We put our wise spin on the top 10 smart-home devices in 2023 by answering one question. Which devices can make your connected living easier – saving you money, time and sanity?
Connected living is easier and more cost-effective than ever. But, there are so many devices and multiple versions of devices that the selection process can get confusing, or unnecessarily expensive. We recommend you first, consider compatibilities of devices. For starters, are you an Amazon home, Google home or Apple home? Next, not all smart-home devices are created equally. Sometimes the seemingly simplest devices are the most complex to setup, connect and keep connected. We can help you avoid those pitfalls! And lastly, pragmatic selection is the best approach – select the devices that match your needs, not the devices that are packed with functionality.
1. Whole-home Wi-Fi
Whole-home Wi-Fi helps ensure you get the internet speeds you need to every area of your home via Wi-Fi. And, a Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Network is far superior in every way to ISP gateways, single router Wi-Fi or using Wi-Fi extenders. Often overlooked, the reliability of your connected devices starts with a strong and reliable Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi Mesh Networks deliver a stronger and more reliable signal, better reach, automatic device switching, and the ability to control devices on your network.
Eliminate streaming or video call buffering. Put gaming lags to an end. Get Wi-Fi coverage throughout your whole-home, to your garage and even to your detached barn.
2. Smart Plugs
Smart Plugs for outlets have come a long way since the days of outlet timers. Conserve energy and save money while controlling your Christmas lights, interior lights or other electronics remotely. Set and control daily schedules from your smartphone. Or turn on lights remotely to help with home security.
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, “set-top boxes, games consoles and older TVs are some of the main culprits” of excessive power consumption when you think they’re in hibernation mode.
3. Home Security Cameras
Security cameras are one of the most popular additions to homes in 2023. They have become very easy to install and activate. But the two biggest challenges are 1) installation locations, and 2) getting a reliable and fast Wi-Fi connection to the cameras. First, do you have the proper and safe equipment to reach your planned installation locations? If not, hire an expert who does. Second, most consumers aren’t setup to determine the speed of their Wi-Fi connection at the location the cameras are installed. If the signal isn’t strong enough, the result is poor or no video capture or device malfunction. Ring Cameras and Home-security bundles are easy to monitor and their HD camera is top rated with 4.7 stars. We love ours.
4. Video Doorbells
Possibly one of the greatest inventions in the last decade are video doorbells. Gone are the days of peeking through the peephole. And gone are the requirements of being home to answer your doorbell. The personal security, confidence and ability to stave off solicitors and package delivery thieves is almost magical. With the Ring Doorbell, gain safety and security every time someone comes to your door. And, you have the option to connect to your existing doorbell wiring for constant power, or install a wireless version..
5. Smart Thermostats
Choosing smart thermostats should be done with your preferred home automation source in mind. Amazon, Google and Apple each have their limitations with compatible devices. Google Nest works best for Google Home. The ecobee Smart Thermostat works best with Apple HomeKit. For Amazon, the Amazon Smart Thermostat gives you control of your thermostat from anywhere with your smartphone. Easily set daily temperature routines to save energy and money.
6. Smart Sprinklers
The market for smart watering controls for sprinkler systems is a proven way to conserve water – an important but depleting resource. Either let the weather dictate when to run sprinklers and at what times. B-Hyve is widely available. As is the Rachio Smart Sprinkler. Both help conserve water while beautifying your lawn. A built-in weather watcher, zone control activation and controlling your watering schedule can be done right from your smartphone.
7. Smart Home Controls
There are more “smart-home” control devices in the market today than we can keep up with. The best part is that these niche use devices are inexpensive and plentiful. One in particular that we think is worth highlighting – the Echo Glow Smart Lamp. First, kids love this device. But it’s also great for adults and seniors. It’s voice controlled – ask it questions, change colors, set alarms and timers (for reading, dinner time or reminders to take medication).
Another smart-home control device that has gained popularity recently are compact tv, music, photo, and virtual assistant devices. These devices can also centralize basic home automation. For the Amazon Home, the entire Echo Show series makes for a great connected-home experience that works anywhere. Use it to get TV, music, photos and basic home automation in your kitchen, office, garage, anywhere. The Echo Show 15 is superior to other Echo Show models in that it’s wall-mounted and features a 15.6-inch screen. I love it for watching YouTube TV, Netflix or my photos in my kitchen!
8. Wireless Home Audio
Speaker wires are so a thing of the past. High quality, surround sound does not require hard-wired speakers any more.
Sonos is the leading multi-room wireless speaker system that lets you access and listen to home audio in room and throughout the house. Controlled by smartphone or tablet, easily access any music content and control all your Sonos speakers. And, a modern alternative to traditional HiFi systems, Sonos wireless home audio is compact and easy for everyone in the family to use.
9. Best Smart TVs
Smart TVs sometimes seem like they’re smarter than us. We’ve found that while functionality has increased, setting up a “smart TV” takes some real smarts. From wall mounting a TV, completing channel scans for antenna inputs, activating apps, ensuring a good network connection to so much more. Cut through the clutter of all the TVs available on the market. We reviewed and distilled TVs down to the top 4 options in our latest blog. And we’re here to help with installs.
10. Best Streaming Media Players
Don’t have money for a new smart TV – no problem! The single best way to enjoy streaming TV is with an inexpensive streaming media player (SMP). Wi-Fi 6 compatible SMPs are superior in speed and consequently video quality. Most SMPs are superior to Smart TVs in their streaming video processors. And, SMPs are portable – just plug into a HDMI port, connect to local Wi-Fi and voila. New Amazon WiFi 6 Fire TV 4K, Roku Ultra, Apple TV 4K are the best, but not all are Wi-Fi 6 enabled. We strongly encourage you get Wi-Fi 6 ready devices because they are better at Live TV streaming.
Get installation help with smart-home devices
Our goal is always to help help customers save money, save time and save their sanity. That’s why StreamWise Solutions makes connected living easy. Without a reliable whole-home Wi-Fi network setup, two unfortunate things happen.
- Connected devices fail to function properly and are often blamed for the issues.
- Consumers will often over-pay for internet service either in speeds or in data caps.
Avoid the issues. Avoid the headaches. And avoid making a bad purchase. Get expert advice, device selection and installation by starting with a free consultation call.