Smart Home Product Guide

Smart Home Products

Smart Home Products- The range and scope of smart home devices in 2019 have never been stronger. Maybe you’re already using the occasional smart light bulb and are looking for more in your connected home.  Plano Texas Handyman is your hometown expert in installing smart home products.  Call us today at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all our capabilities. 

Smart Home Products

If you’re already fully invested in home automation and you’re looking to get even more from your smart home. Don’t overthink the smart home, it requires a simple list of devices to make it work and function properly.

Either way, you’re in for a treat today.

Rather than exploring the components of an entire smart system, we’ve kept things simple. We have our favorite smart home devices you should know about. Investing in any of these automated appliances and smart devices will make your life easier at the same time making your home safer.

Smart Switches

Smart switches are tricky. Especially in today’s newer homes with multiple 3-way and 4-way switches. Smart switches have a brain as compared to traditional toggle switches. Most of these Smart witches transmit a signal switch over WiFi, which complicates the installation process. A 3-way smart switch requires two types of compatible switches to make the system work properly especially when you plan to incorporate Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Nest, SmartThings into the mix. Read on for more details and how we can help;

Leviton’s switch won’t win any design awards, but we like its no-nonsense approach: a large paddle switch, with a smaller toggle on the right, which lets you dim the lights in increments. A row of LEDs shows you the brightness level, and a small status LED on the bottom lets you locate the switch in the dark.

Unlike Lutron’s switch, Leviton’s connects directly to your Wi-Fi, so there’s no bridge needed. It also supports three-way switches, which is helpful for larger rooms.

The Leviton app is pretty robust. You can set how long the status LED and the dimming LEDs remain on, specify the type of bulbs you’re using and adjust the rate at which they dim and brighten. The app also lets you create schedules for the lights to turn on and off, such as at sunset or sunrise.

The Leviton Decora works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT, but it supports fewer smart home systems than Lutron does. The Leviton also lacks the geofencing feature found in Lutron’s app.

The Lutron Caséta line of switches from Lutron offers an impressive list of features: geofencing, which means your lights will automatically turn on or off when you leave or arrive at home; the ability to schedule your lights to turn on or off at particular times or days; dimming capabilities; and compatibility with a long list of smart home platforms. You can also control the system using your voice through Amazon Alexa and Google Home, among many others.

Lutron’s smart starter kit comes with one in-wall switch, one wireless remote and one smart bridge (hub), which can also be used to connect other Lutron products to the cloud (such as its smart plugs and smart shades) and control them.

The switch itself looks high-tech, with several buttons laid out to control the numerous options Caséta offers. Lutron has gone for function over fashion for the most part with this dimmer: The white and gray buttons are front and center, not hidden by touch-sensitive controls, as is the case with other dimmers in this category.

The only downside is that the switch, like all of Lutron’s products, must be linked to the Smart Bridge (you can get it packaged with the switch for $90). The bridge itself must be plugged into your router so that you can control it from your smartphone.

Security Cameras

Security cameras have long been commonplace in homes and businesses the world over.

Your home is your most precious possessions. Being able to keep your eye on things even when you’re away on vacation gives peace. With peace of mind, you just can’t put a price tag on.

As technology progresses, smart security cameras can easily be customized to tune out false triggers. You’ll even be able to arrange for the authorities to be alerted in the event of a genuine breach of security.

Wireless security cameras are flexible and affordable although prone to interference and at higher risk of being hacked. Wired cameras are a costlier and much more permanent solution but they offer super-stable data transmission without any galling interference.

We recommend a mixture between wireless cameras and wired cameras. Wired cameras record 24/7, they capture every movement around your home and are most effective outside. Wireless cameras only operate on motion so they can theoretically miss important events. So as a general rule: wireless cameras inside the home and wired cameras outside the home.

Smart Locks

While you might assume smart door locks make your house safer, it’s more about convenience. Let’s face it, with a smart lock you’re just replacing one form of a lock with another. The most favorable benefit of smart door locks is keyless entry. No need to find an open door or pull out your key, just enter the code…

Keyless convenience should not be underestimated, though. If your children often forget their keys or you like to go out jogging in the morning unencumbered, smart locks are the ideal solution. They also work well if you have a rental property and need to streamline access while keeping things secure.

Smart locks can make use of WiFi, Bluetooth or Z-Wave to communicate with other smart devices in your home. You can arrange for the lights to come on and the AC to ratchet up as you enter. As with all aspects of home automation, getting separate components and systems working in harmony is the key to success. Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Some smart locks like those from the legendary August slot over your existing hardware. However, some others call for a deadbolt replacement. If the lock you choose does call for swapping out the deadbolt, you should get the job done within the hour. So there’s no excuse to not have it.

Smart Garage Door Openers

Are you tired of waiting to open the garage door after a long day of work? Try smartening up your access at a cheap cost. Most smart garage openers work with your mobile device and favorite app to make you life more productive.

The Chamberlain MyQ is a hub that works with all garage door openers made since 1993. It also enables you to take control in-app from your cell phone. This is a great entry point if you fancy enhancing an existing system with the option of adding Google Assistant or IFTTT for a modest monthly fee.

If you’ve got an older 2-wire garage door opener, Insteon has a superb full control kit so you can take control of your garage door from your smartphone and receive alerts in the event of any kind of security breach. You’ll need an Insteon hub but you’ll get plenty of mileage out of this gateway with other devices in your connected home.

Smart Thermostats

Ecobee Thermostat – Nest usually gets all the attention—and the company deserves credit for shaking up a once sleepy market—but Ecobee’s latest smart thermostat is the best you can buy today. The new model builds on the model that preceded it, which was itself very well executed.  Many other smart thermostats rely on measuring a home’s temperature in just one spot: Where the thermostat is located. Trouble is, that spot is usually in a hallway or somewhere else that you never spend any time in. Ecobee lets you place multi-purpose sensors in various rooms in your home, so that the rooms you’re in are the ones that the thermostat instructs your HVAC system to heat or cool to keep you comfortable. 

Nest Thermostat – Don’t count Nest out of the thermostat game. The Google division has worked harder than anyone to build out a comprehensive smart home ecosystem with its own products—the Nest Cam security camera series and the Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors—as well as a wide array of third-party products: Everything from ceiling fans to lighting controls and even smart appliances. The recent addition of the Nest Temperature Sensor makes this device even smarter.

So why does it garner runner-up status here? Nest counts on your buying other Nest products to help determine when you’re home and away, for starters. And anyone investing—or planning to invest—in Apple’s up-and-coming HomeKit ecosystem should steer clear of Nest products.

Plano Texas Handyman is your hometown expert in installing smart home products.  Call us today at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all our capabilities.