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Start Here: 10 Gateway Smart Home Ideas

A smarter TV, a well-fed pet, a cleaner floor and coffee made in response to your voice are just some of the exciting ways you can start automating your home.

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Amazon Smart Plug

What better way to ease into home automation than with something as simple as a wall plug? The Amazon Smart Plug is a quick-and-easy addition to your smart home ideas. It works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet. You can schedule lights, fans and appliances to turn on and off automatically, or control them remotely when you’re away from your home. To use, just plug it in, open the Alexa app and start using your voice to control whatever is plugged in. No smart home hub required! You might also like these super handy smart home products for the kitchen.

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Amazon Echo Dot (Third Generation)

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to begin transforming your house into a smart home. The Amazon Echo Dot is an inexpensive option to add to your smart home ideas.

While it’s not a hub in the traditional sense, it has a built-in Zigbee radio that allows Zigbee-equipped smart home devices, including lights, locks and doorbells, to connect directly to your network without the need of a bridge. (A bridge is a small box that connects to your wireless router.)

You’ll love the Amazon Echo Dot’s small size, ease of use and smart home capabilities. Connect voice-forward products like lights, thermostats, cameras, door locks and much more to your Echo Dot to control them using your voice. Here is a comparison of the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini.

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Google Chromecast

Don’t worry about upgrading your perfectly good TV to a smart TV when you add Google Chromecast to your smart home ideas. Google Chromecast is a small device that you plug into the HDMI port on your TV and connect to your home network via WI-FI to power and stream your favorite entertainment. You can instruct Google Home to play a specific movie on Netflix, for instance, without having to use your remote to search. If you are in need of a new TV, this is the best time to buy one.

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Philips Hue Smart Bulb Starter Kit

A smart bulb starter kit is an easy and fun way to work your way into the world of smart home automation. This starter kit includes four Philips Hue white 60W Energy Star certified LED smart bulbs, and the Philips Hue Hub that can control up to 50 Hue lights. It works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to allow you to switch the lights on and off with your voice, adjust brightness, change colors and ask if you left the lights on. Plus, check out these bold predictions of how future houses will look.

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Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt

When it comes to smart home ideas, security should be at the top of your list. A smart door lock is both an effective way to ensure you never get locked out of your home, while allowing you to monitor who has access. The Schlage Encode Smart WI-FI Deadbolt allows you to lock/unlock from anywhere! Simply pair with the Schlage Home app or Key app to create and manage up to 100 access codes for your friends, family and trusted employees for recurring, temporary or permanent access. Here are more smart door locks we love.

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Ring Video Doorbell 2

Continue to increase home security by adding an advanced doorbell to your smart home ideas. This video doorbell is a game-changer. It replaces one-dimensional peepholes with a smart system that keeps your home safer. It has HD live streaming, motion alerts, and for $3 a month, you can have access to saved video clips to review at a later date. And, because it works with Alexa, you can be sitting in your office and pull up a live feed and even talk to whomever is at your door, right from your Echo device. From switches and plugs to kitchen gadgets and lawn care products, say “Hey, Google!” to control these smart devices. Next, check out some of our favorite Alexa accessories.

Buy it now on Amazon.

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Wyze Cam

Continue enjoying security in your home the smart way with the Wyze Cam. It features 110°/second rotation speed, 360° horizontal range, and 93° vertical range, so you can forget about losing sight of something in your home. In fact, the camera delivers 360° coverage in less than 3 seconds to keep you up to speed on whatever is going on in your home.

The camera also features HD live streaming, motion alerts, an easy-to-navigate app and 14 days of free motion-based Cloud storage. Plus, it works with Alexa voice commands, so you can control this smart home camera with your voice by saying, “Alexa, show me the living room” to view a live stream from your camera. Here are 10 things you can do every day to make your home safer.

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PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder

Another great introduction to automating your home is something as simple but effective as a smart pet feeder. Especially if you’re working long hours at the office, this product is so much more than just an automated pet feeder. You can feed your pet from your smartphone using the Smart Feed app, personalize your pet’s meals, scheduling up to 12 meals, and automatically dispense portions of 1/8 cup to 4 cups. There’s also a slow feed option that allows food to dispense slowly over 15-minute periods to prevent your furry companion from eating too quickly. Plus, check out these tech gadgets every pet owner needs.

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2-in-1 Vacuuming & Mopping Robot

Ready to have clean floors without putting in all the manual labor? There’s a robot for that. While robot vacuums have been around for some time now, thanks to the Roomba, there are many more options these days, including the DEEBOT OZMO 950. Not only does it vacuum, but it will do the dirty work of mopping too! The vacuum has three levels of suction power to tackle any mess, and the ECOVACS Home app enables you to adjust the water level when mopping. The app comes with leading mapping technology, scheduling and support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Check out these robots you totally need to clean your house.

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Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself to maintain the ideal temperature and help save energy. And, you can control it from anywhere with the Nest app. Using Google Home, for instance, you can use your voice to set the thermostat cooler, warmer or to set a specific temperature and more. Check out these top reasons to install a smart thermostat.

Plus: Google Home vs Amazon Alexa, What’s the Difference?

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: