A smart home system becomes increasingly popular every year. Developers compete with each other, offering the buyer new devices with automatic and remote control. They make life more comfortable, save energy, protect your dwelling from intruders, and prevent emergencies. There are many smart offers on the market, and it is difficult for an inexperienced consumer to choose the right option. To help future users, we bring to your attention a review of the best smart home systems in 2020, made by feedback from buyers and experts.
The best of the best on the market
It’s a representative of the elite in the world electronic equipment. The products of this company are known for the highest quality, thoughtfulness, stylish design, and reliability. It offers one the best smart home technology in its class, enjoying well-deserved popularity in the market.
The product was released in 2014. He allowed monitoring home equipment from the iPhone via just a single Home App. You can give orders to your personal helper through voice-activated control. You don’t even need to unlock your iPhone. It is enough to wake up in the morning, ask Siri to open the curtains in the bedroom and turn on the coffee maker. It will execute the command immediately. Apple HomeKit offers the buyer a completely functional kit, consisting of a control panel, sockets, lamps, wireless sensors of movement, the position of windows and doors, and water leaks, weather station, heating radiator valve. It is quite enough to build a starter set for your intelligent dwelling. More extensive scripting automation is achieved with third-party components that are compatible with HomeKit.
The well-known American corporation Google does pays serious attention to the development and production of the best smart home various products. In 2016, Google enters the market with its Google Home Speaker and Google Voice Assistant. In 2018, the company developed Google Home control application for smartphones.
Its best smart home Assistant and devices are controlled by both mobile app and voice. The helper will respond to the “Okay Google” greeting and fulfill the request to turn on the music, start the alarm, etc. A speaker produced by Google is used as a control center. Partner firms, the same Xiaomi, TP-Link, or Phillips, develop all other gadgets. Therefore, the list of compatible equipment is quite large.
The experts appreciate the Home Hub with the screen at the heart of the system. You can bind to the hub both an intelligent door lock and a socket. The main strengths of this smart home platform are convenient voice assistants, compatibility with other companies’ products.
Developing a successful idea of a voice helper, Amazon delighted users with its Amazon Echo speaker and Alexa Assistant in the same 2014. This device combines the functions of a music center and a hub that you can control the same by voice, giving certain instructions. Alexa will do it exactly.
Users note its operability and the great choice of smart devices. The brand is considered to be the most flexible and promising one in the lineup, given its wide compatibility, high quality, a lot of the latest developments, and a reasonable price.
The Chinese company Xiaomi can boast of a variety of basic sets and devices for intelligent home. Soil and water analyzers, smart switches, and sensors for smoke, moisture, and lights are found in the brand’s catalog. Since the company produces TVs, smartphones, meters, locks, it will be easy to combine all these smart home gadgets into a single system. Just install MiHome App on your smartphone and connect via Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz protocol.
The Xiaomi platform stands out from Apple HomeKit, Amazon, Google Home not only at its affordable price. The company has established the production of many different types of IoT devices, from kettles to refrigerators, built into the structure of an intelligent home. However, devices from other companies may not always work with Xiaomi systems. In general, Xiaomi is a great combination of functionality, reasonable price, and high quality.
The American brand Control4 attracted the attention of experts with its affordable and functional equipment. The intelligent systems for home created by the company are capable of controlling lighting, multimedia devices, and the temperature regime in the house. The company has been operating on the market since 2003, and over all this time it has installed more than 130 thousand smart home systems. The pros are a huge selection of devices and ample connectivity. The best Control4 smart home devices are linked to a single system using Wi-Fi or ZigBee. The total number of devices can be up to 70 pieces. The disadvantage is the poor range of safety sensors.
It will help you to fully equip your house with modern control systems. The company allows you to combine the best kit of smart home devices and software. All Fibaro devices work successfully with the HomeKit platform. You can also buy various little things, for example, modules for sockets, special buttons. The control panel identifies gestures, for instance, right, left. Some elements are taken from other companies, they compatible with products from Fibaro. Users praise the inexpensive starter kit, effective security features, and third-party device support. Among the disadvantages, the large size of the sensors is mentioned.
These are the best systems of 2020 but if you want to easily connect to different smart things and combine them, you will need controllers, as well.
Samsung SmartThings Hub
The third generation smart hub from the best Samsung SmartThings devices allows you to integrate the devices in your apartment, configure, synchronize, and automate their work. With the dedicated SmartThings mobile app (Samsung Connect), you can control the intelligent home and every connected device from anywhere. The hub communicates with your smartphone over the internet by connecting to your home Wi-Fi. If you have Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices, it is convenient to control your intelligent home using voice commands.
SmartThings Hub 3 supports devices from more than 40 brands, including Honeywell, Belkin, Bose, ecobee, Fibaro, Sengled, etc. You can combine surveillance cameras, intelligent door locks, security sensors, monitors of various systems, thermostats, and other devices. The application on the smartphone allows you to customize the operation of the system taking into account the personal needs of residents. For example, you can automate turning on the coffee maker in the morning or closing the door after you leave. It uses different standards — Zigbee, Z-Wave, Cloud-to-Cloud, ZigBee3, and Wi-Fi.
Wink hub 2
The architecture and functionality of the smart home controller Wink are very similar to SmartThings. The main advantage of Wink Hub 2 is its ability to interact with a large number of smart devices by supporting a variety of wireless protocols — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lutron Clear Connect, Kidde, and Thread from Google. In addition, the Hub 2 works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, and you can control it with Android, Android Wear, and iOS devices. An important difference of Wink is the local control technology announced in 2016, which allows a mobile device with the Wink app to interact directly with the Wink hub via a local network and control smart devices even when there is no connection to the cloud service on the internet.
Given the fierce competition in the wireless platform market, Wink is focusing on specific niches. In particular, the company today offers ready-made kits, essentially DIY kits, designed for building a wireless security system. These kits include a variety of door and window open/close sensors, an alarm, and a Wink hub.
What to look for. Hard and software compatibility with platforms from different brands
Not all devices fit into different ecosystems. Apple HomeKit plug won’t work with Amazon, for example. Home appliance manufacturers make products specifically for Apple, Google, or Amazon. When buying the best smart home hubs or devices, find special stickers on the packaging indicating with which platform these elements will work.
- “Works with HomeKit” means that the devices are designed for Apple HomeKit.
- devices suitable for Google are marked “Works with Google Assistant.
- respectively for Amazon, the equipment is marked “Works with Amazon Alexa.
An intelligent home is not a fantasy, not an expensive and useless whim. It’s for your safety, saving (up to 40%) consumption of energy resources, the ability to prevent accidents on heating and water supply networks (within the apartment), a completely new level of comfort. To automate your home today, you don’t need to spend lots of money. Best smart home kits or devices are available at an affordable price and will be even cheaper tomorrow. Try to change your life for the better.