Make your home smart for £200

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By Martin Driver 31 Jan 2018

A smart home uses the latest technology to make your life better.

This guide suggests three things to start you off without breaking the bank. With them installed, you can turn lights on & off with your voice, adjust the heating from your smartphone, check that your home’s OK when you’re out, and much more.

Remember, this is just the beginning - when you find other things you want to add, they'll easily connect to the stuff we've featured here.

The hub

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All of the devices in your smart home connect to the hub, which lets you control them from a single app or by using your voice.  

There are a few different types, but the most popular are powered by Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

The easiest way to choose between them is by the brand of streaming service you use: if you watch on Fire TV choose Alexa, or if you watch on Chromecast go for Google Home. If you use neither, just choose the one with the features you like best.

We’re choosing the Google Home Mini, as it easily connects to the other devices in this guide. However, if you'd rather use Amazon Echo, it'll work just fine.

Google Home Mini

Lighting

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Smart lighting not only lets you switch bulbs on/off, it lets you change the colour and brightness in seconds to suit your mood.

You can set lights to come on automatically at certain times as a security measure, or program them to gradually come on in the morning to help wake you up.

The one we’re choosing is the Phillips Hue Starter Kit. The E27 bulbs fit most lamps and light fittings (other fittings are available though) and the hub makes it easy to add more bulbs and lights in the future.

Philips Hue White Wireless Bulbs Starter Kit - E27

Heating

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A smart thermostat gives you the power to adjust the heating from anywhere using your smartphone.

You can easily design custom heating plans, or program it to turn off whenever you leave the house to help save money.

Installing a new thermostat might sound like a big job, but it’s not as drastic as it seems - smart thermostats just replace your existing one and only need a couple of wires connecting up to get them working.

We’ve choosen the Hive Active Heating thermostat - it’s easy to install and it works with Google Home, so you can control it with voice commands like ‘Google, turn the heating off’.

HIVE Active Heating Multizone

These things are a great start to making your home smart. When the time comes to add new kit, you can be confident that they’ll all work together, too.  

If there’s anything you want to speak to us about, you can contact us here.

We’ve got Facebook and Twitter too, if you’d rather chat to us there.

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