Want to implement a new easy to install smart home solution? Check out our picks for the best plug-n-power home automation kits currently available on the market today.
Part of what makes home automation intrinsically engaging is the customization smart home devices provide. Bound only by imagination, you are able to make everything your curious mind comes up with. From tracking your daily water consumption to building your own Arduino based robot vacuum cleaner, the technology we have today allows us to expand the notion of what the home of the future should be and represent.
Nevertheless, do-it-yourself isn’t for everyone and chances are a simple plug-n-power home automation kit will be a better choice for most. Tweaking each and every of your devices and writing code on IFTTT just to make things work gives you more freedom and customization. Still, it requires you to be an extremely tech-savvy individual and more often than not it will take you a lot of time, effort and might result in a lot of frustration.
This is where the simplicity of plug-n-power shines. In just a few years, smart devices became as simple to use as plugging your device in the socket and installing an app on your smartphone. Furthermore, aiming for ease of use and a seamless experience, most manufacturers have heavily invested in allowing users with little to know prior knowledge of smart home tech take advantage of the innovations in the industry.
What defines the best plug-n-power home automation starter kits?
Set towards making home automation easier for everyone, we’ve decided to make up a list of what we believe are the current best plug-n-power home automation kits available on the market. We did so by taking a look of three major factors to rank the devices. Here’s the criteria we’ve used and why we chose to do so.
- Ease of Installation – What plug-n-power comes down to is the ease of use of the device. This criteria takes into consideration the time and effort it takes from taking the device out of the box to the moment you start using it.
- Ease of Use/Usability – Discussing home automation kits, we decided to take into account the actual usability of the devices in the kit. We took a note of how useful the kit will be for a person who doesn’t have any other smart home tech in their home, while also considering the future upgragability of the potential home automation ecosystem.
- Affordability – Cheaper is not always better, but price does matter. For the third option we will take a note of how affordable the kit is and whether or not it is worth the buck.
What to look for when buying a smart home starter kit?
The criteria we are going to use to rank the plug-n-power home automation kits in our list might not reflect what someone is searching for. We took a consideration of people who are interested in having smart devices in their homes, but don’t necessarily know where to start. Nevertheless, some might be looking for a certain specific plug-n-power solution, such as a garage door controller kit or a smart lock starter kit. If this is the case and you don’t see a kit on this list that is to your liking, or if you simply want to purchase another device, here’s a few tips on what you should look for.
First and foremost, consider how often you are going to use the devices and how much they improve your current life. For example, if you already have energy-saving light bulbs installed and you have a switch for them right near your bed stand, purchasing light bulbs for your bedroom might not be the right option.
Secondly, think about how much the tech you are buying will improve your life. It’s nice to think about the future of the smart home and the ease and simplicity a device might provide you with. At often times, smart devices seem to exciting not to buy. However, before purchasing a product, make sure to consider whether there will be a substantial difference in the quality and way of life you lead.
Third, don’t forget to consider security. Getting the cheapest option is not always the safest bet, especially with smart home tech. Connected to the cloud, most devices can result in breach of the security of the very place you live in. Make sure to learn more about the security options your device of choice provides you with, before buying. We’ve recently made an overview of the security of Z-Wave. You might want to check it out.
Last, but not least, consider the upgradability and ecosystem of devices. Home automation is all about creating an ecosystem of devices in your home. While most options come from different manufacturers, you certainly don’t want to find yourself having to use an app for every little device. With that in mind, make sure to consider creating an ecosystem of devices. If you are uncertain about your choice and want to learn more, we have a bunch of helpful tutorials and make sure to check out our free Smart Home eBook where we discuss this very issue.
The Best Plug-n-Power Home Automation Kits for 2017
Without further adieu, here are our picks for the best plug-n-power home automation kits for 2017.
Arlo Security Camera Kit
Even though on the more expensive side of things, the Arlo Security Camera Kit is nevertheless one of the best plug-n-power home automation kits available on the market today. Coming in a bundle with anywhere from one to six additional cameras with the option of an additional camera, the kit also includes a hub to connect all of your devices. Extremely simple to install and just as easy to use, the Arlo Security Camera Kit comes on top of our list, making your home security installation that much smarter and easier to install.
Ease of Installation – 4.95/5
The Arlo Security Camera Kit comes as much as possible to true plug-n-power for your smart home security. As shown in the video above, posted by the official channel of Arlo, everything you need to do is install the app and mount the cameras at your desired place.
Ease of Use/Usability – 4.75/5
Another things that makes the Arlo Security Camera Kit our top option is the ease of use combined with the usability of the device. Using the software does take some time to get used to, but having security cameras in your home is definitely usable.
Affordability – 4.35/5
The Arlo Security Camera Kit is relatively expensive, considering it’s starting price with only one camera. Nevertheless, it does get points for affordability, due to the bang-for-the-buck you receive.
Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit
When it comes to plug-n-power home automation kits, it doesn’t get much simpler than screwing a few light bulbs and installing a smart phone app. Even though there are multiple smart home lighting options on the market, Philips Hue does offer the nicest ecosystem around. Another reason why we decided to feature the Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit on our list over other options is primarily due to their affordability combined with the provided quality.
Ease of Installation – 4.95/5
As the official guide from PhilipsLighting with Jonathan Morrison Shows, the installation of smart home lighting doesn’t get much easier than that.
Ease of Use/Usability – 4.15/5
We have to take a few points off due to the fact that the application Philips Hue provides isn’t the best around. Nevertheless it is still relatively friendly and intuitive. Plus, there’s no arguing with the actual usability of smart home lighting in your home.
Affordability – 4.35/5
The price of the Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit is one of the most affordable from the Philips Hue ecosystem of smart lighting. Nevertheless, there are still some more affordable options on the market, if quality or ecosystem is not that much of a priority over the price.
Ecobee3 Thermostat Bundle
The Ecobee3 Thermostat Bundle is one of the overall best options on the market, if you are interested in making your home smarter. While not being the best plug-n-power option due to the difficulty of installation, it is certainly a must-have in the home of every smart home enthusiast.
Ease of Installation – 3.75/5
The Ecobee3 Thermostat Bundle would have been on top of our list, if it wasn’t for the difficulty of installation. In fact, the smart thermostat is quite the opposite from plug-n-power. You’d have to understand how thermostat wiring works at least a little to properly install this device. Nevertheless, for a thermostat, things don’t get much easier with other products on the market. As Sarah Mock shows us in the video featured above, things aren’t necessarily as complicated as they might seem.
Ease of Use/Usability – 4.95/5
The Ecobee3 is an extremely easy to use smart home thermostat. Coming with an easy-to-use smartphone app for both iOS and Android, you won’t have much issues with the ease of use. Granted, the app is not perfect, but it certainly does the job. What’s more, the smart thermostat will definitely improve your way of life, by providing you with a lot of savings and easy control of the heating and cooling of your home.
Affordability – 4.15/5
Coming with two remote sensor packs, the Ecobee3 Thermostat Bundle might be relatively expensive, but it is definitely worth its price. Furthermore, it’s price is one of the most competitive on the market.
Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit
Smart Home lighting doesn’t necessary have to involve the purchasing of new light bulbs. That’s where the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit comes it. The kit allows you to change up all of your current light switches and make the lighting in your home that much smarter. If it wasn’t for the installation process that involves mingling with wires, this kit would’ve been higher on the list.
Ease of Installation – 3.15/5
When it comes to it, as Home Hacks HQ show us, The Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit isn’t that harder to install. Nevertheless, it does take some time, mingling with wires and effort, hence the last place on our list.
Ease of Use/Usability – 4.85/5
The Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit is easy to use and provides you with full control of your current lighting system. What’s more, once installed, you won’t have to worry about connecting new light bulbs, as the heart of the automation lies in the switches themselves, not the bulbs.
Affordability – 4.75/5
You might think that the price of Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit is relatively high and you’d be right. Nevertheless, considering how expensive smart bulbs are and having in mind the fact that once installed the switches will do the job for every bulb you install, the price is definitely worth it.
iSmartAlarm Home Security Kit
If smart home security is your thing, then you should also check out iSmartAlarm. Designed with usability and ease of installation in mind, the iSmartAlarm Home Security Kit comes with a Hub, two remote control tags, two sensor stickers, a motion sensor and two contact sensors. The only thing stopping the kit from taking our top spot is it relatively moderate price tag, combined with the relative lack of actual usability for the device.
Ease of Installation – 4.85/5
The iSmartAlarm Home Security Kit is extremely simple to install. Everything you need to do is secure the sensors in the place you want to track, install the app, pair and you are ready. Basically a plug-n-power home automation kit. Even though slightly outdated with somewhat questionable visuals and effects, the official guide from iSmart Alarm nonetheless shows just how easy the installation process is.
Ease of Use/Usability – 3.75/5
The ease of use of the devices and the sensors isn’t much complicated than using their smartphone application. Nevertheless, there are certain software problems you might experience at times in the app itself. Furthermore, there are minus points for the actual usability of this kit. Tracking items in your home is fun enough, but it doesn’t necessarily improve your security that much.
Affordability – 3.75/5
Another thing that makes the iSmartAlarm Home Security Kit towards the end of our list is its price tag. Even though affordable for what it provides, the price tag is moderate when compared to the competition. In fact, the Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit is not that much expensive either.
What are your thoughts of our best plug-n-power home automation kits? Would you buy one? Did we forget to feature a great starter kit option? Let us know in the comments below.