Aug 25, 2023

10 Small Smart Home Improvements That Make a Big Difference

See how these products can make your smart home even better.

Modern smart homes allow homeowners to control their living spaces from anywhere. With a tap on your smartphone, you can interact with devices like lights, plugs, and appliances.

There are many cost-effective, budget-friendly gadgets that can make your home more comfortable and convenient, all while saving money. Here are some small smart home improvements that can make a big difference in how your home feels and operates.

If you plan on having many smart devices, using a voice-controlled smart speaker can help control them. Smart speakers allow you to control compatible gadgets including lights, humidity sensors, and kitchen faucets, with a simple voice command.

One of the most important things to look for when buying a smart speaker is your preferred voice assistant. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are the most preferred options.

For Google Assistant enthusiasts, the Google Nest Mini might be the right smart speaker for you. It's compact with versatile capabilities, making it an ideal starting point for anyone looking for a small smart speaker to control all the connected home devices.

If Alexa is your preferred voice assistant, consider the affordable Amazon Echo. But if Siri is your go-to, Apple's HomePod mini is a viable option.

One of the best ways to upgrade your home lighting while saving money is replacing traditional light bulbs with Smart LED bulbs.

According to DOE, LEDs can save up to 75% more energy compared to incandescent lighting. They also typically last longer than regular incandescent bulbs, with some supporting multiple customizations. For example, the affordable Wyze Bulb Color lets you use an app or voice to control its brightness and color.

Dimming the lights when bright light is unnecessary helps reduce energy consumption and associated costs. Low light is also more eye-friendly during those late-night trips to the bathroom.

Dimmer switches, like the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch, when paired with a compatible bathroom bulb, allow you to control the brightness of your bathroom lighting. The wireless dimmer switch also lets you control it using either a physical switch or a smartphone.

Smart faucets are typically touchless faucets that can accurately dispense the required amount of water, ensuring greater accuracy in recipes.

You can activate your smart faucet by either speaking to it or waving at it to turn it on and off. For instance, the OWOFAN Touchless Kitchen Faucet, a budget-friendly option, can be activated by placing your hand near its motion sensor.

If you’re looking for an affordable voice-activated option, the Delta Faucet Essa VoiceIQ Kitchen Faucet might be a great choice. The smart faucet can be activated using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

It's quite common to forget to turn lights off, especially in areas like garages, leading to wasted energy. One of the best ways to conveniently control such lights is installing motion-sensing switches, like the Lutron Maestro Motion Sensor Switch, in your garage. This allows the lights to turn on when you enter, remain lit while you’re present, and automatically switch off when you leave.

If you’re a DIYer on a budget, consider building your own smart motion-sensing light switch.

To prevent damage from water leaks, including damage to ceilings, carpet, and hardwood flooring, consider installing water leak detectors. Water leak detectors can identify the source of spills and leaks in your home, so you can take prompt action.

Water leak detectors, like the SmartThings Water Leak Sensor, can monitor your home for leaks and send you text alerts whenever they detect water. Some, often pricier, smart water leak detectors can automatically shut your water off your water supply, preventing leaks from happening in the first place.

Chargers left plugged in and not in use can still draw power from the wall socket, resulting in energy wastage. You can configure your smart plug to prevent idle devices from consuming electricity.

For instance, the Kasa Smart HS100 Wi-Fi Smart Plug allows you to turn appliances on or off using your voice or an app. It also allows you to create schedules to turn devices on or off at particular times.

High humidity can cause mold and mildew, wood rot, and health concerns like respiratory infections. Thankfully, you can use a humidity sensor to monitor and report moisture in your home, including places like your bedroom, basement, and attic.

Smart sensors, such as the Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor, can monitor temperature and humidity in real-time from anywhere and send notifications to your phone whenever the levels deviate from certain limits.

Solar-powered outdoor lights absorb the sun's energy and convert it into electricity that fuels their illumination. Smart home lighting products tend to be eco-friendly, cost-effective, and low-maintenance lighting solutions for your home.

When in the market for solar lights, think about stick-in-the-ground pathway lights or stair-mounted ones. Setting up these lights is easy as they typically don't require power cords.

Smart outdoor lights, like the Ring Solar Pathlight, can be turned on and off from anywhere using a smartphone app. You also can configure the lights to operate automatically by setting schedules or motion sensors and linking them with other Ring lights or devices.

Many homeowners use their garage door as the primary gateway to their home, and being able to operate it remotely can provide great convenience. The good news is that there are several standout smart garage controllers that enable homeowners to operate garage doors remotely.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and user-friendly solution, the myQ Chamberlain Smart Garage Control is a great choice. The device can easily connect to your existing garage door opener, allowing you to control the door through a smartphone app.

The app lets you open and close the door remotely, set up personalized schedules, and receive real-time alerts whenever your garage door opens or closes. It also allows you to invite up to three people to control the garage.

Not everyone has the financial resources to bring their dream home renovation to life. Fortunately, you don't have to wait for a major renovation to take advantage of the latest smart trends.

Even the tiniest and most affordable smart home improvements can significantly enhance the comfort and appeal of your living spaces.

Denis is an environmental science graduate who started freelance writing in 2016, while still working as a loan officer. He mostly writes on topics related to cybersecurity threats, security vulnerabilities, and cloud security best practices. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to music.