Consumers looking to get into home automation for the first time have choices. Some jump in at the deep end by investing in a complete system right from the get-go. Others prefer to start with a single device and then go from there. I can’t prove it, but I suspect the latter strategy is the more common of the two.
I also suspect that most people who start out with a single home automation device don’t really have plans to add more devices later on. Rather, their journey into home automation is more organic. They like that first device and decide to add another, and then another.
If a more organic approach to home automation sounds like your cup of tea, you need to start somewhere. Below are some suggestions. In this writer’s opinion, they are the best home automation devices for first timers.
If you are looking for plug-and-play ease-of-use, there isn’t a single home automation device as ideal as the smart speaker. A smart speaker is a little box that sits on a table or the kitchen counter. It is connected to the internet so that it can quickly retrieve information for you. Want to know the weather forecast? Just ask your smart speaker. You can tell it to play your favorite song, remind you of an upcoming appointment, and so much more.
The great thing about smart speakers is that they can usually be integrated with a number of other smart home devices, like light bulbs and wall outlets. Guess what? Those extra devices are on this list of options for first timers.
Smart light bulbs are LED bulbs equipped with small sensors. The sensors can connect to a smartphone or smart speaker for hands-free control. Connect smart light bulbs to a smart speaker and you can turn the lights on and off with your voice. Connect them to your cell phone and you can program them. They are pretty easy to use if you know your way around a typical mobile app.
Smart wall outlets work on the same principle as smart light bulbs. They can be controlled remotely with a mobile app or a smart speaker. Best of all, they don’t require any wiring. You simply plug them into standard wall outlets and then plug your external devices into them.
My son uses smart wall outlets to control his interior Christmas lights. This allows him to put parts of his display in hard-to-reach areas without him having to worry about the difficult task of plugging and unplugging the lights every evening. He just programs the lights with his phone.
The smart lock is a nifty little device and one that comes highly recommended from Vivint Smart Home, one of the companies I’ve investigated for my own smart home needs. A smart lock is a keyless entry lock with additional features, like remote access. It’s easy to install and just as easy to use.
A good companion to the smart lock is a wireless video doorbell. Once again, installation is pretty easy. Anyone who is comfortable with mobile apps shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out how to use a video doorbell, either. Video doorbells are fairly straightforward thanks to the specificity of their function.
All five of these devices would make good choices for a home automation first-timer. If that sounds like you, pick one and give it a try. You might discover that home automation isn’t for you. On the other hand, you might also find yourself hooked.