moving parts to keep track of: outlets, plugs, Echos and so on. That’s why these bundles are a great way to hit the ground running. They’re simple, easy to set up, and — best of all — easy on your wallet.We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.