Most homeowners love the idea of smart: home control systems. After all, who doesn’t want to make their lives more convenient and/or cool? What people don’t love so much is the price tag often associated with such home control systems.
While many of these pricier home control systems are worth the cost, you don’t have to go without if you don’t have that sort of budget. There are several inexpensive home control options readily available today.
Ready to see how you can get started with home control systems within a set budget? Let’s take a peek at four home control systems under $400 and what you’ll get for that price.
SmartThings can connect to all sorts of gear using ZigBee, Z-Wave and IP technologies. The entire system is based around the SmartThings Hub ($99), which can communicate with motion sensors, door sensors, smart locks, lights, and more. However, if you want to have an instant home automation solution, the SmartThings Smarter Home Starter Kit puts the Hub, one Motion Sensor, one Presence Sensor, one Open/Closed sensor, and the SmartPower Outlet into one easy-to-install package. It’s a great starter for homeowners and renters looking for a simple security solution. And that price tag should leave you with a few bucks for add-ons. [For a closer peek at this option, check out our “Hands On: SmartThings Smart Home Control and Automation System Review.”
A lot of starter kits focus strictly on security. However, a lot of starter kits aren’t made by Insteon. The Insteon Connected Kit includes the Insteon Hub (which we reviewed earlier this year), as well as two lamp dimmer modules, a leak sensor, a motion sensor, an open/close sensor, one wireless IP camera, and even one thermostat. Connect the Hub to your router and the product uses its own protocol to link all of the connected devices to the Insteon app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. And since the kit is scalable, you can add on now or later; it’s ready whenever you are. Just know that Insteon systems mainly work with Insteon products. There are many of those, but if you are planning to add in existing products, you may be out of luck. That said, the Insteon app does work with the Nest thermostat and the company previously announced support for Apple HomeKit as well.
Late last year, Logitech announced plans to get into home automation. The company’s Harmony brand had been a popular home theater controller for quite some time. However, the Harmony Living Home lineup was designed to put everything and anything electronic in the home under that one Harmony controller. The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home package can do that pretty easily, too. It features the Harmony Home Hub and a remote with a 2.4-inch color touchscreen. That’s it. It’s actually made to be paired with devices you already own, from Nest, Lutron, August, pÃ„“q, and many more. If you don’t already have these devices in your home, you may want to go with a package that includes actual smart home products. However, it does work with over 270,000 devices from more than 6,000 brands, so you probably have a little something it can control. Just know that it can’t control all of those simultaneously; the system maxes out at 15 devices.
Wink made a big splash in the home automation world by introducing a $15 smart bulb (and the creepy/cool side of Jeff Goldblum). However, there are several different Wink items—and all of them are pretty inexpensive. The Wink Command Center Kit (pictured) combines the fancy Wink Relay touchscreen with two smart bulbs and one Tripper door/window sensor. If you’re really on a budget, the company also has the $100 Light and Monitor Kit, which includes the less fancy Wink Hub, four bulbs, and the door/window sensor. Since Wink can support WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth and Z-Wave, there are plenty of options for add-ons. If you want to see some of the items you can add to a Wink setup, check out “What Can You Connect With a Wink Smart Home System?”
Want your shades lowered? Do it in seconds from a smartphone. Not sure if you locked the door when you left the house or left the garage door open? Again, it’s as easy as pressing a button on your smartphone.
Our FREE comprehensive Smart Home Planning Guide helps you plan what features best suit your needs.Get Your FREE Planning Guide Today!
Originally posted on July 1, 2015 and updated on November 17, 2015.