A smart home needs to be as convenient and easy to use as possible. That’s why it’s often hard to choose whether to buy wired or wireless smart home devices. Both have their own unique benefits, and in fact, the best smart home may be a combination of wired and wireless. Choosing what’s right for you mainly comes down to price, usability, and, of course, installation.
Wired Smart Home Devices
Wired smart home devices refer to two types of wired setups: Ethernet and hardwired. The first involves connecting devices to your home network with an Ethernet cable that plugs into your router. Some smart home hubs connect directly to avoid any issues due to weak Wi-Fi.
Other wired devices are hardwired into your home. For instance, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector wires directly into your ceiling versus using a battery. The Arlo Doorbell also uses your existing doorbell wiring.
The benefits may not seem as obvious at first, but when it comes down to wired or wireless smart home devices, wired does have the following pros:
- No batteries to replace nor batteries dying at the worst times
- Ethernet cable means no drops due to Wi-Fi fluctuations
- Ethernet connected devices represent less security risk in some cases. (This applies to a fully physically-connected network versus mixing in Wi-Fi.)
It’s important to note that hardwired devices can still use Wi-Fi to make it easy to remotely connect and control your home.
Of course, there are some obvious cons, too, such as:
- Installation is more difficult (an electrician may be needed)
- Hiding wires and cables is a necessity
- Not quite as convenient, as you can’t move or replace it easily
- Hardwired and Ethernet-connected aren’t as widely available for some devices
- Limited Ethernet connections based on available ports
Wireless Smart Home Devices
Wireless smart home devices are probably what most people are more familiar with. At most, you need an outlet to power them, such as smart home speakers, though some of those offer a battery option, too. However, most truly wireless devices run completely on battery and don’t require you to connect directly to your router.
It’s usually extremely easy to install them. After all, you place the device where you want, adjust the settings via an app, and you’re done.
Some of the most obvious benefits include:
- Easy installation
- May be cheaper in some cases, though prices are fairly comparable
- Easy to place almost anywhere within range of Wi-Fi
- No device limits as long as your network can handle it
- Wider variety of devices
While all of that sounds wonderful, wireless smart home devices aren’t without their faults, such as:
- Replacing batteries regularly
- Monitoring battery life to avoid inconvenient outages
- Unreliable connections due to Wi-Fi signal interference
- Wi-Fi range issues, though a mesh network can help
- Bandwidth issues, especially with heavy streaming
Wired or Wireless Smart Home
For many users, it’s hard to choose between wired or wireless smart home devices. The good news is modern smart homes are opting for a mix. For instance, you’d definitely want your smart home hub to have a reliable connection at all times, making it better to connect it directly to your router. However, you may prefer a completely wireless doorbell to avoid adding a wired connection, especially if you don’t already have existing wiring.
Before you buy a smart home device, check to see how it installs and connects. Wireless offers the most convenience, but if you’d rather not replace batteries, wired is a great option too. For me, it’s a mix as that works better for me. Take the time to plan out your smart home strategy to create the best design and connections for your needs. You may even want to use two or more smart home voice assistants.