How to build a smart home at any budget

Smart homes look so magical. Walk into a room, say the word and a light turns on or a lock slides into place. They’re also great for security: With a touch of a button an SOS or medical emergency alert goes out.

That doesn’t mean you can skip steps to protect yourself from hackers and mindless tech companies. If you have an Amazon Echo at home, tap or click one of the five security settings to change.

You might think that you can’t afford smart home technology, but that just isn’t true. Whether you have $100 or $500 in your pocket, you can fill your home with this cool technology. Keep reading for the best gadgets you can buy on a budget.

What is a smart home?
A “smart home” is defined by automation. This means you have Internet-connected devices that automatically take care of lighting, climate, alarm systems or even entertainment equipment. So even if you have an Amazon Echo, that means you’re technically living in a smart home.

Option 1: 2 Echo Dots + MyQ Garage Door Opener
Amazon’s Echos are great all-purpose smart speakers. The Echo Dot is super affordable, and the latest generation has good sound quality to boot. Grab two and you can play music throughout your house and use them as an intercom to chat with anyone in another room.

With the MyQ Wi-Fi enabled Garage Hub, just tap a button on your smartphone to open and close the garage. It is very easy to set-up and use. And if you’re a Prime member, you can get free in-garage delivery from Amazon. Click here for more information.

Option 2: Echo Dot + a Cengaged Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
While it’s not the latest generation Echo Dot, it packs a big punch in a small package. It also comes with a smart bulb, and even two of these packages are well under the $100 budget. This is also the right way to set up smart lighting. With easy voice controls, set your lights to flash before your alarm to gently mimic the sunrise. Just ask, “Alexa, wake me up at 7 a.m. with the lights on,” and you’re good to go.

What if you want an interactive screen instead? You’ll love the Echo Show 5 Sandstone, which allows you to watch videos, video chat with friends and family, and read articles. Bonus: This package comes with an Amazon Smart Plug that lets you control basic appliances by voice. For example, plug a lamp into an outlet and now you can say, “Alexa, turn on the light.” It’s that easy.

For about $20, you can add two LED color-changing lightbulbs that are compatible with Alexa and Google Home Assistant. Want to bathe the room in pink, blue or gold? These smart Wi-Fi light bulbs will light the way.

This bundle is a steal. It provides everything you need to start your own smart home in one handy package. The 3rd Gen Echo Dot lets you add voice control to any outlet. You’ll find four far-field microphones that let Alexa hear you from across the room.

Want to fill the whole house with music? You can do all of that without a smart home hub. Start setting up routines and schedules through your Alexa app.

Plus, it comes in four different colors. If you’ve ever wanted a pink Echo Dot, you’re in luck!

echo show 5. Video Doorbell with Ring 3
Video doorbells show what’s happening outside your front door, whether you’re at home or away. You can get a Ring Video Doorbell 3 with the Echo Show 5 for about $150. You will get mobile notifications whenever someone presses your doorbell or triggers your motion sensor. And yes, you’ll get that Echo Show 5 that includes a 5.5-inch screen.

Echo Show 8 and Amazon Smart Plug + Kasa 3-Pack Wi-Fi Switch with Stand
Amazon’s Echo Show 8 is an upgraded version of its Show 5. It has a bigger, finer screen and you can adjust the angle at which you’re looking – which is pretty handy when you’re trying to watch a video about fixing a pipe with you. The head got stuck under the sink. Turn off the microphone or camera and enjoy podcasts, movies, audiobooks and music with a single press of a button.

This package comes with a nifty stand and smart plug, which lets you add voice control to any outlet

Plus, with the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Switch, you can control the lighting from anywhere in the house. It’s easy to set up and doesn’t require a hub—it works out of the box with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also set a timer or countdown schedule to automatically turn your Smart Switch on or off. how cool is that?

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