The Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up A Smart Home (For Under $1,000)

A man with energy coming out of his finger.

Everyone’s gets busy, and some of us look for the most efficient ways to get from A to Z. One of the best ways to cut out vital minutes throughout your day is by setting up a smart home.

With a suitable smart assistant and connected devices, you can operate lots of aspects of your home through voice commands, your smart phone, and even your smart watch. For this post, we’re going to show you how to set up a smart home, without spending a lot of money to do it.

Why Setting Up a Smart Home Isn’t a Stupid Idea

Futuristic movies often show people speaking to omnipresent and omnipotent computers, each with a soothing and polite voice, to operate almost every aspect of their surroundings.

While this may seem far-fetched and unrealistic, the present is closer than you think. Most of the big tech companies have a smart assistant, and you get a choice of soothing voice telling you they “Can’t do that, Dave”.

The core concept is that you can control aspects such as lighting, heat, and more all from voice commands or the touch of a button. Of course, this does save time getting up and walking over to the light switch, but there are lots of other benefits:

  • You can potentially save on electricity bills, given the wealth of automation options at your disposal.
  • Those with poor mobility can still retain some independence, because you can operate everything from one position.
  • You often get more options with elements such as lighting to make a room more personal. For example, lots of bulbs offer a full gamut of color options and strengths.

There are lots more benefits, but a prime one is that you don’t have to spend an annual income when setting up a smart home. Let’s discuss this more.

Set Up a Smart Home For Under $1,000 in 3 Steps

In short, there are three steps you can take when setting up a smart home. Your first choice, and arguably, the hardest, is to figure out which company to go with.

1. Choose an Ecosystem for Your Smart Home

Given that most of the big tech companies have smart assistants, this means you have a few options for your ecosystem. This is important, because each solution has a different approach to the smart home, and (of course) different price ranges.

An Amazon Echo Dot.
  • Amazon. We’d suggest that the Amazon Echo provides the best all-around option, based on price, functionality, choice, and quality. The focus is on entertainment, especially with regard to its collection of Alexa Skills.
  • Google. It’s Nest offerings look sleek, are competitive on price, and deliver on quality. The focus is on productivity, and modern forms of downtime, such as video gaming.
  • Apple. If your “force” is with the Cupertino company, Apple’s HomeKit is for you. The speakers throughout the entire range are the best on the market, and connectivity with your other devices is stellar. Though, the ecosystem focuses on connecting Apple products together, so Skill-like apps don’t exist. Also, the price is expensive.

In our opinion, Amazon is the most straightforward way to set up a smart home. Though, if you’re a Google fan, its range will also tempt you. While Apple has the best ecosystem in terms of quality of devices and connections, the other downsides may put you off.

2. Decide Which Parts of Your Home You Want to Automate

Next, you’ll want to figure out what you want to do with your new smart home. Of course, you may have an idea in mind already. If so, your task is to find a solution. If it’s an area you haven’t looked into before, there are some basics you should start with:

A smart lightbulb.
  • Lighting is a common touchpoint for a smart home, and there are many options at your disposal. Most run on LEDs, because you can change the strength and color of the bulb.
  • Plug sockets also get attention because it’s an efficient way to set up smart functionality. It’s a sound strategy to turn so-called “dumb” sockets into smart outlets by plugging in a suitable solution.

From here, your imagination can run wild. Depending on your ecosystem and available options, you’re able to turn almost any major aspect smart. For example, you can buy kettles, refrigerators, blinds, and much more.

Our advice is to start with the basics and scale from there. Often, you can do wonders with smart lightbulbs in every room and a few well-placed sockets. What’s more, if you opt for a hub and satellite devices, you can control your home from any location within.

3. Find Solutions to Meet Your Needs

Now to the fun part! For a basic smart home setup, you’ll need the following:

  • A smart assistant and hub
  • Smart lighting
  • Smart sockets

When it comes to a hub, you will have already made your choice in the last step. From here, you simply need to stump up the cash. Apple’s HomePod used to come as a large hub, but now only the Apple HomePod mini is available at $99.

As for accessories, Apple has a large list of suitable devices, but for one Nanoleaf bulb, you’re looking at around $20. Outlets have less choice, but you’re looking at around $25–$100 per plug.

As for Amazon, there is much more in the Echo device range. A standard Amazon Echo 4th generation edition is around $75–$100, with the Echo Dot at around $40-$50.

There’s a wide range of lighting and sockets available, and you’ll need to do your research to find good-quality options. Look to spend about $30–$40 for a pack of four bulbs and around $25 for a pack of four outlets.

The Google Nest device.

Finally, Google offers the Nest Hub for around $80–$100 and a mini version between $35–$50. Depending on the brand and quantity you choose, lighting could be $17–$50 per bulb. Again, there are less choices for outlets, but expect to pay $15–$30 per plug.

It’s also worth mentioning that Google offers a smart light starter kit, which includes two bulbs and a Google Nest mini for only $50.

In Summary

Smart homes is within the realm of possibility for many households now. As such, all of the big tech giants have ecosystems to jump into. For well under $1,000 – you may only need $500 – you can piece together three hubs, lighting for every room, and a few sockets. This will cover your bases as a fully-functional smart home.

If you want to see just how far smart technology has come, check out our article on smart diapers! Will you embrace your smart home, or is it something you’re going to steer clear of? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tom Rankin Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he's not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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