Product Review(s): Making Your Home Smart


Credit: Arizona eHomes

Nathan Holmes, Author

Smart homes have always been a futuristic idea, but now we are closer than ever to that reality. Controlling lights, refrigerators, fans, and much more can be done with only a smartphone or your voice. Here’s how it’s done.

To begin, there’s Amazon Alexa. This is definitely important if you want to control your house with your voice. For more about the Amazon Alexa, see my previous article: Product Review: Echo Dot.

Controlling your lights is the first step, and buying individual bulbs is not the way to go. They break easily and are very expensive. Instead, get the WeMo Light Switch (Not to be confused with the WeMo Switch). The WeMo Light Switch substitutes for a regular light switch. It pairs with your phone, which pairs with Alexa. Then controlling lights with your voice can be done. BUT, you or someone you know must know how to install a light switch, or you will not be able to use the product (other options include spending money to have a professional install it, costs appx. $100). The WeMo Light Switch costs $50 on Amazon, but other, possibly cheaper brands are available, including TP-Link.

Credit: WeMo Switch

Another WeMo product, the Switch, controls literally anything with a plug. It works like this: plug something into the socket in the WeMo Switch. Plug the WeMo Switch into the wall. Done. It is pretty simple, but pairing can be difficult. See the belkin website for more information. It costs $40 on Amazon, but just like the WeMo Light Switch, TP-Link offers an identical alternative.






Along with these, there are various thermostats and such, including Nest that can be used for smart homes, but they range $200+.

All in all, making a smart home is not as difficult as it used to be, but it still is expensive. However, it is really fun to use.