Deciding to become a first-time owner of smart home gadgets means you’ve taken a significant step. However, there are still other things to figure out. One involves determining which smart device earns the spot at the top of your “to-buy” list. Indeed, many people find they’re interested in a range of smart gadgets, meaning prioritizing the first purchase isn’t always straightforward.
Here are four tips that should help you narrow down the options.
1. Think About Your Unmet Needs
The best gadgets — smart or otherwise — serve well-defined purposes. Spend time pondering the things in life that cause stress, a loss of productivity or reduced disposable income.
For example, maybe you live alone and always worry about home security. A smart camera that watches indoor or outdoor segments of the property could give welcome peace of mind.
Also, if you lack fine-motor functionality due to an accident, disability or advanced age, a voice-activated smart speaker could help you research things without typing on a computer keyboard.
Moreover, many smart gadgets such as intelligent light bulbs and thermostats have accompanying apps to track your ongoing usage. After depending on those for a while, you may find it’s possible to save substantial amounts on utility bills.
A recently unveiled feature on the Google Home speaker lets it recognize its location and turn lights on or off only in that room instead of everywhere in the house, which could conserve electricity, too.
Buying a smart home gadget that caters to at least one pressing need in your life should increase your satisfaction with the product. Plus, it could reduce the typical amount of challenges you face.
2. Pick Your Price Range
As you consider which smart home gadget to buy and learn more about smart home setups, be aware of your price range. You don’t want to spend so much that your investment causes financial strain. But, it’s also essential to realize some smart gadgets more than pay for themselves over the time you own them.
In that case, it may be worthwhile to choose a gadget with a comparatively high up-front cost and high probability of continual usefulness over time instead of one that’s cheaper and is primarily a gadget to impress your friends.
3. Consider Ways to Save Time or Steps With Gadgets
Brands including Whirlpool and GE offer products that look like conventional home appliances, but they’re more capable. For example, a smart microwave from GE lets you scan a barcode on a food product to immediately send the correct cooking time to the appliance and remove any guesswork on your behalf.
There’s also a smart sprinkler on the market that turns itself off when it rains. Additionally, manufacturers offer dishwashers that connect to smartphone apps to alert you to the end of a cycle or allow changing settings without walking to the machine. Some coffee makers even start on a schedule, allowing you to wake up to brewed beverages each morning.
These products and others like them aim to change your life by addressing the tasks people do daily — such as making meals and washing clothes — but usually don’t enjoy. If there’s a particular responsibility in your household that takes a long time or requires complex processes, smart gadgets could remove some of the unpleasantness.
4. Be Mindful of Future Compatibility
Manufacturers commonly build smart home gadgets to work with other intelligent products from different brands. Many of them have integrated Alexa capabilities, meaning you can use voice commands associated with Amazon’s assistant without also owning a separate product from Amazon.
There’s a smart lock from Nest that works with the Google Assistant, too.
No matter what kind of smart home gadget you buy, pay attention to whether it works with technology you already know or might use soon. The product specifications may include a “Works With” section that gives more details. Then, it should become easier to gradually expand your smart home gadget collection if desired.
Do What Suits You
Choosing which smart home gadget to get first isn’t easy — and it’s a highly individualized decision. Indeed, it’s wise to read reviews, do some research about any concerns you might have, and find out about the possibilities that people like best. But, in the end, always stay aware of your lifestyle and how a smart home gadget might make it more enjoyable.