What is a smart home?

This is a home setup where devices and all appliances are automated, which means that they can be controlled remotely using any device that has an internet connection. This home model uses an interlinked communication network that connects different appliances and makes them easy to control, monitor, and access.

Large appliances that are commonly used in a smart home include:

  • Security cameras
  • Ovens and microwaves
  • Dish washers
  • Automatic vacuums
  • Refrigerators
  • Televisions
  • Coffee makers
  • Clothe washers
  • Dryers

Factors to consider while buying large smart home appliances

1. Reputation

If you check from the internet or even from the nearest store, you will find a variety of smart home appliances ranging in design and from various companies. When buying a smart home appliance from a company for the first time, it is important that you check the recent customer reviews in order to understand the credibility of that company. Some smart home appliances may be designed to spy on your home while others might expose your data to unauthorized parties or even be of poor quality.

Unlike a traditional home where the risk factors are few, a smart home has a high risk factor since a spying device can easily compromise the security of the entire home.

Recommendation: for appliances that are directly related to your security, it is important to stick to a trusted brand or a brand that you have used in the past.

2. Compatibility

Everything in a smart home, from speakers, kitchen appliances, to other devices, is interconnected. Therefore, it is crucial to buy appliances that are compatible to your existing/ planned smart home system. Since device versions and systems vary, you might realize that you have ordered an appliance that is only compatible with the newest smart home system. This will require you to either upgrade your home system or do away with the appliance altogether. Note that compatibility also includes the ease of use of the appliance.

In addition to compatibility, always ensure the appliance fits the available space. The general rule is to measure the space twice and buy the appliance once.

Recommendation: before making a purchase, research on all the appliances that are compatible with the existing system then select the best from that list.

3. Price and installation

Smart home appliances do not have to be expensive. While smart home appliances range from some that are cheap to those that are incredulously expensive, you should settle for appliances that are both affordable and fitted with the specifications that you need. When calculating the overall price of your appliances, it is important to include installation and shipping costs. This way, you will avoid buying from a cheap online store with a high shipping cost while there is a local store with the same appliances.

Installation is mainly associated with security cameras. Some cameras will still not connect even after following all the steps. In such cases, the store should provide directions, whether online, physical, or via a toll free number, on how to install the devices.

Recommendation: pick the price based on the usefulness of the appliance. Spend more on long lasting and durable appliances and spend less on appliances that can be replaced frequently.

4. Wireless, hub or direct

Some devices and appliances need a hub in order to communicate and connect to other appliances while others will just connect directly. Hubs used to be popular since they ensured that devices are compatible. Today, however, more appliances can connect directly. If you are using the new smart home technology, having an appliance that connects only through an internet hub will cause a lot of inconveniences. This is because a connected appliance will go down when the hub goes down irrespective of the wifi status.

Recommendation: avoid using Bluetooth or local connection. Use internet hubs only when it is the only option. This is because hubs cannot differentiate different appliances on the network. As such, a lot of bandwidth is used when sending a single instruction to all the appliances.

5. Battery or wired

A few smart appliances use an inbuilt rechargeable battery while others connect directly to a power outlet via a cable. Battery powered appliances can operate individually without having to connect to a power outlet. Note, however, that you will need to recharge them frequently to avoid power drain. While compared to battery-powered appliances, wired appliances work faster and are efficient since they don’t have to minimize speed. With them, you won’t even worry about power usage.

Recommendation: although you may argue that wired appliances power off when the power goes out, it is worth noting that your Wi-Fi connection also goes out. We, therefore, recommend using wired devices. Use battery powered for security cameras that need a specific location / might not have a nearby power supply.

Some of the features of smart appliances to look out for

  • Working display screens
  • Voice recognition and integration
  • Automatic timers

A good smart appliance should be able to do the following

  • Reduce waste
  • Manage water usage
  • Save money
  • Reduce electrical usage
  • Can be personalized and customized
  • Work efficiently
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