Best Rated Smart Home Device

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Best Seller

Amazon Echo


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Amazon Echo

    Pros

    • Control your entire home with the sound of your voice using the Echo. Of course, you will already need to be hooked into Alexa and have other connected smart devices in your home, but this slim wireless speaker acts as a hub for all of those devices and allows you to simply ask questions or give voice commands to accomplish your goals. It also plays music for you, with clear 360-degree speakers that offer both clean highs and bassy lows. Connect with everything using wifi or bluetooth, depending on your own preferences and the abilities of your compatible devices.

    Cons

    • Requires an Amazon Prime subscription for certain added benefits like online media libraries, cloud storage, and more. Some people find the price to be a little higher than they'd hoped and state that it is easier to control everything from a cell phone, but we beg to differ.

    Bottom Line

    • If you want to connect all of your smart devices into one app, we suggest the Alexa app and we love that this Echo speaker allows any member of your household to access that app hands-free.

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    SmartThings Hub


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    SmartThings Hub

      Pros

      • Like the Amazon Echo, the Samsung SmartThings acts as a hub for your home's smart devices. It connects every smart device in your home and works to learn your habits. This knowledge helps it adjust things like your lighting schedule, thermostat, and refrigerator temperature according to your behaviors. Purchase sensors to place around your home so that the SmartThings can learn when you are usually in certain rooms and can adjust the lighting and temperature in those rooms accordingly.

      Cons

      • Unlike other smart home hubs (like the Amazon Echo) the SmartThings does not include a speaker system, it won't play music for you, and it cannot answer questions for you. You will need access to an app to control all of the other devices in your home that will provide you with those benefits. The SmartThings' main priority is learning your habits and adjusting your appliances, lighting, etc. to match them.

      Bottom Line

      • Though it doesn't have some of the updated features of the Amazon Echo (such as voice commands, a speaker, and interactive abilities) it does the same basic job at less than half the price.

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      Wink Connected


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      Wink Connected

        Pros

        • This advanced hub claims to work with all smart devices - from those which normally require Android apps to those that require Apple apps and even those that seem to work primarily with Alexa. This hub can sit on a shelf, flat or stand up tall like book, blending into its surroundings and requiring much less space than options like the Amazon Echo. It feeds all of its information into one easy-to-control app on your cell phone which allows you to track not only the schedules you have set for your smart devices but also the costs associated with running them at particular times in particular ways.

        Cons

        • Unlike some other hubs, like the Samsung SmartThings, the Wink doesn't appear to be able to track your habits and make its own smart adjustments according to those habits.

        Bottom Line

        • A great, affordable option for anyone who wants to link their smart devices together and control them with a unified app.

        Best value product

        Harmony Home Hub


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        Harmony Home Hub

          Pros

          • Built by Logitech, the Harmony Home Hub controls your devices according to the schedules you set. Just like other basic smart hubs (like the Wink and the SmartThings) it controls stereos, alarm systems, televisions, lighting, thermostats and almost any other smart device you can imagine. By plugging a regular device into a specially-designed Logitech plug you can turn on and off even those which do not have

          Cons

          • Like other options that are only basic hubs, this one does not have voice recognition and cannot answer your questions the way that Alexa-run speakers like the Echo can. Though it can be integrated with Amazon Alexa many consumers report considerable difficulty in doing so.

          Bottom Line

          • Great for people who aren't overly concerned about using this with Amazon Alexa and are happy to know that you can add additional plugs for more versatility.


          Stepping Into the Future

          5 Ways to Use a Smart Home Device to Enhance Your Life!

          A far-cry from the terror house envisioned in a Halloween episode of Fox TV’s The Simpsons, smart home devices truly do make your life easier and safer.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the most incredible ways you can take a simple device and turn your life into a magical place of simplicity and ease.

          Light Control

          Want your lights to learn your habits?  Want to have them turn on and off on a scheduled timer without all of the difficult wiring tasks once required in the 1990s?  Want to be able to dim the lights to your exact preference?  What about color?  Want a crisp blue-white light for serious work and the soft glow of a yellow-white light in the evening?  What about pink lights for girls’ night and green lights for the holidays?  Smart lightbulbs allow you many of these luxuries.

          Security At Your Fingertips

          Smart home security systems allow you to lock your doors, lock your windows, enable or disable your alarm, and even access video monitoring systems without even being at home.  You can access them from the office, from the beach, from 30 000 feet in an airplane – wherever necessary – all from your cell phone.

          The Grass That Never Dies

          Sprinkler systems have been programmable for years.  Only recently have you been able to set them and adjust them remotely from a cell phone app without having to access their main panel.  If you thought that was cool you must not be aware that newer smart sprinkler systems can be set according to irregular schedules and some can even be hooked into larger system which set them automatically according to reported weather conditions.

          Perfect Temperatures

          One of our favorite smart devices is the smart thermostat.  It wasn’t that long ago that you could only set one main temperature and had to adjust it manually every time you wanted something different.  At some point between then and now, systems upgraded so that you could set them for daily patterns according to your work schedule.  Now, with smart thermostats and the apps that go along with them, you can set them months in advance, taking into consideration work schedules, weekend schedules, which rooms will be in use, and when you will be away on vacation.  Some will even predict your habits and adjust themselves accordingly.

          Control It All

          All of the smart home devices listed and discussed here (in addition to the many not discussed here) would be useless without a way to connect and control them all.  Typically, people use cell phone, laptop, or tablet apps to connect all their devices and plan all their settings.  But smart home hubs like those listed on this page take things one step further.  Some allow you to change those settings on the fly and access the information stored within them with only the sound of your voice.  Others allow you to place sensors around your home to track your habits so that they can do all that scheduling for you by learning your habits and predicting your behaviors.

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