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The modern world is moving toward all kinds of smart home automation If These 4 Things Happen, Every Home Will Be a Smart Home If These 4 Things Happen, Every Home Will Be a Smart Home In just a few years, smart homes have entered the mainstream consciousness. For the first time in ages, smart homes have a real, mass-market promise. But there's still a long way to go. Read More , and the longer you hold out, the more difficult it’s going to be when your day of conversion finally comes. What you’ll find is that smart homes aren’t as bad as you think I Lived in a Smart Home for 20 Years. Here's What You Should Know. I Lived in a Smart Home for 20 Years. Here's What You Should Know. MakeUseOf spoke with one of our regular readers and commenters, Ben Stutt, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA, about his experiences living in a smart home. Read More .

For the most part, the benefits are well worth your time and money 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 . Most people worry about the cost, but it’s surprising how affordable it really is 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 , not to mention the secondary advantages, such as the fact that certain smart products can increase your 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 .

So let’s look at the most trustworthy brands for getting started. Not “trustworthy” in the sense that they won’t spy on you — that’s a different topic altogether 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  — but in the sense that these brands have been around long enough to know how to make products that work.

1. Nest

Nest deserves a lot of credit for how it succeeded in getting the public to become more comfortable with smart home devices. Though it wasn’t the first to take a smart product to market, it was one of the first to shoot up in popularity. The industry owes a lot to Nest.

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $99.00

It’s most famous product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, still tops the charts with its user reviews. You’d be surprised at how well it can cut your energy bill right in half 7 Nest Automation Tricks to Cut Your Heating Bill in Half 7 Nest Automation Tricks to Cut Your Heating Bill in Half If there were a Nest thermostat in every home, it would have the biggest single impact on energy consumption in history; and it could save you more money than you might imagine. Here's how. Read More , and if that weren’t enough, there are so many other things you can do with it 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat You may be surprised just how many little tricks you can accomplish with your new Nest thermostat! Read More .

As of now, it has two other products: a security camera called the Nest Cam (which was formerly known as Dropcam) and a smoke + carbon monoxide detector called the Nest Protect. Everything by Nest is an Amazon Best Seller, so you know they aren’t playing around.

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2. SmartThings

If you’re looking for a smart way to monitor your home, then you can’t go wrong with SmartThings (now owned by Samsung). You’ll need a SmartThings Hub, which is one of the best smart home hubs 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  available, but once you have it, the possibilities are endless.

Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit Everything you need to start your smart home. Buy Now At Amazon $223.99

SmartThings has several useful tools: an Outlet, a Motion Sensor (detects motion), an Arrival Sensor (detects presence in an area), a Water Leak Sensor (detects water), and a Multipurpose Sensor (detects vibrations, tilts, and temperature).

The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit is the cheapest way to get started. It comes with a Hub, an Outlet, a Motion Sensor, and two Multipurpose Sensors, and a couple of accessories all at a discount.

3. Philips Hue

For smart home lighting, you can’t get much safer than Philips Hue. Sure, you can find cheaper alternatives here and there Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It The Philips Hue system is leading the charge when it comes to smart lighting, but there are some worthy alternatives. We've picked three that all offer the same basic feature set and hackability. Read More , but Hue products are great because they just work. They’re tested, reliable, and can be set up with minimal effort.

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 $179.99

This reliability comes with a price. A Philips Hue Starter Kit costs a whole lot more than a pack of regular light bulbs from Walmart, but Hue lights can be set to any color on demand, which allows them to do all sorts of amazing things using mobile apps 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 .

Combined with tools like IFTTT or with other smart home products, Hue can push your home lighting setup to the next level 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 . It even works with Apple HomeKit, which means you can do some really cool things like using Siri to set the bedroom mood for romance How to Use Siri to Set the Scene for Romance How to Use Siri to Set the Scene for Romance Yesterday we showed you how to create a Wi-Fi light; today we're going to build on that knowledge to make Siri to work with Sonos, then put it together in a romantic scene. Read More .

4. Ecobee

Ecobee is pretty similar to Nest in that its primary product is a smart thermostat Looking to Buy a Smart Thermostat? 5 Nest Alternatives Looking to Buy a Smart Thermostat? 5 Nest Alternatives When it comes to controlling the temperature of your home, the Nest smart thermostat is king, but there are plenty of options out there. Here are 5 you should consider if you're looking to buy. Read More . Ecobee’s most popular item, the ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat, debuted a few years after the Nest Learning Thermostat — and many consider it to be superior, which makes sense as Ecobee had the opportunity to learn from Nest’s mistakes and shortcomings.

Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $59.00

The ecobee3 takes in all kinds of information from your environment and your home energy patterns, then uses that data to heat or cool your home for optimal comfort and bill savings. It mainly uses Wi-Fi, but can also integrate with Apple HomeKit.

What’s nice is that it comes with an ecobee3 Remote Sensor, which monitors the temperature in a room and whether or not people are in it. If empty, that room can be deprioritized. With a few extra sensors, your home can become really smart about its energy.

5. Belkin WeMo

Belkin WeMo‘s main claim to fame is its smart plug product line 3 Ways The Belkin WeMo Can "Smarten" Your Regular Household Lamps 3 Ways The Belkin WeMo Can "Smarten" Your Regular Household Lamps We took the time to look at the possibilities for turning your regular household lamps into smart lamps. Read More . The brand itself shares a lot in common with Philips Hue: backed by a big company, high-quality products, reliable and easy to set up, but a steep price tag to match.

WeMo Insight Switch Smart Plug, Wi-Fi, Energy Monitoring, Works with Amazon Alexa WeMo Insight Switch Smart Plug, Wi-Fi, Energy Monitoring, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $55.95

For example, the Belkin WeMo Switch, which grants you the ability to plug in any device or appliance and turn it on or off remotely, is quite pricey for one. If you find it useful, you’ll want several of them around your house, and that can get expensive fast.

There are two other notable products: the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, which is like the base switch but comes with an energy usage monitor, and the Belkin WeMo Light Switch, which lets you remotely control your home’s light switches (and whatever outlets they’re connected to).

6. Sonos

Sonos is a lesser-known brand compared to the ones covered above, but those who do know about it are often impressed by how useful and well-made its products are. Sonos specializes in smart speakers, which can really kick up the luxury level of your home.

Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music (Black) Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music (Black) Mini but Mighty. Fits in any space, fills any room with surprisingly rich and powerful sound. Buy Now At Amazon $160.89

The Sonos PLAY:1 is a compact wireless speaker that can play and control all of your music with a single app. We reviewed this one Sonos PLAY:1 Review and Giveaway Sonos PLAY:1 Review and Giveaway Read More  and really liked it, albeit found it a little pricey. If the price tag scares you, stop here because it only gets worse.

The Sonos PLAY:3 is a non-compact version that produces slightly better sound, but the Sonos PLAY:5 is the ultimate speaker for home audio fidelity. For home entertainment centers, the Sonos PLAYBAR would be the ideal purchase — but also the most expensive.

7. Lutron

For higher-end smart home products that are still at the consumer level, Lutron is a brand that really stands out, mainly because it offers many product types that you can’t get elsewhere. If you don’t use the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, you’ll need a Lutron-compatible hub like Wink.

Lutron L-BDG2-WH Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge, HomeKit-enabled Lutron L-BDG2-WH Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge, HomeKit-enabled Provides simple and personalized control of your lights, shades and temperature from anywhere using the FREE Lutron app Buy Now At Amazon $43.99

The Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit is a good way to get started because it’s easy, straightforward, and practical, but you don’t have to. Other Lutron products include fan controls, timers, presence and daylight sensors, as well as remote-controlled window shades.

8. iRobot

If you don’t recognize the iRobot brand, maybe you’ll recognize its flagship product: the Roomba. What you probably didn’t know is that iRobot specializes in all kinds of smart products for home cleaning. Roombas are only the beginning.

iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner iAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home Buy Now At Amazon $649.00

It may not be the most affordable robot vacuum 6 Top Robot Vacuums You May Be Able To Afford 6 Top Robot Vacuums You May Be Able To Afford These days, you can find robot vacuums for less than $200, making them great for yourself or a good gift for a techie friend. Read More , but it’s certainly very good at what it does. The later models, such as the iRobot Roomba 770, are good enough to clean up after pets and clear away most allergens. If you don’t need one for yourself, it also makes for a great gift 9 Impressive Home Automation Gadgets Family & Friends Will Love 9 Impressive Home Automation Gadgets Family & Friends Will Love With the holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to snag one of these amazing smart home devices. Read More .

Other cool robots include the Scooba (floor scrubbing), the Braava (floor mopping), the Mirra (pool cleaning), and the Looj (gutter cleaning). None are as good as the Roomba, but they aren’t bad either!

9. OpenHAB

The last one on this list, OpenHAB, isn’t a hardware brand. Rather, it’s an open source software initiative that aims to integrate all the different standards and protocols that exist across smart home products. Ideally, with OpenHAB, you’ll be able to use anything with everything.

It’s nowhere close to being complete, but it’s certainly usable. We’ve shown how you can install OpenHAB on a Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi OpenHAB is a mature, open source home automation platform that runs on a variety of hardware and is protocol agnostic, meaning it can connect to nearly any home automation hardware on the market today. Read More  and how to start doing real things with it OpenHAB Beginner's Guide Part 2: ZWave, MQTT, Rules and Charting OpenHAB Beginner's Guide Part 2: ZWave, MQTT, Rules and Charting OpenHAB, the open source home automation software, far exceeds the capabilities of other home automation systems on the market – but it's not easy to get set up. In fact, it can be downright frustrating. Read More . And because it’s open source, you can rest assured that nothing sneaky is going on behind the scenes.

Get Started on a Smart Home Now

If you’re thinking of buying your first piece of smart home tech, then you really can’t go wrong with any of the above brands. Just make sure you check each individual product’s user ratings because no company is perfect 100% of the time. (And learn to ignore fake reviews The Scourge Of The Web: Fake Reviews & How To Spot Them The Scourge Of The Web: Fake Reviews & How To Spot Them "User reviews" are actually a pretty recent phenomenon. Before the prevalence of the Internet, user reviews were called testimonials, and you’d only see them on TV commercials and product pages. Nowadays, anyone can write anything... Read More !)

If you’re worried about price, smart home products are actually very cheap 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  when you compare them to other home improvement projects. And while privacy and security are real 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 , you should be fine if you’re smart and careful.

Which smart home brands do you trust the most? If you still hate the idea of a smart home, why? Is there anything that would change your mind? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Jt
    March 28, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Why not wink?

  2. Gary Funk
    March 7, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    How is it that you left out Insteon? It's one of the oldest and most used in tbe world. Insteon offers more devices and choices than any other product on the market.

    • Joel Lee
      March 14, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Unfortunately, I had to pare down my list. Funny enough, Insteon would have been #10. Thanks for bringing it up. I should've done an "honorable mention" or something like that. :)

      • Gary Funk
        March 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        Belkin should have been about 59th on the list.

  3. Maryon Jeane
    March 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Smart Home devices are all very well if you live in a modern, standardised house - but not if you live in one of the many surviving off-beaten-path quirky country homes in the UK. I had a Roomba and a Scooba years ago, but they both had to go when I moved to my present cottage - neither of them could cope with nooks, crannies, wild unevennesses and etc. which form the floors here. Our walls, which have withstood the centuries, are impervious to the necessary transmission on which smart devices rely (we even have boosters for the router in every room). We have absolutely no mobile phone signals in the house, the hamlet or outside the hamlet for about four miles.

    I was an early adopter of a robot lawnmower, but - although it was fun - I spent almost as much time rescuing it from a typical English rural 'lawn' as I would have done in mowing the lawn myself.

    It's going to be a long time before Smart Home technology is able to cope with homes like mine.

    • Joel Lee
      March 14, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      That's a really good point. One of my colleagues here has a house where wireless signals have trouble penetrating the walls, so you're absolutely right, some homes aren't as easy to "smarten up". Sorry to hear, Maryon!

  4. Daron
    March 3, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    What about Insteon?

  5. fcd76218
    March 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    "9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust"
    While I may trust the quality of products from these companies, their vulnerability to hacking is another matter altogether.

    "If you’re worried about price, smart home products are actually very cheap when you compare them to other home improvement projects."
    How does the cost of smart home products compare to the cost of having your smart home burglarized?

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