A smart home doesn’t have to be an expensive home. Here are three ways you can add some cool, connected capabilities for under $200.

The idea of a fully automated smart home can be a little overwhelming, both in concept and cost. But you don’t need to go all-in on connected tech to benefit from it. Instead, install a few devices that address specific needs, provide some neat modern conveniences, and cost a lot less. 

Hate fumbling for the light switch in the dark? Always leaving the garage door open? Never remember to set the alarm? These are common problems easily solved by smart home devices for under $200. Watch our video to see some of these solutions in action, and read on to learn more about their features and how they can help you in your home.

1. Have The Lights Come On When You Walk In

A Philips Hue White Bulbs starter kit (above), paired with a Hue motion sensor, dimmer switch, and Echo Dot smart speaker gives you voice- and motion- controlled lighting for under $200.

A Philips Hue White Bulbs starter kit (above), paired with a Hue motion sensor, dimmer switch, and Echo Dot smart speaker gives you voice- and motion-controlled lighting for under $200.

Courtesy Signify

Outfit a whole room with smart lighting for less than $200 with Philips Hue white light bulbs and accessories. These can be controlled remotely with your smart phone and also with Hue compatible dimmer switches ($35) and motion sensors ($40). Add in an Echo Dot smart speaker from Amazon ($40-$50), and you have voice control too.

This set up gives you a host of ways to control and enjoy your lighting beyond just flipping a switch: 

  • Paired with a motion sensor, have the lights turn on when you enter the room, or off when no one is there. Set rules for what time of day they activate, as well as at what brightness and shade of white in the smartphone app. 
  • Add a wireless dimmer switch to easily dim the lights without using a smartphone. Attach it to a wall like a traditional switch, or leave it on the coffee table and use it like a remote control. You can also program scenes on the switch, such as Relax, Read or Concentrate, depending on how you plan to use the room. 
  • Turn your smart lights on and off with voice command using Amazon’s Alexa smart voice assistant. The Echo Dot gives you voice control for $40. Just plug it, connect to your WiFi and ask it to “discover devices.” Once connected, you can ask Alexa turn the lights on, off or set to a scene. 


Total Cost: $185-$195

2. Secure Your Home With a Smart Security System

The Ring Alarm security system is simple to install, just attach the sensors to doors and windows using two-sided tape.

The Ring Alarm security system is simple to install, just attach the sensors to doors and windows using two-sided tape.

Courtesy Ring

Smart security systems from companies like Ring and Nest use wireless technology so you can install them yourself (and take them with you when you leave)—plus, they don’t require you to sign up for professional monitoring (although it’s an option).

The “smarts” come from an always-on Internet connection (including built-in cellular backup for if the power goes out) that sends alerts to your phone if there is an emergency at home. You can also arm and disarm the system from a smartphone—helpful if you often forget to do it when rushing out the door—or if you hate that stress-inducing beeping when you come home. 

To add a smart security system to your home for under $200, go with Ring Alarm ($199). A wireless, sensor-based system that anyone can install, it comes with a base station, a keypad, two contact sensors, a motion detector and a range extender. Once these are in place around your home (and you can add more), simply monitor your home from your phone, or add a professional monitoring service. 

Total Cost: $199 (plus $10 per month for professional monitoring)

3. Control Your Garage Door With a Smart Garage Door Controller 

MyQ Smart Garage Hub costs $80, add HomeKit-compatible hub for $70 and you can ask Siri if your garage door is open and have it close it for you.

MyQ Smart Garage Hub costs $80, add a HomeKit-compatible hub for $70 and you can ask Siri if your garage door is open and have it close it for you. 

Courtesy Chamberlain

See the full story on Dwell.com: Tech Talk: Start Your Smart Home For Under $200

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