If you think upgrading your home with smart home products sounds difficult and expensive, know as frustrating as smart homes may sound, the experience is totally worth it — and doable. You can buy several smart home products for under $100 that provide tons of smart functionality. From smart speakers to devices that allow you to control lights or music with just your voice using smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, to smart plugs and the best smart outlets that transform coffeemakers or table lamps into smart ones you can control from your phone. Here are some of our top favorite affordable smart home products to help get you started.
Colorful and compact
Google Assistant is probably baked into the phone you use daily, so it makes sense to stick with Google for your home smart speakers. The Google Home Mini is a colorful and compact smart speaker that lets you connect and control smart home products through the Google Home app and seamlessly integrates with Chromecast, YouTube, and other Google products and services.
The second-gen Nest Hub smart display adds video to the equation so you can play music and watch videos, see live footage from a compatible connected security camera, check your calendar, view a photo slideshow, and more. Plus, you can summon Google Assistant at any time. And it's uber-affordable.
Add more Alexa
Amazon's Echo Dot is the most affordable way to add Alexa to a room in your home. The 4th generation Dot is the most stylish version yet, with a rounded fabric finish and a 3.5mm line-out connecting to more substantial speakers. Along with bundle options, there's even a super cool The Mandalorian stand featuring ears like The Child/Grogu, with a bundle price that still keeps you under $100.
Plug in more devices
Smart plugs are a great option if you live in an apartment or other rental property. But if you own your home, you should upgrade some of your outlets to include USB ports like these outlets from Top Greener. These plugs are easy to install with the existing wiring in your house and are packed with safety features, including tamper resistance for kids. These plugs do not support fast charging, but they will let you keep your phones charged without needing a wall adapter.
Works with the Alexa
Amazon's Smart Plug does not require you to own an Echo speaker to use voice commands — it connects directly to the Alexa app and lets you control lamps, fans, or appliances and set schedules with little hassle. It's a great option if you're sticking with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem or buying for someone who already owns an Amazon Echo speaker.
Smart lights starter kit
Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart bulb brands, and its starter kit offers excellent value for getting started in a smaller home or apartment. You get four soft white bulbs and the Wi-Fi bridge required to control your bulbs through an Echo Dot or Google Mini. Once you're set-up, it's easy to add more Philips Hue bulbs in the future.
Smart lights everywhere
These Sengled bulbs are a great option if you have a Samsung SmartThings hub, an Echo Plus with the built-in Zigbee hub, or bought the Echo Dot bundled with the Sengled bulbs and hub. Otherwise, you are going to need a Sengled hub to connect to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. But once you do, you get eight bulbs to set up and group into rooms. Once you start controlling your lights with your voice, you won't want to go back.
LED light strips are great for adding colorful accents to any room, and you can't beat the value of these Nexlux LED strips. Available in spools of 16 feet and 32 feet, each kit comes with a Wi-Fi controller and power supply. So you're free to split the strip and use each half independently as long as each strip has its own controller and power supply plugged in.
Smart control for outdoor lights
Instead of investing in pricey smart bulbs certified for outdoors, swap out the light switch that controls your "dumb" exterior lights with this smart light switch from TP-Link. You can schedule and set everything up in the Kasa app, and it works with either Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control and grouped commands.
This Kasa power strip is the ideal solution for automating your home theater setup. Each plug can be controlled independently using the Kasa app or your voice with Alexa or Google Assistant. You get six AC outlets along with three USB ports for charging your other devices. It's a pretty fantastic product that's like six smart plugs built into one.
Monitor your home remotely
Wyze Cam makes the best smart home cameras you can buy for under $100. Its best product is this compact Wi-Fi-connected smart camera that can pan around 360-degrees. It can also be set up for continuous recording, motion and sound alerts, or recording time-lapses. It lets you keep an eye on your garage, kid's room, or anywhere else in your home.
This handy video doorbell lets you not only see who's at the front door using the Remo+ app on a compatible Android or iOS smartphone, but also talk to them using the two-way talk functionality. So you can tell the delivery person to leave the package at the door or advise someone suspicious to get off your porch. It installs using your existing doorbell wiring, works with Alexa voice control, and offers HD quality video without a monthly subscription and with free cloud storage.
4K streaming for less
The Roku Premiere is a compact 4K streamer that offers quite a lot of value for a low price. Roku supports all the major streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, along with a massive library of free channels offering varied content.
Upgrade your smart home for less
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It's really easy to build out your dream smart home without spending a fortune. Just make sure that when you find the best smart home products under $100, you're investing in quality products that can connect and communicate seamlessly with one another and are easy to install and/or set up.
First, decide if you want to go with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for voice control and decide on a smart speaker to serve as your central hub, so to speak. Lots of devices work with both platforms, so you could even set them both up if you wanted to. Google Assistant's strength is in unmatched language processing for answering your queries. It also integrates into other Google services like YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Calendar — apps you probably rely on daily. For Alexa, its strength used to be Amazon's deep Skills ecosystem for smart device support. But now, it's more so the expansive Amazon Echo lineup that includes smart displays, security cameras, smart plugs, and more.
The Google Nest Mini 2nd-gen is a great starting point for controlling small lamps or other convenience appliances around your home. This will help you get your feet wet regarding what it's like to control devices you already use in the home with your smartphone and an app and/or voice. Likewise, the Philips Hue Starter Kit is a great place to start for adding smart bulbs to your home network, simply replacing a standard bulb with a smart one.
For entertainment, you really can't go wrong with a Roku device like the Roku Premiere that can turn your boring old TV into a smart one, able to access all of your favorite movies and shows from the top streaming services along with dedicated Roku channels.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.