How to upgrade your smart home set up for under $100

CategoriesSmartphonesTagged , , , , ,

Upgrading your house with the best smart home products can seem daunting and expensive at the outset, but over the years, some of the best equipment has come down in price. Now, you’re able to upgrade rooms in your home for under $100 with quality products that will work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control — or quite possibly both! Maybe you choose to strategically upgrade some electrical outlets to control lamps and small appliances first, then fill in the gaps with smart bulbs and switches in your bedrooms and other living spaces. The choice is yours — and the best tech has never been more affordable.

OK, Google!

Google Home Mini

Google Assistant is probably baked into the phone you use every day, so it makes sense to stick with Google for your home smart speakers. The Google Home Mini is a colorful and compact smart speaker that lets you connect and control smart home products through the Google Home app, seamlessly integrates with Chromecast, YouTube, and other Google products and services you may rely on.

$29 at Best Buy

OK, Google!

Google Home

This is the OG Home smart speaker that Google released back in 2016, and the price has come down in the years since. The full-size Google Home takes up about the same footprint on your counter or side table, but it stands out more due to its taller stature and louder speakers.

$70 at Best Buy

Add more Alexa

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Amazon’s Echo Dot is the most affordable way to add Alexa to a room in your home. The 3rd generation Dot is the most stylish version yet with a rounded fabric finish and a 3.5mm line-out for connecting to more substantial speakers. Amazon offers bundles that include a smart plug or two-pack of smart bulbs, which is an equally great deal if you’re looking to add more smart things to your home.

$30 at Amazon

No speaker needed

Samsung SmartThings Hub

For those who want all the benefits of smart home controls without adding smart speakers with active microphones in your home, you will want the Samsung SmartThings Hub. SmartThings supports a growing number of smart home devices and appliances — from smart bulbs and switches to smart fridges and TVs. Definitely worth considering if you own a Samsung phone and enjoy their apps and products.

$65 at Amazon

Works with the Alexa app

Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon’s Smart Plug does not require you to own an Echo speaker to use voice commands — it connects directly to the Alexa app and lets you control lamps, fans, or appliances and set schedules with little hassle. It’s a great option if you’re sticking with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem or buying for someone who already owns an Amazon Echo speaker.

$25 at Amazon

Smart buy

Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug 4-pack

This is such an incredible deal that you might as well stock up even if you can’t think of a use for all four right now. Aukey’s Wi-Fi Smart Plugs are very easy to set up and use. And you need the Aukey app and an Amazon Echo or Google Home to control lamps or seasonal decorations with your voice. A simple smart plug that doesn’t block the second outlet at all.

$50 at Amazon

Plug in more devices

Top Greener USB Wall Outlet

Smart plugs are a great option if you live in an apartment or other rental property. But if you own your home, you should upgrade some of your outlets to include USB ports like these outlets from Top Greener. These plugs are easy to install with the existing wiring in your house and are packed with safety features, including tamper resistance for kids. These plugs do not support fast charging, but it will let you keep your phones charged without needing a wall adapter.

$21 at Amazon

Smart lights starter kit

Philips Hue White 4-Bulb Kit w/ bridge

Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart bulb brands, and its starter kit offers excellent value for getting started in a smaller home or apartment. You get four soft white bulbs and the Wi-Fi bridge required to control your bulbs through an Echo Dot or Google Mini. Once you’re set up, it’s easy to add more Philips Hue bulbs in the future.

$67 at Amazon

Tap to turn on lights

Philips Hue Tap

This accessory is specifically for those who have gone all-in on Philips Hue bulbs around your home. Use the Philip Hue Tap in coordination with the Philips Hue app to trigger up to four light scenes at the press of a button. Incredibly, this device is wireless and does not require batteries, making it a very convenient way to control your Philips Hue network.

$50 at Amazon

Smart lights everywhere

Sengled Smart LED Light Bulbs 8-pack

These Sengled bulbs are a great option if you have a Samsung SmartThings hub, an Echo Plus with the built-in Zigbee hub, or bought the Echo Dot bundled with the Sengled bulbs and hub. Otherwise, you are going to need a Sengled hub to connect to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. But once you do, you get eight bulbs to set up and group into rooms. Once you start controlling your lights with your voice, you won’t want to go back.

$67 at Amazon

Futuristic AF

Nexlux LED Strip Lights

LED light strips are great for adding colorful accents to any room, and you can’t beat the value of these Nexlux LED strips. Available in spools of 16 feet and 32 feet, each kit comes with a Wi-Fi controller and power supply. You’re free to split the strip and use each half independently as long as each strip has its own controller and power supply plugged in.

From $30 at Amazon

Smart control for outdoor lights

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Switch

Instead of investing in pricey smart bulbs certified for outdoors, swap out the light switch that controls your “dumb” exterior lights with this smart light switch from TP-Link. You can schedule and set everything up in the Kasa app, and it works with either Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control and grouped commands.

$24 at Amazon

Master control

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip

This Kasa power strip is the ideal solution for automating your home theatre set up. Each plug can be controlled independently using the Kasa app or using your voice with Alexa or Google Assistant. You get six AC outlets along with three USB ports for charging your other devices. It’s a pretty fantastic product that’s like six smart plugs built into one.

$72 at Amazon

Monitor your home remotely

Wyze Cam Pan 1080p Wi-Fi Indoor Smart Home Camera w/ 32GB MicroSD

Wyze Cam makes the best smart home cameras you can buy for under $100. And their best product is this compact Wi-Fi connected smart camera that can pan around 360-degrees. It can also be set up for continuous recording, motion and sound alerts, or recording time-lapses. It lest you keep an eye on your garage, kid’s room, or anywhere else in your home.

$55 at Amazon

An easy dorm upgrade

AmazonBasics Microwave

If Amazon made a smart kitchen sink for under $100, it would probably be on this list. Instead, they offer us a small 700W microwave which can, of course, be voice-controlled via Alexa with an Echo smart speaker. Just say you’re making popcorn or defrosting vegetables and all the proper settings and times will be set automatically.

$60 at Amazon

4K streaming for less

Roku Premiere

The Roku Premiere is a compact 4K streamer that offers quite a lot of value for a low price. Roku supports all the major streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, along with a massive library of free channels offering varied content.

$35 at Amazon

Here comes the sun

TaoTronics Light Therapy Lamp

This 12W LED lamp isn’t smart in the connected home sense, but if you need a reading lamp for your office or bedroom that’s fully adjustable and able to simulate sunlight, this is a very smart buy. It offers up brightness up to 10,000 Lux, which is ideal for light therapy and is UV-free with tap controls for switching between white and blue light.

$60 at Amazon

Upgrade your smart home for less

There’s no wrong way to build out your dream smart home. Just make sure you’re investing in quality products that can connect and communicate with one another. It all starts with deciding which assistant you want to use, and both Google Assistant and Alexa are great platforms with their own strengths. Google Assistant offers unmatched language processing for answering your queries and integrates into other Google services like YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Calendar — apps you probably rely on daily. For Alexa, its strength used to be Amazon’s deep Skills ecosystem for smart device support. But now it’s more so the expansive Amazon Echo line up that includes smart displays, security cameras, smart plugs, and even smart microwaves.

Whether or not you go with Alexa or Google Assistant, I recommend getting the Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug 4-pack as a great starting point for controlling small lamps or other convenience appliances around your home. Likewise, the Philips Hue Starter Kit is a great place to start for adding smart bulbs to your home network, as Philips offers some great smart lighting products that include light strips and bulbs for indoors and outdoors.

The downside is that Philips Hue products are expensive. If you want to convert your whole home to smart bulbs for around $100, get the Echo Dot Sengled bulb bundle and Sengled smart bulb 8-pack and you’ll get a smart speaker, the Sengled hub, and ten smart bulbs at a fantastic price.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *