If you haven’t adequately started out down the home automation route yet and you’re tempted, what’s the biggest obstacle in your way against taking action? For most people thinking of investing in smart devices, the cost is the main mental barrier in place. Today we’re going to walk you through cheap smart home devices.
The 15 cheap smart home devices we’ll highlight today are all worthy of a place in any respectable connected home, and they all come in at under $100.
The fact is, among all that expensive kit out there, you can also get some awesome bargains if you know what you’re looking for, and we’re here to help you out. We’re not talking about cheap, off-brand products either. You’ll be amazed at the presence of most of the major smart home players on this list from Samsung and Amazon through Insteon, August, and Ring.
Most, in fact, will run you substantially less than $50 but we didn’t want to mislead you with a clickbait headline of $50 then deliver a sucker punch with one or two slightly pricier items.
All that remains now is to choose when you’re going to start kitting out your home with the best budget smart devices and we’ve cleaved all these bargains into categories to simplify your life further!
Cheap Smart Home Hubs
The OG of the smart home scene, Insteon offers an incredibly robust line of devices with this hub acting as the foundation.
It might look like a soulless box but the innards will ensure you can take full charge of all the connected devices in your Insteon ecosystem using your smartphone or voice control. If you fancy using a digital assistant, you’ll need an Alexa or Google Assistant device. These are sold separately.
Set-up couldn’t be much simpler and you’ll be up and running in minutes flat. All you need is the app for your iOS or Android device then you can start creating Scenes and schedule your smart devices so you can embrace the streamlined nature of a truly connected home without needing to lash out a fortune.
You’ll get notifications whizzed over to your smartphone whether you’re on the other side of the room or the other side of the world. Whether you want to turn off the lights or check your water sensors and smoke detector, the Insteon hub is a first-class command center from a brand you can trust.
Consider adding the thermostat we look at just below as a great starter for ten.
2) Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols to deliver outstanding interoperability and seamless communication between your smart home devices.
You can take charge in-app or using Alexa if you prefer issuing voice commands to control your lighting, thermostat, locks, and sensors.
As well as working brilliantly with a range of other brands, you can also build out an impressive smart home sticking with Samsung. Their range of sensors is particularly impressive covering everything from motion detection to water leaks.
Think of the SmartThings Home Hub as the beating heart of your smart home and congratulate yourself on starting out the right way. If you choose to make a modest investment, you’ll get a remarkable return on investment.
Cheap Smart Thermostats
If you’ve always wanted to save money on your electricity bills and automate the tedious process of regulating the climate in your home, maybe you though smart thermostats were too expensive. Many are but Insteon’s classic take on the modern smart thermostat breaks the mold.
You will need the Insteon Hub from above then you’ll be able to tweak the temperature in your smart home even if you’re still at work or even away on vacation. This device can also trigger other Insteon devices to kick in when the temperature hits a specified level.
A great energy-saving feature is the ability to have the AC activated only when the sensor detects motion. Therefore, you can stop wasting your hard-earned money cooling down vacant rooms.
While this unit might not look as sleek and futuristic as Nest Learning or ecobee thermostats, you’ll get the same smarts for much less money. Fully compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, enjoy the benefit of a smart thermostat without the aggressive price tag or any compromise on quality.
Cheap Smart Speakers
If you want to enter the smart speaker market, whether to for streaming music, organizing your day or using Alexa to control other devices, Echo Dot makes the ideal entry point.
If you’re new to the idea of smart speakers, the name is perhaps less than descriptive. Sure, you’ll be able to play music but audio quality is pretty underwhelming but the core feature is anything but. That, of course, is the inimitable Alexa.
The third generation looks better with its fabric finish and the sound, while still not room-filling, is a marked improvement on earlier iterations. Also, if you want to hook up this dinky speaker to a superior alternative in your home theater, there’s a 3.5 aux output in place.
You’ll be able to call or message hands-free and even call your kids down to dinner by using Echo-to-Echo much like an old-school intercom.
The major selling point of this tiny device, though, is the way you’ll be able to control all the automated devices in your home using nothing but voice commands.
The very cheapest smart security cameras are seldom much use so we’ve selected something a little pricier but still less than $100. After all, if you’re looking to make savings on smart home devices, you’re better off doing so in less critical areas than home security.
The wire-free Blink takes nothing more than a couple 1.5V lithium batteries delivering fully 2 years of run time. In return for this wireless experience, you’ll be rewarded with 1080p video recording without needing a subscription to access footage.
Compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa – increasingly essential in today’s smart homes – you’ll get motion alerts sent to your cell phone in the event of any security breach.
You can build out this system nicely with supplementary cameras, also very reasonably priced. Blink proves conclusively that cost is no barrier if you want to ramp up the protection in your connected home, but if even this seems out of reach, we’ve got an even cheaper camera for you to consider…
7) Echo devices to use in tandem.
Searching night vision a 111-degree viewing angle and full HD video means you can keep on top of what’s going on in your home around the clock. You can check in on any EZViz cameras in-app and fully encrypted. You’ll get a 1-week free trial to see if cloud storage makes the best fit for you. If not, you can store footage locally using a microSD card.
There’s an onboard speaker and mic for listening in or talking, something you wouldn’t expect at this end of the price spectrum.
As an added bonus if you’re just starting out building a connected home, you’ll also be able to control your camera using other devices and If This, Then That.
Cheap Smart Light Bulbs
For a smart bulb that harnesses WiFi rather than Z-Wave or Zigbee, the LIFX Mini won’t call for a hub, and you can get up and running using nothing but your smartphone, home network, and the responsive free app. Screw in the bulb, and you’re away!
With the usual smorgasbord of colors and a bright 800 lumens bulb to illuminate even larger rooms, this energy-efficient light bulb comes in single units or as an even better value 4-pack. If you don’t need the full-color version, you can also get this bulb in White or Day and Dusk variants.
The LIFX Mini is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant. IFTTT also connects to LIFX and this WiFi light also slots in with Nest, SmartThings, Scout and a host of other smart home devices for wide-reaching functionality.
Cheap Smart Plugs
Smart plugs are a common entry point for anyone looking to test the waters of home automation. This Mini model from TP-Link is a strong performer that avoids the common issue of socket overcrowding blighting many full-sized intelligent plugs.
You won’t need to add a home hub into the mix unless you choose to do so, and you can also enjoy voice control if you pick up an Alexa-enabled device like the Echo Dot we looked at above.
Using the slick Kasa app, you can manage all your smart plugs from a single central location. Use your cell phone or tablet for remote control of connected devices and scheduling can streamline things still further.
The countdown timer is a great bonus and means there’s no chance of leaving energy-sapping appliances on when you’re heading out to work in a hurry.
Cheap Smart Switches
We recently looked at how dimmer switches work and if you want to press one into action in your smart home without spending a fortune, the WeMo we review in more depth in that recent article is the obvious choice.
Giving you the choice of just about any dimmable lights, from energy-efficient LEDs through to CFLs and older incandescent bulbs this switch works with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
Wemo switches allow you to use IFTTT recipes so you can get even more out of your lighting based on adjustments made in response to real-world events.
Scheduling and optimization is a cakewalk, and the only surprising thing is the highly competitive price point.
Cheap Smart Lock
If you thought smart locks under $100 were impossible to come by, we bring you the August Bluetooth keypad giving you a key-free entry system ideal if you’re not hugely tech-savvy.
For anyone with kids, you’ll know the pain of making sure they always have their keys with them and the frustration of getting a call at work to say they’re locked out. If you want to avoid that clichéd and dangerous trick of leaving a spare key in the garden, invest in this Bluetooth keypad and set up codes for all the family.
The code system also comes in very handy if you need to let contractors or cleaners into your house and you don’t want the hassle of cutting multiple keys.
While this smart lock might not be as feature-heavy as some of the competition, you won’t suffer the double-catastrophe of being locked out if you happen to lose your cellphone, an inbuilt flaw with many more expensive entry systems.
Cheap Smart Streaming Devices
If your interest was piqued by our recent look at 20 Ways To Get The Most From Google Chromecast, you’d already know the benefits of this streaming device that looks more like an over-ear headphone than a dongle.
You’ll get all content optimized for picture quality up to the supported 4K Ultra quality when applicable. Coming in at roughly half the price of Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra makes the ideal choice for anyone operating on a tighter budget not already fully invested into Apple’s ecosystem.
Working brilliantly with Google Home as expected, you can take command of your TV with nothing but your voice or use your smartphone if you prefer that acting as your makeshift remote.
Don’t forget to check out our look at getting the very most out of Chromecast if you’re still stuck on the fence and torn between this or Fire TV to get that party started.
Cheap Smart Doorbells
Smart video doorbells are perhaps another category you didn’t imagine could be bagged for less than $100. You can, though, and from industry legend Ring into the bargain thanks to our half-price offer bringing this entry system well within reach of everyone.
While this entry-level model only provides 720p HD video quality, that’s more than fit for purpose.
WiFi connectivity lets you stay in touch with who’s at your door even when you’re not at home, and the motion detection triggers alerts sent to your smartphone in the event of any possible security breach.
If you often misplace your phone around the house, consider adding Ring Chime as an added method of making sure you don’t miss visitors if you can’t find your iPhone.
For a superb starting point with smart video doorbells, this baseline Ring is well worth popping on your shortlist.
We hope today’s list of the best affordable smart home devices has shown you clearly that the old saying, “Buy cheap, buy twice” doesn’t always hold true.
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