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The smart home movement is seriously misunderstood. It provides so many interesting benefits, such as reduced energy consumption Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices One of the biggest benefits of a smart home is the energy saving technologies available. As well as saving money, you’ll also be pushing toward a more sustainable, convenient living situation. Read More or increased home property value Installing These Smart Devices Can Increase Your Home's Value Installing These Smart Devices Can Increase Your Home's Value In this article, we take a look at which smart technology you should install that will let you add those extra few thousand dollars onto your asking price. Read More , yet so many people are against it.

The truth is that while some of the arguments against the smart home movement are valid, most of them are little more than myths 7 Common Smart Home Myths That Simply Aren't True 7 Common Smart Home Myths That Simply Aren't True Smart home devices are no different than most other gadgets -- and there are many misconceptions that people have about them. Let's clear those up! Read More . The worst myth is that smart homes are expensive How Much Does a Smart Home Really Cost? How Much Does a Smart Home Really Cost? A smart home could change your life – freeing up time in your day and regulating your routine so you don't have to remember what needs to be done. But how expensive is it, really? Read More , but when you look at home starter kits, it turns out that smart homes can be quite affordable 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford Are you ready to join the smart home revolution but worried that it's beyond your budget? Smart homes aren't that expensive, and there are plenty of components that the average homeowner can afford. Read More .

So are you ready to dive in? If so, the best way is with a starter kit.

3 Reasons to Use a Starter Kit

1. Get started right away. Smart home products tend to be highly modularized — you have a central device that controls a bunch of other devices connected to it. This is great for flexibility, but not so good for analysis paralysis How to Be More Decisive and Get More Done How to Be More Decisive and Get More Done Decision making is stressful. It is also a skill which allows you to get better with practice. You should find it easier to make the right decisions with some of the tips outlined here. Read More .

In other words, there are so many options out there that you can get stuck on the research phase and end up never getting anything. A starter kit lets you get started right now without having to waste time with all of that.

2. No worries about compatibility. Smart home modularization is great in theory, but the reality is that there are a handful of competing standards. If two products don’t support the same standard, they won’t work together.

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A starter kit ensures that every product within the kit is compatible with each other. Plus, you won’t have to worry about missing parts. All needed cables, devices, and more will be included in the kit.

3. Cheaper than buying piecemeal. When you buy a starter kit, the price you pay usually includes a small discount, so you spend less than if you bought each component separately. The discounts aren’t huge, but they aren’t negligible either.

1. SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit ($240)

smart-home-starter-kit-smartthings

What’s included in the kit:

Not long ago, we explained why SmartThings is one of the most reputable brands in the smart home industry 9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust 9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust The modern world is moving toward all kinds of smart home automation, and the longer you hold out, the more difficult it's going to be when your day of conversion finally comes. Read More . This kit is an excellent way to get started because it offers a lot of potential for experimentation and it has a lot of room for expansion later on.

Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit Everything you need to start your smart home. Buy Now At Amazon $220.99

If you’re wondering what kinds of things you can do with a SmartThings Hub, check out our roundup of the coolest compatible gadgets The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The SmartThings hub connects wirelessly with hundreds of compatible smart devices, allowing you to monitor, control, and secure your home from anywhere in the world. Read More .

2. Insteon Starter Kit ($95)

smart-home-starter-kit-insteon

What’s included in the kit:

The Insteon line of products is a great entry point for newbies because of its user-friendliness. The dimmer modules allow you to control any plugged-in device from afar, but is especially useful for remote dimming of lamps (assuming the lamp is dimmable).

Insteon Starter Kit, 1 Hub and 2 Dimmer Plugs, Works with Amazon Alexa Insteon Starter Kit, 1 Hub and 2 Dimmer Plugs, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Hub required and included, Alexa device sold separately.) Buy Now At Amazon $58.00

It’s compatible with the Amazon Echo too, so you can control it just by speaking voice commands.

3. Ecobee3 Thermostat Bundle ($300)

smart-home-starter-kit-ecobee3

What’s included in the kit:

Smart thermostats arguably ignited the whole smart home movement, mainly because they’re so practical in numerous ways. Using remote sensors placed around the house, the Ecobee3 optimizes heating/cooling for maximum comfort while reducing overall energy usage.

EcoBee3 Smart Thermostat, Wi-Fi w/ Remote Sensor (x3) - Smarter Bundle EcoBee3 Smart Thermostat, Wi-Fi w/ Remote Sensor (x3) - Smarter Bundle Product Type: With Remote Sensor Buy Now At Amazon $300.90

In our head-to-head comparison of the Ecobee3 and the Nest Ecobee3 vs. Nest Thermostat: A Head-to-Head Comparison Ecobee3 vs. Nest Thermostat: A Head-to-Head Comparison Did you know that a smart thermostat can boost your home value? It's one of many reasons why a smart thermostat is well worth the initial investment. But which one should you get? Read More , the Ecobee3 came out just slightly ahead. The Nest won in terms of being slightly easier to install and set up 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers Smart home automation sounds awesome in theory, but a lot of folks are hesitant to try it out because the learning curve seems hard. If that describes you: it's easier than you think! Read More , but the Ecobee3 performed better. It’s also compatible with both Amazon Echo and Apple HomeKit.

4. Arlo Security Camera Kit ($630)

smart-home-starter-kit-arlo

What’s included in the kit:

At just over $600, this starter kit may seem a tad expensive — and as someone who practices frugality when it comes to gadgets and devices How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets Just because you're being frugal doesn't mean you can't enjoy tech! Here are some tips on how to not break the bank with tech purchases. Read More , I’m inclined to agree. That being said, this is one area where it pays to spend a little more for quality Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Which smart home features are worth it? Which ones can be safely tossed aside and ignored? Let's take a look at a few that are actually worth the money. Read More .

NETGEAR VMK3200-100NAS Security Camera Kit with 3 Wire-Free Outdoor HD & 1 Arlo Q 1080p Indoor HD Cameras, White NETGEAR VMK3200-100NAS Security Camera Kit with 3 Wire-Free Outdoor HD & 1 Arlo Q 1080p Indoor HD Cameras, White System includes: 3 Arlo Wire-Free cameras, 1 Arlo Q camera, 3 silicone skins, 1 outdoor mount, 2 magnetic wall mounts Buy Now At Amazon $549.99

The Arlo Q is an indoor camera that has microphone/speakers for two-way communication, the ability to send alerts when motion or sound is detected, and free cloud storage for footage. The Arlo Wire-Free is weatherproof and works inside and outside. Both have night vision.

This is a particularly good purchase if you’ve never had a home surveillance system before. What you’ll find is that there are plenty of creative ways to use surveillance cameras 6 Creative Uses for Wireless Surveillance Cameras in Your Home 6 Creative Uses for Wireless Surveillance Cameras in Your Home Security cameras are useful for more than just surveillance. With a dash of creativity and elbow grease, you can kick your quality of life up a notch with these atypical ideas for your security cameras. Read More that go beyond simple security.

5. iSmartAlarm Home Security Kit ($180)

smart-home-starter-kit-ismartalarm

What’s included in the kit:

  • CubeOne Smart Hub
  • iSmartAlarm Motion Sensor
  • iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor (x2)
  • iSmartAlarm Remote Control Tag (x2)
  • iSmartAlarm Sensor Sticker (x2)

iSmartAlarm can send all kinds of updates — phone calls, text messages, emails, and push notifications — when one of the accessories are triggered, namely the Motion sensor or the Contact sensors (which are placed on doors and windows to sense when they’re opened).

iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System, White iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System, White iPhone and Android smartphone enabled Buy Now At Amazon $149.99

Plus, the Remote tags allow you to interact with the system even when you don’t have your smartphone on you.

It’s simple and straightforward, but you get a lot for the price. There are two other packages available: Deluxe comes with two more Contact sensors whereas Premium comes with an iCamera Keep HD that you can use for visual and audio surveillance.

6. Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Kit ($190)

smart-home-starter-kit-lutron

What’s included in the kit:

This smart lighting kit by Lutron is pretty awesome. All you do is replace your wall switches with the Lutron dimmers and you’ll be able to control them from afar, whether by using the included remotes or the Lutron mobile app.

Lutron P-BDG-PKG2W Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit, HomeKit-enabled Lutron P-BDG-PKG2W Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit, HomeKit-enabled Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $175.15

What’s even nicer is that you can schedule your lights to turn on or off at certain times throughout the day, and the times you set will automatically adjust according to Daylight Savings.

The Lutron system can be controlled in a few other ways, including Siri and Amazon Echo, and is compatible with Apple HomeKit Future Proofing Your Smart Home for Apple HomeKit Compatibility Future Proofing Your Smart Home for Apple HomeKit Compatibility Read More .

7. Philips Hue Starter Kit ($185)

smart-home-starter-kit-philips-hue

What’s included in the kit:

The smart lighting options by Philips Hue tend to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. At $60 per bulb, you’re looking at some real damage to your wallet — but once you see all the cool things you can do 7 Creative Uses for Colored LED Home Automation Lighting 7 Creative Uses for Colored LED Home Automation Lighting Turning on your lights automatically is certainly cool, but it doesn't take advantage of the full spectrum of colors available with RGB lighting. For that, we need to get creative. Read More , the price may well be worth it.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, 3 A19 bulbs and a Bridge, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, 3 A19 bulbs and a Bridge, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (hub required and included, Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $206.55

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not so bad that you’ll struggle with it. As long as you take your time, next level smart home lighting 4 Ways Philips Hue Can Push Your Lighting to the Next Level 4 Ways Philips Hue Can Push Your Lighting to the Next Level Without Philips Hue, however, the smart home concept might never have gotten off the ground. Here are some cool ways to make use of them. Read More will be within your grasp. And don’t forget about these apps that are compatible with Philips Hue 8 Fabulous Apps for Philips Hue Lights 8 Fabulous Apps for Philips Hue Lights The Philips Hue system has its own app, but why settle for the default when there's so many cooler options out there? These 8 apps give you fabulous options for some really cool effects. Read More !

One more thing to keep in mind is that Philips Hue is compatible with HomeKit Philips Hue Works With HomeKit: How To Make The Most Of It Philips Hue Works With HomeKit: How To Make The Most Of It Philips has finally gotten round to integrating HomeKit into their Hue lighting platform, and it's amazing. Here's what you need to know. Read More as well as Amazon Echo.

Smart Homes: Not Just a Trend Anymore

People thought smart homes were a passing fad. Here we are several years later and the industry is going strong, and it doesn’t seem like it will let up any time soon.

Want to see what the fuss is all about? That’s what these starter kits are for! Pick one that looks intriguing to you and give it a try. At worst, it’s only money down the drain. At best, it’ll change your life.

Just be aware that there are some smart home security concerns 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home Many people attempt to connect as many aspects of their lives to the web as possible, but many people have expressed genuine concerns over how secure these automated living spaces actually are. Read More that you should be aware of before diving in, including the possibility of some devices breaching your privacy Your Smart Home Works for the NSA, and You're Being Watched Your Smart Home Works for the NSA, and You're Being Watched It seems that the worst fears about the Internet of Things and smart home technology are being realized. Now director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has declared that IoT devices are being used for surveillance. Read More .

Which starter kit do you think provides the best value? Are there any other kits that we missed but deserve to be on the list? Share with us in a comment down below!

  1. Mika Hasu
    August 24, 2016 at 8:51 am

    240v Philips Hue is available atleast in EU shops.

    • Joel Lee
      August 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      I wasn't aware. Thanks Mika!

  2. Walter
    July 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    LOL @ FCD! Yes, and if we could get federal funding for smart homes, racism and even terrorism would decline proportionally, and our health care crisis would soon be a thing of the past. Why you ask? Smart homes create simplicity and peace of mind - the basis of any healthy and sane society.

  3. Eric Jay Palomar
    July 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Is there a 240v philips hue?

    • Joel Lee
      July 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Sorry Eric. As far as I can tell, only 120v bulbs are available at the moment. Not sure if 240v bulbs are on the roadmap or not.

  4. fcd76218
    July 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    " The worst myth is that smart homes are expensive"
    It's not myth, it is a matter of definition. For somebody who owns a house in Topanga Canyon and drives top of the line Beemer, the price of a smart home is pocket change. OTOH, for someone who lives in East LA, it is a choice between a smart home gewgaws and feeding their family. Ironically, for the latter, a smart home is a necessity while for the former it is an indulgence.

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