Start Your Smart Home With These 3 Gadgets!

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Control Your Lights and other gadgets with these smart devices…

Amazon Echo
Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Ever since I was introduced to the first generation of Amazon Echo devices, I was fascinated with them and the ability to use words to turn lights on, play music and just do so much. It was like a scene from the movies come true!

As someone who has heavily invested in smart home equipment over the years, I want to share the top three things you need to start your very own smart home.

Start With A Smart Speaker

I initially started my smart home with a 1st generation Echo Dot, back then I was a student and didn’t really need the bigger Echo, nor could I afford it. However, even the 1st generation Echo Dot was worth the purchase! In this article, I am referring to a smart speaker as a speaker containing a digital assistant such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

A smart speaker should be at the core of your smart home system, it’s the device that you will use to talk to other devices such as light bulbs or even smart plugs. There are two speakers that I recommend starting off with, the Amazon Echo Dot or a Google Nest Mini.

These are small but affordable speakers that actually sound pretty good, and that’s another thing I wanted to talk about. Not only can you use your smart speaker to control other devices, but you can also use it to listen to the radio, and the news, and even play your music library from compatible services such as Spotify. You can even play games and ask it stupid things, such as “Hey Google, what do you think about Siri” and the assistant will give you a pretty funny answer.

I currently use a mixture of smart speakers around my house, I mainly use Alexa, but in the office, I have a Google Nest Hub which, I think, is pretty remarkable.

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Get a Smart Bulb

A smart bulb is a light bulb that is capable of connecting to your Wi-Fi, allowing you to remotely control the light, whether it’s using a digital assistant or an app on your phone.

They are honestly a great investment and contain some useful features. Depending on the bulb you decide to go with, you can set timers for it to go off or on at specific times, which is pretty good for security if you are away from your house. On some models, you can even see how much energy it’s using.

Some models even offer a wide range of colours that allow you to set the scene. For example, In the mornings, I like to use “Mountain Breeze” which offers a selection of light colours that you would see when waking up in the mountains on a sunny day. This is possibly one of my favourite features of Philips Hue!

I started my smart home with just a single bulb, it was a TP-Link Kasa bulb and the thing I liked about it was that you didn’t need a hub as you do with Philips Hue. That’s one of the main reasons I recommend starting with TP-Link Kasa.

Although saying that, Philips Hue is actually pretty cool and if you are serious about expanding your smart home, it may just be the perfect investment. I started with TP-Link Kasa, but when I was certain about expanding, I invested in Philips Hue, and it was a pretty good decision!

Get a Smart Plug!

The last thing on this list is simply a smart plug, I started and still use TP-Link Kasa plugs as they tend to be great value for money.

A smart plug is literally a plug you connect devices to that don’t necessarily have smart capabilities. It allows you to remotely power on or off a device, either using your phone or a smart speaker. For example, one of the smart devices I control using a smart plug is the colourful lighting on my desk.

Some smart plugs even allow you to create a schedule, which once again is a great thing if you are away because you can set various lights to go on and off at certain times.

With TP-Link Kasa, you can even buy an extension lead that provides you with three separate programmable smart plugs as well as two USB ports which you can’t program. The advantage of this is that you can have more items to control and effectively save power.

I use the extension lead for controlling my TV, and when not in use, I can turn it off with a simple command and save money on electricity at the same time.

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Summary

Investing in smart home equipment can make really make things convenient for you, not to mention that it can actually be quite fun.

As someone who has been investing in smart home devices, I had the opportunity to try out products from various brands. But, for people who are just starting out, there is one brand, in particular, I recommend checking out and that’s TP-Link, specifically TP-Link Kasa, and no, I’m not sponsored by them!

The reason I’m recommending TP-Link Kasa is simply that I know that their products are reliable and that you don’t need to worry about purchasing a smart hub to get them to connect.

When it comes to smart speakers, there isn’t really a smart speaker that I recommend specifically because I tried various Google, Alexa, and even Siri-powered devices and they each had their pros and cons. But one thing I do recommend is to make sure that the smart equipment you do buy for these speakers actually works with the speaker, as not all do. It’s worth checking out the product description and other reviews to ensure compatibility.