One way to build out a smart home is to buy lots of components—sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and whatnot—and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, via your smartphone.But let’s be real: That can involve spending a lot of money and investing a lot of time. And for some people, it’s just overkill. If your wants and needs are simpler, just a few relatively inexpensive products will deliver most of the conveniences a high-end smart home can deliver, and on a much more modest budget.
And if you make sure those smart home products are compatible with each other, you’ll build a solid foundation that you can expand over time. The key is knowing which smart home products don’t depend on a smart home hub to operate. While hubs offer advantages—the most important of which is having a single user interface to control everything
Home security cameras & video doorbells
A quality home security camera will enable you to keep a watchful eye on your home, especially while you’re away. Indoor models can help you monitor your children and pets, while outdoor models can catch prowlers in the act—and hopefully discourage them from coming around in the first place.
Some models—from Ring, Arlo, Netatmo, and Maximus—incorporate lights that can illuminate your way. Cameras incorporated into doorbells can monitor your porch and let you interact with visitors without needing to approach the door—or even be home at the time. The best models can discern between people and pets and recognize the presence of a package left at your door.