My ideal smart home should allow me to automate my entire house and control all my devices with minimal apps necessary. Privacy is also a core requirement of mine. I would need most of my smart devices to work locally (aka internet independent) and store as few data in the cloud as possible.
- 2x Bedrooms
- 1x Bathroom
- 1x Living room
- 1x Kitchen
What to get?
To control different types of devices and brands, I need a smart home hub that supports popular automation protocols: Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi.
(Learn more about Zigbee and Z-Wave here)
Smart lighting is the first thing that most people get. While smart light bulbs are the easiest to install, the most practical option is smart light switches. To control all the lights in my house, I'll replace all light switches with Aqara's smart light switches. In addition to light switches, I'll also get smart LED strips to create some light effects.
(Learn more about the practicality of smart lights here)
- Aqara's light switches
- Aeotec LED strip (behind the TV, behind kitchen cabinets, under bedframe)
A smart home is only smart if you can control it with your voice. I preferred to use Siri as my voice assistant because I use an iPhone and Macbook. But since Apple’s HomeKit does not work with multi-platform gateways such as Mixtile Hub, I will need to get a Raspberry Pi (with HomeBridge) to connect them.
(Learn more voice assistants here)
- Apple Siri (through Raspberry Pi + HomeBridge)
- Google Assistant (through Sonos speaker)
I personally like the Sonos speakers. For my smart home, I’ll set up one speaker in the living room and one in the master bedroom. Sonos speakers support both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. If I’m not satisfied with Google Assistant, I can just switch it to Amazon Alexa.
- Sonos Speakers (to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa)
Almost all smart locks use batteries. That is a major inconvenience because I'll replace the batteries every few months. Until I can find a better smart lock, I will use the August Smart Lock Pro. August Lock is easy to install and looks pretty decent.
- August Smart Lock Pro
Design-wise, Nest and Ecobee thermostats look the best. But both of them use Wi-Fi instead of Zigbee or Z-Wave. I prefer to use as little Wi-Fi devices as possible. For this reason, I will go with GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat.
(Learn more about smart Wi-Fi devices here)
- GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat
Imagine waking up to your smart speaker’s alarm and you have to either yell out to your voice assistant or find your phone to turn it off. A more convenient way is to use smart wireless buttons. I like to have a smart button next to my bed and program it to perform different things: press once to turn the lights on/off, press twice to play/stop music, and press & hold to have my smart speaker tell the time.
- Aqara Smart Buttons
Smart plugs let you remotely switch your regular electronic appliances on or off from your phone. Some smart plugs also have an energy measurement feature. I like to use these smart plugs to control and measure the energy usage of my laundry machine, humidifier, and water boiler.*NOTE: Beware of the maximum power input and output of your smart plugs and appliances.
(Learn more about how smart home can reduce your utility bill here)
- Aeotec Smart Switch 6
If you are like me and you find opening the curtains tedious, you will like smart curtains. With smart curtains, you can open/close them with a click of a button or with your voice. You can even schedule or set automation routines to open/close them based on time, light condition, temperature, etc.
- Orvibo curtain motors
You can’t control smart sensors, but you can set automation routines for your smart home devices. I like to use motion sensors as triggers only to turn on the lights when I come back from home. And to turn them off, I'll use a smart button or voice assistant. Because sometimes motion sensors will detect a fall negative and turn off the lights when I'm still in the room.
- Fibaro Gas Sensor
- Heiman Smoke Sensor
- Bosch Motion Sensor (to turn on the living room lights)
- Any Contact Sensor (use as an alert if the front door is been open for longer than 2 minutes)
There it is! That's my ideal setup for my small one bedroom apartment. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us a email through our contact form.