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Smart home devices 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 are great for adding convenience to your everyday life, but they can also play a really important role in keeping an eye on your vacation house, your short-term rental, or on your home while you’re out of town 6 Smart Home Gadgets You Should Install Before Leaving For Summer Vacation 6 Smart Home Gadgets You Should Install Before Leaving For Summer Vacation When you leave home for vacation, these six smart home products will prevent the damage done by fire and flood, protect you against any burglars, and are absolutely worth the money. Read More .

With everything from smart plugs 18 Ways Smart Plugs Will Make Your Life Easier and Safer 18 Ways Smart Plugs Will Make Your Life Easier and Safer Smart Plugs are a small investment that can make a big difference in your everyday life. Take a look at these easy and effective ways you could use them in your house today! Read More to an all-in-one smart home solution, you can figure out which device best suits your budget and your concerns based on where your vacation home is located, and how connected you want it to be.

1. Security Camera

The first thing you’ll probably want to do is keep an eye on your summer home, so a home surveillance camera Practical Uses for Your Home Surveillance Cameras Practical Uses for Your Home Surveillance Cameras Home surveillance cameras are getting more popular with each passing year as technology improves and prices drop. Here are some practical uses for home security cameras, some which may surprise you. Read More with remote access is likely the most important tool in your smart home arsenal.

A smart security camera like Dropcam Dropcam Pro WiFi Monitoring System Review and Giveaway Dropcam Pro WiFi Monitoring System Review and Giveaway The Dropcam Pro is a small, WiFi enabled, security camera for personal use. We bought this unit for our review. Read More can alert you of any motion in your home.

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If you don’t want to purchase an expensive gadget, you could always consider using a webcam Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools Having your own home surveillance system can be a powerful deterrent to would-be intruders, snooping roommates, or frustrating co-workers. Here are 6 great options for webcam-based surveillance products you can use today! Read More and an old computer or even an old phone or tablet How to Use an Old Smartphone or Tablet as a Security Camera How to Use an Old Smartphone or Tablet as a Security Camera Learn how to easily set up your Android device to act as a home security camera! Read More . The drawback here is that if the computer or phone fails for any reason, you’ll lose access to the feed.

You could opt for a small, inconspicuous smart security camera Safe and Sound: 4 Great Smart Home Security Devices Safe and Sound: 4 Great Smart Home Security Devices Read More like the Tenvis HD IP Camera, which at around $40 a piece, could allow you to install multiple cameras in your home.

Nest, a smart home giant that has its fingers in all the smart home pies, also has a line of security cameras. With a “budget” indoor and outdoor security camera and a more pricey option for each, there’s a little something in there for everyone.

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The top-of-the-line Nest Cam IQ doesn’t come cheap at over $300, but at that price point, it comes packed with a ton of features. It offers a crystal clear image, zooms in on any sort of action within its view, and comes with facial recognition and a built-in speaker and mic. This capability means you can actually communicate with your family at home through your security camera — a feature that has prank written all over it.

It is worth keeping in mind any security or privacy issues when it comes to installing a smart camera in your home. In a time when your online privacy is constantly compromised, smart devices are simply not immune to the serious privacy risks Samsung SmartThings Security Flaw: What You Need to Know Samsung SmartThings Security Flaw: What You Need to Know Security researchers at the University of Michigan have uncovered a number of design flaws in Samsung's SmartThings platform. The flaws potentially undermine the security of any smart home setups using the SmartThings ecosystem. Read More associated with the Internet of Things.

2. Motion Sensor

While a camera can instantly let you know what’s going on in your home, another option is to go for a motion sensor. The drawback here is that you won’t know exactly what triggered the motion sensor, but the Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor is an extremely affordable and easy to set up choice. The sensor will notify you if it detects movement or a change in temperature.

samsung smartthings motion sensor

You could also connect your motion sensor to smart light bulbs. Movement will trigger the light to turn on, and could be a possible deterrent for intruders.

3. Smart Light Bulbs

Speaking of smart light bulbs Philips Hue or LIFX? Pick the Best Smart Light Bulb for Your Home Philips Hue or LIFX? Pick the Best Smart Light Bulb for Your Home Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of smart lighting products available? Here's everything you need to know before you pick out smart bulbs for your home. Read More , this is probably the most affordable smart home device that helps give the illusion of someone being home when they’re not.

You can not only time smart bulbs to turn on at a specific time everyday, you can also control them from an app on your phone.

Smart lightbulbs come in all different shapes, sizes, and even colors Here Are the Best Multi-Color Smart Light Bulbs of 2017 Here Are the Best Multi-Color Smart Light Bulbs of 2017 There are so many options for Smart Home lighting that it can be overwhelming! These colorful bulbs offer you the best features available today. Read More , and in the case of the BeON Home smart LED lightbulb it can even learn your pattern 4 Ways a Smart LED Bulb Can Keep Your Home Safe & Secure 4 Ways a Smart LED Bulb Can Keep Your Home Safe & Secure Did you know that a few LED bulbs could be the difference between a home robbery and peace of mind? Sounds weird, but it's true. Read More for turning lights on and off and mimic it when you’re not there. The BeON Home lights also turn on and off if the doorbell rings.

You can get three bulbs for $43, and can control your lights using BeON Home’s free app.

If you want simple and affordable smart light kits, Ikea is one of the latest brands to get in on the smart light action. You can pick up one bulb and a motion sensor for just $25, or a dimming kit with one bulb for around $27. The light bulbs alone aren’t much cheaper than other brands, costing either $15 or $18.

4. Smart Blinds

Another way to give the impression that someone is living in your home is by installing automated shades. Open up the shades a little bit during the day and close the shades at night, making it impossible for anyone to see into your home.

Automated window blinds The Best Automated Blinds and Why You Need Them The Best Automated Blinds and Why You Need Them It's possible to turn window blinds into "smart blinds", by installing an affordable electronic pulley system. Here's how you can get your hands on one, and what it can do for you. Read More like MySmartBlinds are surprisingly affordable at just $113 for an automation kit that can bring smart capability and scheduling to any blinds.

This is probably the most cost effective way to do this, as opposed to buying and installing an expensive set of smart blinds Why You Should Automate Your Window Blinds Why You Should Automate Your Window Blinds Automated window blinds offer peace of mind in homes with children and pets. Let's take a look at the automated window blind marketplace and why you should automate your window blinds. Read More .For your vacation property, you could also consider the smart blinds only for rooms that are particularly visible from the street.

5. Smart Valves

Another key gadget that you’ll probably want in your summer home is a smart valve. This will not only alert you to any water leakage, but can also shut off the water supply to prevent flooding.

In some cases, smart valves can even preemptively prevent a leak by shutting off the water supply when it suspects a leak may happen.

smart valves home

You can view a selection of smart valves Install a Smart Valve and Stop Your Basement from Flooding Install a Smart Valve and Stop Your Basement from Flooding What if you could prevent home flooding or water damage by installing a single piece of equipment? I am, of course, talking about smart water valves. Read More here, which can cost you anywhere from $50 or $60 to well over $400. But as Matthew points out, the cost of the valve is well worth the cost of damage it can prevent.

Smart water sensors do rely on electricity and WiFi so in some extreme weather conditions 7 Smart Home Products You Should Probably Avoid 7 Smart Home Products You Should Probably Avoid Security concerns, compatibility, and the often high cost of entry, continue to hurt a market looking to add adopters. Here are some smart home product categories worth avoiding, at least for now. Read More , if your power goes out, you may still need someone to physically go to your home to make sure that it didn’t flood.

6. Smart Smoke Alarm

A smart smoke alarm Smoke Detector Battle: Roost Smart Battery Vs Nest Protect Smoke Detector Battle: Roost Smart Battery Vs Nest Protect Once you see how the Roost Smart Battery and the Nest Protect stack up against one another, you'll wonder how you ever got along without either. Read More or air quality monitor 6 Smart Interior Air Quality Monitors You Should Buy For Your Home 6 Smart Interior Air Quality Monitors You Should Buy For Your Home The quality of the air we breathe is very important for our health and quality of life, and these six smart air quality monitors help to ensure your home air is as safe as possible. Read More can be used to detect dangerous carbon monoxide levels, and can warn against smoke that could indicate a fire in your vacation home.

Devices like the Nest Protect send notifications to your phone when they detect elevated smoke or CO2 levels. Coupled with other Nest products, these devices can actually prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

For example, the Nest Protect can send a signal to your Nest Thermostat to turn the heat off if it detects a CO2 or smoke leak caused by your heating system. Multiple Nest Protect devices can also let you pinpoint the exact room or location of any threat. When you are dealing with a property that’s far away from where you live, these automatic processes can save precious minutes that are the difference between an inconvenience and a distaster.

The Netatmo Smart Smoke Alarm has some interesting features as well. When connected to other smart devices, it can turn on all the lights in your home if the alarm goes off, for example. And best of all, the battery should last you 10 years so you can install it and not have to worry about it for quite a while.

7. Smart Lock

A smart lock Everything You Need to Know Before Installing a Smart Lock Everything You Need to Know Before Installing a Smart Lock Smart locks are increasing in popularity, but there are still a lot of valid concerns about their security. These are the facts you need to know before making a purchase! Read More can give you remote control of your front door, and lets you know what’s going on at home even when you’re not there. So why would you need that when locking up your summer home?

The Lockitron Door Lock, for example, will allow you to let neighbors or friends in during an emergency. The $99 lock makes it easy to share access to your home with friends, and you can easily revoke access when you need to.

This is a great companion gadget to other smart home gadgets. If your motion sensor or water valve notifies you of something going on in the house, you can let someone in remotely if they can get there faster than you.

If you’re renting out your vacation home on Airbnb this kind of lock will also make it easy for you to temporarily grant renters access to the home without having to give them a physical key.

The August Smart Lock has a similar capability but costs more at $229, and will also notify you when your front door is opened. The app will also let you know who is coming and going, so if you have teenagers who might try to get to your summer home without you, you’ll know.

8. All-in-One Security Devices and Hubs

There are plenty of all-in-one security devices that can be a more cost-effective way to get as much out of your smart devices as you can. You can also consider smart home hubs 7 Smart Home Hubs You've Never Heard of Before 7 Smart Home Hubs You've Never Heard of Before Some smart home hubs get all the press, so you might not be aware of these lesser-known gems! One of these lesser-known smart home hubs might just be the perfect fit for you! Read More in general, but choosing the right smart hub Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More is no easy feat. A good place to start is to think about which features are most important to you and figuring out which smart hub offers the best or most affordable service in each of those categories. Some security devices come with a monthly subscription, so you’ll also want to factor that into your overall cost.

The Canary Home Security System is a security camera, siren, and an air monitor in one. The basic system costs $149 and will send you HD video and audio alerts directly to your phone. You can purchase kits with additional cameras and sensors.

canary home security system

The Piper Home Security system comes with a camera, siren, motion and sound detector, and has a two-way audio system, and will also set you back $149 at its currently discounted price.

Factors to Consider

There are some general factors you’ll want to keep in mind when picking out your smart devices: price point, ease of set up, and cost are always going to play a big role in your decision. Companies (and customers) will often share set up videos on YouTube, and this is a great way to gauge if your tech savvy enough to get any given gadget up and running.

Another important factor to consider when choosing any smart device is, how long has this company been around? You don’t want to invest in a pricey gadget from a fledgling company, only to have them shut down the service and your left with a very pricey paper weight or door stop.

What smart home gadgets are a must-have for your summer home? Or do you think it’s not worth investing in the technology? Have you installed any smart devices in your home, office, or vacation home? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. D.Bisson
    September 29, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    What this article did not address is that internet access is usually seasonal. When a cottage is shut down for the winter, usually hydro and internet are turned off for the winter. So, those smart gadgets will not be so smart without hydro or internet.

    • wwheeler
      October 2, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      I agree wtih the above. Plus couldn't some robber just cut the internet access to the cabin/home and all of these devices would become useless??? If you have, perhaps, neighbors that stay year round...I think that would help some?? Keeping an eye on your place?