Smart home technology can save you time, is easy to install, and can cost less than you think
You roll up in your driveway and tap your smartphone a few times. The garage door opens, the door unlocks, and you walk into your house just as the AC reaches the perfect temperature.
You put away the gallon of milk you’ve carried in — since your refrigerator texted to say you were almost out before you left work — and head to the entertainment room, where the TV automatically turns on and starts your new favorite Netflix show.
You could have a system like this installed for $100,000 or more, or you could take the do-it-yourself route and trick out your home for the low, low price tag of $7,377.
We looked up all the crazy stuff you can buy to make your home smarter — and then we figured out how to do it cheaply. Here are Debt.com’s top choices in DIY smarthome improvements that will save you time, money, and (most importantly) effort. All of these products can be easily self-installed for your own DIY robo-house.
1. Nest learning thermostat
The gadget: The smart thermostat learns and adapts to your habits each time you turn it on. It programs itself and can be controlled from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The device saves you on heating and cooling bills because it automatically adjusts temperatures when you leave the house.
2. Kwikset’s Kevo door lock
The gadget: Hate fumbling through your pocket or purse for keys every time you enter or leave your house? Installing the Kevo deadbolt door lock takes care of that — just tap the Kevo app on your iPhone (no Android version yet, but there is a key fob you can get) and the door automatically unlocks. Probably the coolest feature: Giving digital keys to friends, family members and the babysitter, which you can always delete later.
3. Chamberlain garage control
The gadget: How many times have you rushed off to work, only to have to make a screaming U-turn a few minutes later because you forgot to close your garage door? No longer — with this device, you can close your garage door with a touch of your smartphone. The gadget also allows you to monitor who comes in and out, even remotely.
The cost: Buy it on Amazon for $129.
4. Smart home theater
The gadget: Samsung’s Smart Home Theater System has built-in Wi-Fi, surround sound, a full web browser and app connector, and AllShare that lets you swap content between your devices. The sound is crystal clear, thanks to vacuum-tube technology that combines analog and digital sounds.
5. Smart fridge
The gadget: One of the newest smarthome technologies is LG’s 3-French Door Refrigerator. The eight-inch LCD screen on the front of the fridge gives you quick updates on what’s inside, what’s running low, and what you need to buy for a certain recipe, saving all of us the agony of having to run back to the grocery store to pick up cilantro.
The cost: The priciest item on the list, at just over $3,100, can be found here.
6. Smart washer and dryer
The gadget: LG Smart ThinQ washer can be controlled remotely from your phone and is “60 to 91 percent” more energy efficient thanks to something called “ColdWash technology.” The dryer has a “Sensor Dry system” that automatically detects the wetness of your clothing and adjusts the dry time accordingly.
The cost: It’s about $1,700 for just the top-loading washer, and the dryer can be found for $1,440.