SMART HOME BUYING GUIDE

You already seek convenience and connectivity at work, in cafes and on your phone — but what about in your own home? Smart devices offer convenience and safety, and can even help you save money on your energy bills. Plus, smartphone apps make it ultrasimple to control your devices at home from wherever you are. Whether you want to create a warm house before you arrive or grant access to your home from your phone, this guide will help you find the products and services that are right for you.
Smart Lighting:
Transform the Way You Use Light

Smart lighting gives you the flexibility to change the color, hue, brightness and ambiance of your lighting in any room, in order to suit your mood or individual preferences. Whether you're reading, relaxing, exercising or socializing, you can set or adjust your lighting to meet your needs. You can even save particular settings to re-use again and again. You can use products like the Philips hue A-19 starter kit and extra add-on bulbs to set automatic on and off schedules throughout your home, ask Siri to turn on the light, or set a timer to gradually increase light intensity to ease you out of sleep. With controls right on your phone, you can come home from a vacation to a warmly lit home — or activate pulsing neon lights for a living room dance party.

Using automated lighting doesn't have to lighten your wallet. Remote phone access, sensors and timers can all help to reduce energy consumption. Many systems include LED bulbs for more efficient, longer-lasting lighting.

Some lighting systems also use switches and sensors to work with other systems, such as Nest thermostats. For example, when your Nest thermostat switches into "away mode," your lights can occasionally turn on and off while you're away in order to deter burglars.

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Video Monitoring and Security:
Keep an Eye on What Matters Most

Surveillance can be about the serious business of keeping a watchful eye on your home and possessions, but it doesn't have to be scary. Connected monitors can also offer a simple solution for checking on pets or loved ones from your phone or laptop.

Wi-Fi Security Cameras

Before you start shopping for cameras and security systems, consider your space and needs. If you're looking for a basic monitor for kids or pets, you can find a stand-alone camera that features wireless connectivity and remote access. Built-in microphones and sensors send you photo notices when movement is detected, and your footage is conveniently stored in the cloud.

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Video Baby Monitors

Using a video baby monitor can be beneficial for parents and babies. With traditional audio monitors, parents are more likely to go into babies' rooms any time they make noise because they're unable to see what's really happening. Since video baby monitors allow parents to see and hear their babies, it's easier to tell whether they need immediate attention or not. If parents see that there's potential for babies to self-soothe and fall back asleep on their own, then everyone's able to get a little more sleep.

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All-in-One Security Systems

If you're interested in home security that goes beyond the standard surveillance camera, an all-in-one security system might be right for you. Systems like Canary enable you to stream real-time video of your home on your phone and receive alerts when activity is detected, plus it's equipped with a siren that you can turn on remotely to deter intruders in the event of a break-in.

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Advanced Video Security Systems

To equip large homes or those with a lot of valuable assets, a hardwired system including cameras that provide higher quality images, greater ranges and wider viewing angles may be most suitable. Larger hard drives allow you to store more high-quality footage from multiple cameras and angles. Durable designs allow for indoor and outdoor use — day or night, rain or shine.

Most cameras have built-in night vision and a compatible app that lets you stream live video or play back recorded footage remotely from your smartphone or tablet. Make sure that the included software is compatible with your operating systems. If you're not sure, stop into a store and let our Blue Shirts help you find the best system and accessories for your home.

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Smart Thermostats:
Comfort When at Home,
Savings When Away

If your thermostat maintains a comfortable temperature in your home, even when nobody's there to appreciate it, does it needlessly bloat your utility bills? Unfortunately, yes; most people have felt the dread of opening a pricey bill as the result of maintaining optimal temperatures in an empty home. Even with timers, any time you arrive home earlier than you'd expected, you're in for an uncomfortably hot or cold welcome.

Smart thermostats solve these issues with easy access from your smartphone and more intuitive programming. Sensors and algorithms keep track of your schedule so that comfortable temperatures are maintained when you're home — and energy consumption is reduced when you're not. Real-time reports and scheduled stat updates allow you to view your usage history. This means more comfort and less waste. You'll never have to feel guilty about leaving the air running again. And just like with smart lighting, your energy providers may provide credits or rebates for upgrading to a smart thermostat.

The benefits don't all involve number-crunching. Clunky controls and yellowed casings have now been replaced by sleek lines and customizable displays. Keep an eye out for additional features including access from your phone or computer, easy installation, voice control and monthly reports tracking your usage.

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Smart Access and Locks:
Easier Access, Complete Control

In an age where we can start our cars remotely from indoors, fiddling with keys at the front door while juggling groceries certainly seems inconvenient, if not downright silly. Luckily, smart lock systems, garage door controllers and doorbells simplify what can be made simple. Swipe your phone to lock and unlock your door, grant access to your home without being present, or ensure your garage door is closed even when you're away from home. Smart doorbells can send alerts to your phone when someone rings it or when its camera detects motion. More-involved installations allow for convenient remote access: you could give guests permission to enter your home with their phones, then receive an alert when they've arrived. Spend less time double-checking and wondering, and enjoy more time having peace of mind.

Shop: Smart door locks | Garage door openers

Other Smart Home Devices
and Accessories
Home alarms and sensors

There is a wide variety of smart home devices that go far beyond video surveillance and lighting. Smart alarms like Nest Protect provide you with smartphone alerts if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected in your home while you're away, and smart sensors like iSmartAlarm send you notifications if a door or window is opened before you get home.

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Appliance and outlet control

Some smart home devices allow you to control your appliances and outlets remotely. Belkin's WeMo family of products like the WeMo Switch and WeMo Light Switch allow you to control your electronics and appliances from anywhere using the WeMo app on your smartphone or tablet. A WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot lets you get dinner started from wherever you are, while a WeMo-enabled coffee maker lets you schedule daily brews for up to one week. Start warming up a room before you get home with a WeMo-enabled heater.

Shop: Appliance and outlet control | Smart kitchen

Smart sprinkler control systems

Smart sprinkler systems let you control, manage and change your sprinkler schedules from your smartphone and use real-time weather data for your location to adjust watering accordingly. For example, if there's rain in the forecast, the system will give you an option to skip a watering cycle which can save water and money. Plus, you can integrate controls with other connected products like Nest to create ideal watering schedules. The Rachio smart sprinkler controller has earned the EPA's WaterSense certification which means it's at least 20 percent more efficient than normal sprinkler controllers. Check with your local water municipality for water utility rebate options.

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Wireless multiroom audio

Wireless audio devices like Sonos offer a system of Hi-Fi speakers for every room and occasion. All you need to get started is a speaker and a wireless router to connect to your network. A downloadable app unites your digital audio library, so you can stream music in each room, or separately if someone wants to listen to one song in the living room while you sing along to another in the kitchen.

See the Wireless Multiroom Audio Buying Guide ›

Networking and Internet

Your connectivity is only as good as the hardware that brings the Internet into your home. If your family is connecting and streaming from phones, tablets, gaming consoles and more, it makes sense to ensure your networking devices are up to date and capable of providing the speed you need.

Routers allot your Internet connection to all your devices, either wirelessly or through Ethernet ports. The latest routers allow for greater range, speed and security than their predecessors of even a few years ago. Wi-Fi dependent devices rely on a strong router, so if you're connecting home automation systems or streaming media devices, look for routers with at least a 802.11ac standard with WPA2 encryption. Watch for other optional features including USB and printer support, guest network access and firewalls.

See the Networking Buying Guide ›

Whether you've always dreamed of automating your entire home, or your family simply loves streaming movies, your Internet connection is what delivers your streams and commands. When you're looking to get connected, Best Buy is your one-stop shop for the technology, provider and plan that's best for you, with unbiased advice and competitive, transparent rates.

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Making It All Work Together

Integrated ecosystems allow the different devices and elements of your home to interact. For certain systems, a hub is required to centralize and coordinate tasks. This streamlining of commands is called a scene. For example, you could program a scene where each time your child comes home from school, the Wi-Fi camera snaps a photo. The image is texted to your phone, keeping track of who's coming and going from your home and showing you that your child has returned safely. Or you could create a multifunction scene where you could set your home to "away mode" with the touch of a button: when leaving, your thermostat turns down, lights turn off, doors lock and the garage door closes.

Most home automation products have an app that's compatible with most smartphones, tablets or computers, to allow you to control things at home. The free Nest app gives you full access to all of your Nest products anywhere you have an Internet connection. Change the temperature of your home or view your energy usage on your Nest Thermostat. Plus, get smoke and carbon monoxide alerts from your Nest Protect, watch Nest Cam video footage, and much more — all from one app.

More complex home automation tasks are enabled with software-based ecosystems like IFTTT, which is a web-based social media and app service that lets you connect different apps, websites and devices to perform custom tasks. With the IFTTT app you can create recipes that offer simple reminders, send notifications of changes in the home such as a temperature drop, or simply log the time you spend at home and work, so you can set up energy-saving schedules.

Shop Online or In Store

Find a wide variety of smart home devices and security systems on BestBuy.com. Your local Best Buy store has a large selection to try out and compare. Plus, our Blue Shirts are on hand to answer your questions and provide expert advice.

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