A home which you can control via just your voice or your phone is the dream for every geek and procrastinator out there and in this list today we will be helping you in automating your home so you can control many important aspects of your home right from your phone or by using a voice assistant. Before you can control your home through your voice assistant or your phone you will need certain hardware products in place. Picking smart home solutions is a daunting task and to help you out, we curated a list of the gadgets.
On this list, we will be covering some smart lights, smart smart sockets, and home controllers, smart cameras, robotic vacuum cleaners, smart home hubs and exploring smart home solutions stuff in general. So sit back and read on to find out how you can automate your home and delegate certain household duties to an internet connected device.
Imagine this, you come back from a hard days work and want to chill out with a bit of low-fi in the background but you are way too tired to find your phone or TV remote and search for your jam, so what do you do? You ask your virtual assistant and voila you have your music. To experience the bliss of automation, you will need the right equipment in place and you will find the best ones right here on our list, so let’s begin.
Best Smart Hubs/ Smart Speakers in India
The Amazon Echo line up of smart hubs is one of the best Home Hub out there, the competitive prices during frequent online sales is what makes them absolute value for money. You can easily control all your smart home devices from the Echo line of products using just your voice to command Alexa, Amazon’s own virtual assistant.
Apart from controlling smart devices the Echos can also play music and control other Amazon devices you may have like the fire stick for example. The cheapest of the lot the Echo dot is frequently on sale for about Rs. 2999 which in my opinion is a steal.
If you don’t wish to wait, the last gen echo dot is on sale right now for Rs. 2500.
Best At - Controlling internet connected devices and interacting with Amazon Ecosystem of devices.
Must try things - Ask for score updates or book an ola/uber
Check Amazon for latest price and New Echo products
The Google Home line of products run one of the best virtual assistant out there, the google assistant. The functionality Google assistant offers is very vast and certainly better than its competitors and since most of us use Google services anyways it seamlessly integrates every aspect of our life.
Similar to Alexa the Google assistant can also control almost all of your smart home devices as well. It can play music from a number of varied sources including Youtube, Spotify and other local apps like Gaana or Saavan.
The Google Home Mini frequently is on sale for around Rs. 3000 and sometimes even less whereas the full size Google Home is mostly priced around Rs. 6000 during sales.
Best At - Controlling internet connected devices and controlling your Android devices / Google Services
Must Try - Listening to podcasts and getting information about local businesses in the neighborhood.
Check Flipkart for Latest Price and New releases
Now that you are a lot more relaxed you would want to pick up a book to read and enrich your mind, maybe you’re not a fan of physical books (Honestly, who isn’t) so you grab your ebook reader of choice, in our case the kindle.
Best Smart Ebook Reader in India
1. Kindle (E-reader, paperwhite, oasis)
The Kindle line of Ebook readers is hand down the best line up of e-readers and certainly the easiest to use. All of them sync with your online library and you can continue reading the book where you last left it.
The base variant comes with a 6-inch glare free e-ink display which is perfectly legible even under direct sunlight. The devices are slimmer than most pencils out there and hence are also extremely lightweight which reduces arm fatigue while holding them. Since the display isn’t the standard fare, it is comfortable even for extended reading usage and doesn’t fatigue the eyes.
For a base price of Rs. 6000 the devices sure seems expensive but it is worth every penny and during the frequent online sales it goes down even further increasing the value even more.
Best At - Reading Ebooks for hours
Must Try - Reading Steve Jobs Biography on the kindle.
While you were engrossed in your book you forgot that its now dark outside and you wish to turn on the lights, now how do you do that? The old school way of getting up and switching the lights on physically or do you just ask your virtual assistant to turn them on? I’d prefer the latter. To be able to control the lights via your voice you’d need some smart lights and what better lights than these?
Best Smart Lights in India
The Syska Smart Light 7W LED Bulb is the best bang for buck smart light out there for the average Indian. It fits into the existing sockets that are readily available at every home doesn’t need any fancy hubs to be controlled.
The Syska connects to your existing 2.4 GHz wifi band and can be operated via your Android device, Apple device, Amazon home hubs etc. With the Syska, you can choose from one of the 3 million colors the bulb offers to suit your needs perfectly and thanks to its 25000 hour lifespan it will also last you quite long.
At its brightest, the Syska is 480 lumens which isn’t as bright as some of the competition but is sufficient enough. You can also schedule the lights to come on or switch off at scheduled times.
If you don’t wish to spend extra money on hubs and other devices this is the bulb to get.
Best At - Being Controlled via smartphone or smart hub
Must Try - Customizing the colors of the light to suit your need
The Hue is the flagship smart light offered by Phillips, it allows you to control the light, brightness and the color tone of the light directly from your phone or smart hub. The E27 goes from 300K to 6500K and can be automated to switch on and off at specified times.
For all the good thing the hue offers, the main issue with these is the cost of entry into the ecosystem. The Hues need a special Hue Hub to be controlled via the phone or an assistant without which the functionality of the bulb wouldn't work.
You can use An Echo plus to control it without the hub but even that restricts some of the functionality of the bulbs. These can be controlled via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and even with Apple Homepod.
The bulbs can be purchased for anywhere between Rs. 999 to Rs. 2999 and the hub is sold separately. Grab one here
Best At - Being part of a larger smart light ecosystem
Must Try - Customizing the the color tone to suit your needs
Changing out lights just so you can control them through your voice seems like too much of a hassle? Fret not, I anticipate this (I am after all a lazy geek too) so what other alternatives do we have, you ask? Smart switches!
Best Smart Switch in India
Priced at a modest 600 odd rupees, the Sonoff smart switch is once that will make your life a bit easier than it already is. Gone are the days when you would have to physically get up in the cold winter night just to switch off your fan, now you can command your smart home hub to do it for you or if you’d like you can do it yourself right from your phone.
The Sonoff supports up to 2200 Watts with 10 Amps of current. It can be scheduled, set up and controlled from anywhere in the world as long as the switch and you are connected to some sort an of internet switch. If you are worried that what will happen to the switch if your wifi is down (Oh the horrors!) then fret not since the switch has a manual override as well.
The switch is great for anyone who wishes to control only a few things in the house like the lights in a particular room or an entertainment unit but if you wish to control more than one thing at a try check out the next switch on our list. The Sonoff is available for a meager price of about Rs. 600.
Best At - Controlling devices wirelessly via phone or smart home hub.
Must Try - Switching the AC/Heater when you are not at home to ensure a warm/cool room once you get home.
If controlling just one device isn’t your thing then the Tesco 3 Channel Smart Wifi Switch is the switch for you. It allows you to control 3 separate devices independently so if you have multiple lights in your room which you’d like to control independent of each other you can use this switch to do so.
It has 3 channels of 2500W each for a combined wattage of 7500W, whatever the Sonoff can do, the Tesco can do better. At a price of around Rs. 2500, I think this is a good purchase but you can also get 4 Sonoffs for the price of this one so weigh in your options before you buy.
If this sounds like your kind of switch grab it right here.
Best At - Controlling multiple individual devices independently.
Must Try - Switching certain devices on or off when away from home
Do Note - Both of these smart switches require a specialist electrician to come and install these so keep that in mind when you factor in the pricing.
Getting an electrician, installing specialized devices only to control your things with your phone sounds like too much hassle? Again? Fine, here's a smart plug that will make your regular plug smart.
Best Smart Plugs in India
If you want to control your reading light or maybe an entertainment unit using Alexa or from your phone and don’t wish to get a smart switch you can just get the D-Link Mydlink DSP-P113 and simplify your life.
The concept of the smart plug is extremely simple, you plug in a regular device into the plug and it makes it IoT compatible, simple enough, right? Control it from anywhere even when you’re not home and to control it via your phone or a virtual assistant.
One downside to the plug though is the lack of support for Google assistant or SIRI. The plug is easy to set up and is essentially plug and play, you will need a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi to use it though.
Priced around Rs. 1500, this is cheaper and relatively has a better brand value than other brands in the market.
Best At - Being Reliable
Must Try - Using other connected D-Link devices using D-Link cloud
A clean home is a happy home and now that we have lazed around enough thanks to our smart devices let us take a look at some top robot vacuum cleaners in India
Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners in India
The EUFY RoboVac 11+ is the cheapest robotic vacuum cleaner that actually works as intended. It has many sophisticated features too but the best one of them all is the fully automated cleaning which the EUFY RoboVac 11+ offers.
Now, this isn’t technically an internet connected smart device but if you pair it with one of the smart plugs or sockets on our list it does become one. The EUFY RoboVac 11+ works very well and cleans all the nooks and crannies thanks to the powerful vacuum and the 2 brushes which helps it sweep things off.
The vacuum is designed to work best on smooth floors like wooden flooring or marble but it should work just fine on regular vitrified tiles as well. You can schedule the RoboVac to run at a certain time every day or you could just hit a button and get it running whenever you wish.
The battery on the device lasts for approximately 1.5 hours and once the battery dies out the RoboVac will automatically go back to charging dock. The main USP of the device would be that it is dead silent while in use so you could be watching TV or enjoying a book while having the RoboVac running in the background and you wouldn’t notice a thing.
The RoboVac is also quite efficient with different surfaces and can easily clean multiple types of surfaces if you have them in your home. The device can cover about 1000 sq feet on a single charge which I think is good enough since most of the flats in India are about the size (I think, but don’t quote me on that).
It has sensors inbuilt to detect any kind of obstacles and it can steer around them without getting stuck on them. For a price of about Rs. 19,990 this is the cheapest robotic vacuum I would suggest to anyone who wishes to buy one, there are other cheaper ones out there that are 10% the cost of this one but are basically plastic toys which don’t work.
Best At - Cleaning your house without you even noticing the vacuum running
Must Try - Scheduling the vacuuming to run at a specific time every day so you always come home to a squeaky clean house
It is time we go back to our jobs to sustain the lazy lifestyle we have thanks to all the smart devices but how do we know our house with all our precious automation stuff is secure? An internet connected IP camera comes right to our rescue here and here are some of the Best Internet Connected cameras you can get.
Best Internet Connected Cameras in India
With a field of view of 120 degrees, HD video recording, an infrared LED and a microphone the D-Link DCS-P6000LH Mini is one of the best IP cameras available in India. The camera has a motion sensor so it records video only when it has to, the videos can directly be saved to the cloud and accessed whenever required and real-time playback is also possible so you can monitor what’s going on in your home even when you are away from your home.
The device is also Alexa enabled so you can control it via your Echo device as well. The camera is very easy to set up and requires only basic knowledge of technical things, you just need to fire up the device and the app and connect them using the instructions on the screen.
At a price of about Rs. 2490 the D-Link DCS-P6000LH is an absolute bargain and a device you should definitely pick up for your home. As a bonus, It can also act as a baby monitor albeit not as effective as a real one (Baby monitors are like 20k for the good ones).
Best At - Providing surveillance reliability
Must Try - Using it as a motion activated camera to keep trespassers away
The YI Home Camera comes from the reputed house of Xiaomi. Yi being a sub-brand of Xiaomi which deals in a vast variety of product lines from pens to bags, smart home devices to surveillance cameras et cetra.
The YI Home Camera in India comes at a price of around Rs. 2500 and at that price offers extensive functionality to help you automate your surveillance needs. It is an IP camera which once connected to your Wi-Fi network can be accessed from anywhere using the Yi Camera app or the Mi home app.
You get the camera, a wall adapter and a micro USB cable to power the device in the box and you can use a memory card of up to 32 GB to store the recordings, however, the camera is motion activated and if it senses that there is no motion or activity detected then it will automatically stop the recording to optimize the storage on the memory card.
The camera also has 2 way communication capabilities so you can also use it as a smart doorbell and talk to the person on the other end without opening the door. At this price, the Yi Home Camera is great but I have seen it go to as low as Rs. 1750 and at that price, it is an absolute steal.
Best At - Being discreet and unrecognizable.
Must try - Using the 2 way communication to talk to others.
Ready to Live in the Future?
So these were our picks for the best home automation tools to turn your abode into a Batcave, do let us know how you used these in your home and if you use any other home automation tools to automate your home.
P.S: To top it off, check out these amazing bluetooth headphones to enjoy your music from the comfort of your couch.
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