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Smart homes and home automation were once thought to be something for the distant future, but they are now a reality for many. In fact, many younger home buyers want to see home automation in the properties they purchase, making this a good update for resale. There are many different home automation systems, and it is possible to include just one or use multiple systems in one home. Most systems make your home more energy-efficient, comfortable, and secure, making this one of the more popular home improvements.
Every home can have a different type of home automation, and it is possible to automate your entire property inside and out or simply automate a few specific areas and functions. For this reason, there is a wide range of costs associated with home automation. The national average range to automate a home is between $2,000 and $7,000, with most homeowners spending around $5,500 to automate their lights, door locks, and thermostats and install a smart speaker, hub, and smart plugs in three rooms. The low cost for this project is around $1,500 for a smart speaker, lights, and thermostat. The high cost for this project is around $20,000 to fully automate every room in the home, including lights, blinds, locks, appliances, irrigation system, thermostat, hub, and four smart speakers.
|Smart Home Costs|
|National average cost||$5,500|
A smart home can mean different things to people. In short, it is a home that is outfitted with a range of devices and equipment that automate basic tasks for the residents. Some of these devices are built into the home, such as thermostats and appliances, while other devices are added as needed, such as smart plugs. These devices can be operated via voice commands, apps, timers, or artificial intelligence.
Smart homes have a wide range of automation. It is possible to start slowly and add appliances and devices over time, or to completely outfit your home at once. The home size, how you use the space, the number of people who live there, and the system types you have installed all change how your smart home is set up.
There are many ways to automate a home. You can automate features like all your lighting, areas like a kitchen or living room, or slowly add things over time, such as adding kitchen appliances when needed. Below are the costs for each room if you completely automate all the potential areas in that room and have them professionally installed.
|Area||Average Costs (Installation Included)|
|Kitchen||$6,000 - $16,000|
|Living Room||$3,500 - $12,000|
|Bathroom||$2,500 - $7,000|
|Bedroom||$1,000 - $3,500|
|Lighting||$1,000 - $3,000|
|Heating and Cooling||$800 - $2,000|
|Home Security||$700 - $5,000|
|Garden||$200 - $500|
|Garage||$200 - $400|
The kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home. So, it makes sense that it is a room that can greatly benefit from home automation. In addition to the appliances below, it is very common for the smart kitchen to include both smart lighting, a smart speaker, and at least two or three smart plugs to make the room complete. If you fully automate all the parts of your kitchen, including installing all new appliances, your total costs would range from $6,000 to $16,000 fully installed:
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Coffee Maker||$100 - $300|
|Microwave||$400 - $1,500|
|Dishwasher||$900 - $1,200|
|Range Hood||$900 - $2,000|
|Fridge||$1,600 - $4,000|
|Stovetop||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Oven||$2,000 - $6,000|
The cost of a smart coffee maker is between $100 and $300 on average. Smart coffee makers come with a wide range of options. Some are voice-activated and allow you to set things like the temperature or brew time. Others come with a remote control, and some can be programmed from your smartphone. You can control the brew strength, brew temperature, warming temperature, and the time of day the machine turns off and on. Some even remind you to fill and start the machine each day.
Smart microwaves range from $400 to $1,500. Smart microwaves typically connect to a smart home network and hub. They can include features like barcode readers that help you determine the best length of time to microwave a dish. They can also download cooking instructions. Many contain things like moisture sensors that help prevent your food from drying out. Most also include voice controls and WiFi connectivity. Many also send alerts to your smartphone, letting you know when your food is ready.
Smart dishwashers average $900 to $1,200. Smart dishwashers are usually hub or network-connected appliances. They operate via voice control through your smart speaker or smartphone. They offer things like diagnostic help using your smartphone by sending codes as needed. You can also start and stop the cycles and program the dishwasher remotely. Many smart dishwashers are also more flexible and adjustable in what they are capable of so that you can customize each load to tackle the dishes as needed.
A smart range hood costs between $900 and $2,000. Like other smart appliances, smart range hoods connect to your smartphone or hub. You use voice commands to tell the hood when to turn on and exhaust. You can also control the level of exhaust by using a slower or faster speed. Some hoods sense and automatically adjust as needed. They may turn themselves on, turn up higher, and turn back off without prompting from you.
The cost of a smart refrigerator ranges from $1,600 to $4,000. Smart refrigerators offer many features to homeowners. They can include egg sensors that alert you if your eggs are about to expire. They can also download recipes based on contents, helping you manage your shopping. They may include virtual bulletin boards for family members and can be updated from your smartphone when you are away. Smart refrigerators can also connect to your smart speaker or hub for more options.
Smart stovetops range from $2,000 to $5,000. Smart cooktops allow you to control things like temperature from your smartphone or smart home speaker. This feature is often added to cooktops that include things like induction and other high-end options. Smart features may also link the cooktop to your smart range. This allows you to turn up or down the heat on a burner faster. You can also receive alerts on your smartphone when your cooking time is nearing completion, so pots do not boil over or run out of water.
A smart oven costs between $2,000 and $6,000 on average. Smart ranges offer the same benefits as a smart cooktop. They also offer remote preheating either via voice command or from your smartphone. Smart ovens can be turned on to preheat remotely. They also offer alerts when the food is nearing readiness and connect with other smart appliances like your range hood. Smart ovens often include other features, such as convection, air frying, and other cooking options that may not be standard on other models.
There are many different ways you can automate and bring smart technology to your living room. Your TV, fireplace, and coffee table can be automated to improve your enjoyment of the space. In addition, both smart speakers and smart lighting are frequently used in this space. Smart lighting is often used throughout the home, but the costs listed below are for the lights most often used in living rooms. If you chose to automate your entire living room, costs range from $3,500 to $12,000 completely installed.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Lighting||$20 - $200|
|Speaker||$60 - $300|
|TV||$150 - $3,000|
|Coffee Table||$1,200 - $3,000|
|Gas Fireplace||$1,500 - $4,000|
Smart lighting for the living room averages $20 to $200. There are many ways to add smart lighting to a room. For the living room, the most frequent methods are to use smart bulbs in existing fixtures, install a smart dimmer or switch, or use a smart lighting kit. Smart bulbs can be controlled either via an app, a specific device, or your hub or smart speaker. They dim and brighten, and some sense movement and go off when no one is in the room. Most are also LED, so they help you save on your energy bills.
Smart speakers cost between $60 and $300, depending on the brand and features. Smart speakers can be integrated with your hub or the unit that controls the rest of your smart features. They can have an artificial assistant, such as Alexa with Amazon’s Echo or Siri with Apple’s HomePod. Most smart speakers have a phrase or word you need to say to activate them. They assist you in numerous ways, from operating your lighting to updating your grocery list. Most smart homes have a smart speaker in the most frequently used rooms, including the living room, for ease of access.
A smart TV ranges from $150 to $3,000, depending on the size and brand. Smart TVs offer a lot to the viewer. They can act as a standard TV, showing your favorite cable shows, and connect to various streaming apps. This allows you to watch shows or movies on Netflix or Disney+ without needing a separate device or viewing screen. The smart TV connects to your hub or smart speaker. This connection allows you to stream directly to the TV. If you choose, you can have your smart TV mounted on a wall for an additional cost of $100 to $300.
Smart coffee tables cost between $1,200 and $3,000. Smart coffee tables are considered a must-have for the automated living room. A smart coffee table is the focal point of the room’s design. They often contain small refrigerators and offer you better control over the room’s other systems. You can control lighting, the TV, and other devices from the coffee table. For homes with one smart speaker located in another room, the smart coffee table keeps the living room connected.
A smart gas fireplace averages $1,500 to $4,000. Smart fireplaces allow you to control the unit through WiFi and voice activation. Through your smart speaker, you can control the fireplace. This includes turning it on and off, adjusting the flame and heat, and turning on interior lights and fans. Smart gas fireplaces install like standard gas fireplaces. They require the same vents and other features but give you greater control over their use.
The bathroom is often the second most used room in the house, right after the kitchen. Adding smart options and features in this room can make the room more comfortable and easier to use. Smart bathrooms help you get ready for the day faster, which can be beneficial for busy families. Smart bathrooms do not have as many available features as kitchens currently, but this may change as the field grows. If you choose to add automation to all areas of the bathroom, it costs between $2,500 and $7,000.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Bathroom Mirror||$200 - $800|
|Toilet||$500 - $2,500|
|Shower||$1,000 - $3,000|
Smart mirrors cost between $200 and $800 on average. A smart mirror offers many features, depending on the brand and style. Some offer things like anti-fog and built-in 1 lighting. Others include displays that tell you the weather or let you read your email. Given that the bathroom is where many people start their day, having a smart mirror allows you to get caught up on things quickly while you get ready. Some smart mirrors also include medicine cabinets and may have built-in magnifiers and plugs, with some also having small refrigerated compartments.
The cost of a smart toilet ranges from $500 to $2,500. Smart toilets come in a range of styles with many features. Some are mostly limited to the seat, such as a built-in bidet, heated seat, and adjustable temperatures. Others offer more involved features like a toilet that monitors your health. Some smart toilets include Bluetooth and speakers and play music. The more features your smart toilet has, the higher the cost.
The cost of a smart shower averages $1,000 to $3,000. A smart shower has several components. Most have a panel that allows you to control things like the water temperature. Others include one or more shower valves. A smart shower allows you to do things like have the water heat up, then wait for you to be ready to enter before it turns on. Smart showers can also include music, aromatherapy, steam shower options, and lighting. The panel allows you to get precise control over every aspect in the shower. Showerheads, body sprays, and other pieces of the shower are generally not included.
There are many different devices you can add to your bedroom to automate this space. Smart bedrooms can include things like alarms, lighting, and smart beds. It is also common to have a smart speaker and smart blinds in this space. Costs to fully automate a bedroom range from $1,000 to $3,500 on average.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Bedroom Lighting||$10 - $100|
|Bed Alarm||$100 - $170|
|Bed||$900 - $3,000|
Smart lights for your bedroom average $10 to $100. There are many ways to use smart lights in the bedroom. You can simply swap your existing light bulbs for smart bulbs. You can also choose to use a smart light clock, which tells you the time and weather, while also illuminating your bedside. There are also smart lamps that are ideal for bedside use. Many can be programmed to gently dim as the time to go to sleep nears, providing you with a better sleep environment.
Smart bed alarms range from $100 to $170. This is a good device to have if you have small children or are the caregiver of someone who needs supervision. The alarm sounds when the occupant leaves the bed. For people with small children who cannot be unsupervised or have an elderly relative living with them, smart bed alarms can be invaluable. These alarms send quiet alerts to your smartphone or smart speaker if you do not want a loud alarm that could wake other people. They can also be programmed to sound a loud alarm, which may help the occupant choose to stay in bed.
Smart beds cost between $900 and $3,000 on average. Smart beds have numerous options to choose from. Some automatically adjust their firmness or temperature during the night. Others have remote options so that you can raise or lower the bed to your comfort level. Some even have anti-snoring devices. When it detects snoring, it automatically raises the head of the bed to give you better airflow. The most advanced smart beds adjust on both sides individually so that two sleepers remain comfortable.
Smart lighting can be used throughout your home. They can be as simple as a light bulb you screw into an existing fixture to switches, lights, and lamps that can be integrated into the room. Smart lighting provides greater control over your lights and energy usage. Costs to install smart lighting throughout the home range from $1,000 to $3,000.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Bulb||$10 - $20|
|Switch||$15 - $150|
|Lamp||$35 - $150|
Smart light bulbs cost between $10 and $20 each. Smart light bulbs can be used in any of your existing light fixtures. Just like other light bulbs, you need to match the bulb type and wattage to the fixture. Lumens and color vary, and many smart bulbs even change color. This allows you to dim the lights and set programs for mood lighting. The bulbs can connect to a smart switch or smart speaker for voice control.
Each smart switch ranges from $15 to $150. With a smart switch, you can make your entire lighting system into a smart lighting system. The switches are programmable and work with your smartphone or smart speaker. They install in place of your regular light switch and work the same way, but they can also be operated remotely. Smart lights can also act as dimmers, and if your bulbs allow it, you can control the color.
Smart lamps average $35 to $150 each. Smart lamps work like smart bulbs. They can be controlled via smartphone or smart speaker. Smart lamps often do not use bulbs the way ordinary lamps do. Instead, they may have an LED ring, panel, or wand that illuminates. They often have a more modern appearance than traditional lamps. Some also tell time, while others change color. Most also offer a wide range of luminosity, meaning they can be dimmer or brighter as desired.
No matter what climate you live in, your HVAC system is an important part of your home. It keeps you comfortable year-round, and the choices you make can have a big impact on your monthly energy bills. Smart thermostats 2 and other components keep your home comfortable, while saving you money. Whether you invest in one or several, these components can make a big difference in your home. Costs to fully automate these systems are between $800 and $2,000 installed.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Thermostat||$70 - $280|
|Smart Ceiling Fan||$200 - $550|
|Smart Air Conditioner||$350 - $1,000|
Smart thermostats cost between $70 and $280 each. There are many different ways a thermostat can be smart, from geofencing that tracks your location to those that learn your schedule and habits. Many smart thermostats also allow you to control and adjust them through apps so that you can turn them on when you are away. Others can be controlled via your smart speaker so that you can adjust the temperature without needing to leave the room. There are also smart thermostats that connect directly to your boiler or hot water heater. These help you control the water temperature more accurately, turning it down when not in use.
Smart ceiling fans range from $200 to $550. Smart ceiling fans offer many of the same benefits and options as smart lights. They can be controlled via your smart speaker. Some sense when you are in the room, and turn the lights on and off automatically. Smart ceiling fans often allow you to have individual control over both the lights and the fan. This allows you to dim the lights, speed up the fan, and turn both off and on remotely.
Smart window air conditioners average $350 to $1,000. Smart window AC units help you cool your home without raising your energy bills as much as standard units. Smart ACs can adjust quicker, with more variable speeds. They can also connect to your smart speaker, allowing you to raise or lower the temperature effortlessly. Some are controlled via an app, allowing you to turn the unit on before you arrive home so that the air is cool when you arrive.
Security features are a part of smart homes that are very attractive to homeowners. Many different home security features, from cameras and locks to motion detectors, can all be easily integrated into your home automation. This can give you peace of mind when you are away by enabling you to see your home’s status on your smartphone. Automating all areas of your security system averages between $700 and $5,000 completely installed.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Water Sensor||$15 - $700|
|Motion Sensor||$20 - $40|
|Door Sensor||$20 - $80|
|Smoke Detector||$40 - $60|
|Camera||$100 - $2,500|
|Lock||$150 - $400|
|Alarm||$250 - $500|
Smart water sensors cost between $15 and $700, depending on the type. Water sensors can be invaluable if you have a basement or area of your home prone to moisture or flooding. Water sensors can tell you if a pipe has sprung a leak before you notice the increase on your water bill. They can also detect high levels of moisture so that you can quickly address issues before damage occurs. Water sensors send information directly to your smartphone. This way, you never miss an alert, even if you are not at home.
Smart motion sensors average $20 to $40. Motion sensors can be tied to a light or other type of security system, or they can simply alert you via your smartphone. Smart motion sensors are small and can be placed discreetly on walls, ceilings, or furnishings. They can alert you if a child is entering an area they should not. They can also alert you if there is movement in your yard or in another area where no one should be. It is possible to purchase motion sensors in larger packs, lowering the cost per unit.
Smart door sensors range from $20 to $80 each. A smart door sensor alerts you if a door, cabinet, or window has been opened in your home. This is a good monitoring system for children. They can alert you when a child leaves their room or the house. They can also notify you if someone has attempted to enter when you are not at home. The sensors send an alert to your smartphone so that you can monitor the doors from anywhere.
Smart smoke detectors average $40 to $60 each. Smart smoke alarms offer many advantages over standard alarms. They can be shut off from your smartphone or via voice control with your smart speaker. This way, when they go off unnecessarily, you can easily turn them off. They can also interconnect to one another wirelessly. For older homes, this can offer a big cost savings over wiring all the smoke detectors together.
Smart cameras cost between $100 and $2,500, depending on the camera and system. A smart camera allows you to keep an eye on your home from anywhere. These cameras can be found in singles or packages with multiple cameras that interconnect. You can watch the feed on the camera from an app. This way, when you are away, you can still keep an eye on what is going on in and around your home. Smart cameras can also be connected to alarm systems, motion sensors, lights, and other features to increase security.
Smart locks range from $150 to $400. There are many different smart locks. Some are controlled via your smartphone, while others are controlled through WiFi and your hub. Most also offer a key system as backup in case of a power failure. Some have features like fingerprint readers or bio-feed readers. They can operate via Bluetooth, Z-Wave, or WiFi, and many can be operated remotely.
The cost of a smart alarm is between $250 and $500. Smart alarm systems are different from traditional alarm systems, which are hardwired into your home. These alarm systems operate via motion detectors and either Bluetooth, WiFi, or Z-Wave hubs. They can be set remotely or when you are at the house. They can be connected to video cameras and door sensors and programmed to alarm if doors are opened or motion detected. They can also be disabled remotely if they are triggered accidentally.
If you love to garden, you know how much water and energy this can take. With smart gardening devices, you can better control your water usage and take some of the guesswork out of when your plants require water. Smart gardening apps and devices can be used whether you need lawn irrigation or just want to have a few plants on your kitchen windowsill. Costs to fully automate these systems range from $200 to $500 on average.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Plant Water Sensor||$10 - $25|
|Pot||$80 - $100|
|Sprinkler System||$100 - $300|
Smart plant water sensors cost between $10 and $25 each. These are small devices that you place inside the soil of your potted plants. They constantly monitor the soil and let you know if the plant needs water or if it has been overwatered. You tell the device the plant type on the sensor or with an app. It then monitors for the correct level of moisture for that plant. Some even alert you via smartphone when it is time to water again.
Smart pots average $80 to $100. Smart pots do what smart water sensors do, only without an external device. The entire pot senses the level of moisture within the soil. It can be programmed to detect moisture based on the needs of the plant. It then alerts you when the plant needs attention. Some even help you diagnose your plant or monitor its health so that you know when it needs fertilizing.
Smart sprinkler system 3 controllers range from $100 to $300. These devices turn your existing sprinkler system into a smart sprinkler. They monitor the weather and add more water on hot, dry days and hold off watering on days when it is forecasted to rain. They are also programmable in the same way a standard system is so that you can set the starting parameters. Then, it automatically adjusts the amount of water needed based on the day, time, and average rainfall. This helps you save money and takes the guesswork out of when you need to turn the system off.
If your home has a garage - attached or detached - you may want to extend automation to this area. In addition to using things like smart lights in this area, you can opt to use a smart garage door opener for your garage door. The cost of installing this is $200 to $400.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Garage Door Opener/Lock||$30 - $100|
The cost of a garage door opener with a smart garage lock system is $30 to $100 on average. Smart door openers and locks automatically detect when your car is approaching. This is done by making a map of the driveway so that the sensor can detect the remote as you approach. The smart opener also locks the door so that it cannot be opened without the remote or from inside unless you have a second controller indoors. The smart openers are generally smooth and not as noisy as older models. Some also have an access pad outside of the garage door, which can operate via fingerprint, keypad, or other smart lock access to open the door.
Numerous other smart devices can be used in the house. They are not necessarily used in one space more than another, but they still enhance your home and lifestyle. They can be paired with other smart features, such as a smartphone or smart speaker, or simply used on their own to improve your life.
|Type of Smart Device||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Plug||$10 - $15/each|
|Doorbell||$60 - $200|
|Window||$85 - $130/sq. ft. of glass|
|Blinds||$100 - $250/each|
|Vacuum Cleaner||$300 - $800|
|Grill||$1,000 - $1,200|
Smart plugs cost between $10 and $15 each. They are sometimes sold in sets at a discounted per-plug cost. Smart plugs plug into your existing outlets. You then plug your appliances into the smart plug. This helps you control the amount of energy the appliance uses when it is not on. Smart plugs can also be controlled by your smartphone or your smart speaker. This way, you can turn off an appliance remotely, even if that appliance itself is not smart.
Smart doorbells average $60 to $200. A smart doorbell allows you to see who is at your front door. They send a video feed to your smartphone, so even if you are not home, you can still monitor what is happening at your door. Some have motion sensors built-in, so even if no one rings the bell, you still know if someone was there. Many also have speakers, allowing you to talk to the person at your door even when you are away. This can be considered part of your home security system because it allows you to keep eyes and ears on your front door at all times.
Smart window glass ranges from $85 to $130 a square foot. Smart window glass is put into the frame of any window. It is made to measure and can be added to existing windows, replacing the glass, or put into new windows. The glass can become opaque or clear. Some window glass is also treated to be “self-cleaning” by not allowing dirt or streaks to stick. The glass can be controlled via an app, or in some cases, it can be connected to a smart speaker.
Smart blinds cost between $100 and $250 each. Smart blinds are automated to raise and lower either by voice command or on a schedule. Smart blinds can be connected to either smart speakers or smartphones. You can program them to raise and lower automatically or on command, and many can also be used manually. The height you want the blinds raised to during the day can also be programmed.
Smart vacuum cleaners average $300 to $800 each. Smart vacuum cleaners are sometimes referred to as robot vacuums. You control them via an app on your smartphone. They use mapping technology to lay out the rooms of your home and then clean them on a schedule. You control this schedule, either setting the time of day or sending the vacuum to one specific room or area as needed. Most have a base they empty themselves into, making them low maintenance.
Smart grills range from $1,000 to $1,200 on average. Smart grills operate similarly to smart stovetops and ovens. Some sense the moisture and temperature of the food. Most can be connected via WiFi to your smartphone or smart speaker so that you can easily adjust the temperature or cooking time as needed. Smart grills often include thermometers that allow the grill to better detect when the food is ready. This helps you avoid over or undercooking your food. It also frees up your time because the grill does most of the work and alerts you when it is done.
Every smart home system has its own language that it uses for the hub and software to speak to the various devices. This is known as the protocol, and it is necessary as part of any automated home to ensure that all your smart devices can speak to each other. Your smart speaker, appliances, lights, and other devices all need a way to connect, and the protocol you choose is what helps it all come together.
Protocols can be broken down into three basic categories. They can be wired, wireless, or a hybrid of the two. Each protocol type has pros and cons. Some are easier for those technologically inclined who want to DIY their own setup, while others are better for those who just want their devices to work and do not care about the how.
Within each category, you can break the protocols down further into specific programs. Keep in mind that protocols are not interchangeable, so if you choose one, you need to make sure each device you add will work with it.
Wireless protocols are currently the most common. They interface with one another using radio frequencies. They do so on a bandwidth 4 that is not being used in other household systems, so they are not likely to interfere with other systems or devices.
There are two very popular wireless protocols - the ZigBee Smart Home and the Z-Wave Protocol. Both work similarly and connect all the devices in your home. Z-Wave uses 908.42 MHz and can support more than 1,500 different devices. As long as the different devices use Z-Wave protocol, they can all communicate with one another, regardless of whether they are the same brand or not.
ZigBee works similarly but may be faster with longer-range communication between devices. ZigBee runs on 802.15.4 MHz and also supports a wide range of devices. One of the benefits of this protocol is its lower energy usage, saving battery life. ZigBee is also more secure and encrypted, so its security measures are generally better and harder to corrupt.
Wired protocols are one of the oldest methods of communication but are still in use today. They use your home’s existing wiring to connect the various devices. This can make them more reliable than wireless, although they are also slower and more difficult to encrypt. This can mean that they are less secure than the newer wireless protocols.
Of the wired protocols, there are two that are used most frequently - X10 and UPB. X10 uses your existing powerline infrastructure, while communicating in short radio-frequency bursts. UPB also uses your existing infrastructure and communicates similarly. With both protocols, you need to manually connect each of your devices to the protocol and its hub. This can be more difficult and time-consuming. However, if reliability and ensuring that your system always works without interference, this is the method you may want to choose. If you enjoy DIY interfacing, this is a good method because it allows you to be hands-on with your automation. Keep in mind that there are not as many compatible devices with these protocols as with wireless setups.
Hybrid protocols blend wired and wireless technologies. This allows you some flexibility in the number and type of devices you can connect. It also allows you to grow your existing wired network more easily. There are two frequently used hybrid protocols - Insteon and C-Bus. Insteon is compatible with X10 and is easy to use. This allows you to add devices quickly, and the protocol is very easy to run. However, while it is compatible with X10, it only works with devices also made by Insteon, so it does not work with as many devices as other systems.
C-Bus is more reliable and faster than Insteon or X10, but it needs its own network. It is most commonly installed with Cat-5 or higher wiring and in commercial settings because it can handle much larger data transfers more quickly. It is also more limited in the device types you can use in comparison to wireless protocols, which work with many different brands and devices.
The hub is what allows you to control all your devices. It helps things integrate and connect with one another so that you can operate things seamlessly. For some, the hub may be a smart speaker, which can have an artificial intelligence-based assistant like Siri from Apple or Alexa from Amazon.
While many smart devices can be operated from your smartphone, having a hub ensures that everything is interconnected. There are several different hub types. Some come with home assistants, while others merely help keep things running. All are physical devices that you use to keep your automated home running.
|Type of Smart Hub||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Amazon Echo||$25 - $100|
|Wink Hub 2||$40 - $100|
|Google Home||$40 - $300|
|Hubitat Elevation||$100 - $150|
|Apple HomePod||$100 - $300|
|Samsung SmartThings||$120 - $280|
IF This Then That is not really a hub in the sense that it is not a physical device. Instead, it is a collection of free web-based services you can use to control your smart home. If you do not want to use a hub, download an IFTTT onto your computer or smartphone, and control things from there. It is important to consider that not everything will be compatible with the system. You may need to search for specific devices to match the platform you use. Conversely, you can also choose your favorite device first, then find a platform you can use to work with it.
The Amazon Echo costs between $25 and $100, depending on the model. Amazon’s Echo comes with a home assistant Alexa and is also connected to your Amazon account. With an Echo, you can have Alexa order things through Amazon by voice command and access Amazon’s music and video apps. There are several different types of Echo, from the Echo Kids versions, which are small and designed for use with children, to the Echo Dot, which is a small version of their traditional speaker. In addition, they still have the original Echo, now in its fourth generation, which is smaller and rounded versus its original canister shape. There is also the Echo Show, which includes a small screen. While the Show cannot replace a full tablet, it can be used for communication and simple tasks you might otherwise do on a phone or tablet.
The Wink Hub 2 ranges from $40 to $100. The Wink Hub 2 is a sleek, stylish hub that makes connecting your devices simple and easy. It works with ethernet 5, WiFi, or Bluetooth. It also supports a wide range of protocols, including Z-Wave and ZigBee. It is designed to be incredibly fast and easy to set up with a discovery system that automatically finds devices to connect with. For those who do not need a home assistant, the Wink Hub 2 is a good choice for those just getting started with a smart home.
The Google Home Hub costs between $40 and $300, depending on the size and features. The Google Home Hub has a touchscreen interface that makes communicating easy. It has several screen sizes and a virtual assistant that can be activated by saying, “Hey Google.” You can use the hub or its smaller version, the Nest, to connect all your devices. You can also use the screen to get the weather, news, and emails. It works via Bluetooth and is compatible with many systems.
The Hubitat Elevation ranges from $100 to $150, which is a cloud-based storage hub that comes with a wide range of apps. It boasts better security and encryption for your data, meaning you are less likely to have your devices hacked. The Elevation is a very small, sleek hub that does not take up a lot of space. It does not use a touchscreen or smart speaker, so it is a simple no-frills hub. It works with a wide variety of devices.
The Apple HomePod costs between $100 and $300, depending on the size. The Apple HomePod can work as a smart speaker and hub. It can play music, interconnect to other speakers to act as an intercom, and connect to and run an Apple TV. Depending on whether you get the full HomePod or the mini, it runs on different protocols. The two sizes also work differently from one another, with the full-size model giving you more options. The hub itself is small and looks like a speaker without a screen.
The SmartThings hub from Samsung ranges from $120 to $280. The SmartThings hub is designed to work with a range of other Samsung products. These include smart plugs, lights, and other features you can use to fully automate your home. The hub works with other devices as well, provided they all use the same wireless protocol. It supports all the popular protocols, including ZigBee and Z-Wave. In addition, the hub can be controlled via an app on your smartphone so that you can access it from anywhere.
Many of the above smart home features can be purchased and installed DIY. Except for some large home appliances, many items like smart speakers, TVs, lights, plugs, and small appliances like coffee makers are relatively easy to set up on your own.
If you want your smart home completely set up for you, including installing lights, blinds, switches, and the hub, and full integration of all your various devices, you can pay to have this done. These installation costs vary depending on how many devices you are setting up at one time and what those devices are.
Most professionals charge between $80 and $100 an hour for smart home set up and installation. Costs for installation start at around $300 for basic setups. Including large appliance installation can increase your costs to $1,000 for labor, while including hardwiring for an ethernet cable can add another $750 to $1,000.
If you choose, you can have a company set up your home automation for you. Some of these companies offer continuous support and monitoring, while others simply set it up for you. Some provide the equipment and do the installation, while others only provide one or the other. Not all providers offer the same type or level of service. Some companies specialize in one area, so always check to see what you get and what is involved in the monthly fees before signing up.
|Provider||Type of Automation||Average Costs (Installation Included)|
|Belkin||Individual devices, home automation||$9.99/month|
|Crestron||Full systems for complete home automation||$10-$20/sq.ft.|
|Control4||Full home automation systems||$10-$20/sq.ft.|
|Vivint||Security, home automation||$49.99/installation $29.99-$39.99/month|
|ADT||Security systems, lighting, and thermostat control||$100-$200/installation $29.99-$59.99/month|
|Savant||Personalized complete home automation systems||$1,000-$1,500/room|
|Elan||Luxury home automation||$10,000-$100,000|
Belkin home automation costs $9.99 a month. This company offers a wide range of home automation components and devices. With Belkin, you purchase the items and devices you want to use. You then host the system on Belkin. They help maintain your devices, give you cloud-based storage, and keep your data secure. They also offer assistance with set up and adding devices to your network, making them a good choice for homeowners who want to set up their automation themselves but need some outside support.
Crestron home automation costs between $10 and $20 a square foot for installation. Crestron is a provider that completely sets up your home for automation. They include all areas and many different devices. They can help you determine the right protocol and system that will work for you and then fully set up and automate your home. These costs include the equipment and the total installation.
Control4 home automation systems range from $10 to $20 a square foot. They set up and install devices for every area of your home and offer ongoing support as needed. These costs are for the devices and installation. They offer different protocols and systems. You choose the pieces for your home, and they set them up. You must choose from their devices, making ongoing growth more difficult if you choose to go forward on your own.
Vivint smart home prices start at $49.99 for installation and $29.99 to $39.99 per month for ongoing monitoring fees. Vivint is primarily a home security company, but they offer support for full home automation. In this setup, you purchase the equipment and then have Vivint install and monitor it. You can purchase and install their security system by itself or have them monitor and offer support for your smart home devices. This is a good option if you want home security, monitoring, and ongoing support for tying in this system to the rest of your smart home. If you do not want security monitoring, this is not a system that would be compatible with most DIY automation.
ADT home automation costs are $100 to $200 for installation, with $29.99 to $59.99 a month in ongoing monitoring costs. ADT is primarily a home security company. However, they also offer home automation options. These include lighting and thermostat 2 control and video surveillance. You pay a one-time fee to have the security and monitoring system installed and hooked up to your hub. You can control your lights and thermostat through the same system, but if you want additional controls, you may need a separate hub or protocol.
Savant home automation costs between $1,000 and $1,500 per room you choose to automate. Savant offers fully personalized home automation set up and equipment. You choose which areas of your home you want to be automated and the devices, and they set up and install the system. Because this is personalized, you decide on things like the protocol, hub, and how things run. The costs include both the equipment and installation.
Elan home automation ranges from $10,000 to $100,000 per job. This is a personalized home automation setup. These costs are for the design, layout, equipment, devices, and installation for the entire home. They can completely customize your entire setup. This benefits anyone who wants a fully automated home but does not want to choose the various pieces. Elan selects a system that will work for all the components you want to include. Then, they install it and offer ongoing support as needed.
Sometimes, you may use only a few automated systems in your home. These may not need to be connected to a hub, but they require a way to control them. You can choose IFTTT or an app that is designed just for a specific device. Apps can be a good entryway into home automation because you can run them from your existing phone or tablet without a separate hub.
The WEMO app is designed to run WEMO devices. These include things like smart plugs. If you do not have a hub and want to run and control your WEMO smart plugs and other items, the app allows you to do so. The app is free to download and works on both iOS and Android devices. This can be a good way to start a smart home. If you choose to connect more devices, you will want to purchase a hub.
Savant TrueControl is a free app that allows you to connect many devices in your home. This app can act as a hub. Rather than getting a separate hub and running your devices through it, this app allows your phone or tablet to act like an app. The app is not compatible with every system, so ensure this before purchasing any device. The app is available on both iOS and Android. It can be difficult to set up and get running in comparison to an actual hub.
The Nest app is free and works with the Nest thermostat. If you only have a smart thermostat and do not have any other home automation, the Nest app can give you good control. Even if you have a hub and other smart devices, you may still want to use the Nest app. With the app, you can control your thermostat independently from the rest of the system. This can be beneficial if you are away from the house and need to change the temperature. For people who may have an unpredictable schedule, this can be a benefit.
If you invest in the Philips Hue light kit, you can control your lights with the Philips Hue lights. For anyone who does not have a fully automated home and just wants to automate their lights, this app provides you good control. You can use a smart switch or just the bulbs. The app gives you control over usage, color, and when they turn on and off. Like the Nest app, you can also use this app independently from the hub. So if you added a hub and other items, you could still control the lights separately.
The Control4 MyHome app can be used to run and control the Control4 system. If you have Control4 set up and installed, use their app to control it. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The app is intuitive to use. You can replace the hub with your smartphone or tablet with this app. It can give you better control over every aspect of your automation.
Most people who invest in smart home technology do so because they feel it will make their lives easier. Having automation eliminates worrying about such things as how much electricity you use or if you remembered to lock the front door. Most people who use automation agree that doing so:
However, there are drawbacks to automation. The first is the expense. Having automation comes with a steep price tag of thousands of dollars to fully automate a home. This does not include the monitoring fees for many systems.
Automation can also fail if it depends on things like WiFi, which can sometimes be down for extended periods during storms or company maintenance. For this reason, your system may stop working temporarily, and some appliances may not have manual overrides.
Automation appliances and apps may also become out of date over time, needing frequent updates and support. Eventually, each piece of automation will need to be replaced for additional costs.
Z-Wave and ZigBee are popular protocols for wireless home automation systems. They both work with a wide range of devices and are similar in how they work. A few key differences influence which one you should use. Of the two, Z-Wave has more compatible devices, although ZigBee is consistently adding more.
ZigBee is well-known for its better energy usage. It can improve battery life and has lower energy consumption in general. It can also be faster over longer distances. Depending on the property size, you may not notice a difference between the two. ZigBee may also be more secure because of better encryption.
For many people, the two are similar enough that it may come down to which one supports the devices they use the most.
If you have an X10 setup, some larger devices and appliances may create “noise” in the network. This can cause problems and interfere with other devices. A noise filter allows you to isolate the offending device from the rest of the network. These devices cost between $25 and $50 each.
A completely automated home starts at $20,000, although this cost can go much higher if you use a custom system. You can also opt to automate smaller sections of your home for much less.
Parts of home automation can save you money. Automating your plugs, appliances, lights, and thermostat helps lower your energy bills. However, other devices are meant for convenience, not savings, and the energy they use may increase your energy bills.
Many parts of home automation can be hacked. While some systems are more secure than others and others are better at encrypting, there can be a chance that things like surveillance cameras and other devices can be hacked. Having professional set up and monitoring can help prevent this.
Alexa is not designed to listen to you unless you say “Alexa” to alert it. Keep in mind that saying things that sound similar to “Alexa” may turn it on.
It is possible to automate many different parts of your home, including appliances, lights, thermostats, blinds, and security systems. This list is growing yearly, and it is possible to continue adding automation to an existing system.