15 smart home essentials under $100 we absolutely love

USATODAY

If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives. Smart-home technology can make your life easier and a lot more entertaining. Unfortunately, convenience doesn't always come cheap. It would be easy to blow your weekly grocery budget on smart home upgrades.


15 smart home essentials under $100 we absolutely love

USATODAY

If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives. Smart-home technology can make your life easier and a lot more entertaining. Unfortunately, convenience doesn't always come cheap. It would be easy to blow your weekly grocery budget on smart home upgrades.


Smarten up your home lighting for cheap with deals on Wemo dimmer switches and Philips Hue bulbs

PCWorld

Add some smarts to your home lighting system today with Amazon deals on a few essential lighting items. First is a two-pack of Wemo dimmer switches; usually $80 apiece, you can get the pair for $100. The Wemo dimmer switches give you control over your lights from anywhere, hub-free. Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, you'll be able to use your voice to adjust lighting conditions. You can also create schedules, dim lights, and set Night Mode to keep lights low as it gets dark.


The best plug-in smart outlet

Engadget

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. After spending more than two years testing 41 smart outlets, we're confident that the Wemo Mini is the best smart outlet plug-in adapter for people who want to add remote control and automation to their existing lamps, fans, or other electrical devices. It's the most reliable Wi-Fi smart plug we tested, it's simple to use, and it works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. The Wemo Mini is the only model that has been rock-solid reliable over long-term use, offers a compact design that won't block both outlets on a wall plate, and supports all the major voice-control platforms. Like most of the smart plug-in switches we tested, the Wemo Mini is easy to set up: Just plug it into an outlet, download an app to your phone, set up the wireless connection, and then control lamps, small appliances, and even higher-draw devices like fans and air conditioners. The Wemo family also includes light switches and dimmers, so it's easy to expand your system. The Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Lamp Dimmer costs quite a bit more than the Wemo Mini, but it has two outlets, allowing you to control two lamps or strings of lights at once (though not independently).


Smart home guide for beginners: Make your home more convenient to live in without spending lots of time or money

PCWorld

One way to build out a smart home is to buy lots of components--sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and whatnot--and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, via your smartphone. But let's be real: That can involve spending a lot of money and investing a lot of time. If your wants and needs are simpler, just a few relatively inexpensive products will deliver most of the conveniences a high-end smart home can deliver, and on a much more modest budget. And if you make sure those smart home products are compatible with each other, you'll build a solid foundation that you can expand over time. The key is knowing which smart home products don't depend on a smart home hub to operate.