Our Smart Home Devices

Welcome to Our Smart Home Devices. Here we link to more than 100 smart home devices running in the AppMyHome household. For your convenience, you can find links to purchase for most of the products we have tested and/or are currently using below. We’ve also included, where available, links to our relevant story or video. 

Note: we have moved on from some devices, either because the company went out of business, the device was no longer needed or we replaced with a newer, similar product. We have listed these under RETIRED devices

Affiliate Disclosure


Our Smart Home Devices available on our Smart Home Shop on Amazon and other Smart Home sites:

Automation Hubs and Controllers | Entertainment | Health and Fitness | Heating and Cooling | Internet | Kitchen and Bath | Lighting, Switches and Outlets | Security/Safety | Sensors | Smart Cameras | Smart Solutions

Automation Hubs and Controllers – home automation hubs, voice control

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We use home automation hubs to connect devices using Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols to our Wi-Fi network. This enables both remote access and voice control of those devices when supported by the device manufacturer. We use two hubs in our home today only because the Konnected security interface requires the SmartThings hub. All the rest of our Z-Wave and Zigbee devices are on the Wink hub.

In your smart home, you should only need one of these products. Both hubs work well for Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. Before you buy, be sure to check the websites to verify your devices are compatable.

For voice control, we primarily the Amazon Echo with Alexa. We do have an Apple HomePod to control our HomeKit devices and to provide a very nice quality speaker. For testing, we have a Google Home Mini device that is very good at answering questions, and controlling the home as well, so if you are a Google person, it should work just fine  We started with two full size Amazon Echos, but as we expanded throughout the house we use the smaller, less expensive Echo Dot. We have also have some devices listed elsewhere on this page with Alexa built in, which is handy to expand voice control throughout your home. 



Entertainment – TV, Audio, Video

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There are many choices for entertainment that are Smart Home ready, with new functionality coming all the time.

When you choose a Smart TV be sure it not only supports Wi-Fi, but that the TV can be turned on by a command over Wi-Fi, otherwise you will still need your standard Infrared (IR) Remote.

If you don’t have a Smart TV but have an IR remote, you can use up a Logitech Hub which acts like as IR remote and even works with Alexa. We use this with our Samsung TV which would not turn on without the remote. Newer Smart TV models like the one listed below most likely will be fine, but we suggest you check to be sure. There are often the same issues with stereos and receivers, though even our older model Denon supports Wi-Fi control.  

We also have many other smart entertainment devices such as our Sengled Pulse light bulb/speakers and the iHome AVS clock with Alexa built in.

Health and Fitness– Sleep Gadgets, Fitness devices

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There are plenty of devices to help in this category. As cyclists we rely on our Garmin to provide all the data we need to handle long rides. For sleeping we’ve recently picked up the Sleeptracker, which tracks our sleep without any need to wear a device, just put it under you mattress and you are set. To keep us comfortable while sleeping we have the BedJet, you can read our review here. As a CPAP user, the Dreamstation Go was our choice as we like to travel and the device is both small and quiet.

Heating and Cooling – Thermostats, Smart Vents, Smart Fans

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Aside from heating and cooling our home, we need to cool our cabinet where the entertainment components live. For this we use the AC Infinity AIRCOM fan which fits perfectly atop of our Denon receiver and dissipates the heat out the back.

Our home heating/cooling is controlled by a pair of Nest thermostats, which paid for themselves over one summer in our northern California heat. To better distribute the heating/cooling to a couple of remote bedrooms we installed Keen smart vents, which open and close to maintain local room temperatures.

A couple of nice looking smart fans from Haiku complement the living room and master bedroom and sync up with the Nests to provide a well regulated climate inside.

To save from having to install air filters before they expire, we now are using the new Bluetooth filters from Filtrete that tell us when to change them. No more changing every 3 months.

Internet – Cable Modems, Routers, Firewalls

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Your internet setup is the foundation of your Smart Home. Make sure you get fast internet from your provider, with at least 100 Mb/sec download speed, and upload around 5 Mb/sec. You can rent your internet devices from the provider, or better yet pick up your own Cable modem and Wi-Fi routers (avoid the all in one boxes). These are a one time purchase and you can upgrade any part of your setup when something breaks or the technology improves.

Don’t forget a Smart Firewall like the CUJO, or subscribe to one that is integrated into your Router like Orbi Armor. All those devices in your smart home likely cannot load any virus or firewall software, so a smart firewall will act to protect all of them as it protects your home network.

Since we have a lot of Wi-Fi devices, we choose a mesh Wi-Fi router to ensure we cover our whole house and backyard with a strong Wi-Fi connection. Mesh routers like Orbi put boxes at different locations in the house, but act as a single Wi-Fi network. If you don’t need a lot of coverage then a single router should work fine, just make sure it is the latest generation. You can use a network box like the Fingbox to test your current Wi-Fi signal strength. If you don’t know if your current router is strong enough, the Fingbox can use your smartphone to test the strength of the Wi-Fi anywhere in your home.

Have you ever needed to restart your cable modem or router when you are not home? Check out the Digital Loggers power strip, it checks to see if the internet is working, and if not will power cycle your gear without any interaction from you.

Kitchen and Bath – Kitchen and Bath Gadgets and Meal Kit Apps

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There are many new gadgets and apps for the kitchen and even some major appliances are now smart. While we haven’t tried out those, we have been using devices and apps to make cooking easier. Most these use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and connect to your smartphone and some with to a smart watch as well. Meal Kits are a great convenience, delivered to home with everything you need to cook that perfect dinner.

Some devices work together like the Vitamix blender and scale. Check out our story.

If you haven’t tried Sous Vide cooking, there are several smart devices on the market to make this professional cooking technique easy and accessible, we use the Joule by Chef Steps. We also use connected temperature probes like Weber and iDevices which are great for both grilling and the oven. 

Lighting, Switches and Outlets – Smart Light Bulbs, Switches and Outlets

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Lighting can be automated either by using a smart bulb or by installing smart wall switches and outlets. If you use a smart bulb that is controlled by a light switch, you’ll need to always keep the switch on. The other option is to just use a smart switch or smart outlet and with a regular light bulb. Either way there are lots of products to choose from. And some smart light bulbs can be dimmed or can change color, which is a lot of fun, for example the Phillips Hue.

For switches and outlets, you can purchase add-on devices that either stick to your wall plate, like the Switchmate, or are a plugin smart outlet like the WeMo or TP Link. Any of these can be controlled with your smartphone. This is a good option for those that rent, or don’t want to replace your home’s built-in switches and outlets.

If you do decide to replace your switches, there are some really good choices we recommend as they look great and don’t require batteries. Typically smart outlets come with one outlet smart and the other always on. The switches come in either on/off or dimmer, including some that have a motion sensor built-in. If you have a 3 or 4 way switch setup some manufactures require an add-on switch that matches the main switch (for example the GE Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Switch and the GE Z-Wave Add-on Switch). We do recommend hiring an electrician to install these built-in devices, and then you can easily add the device “smarts” to your phone app.

Smart bulbs, switches and outlets (built-in or plug-in) come with different protocols. The ones with Wi-Fi connect straight to your router, the Bluetooth, Z-Wave and Zigbee devices do require a hub that provides W-Fi access. Z-Wave and Zigbee actually provide extra coverage as more devices are added as they mesh together for better performance and longer battery life.

Plug-in

Built-in, wiring required

Security/Safety– Smart door locks, Smart Doorbells, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

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You can automate your door locks, doorbells, window sensors and smoke detectors providing you with information on your phone anywhere in the world. Most the devices we mention here use Wi-Fi, or have a Wi-Fi bridge that lets them communicate with your phone.

To monitor your doors and windows, you can use battery-powered sensors. If you have wired window and door sensors already, perhaps from a pre-installed security system, you can use Konnected to monitor everything and see the status on your phone.

Accessing your home with a smart door lock has gotten easier too, even allowing you to let people in while you are away. There are several types, some with keypads, some with touch-to-open technology like Kevo and others where you use an app on your smart phone to access. These locks either replace part of your deadbolt or all of it. And most of these will also allow you to control the locks from anywhere. 

Many people are now installing smart doorbells that not only record when someone walks up to them, but also integrate with the smart door locks so you can open the door for your visitor. The key with the video doorbell is to make sure it is 1080p and that it records a few seconds before motion is detected so you get the best picture of the person.

Smoke detectors have come a long way, with several name brands providing smart ones. We have installed the Nest Protect throughout our house. This device replaces your existing smoke detector, comes in both wired and battery-only models and they detect both smoke and carbon monoxide as well as warning you in every room by voice if there is an issue and where.

Sensors – Motion, Water Leak, Energy Monitors

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These are the eyes and ears of your smart home. Use them to control other devices in the home, for instance turning on a light when there is motion. These sensors are usually Z-Wave or Zigbee based, so you may need a hub to control them. Others use Wi-Fi and may use a standalone app. Most are battery-powered so expect at some point to replace batteries. Some do use wall power, or USB which limits installation location. We use sensors to detect motion, monitor temperature, humidity, and water leaks and even discover our power usage. Home hubs like Wink need to support the sensor you buy, so make to check before you buy.

Smart Cameras – Smart Cameras, Indoor Cameras, Outdoor Cameras, Gimbal Stabilizers

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There are many things to consider when selecting cameras for your home. The first thing you should look for at least 1080p resolution to help in making out the subject. 

  • Do I need indoor or outdoor? Some cameras are designed to handle the weather, others are only recommended for indoor use. You’ll likely want both types, so be sure to check the specs on the cameras you choose.
  • Do they detect motion and if so can they tell a pet from a human or from a car? Today many of the manufacturers not only detect motion, but can identify if they see a person or a car, some even can identify the person. Usually you pay extra for detecting the type of object. At a minimum the camera needs to detect motion and provide you an alert.
  • Do they capture video before the motion is detected? This is very important, you want a camera that records video not only when motion is detected, but records the video a few seconds prior. This way you can actually see the delivery person or intruder, otherwise you may miss their face.
  • Do they have night vision, and how good is it? If the area you are monitoring is always lit, then you don’t need night vision. Most likely you’ll want to monitor even in the dark. Make sure your selection includes night vision with a strong infrared light. Some cameras now come with color night vision, while not required, they usually also provide a clearer picture.
  • Are they Wi-Fi or wired? Most cameras support a WiFi connection, this is best as you are not as limited in where to install. Some are wired direct to your router, these can be handy if you mount the camera out of range of your WiFi, however, then you have to run cable to make the connection. An easy way to determine if the location you choose for the camera is in range of your WiFi router is to make sure your smart phone is on WiFi and stand near the location and see if it connects with a strong signal. Too weak a signal and your camera may not record well, or at all.
  • Do you want local storage, cloud storage or both and how much are you willing to pay? There are a lot of variations here with the camera manufacturers. Local storage is nice because the video is in your control. You just need to supply an SD card to record. We like this method because if your internet is down the camera still records, and there are no monthly fees. Cloud storage is more secure if the intruder takes your camera, and also allows for the cloud provider to analyze the camera feed for who or what they see. Cloud storage does require your internet to be working and does take up your internet data usage which is particularly important if you have a data cap. Cloud also usually but not always requires a monthly fee if you want to store data for more than a short period of time, some cameras only record if you pay. We find the best solution is to get a camera that both records locally to an SD card and to the cloud.
  • Will you be able to use a single app for all cameras or is using one for each acceptable? If you want to have only one app to monitor and view your camera then stick to one manufacturer otherwise you’ll need multiple apps to view. Currently the camera tech is evolving, so don’t be afraid to select multiple manufacturers if you don’t find one company that provides all your camera needs.
  • Do you trust the security of the camera? We recommend sticking with a name brand camera. Make sure the camera is the latest model, and that they upgrade their firmware regularly. Also ensure to set your username and password to something other than their default, otherwise someone could hack your camera. We don’t really want to record ourselves or our guests, so on our indoor cameras we actually turn them off when we are home by using a smart outlet, then if someone wants to hack our camera they have to hack our smart outlet first.
  • Do they use batteries, support solar panels, wall or USB power? The cameras all need power but you have choices. Cameras that only record when there is motion don’t usually take a lot of power and you can get one with batteries that last a long time. If you don’t want to be charging batteries, check to see if the camera can have a solar panel attached to do the recharge. We have one of these for our backyard camera where having a wired connection is difficult, and it works great. If the camera needs wall power or USB, then you’ll need to make sure your camera location is near an outlet, make sure they supply a long enough cord. Sometimes if the camera uses USB power a solar panel is an option, but be sure to confirm solar is supported and that the panel is of sufficient power.

Smart Solutions– Blinds, Irrigation, Garage Door Opener

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Most of these devices are complete solutions. They provide the device, the app and usually do not require another smart home hub or app to use. They usually integrate into one of your home’s systems to provide additional convenience.

RETIRED Devices

We have moved on from some devices, either because the company went out of business, the device was no longer needed or we replaced with a newer, similar product. 

  • Read the Story, buy the CUJO AI Smart Internet Security Firewall (no longer available)
  • The Wink Hub 2 (switched to the SmartThings Hub), Read why.
  • Read the Story, buy the iHome iAVS16 Bedside Speaker with Alexa  (replaced with Echo Show 5)
  • Lowe’s Iris Home Management System(Discontinued)
  • Lowe’s Iris 120 Degree Passive Infrared Security Motion Detector (Discontinued)
    Lowe’s Iris Smart Button (Discontinued)
  • Mother (Out of business and no longer available)
  • Orbit Iris Hose Faucet Water Timer (replaced by a newer version)
  • Pella Insynctive Window and Door Sensors No longer used
  • Quirky TAPT switch (Replaced with GE/Jasco Z-Wave Switches)
  • Quirky Outlink smart outlet (Replaced with GE/Jasco Z-Wave Outlet)
  • Simple Control entertainment remote control (replaced with different technology)
  • Staples Connect Hub  (No longer supported)
  • Wink Relay Touchscreen controller (No longer operational)
  • Wink Spotter Multi-purpose sensor (No longer needed)
  • Read the Story, buy the Zipato Zipabox (Works great, but no longer needed)

Recommended devices available by category on our Smart Home Shop on Amazon:

All Smart Home Recommendations | Automation Hubs and Controllers | Entertainment | Health and Fitness | Heating and Cooling | Internet | Kitchen and Bath | Lighting, Switches and Outlets | Security/Safety | Sensors | Smart Cameras | Smart Solutions


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