Tis the season for Christmas lights, trees, cookies and online shopping! These past few years we have seen an increase in deals on smart home products around the holiday season. If the cheaper price tag has you wanting to purchase smart products for yourself or as gifts, it’s best to do a little research before hitting “add to cart.” So, as black Friday and cyber Monday quickly approach, we wanted to share a few tips if you plan to purchase smart home products this Christmas.
Have a plan
It is easy to end up with a very random group of smart home products if you don’t plan ahead. As you are looking online or browsing in a store, you might be attracted by the features a product offers but you will want to consider the bigger picture. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a different brand thermostat, camera, doorbell and light bulbs. While it is fine to combine various brands, sometimes you need a hub for each item. This could end up being more expensive and also confusing as you end up adding a lot more to your router. Also, each brand usually has its own app so if you don’t find brands that are compatible you may end up going into one app to check your camera and another for your doorbell instead of having a central hub. Also, if you want your lights to work in tandem with your security system (or you want any other products to work together) you want to make sure they are compatible products and/or brands.
Consider the setup
A lot of smart home products market themselves as being easy to install and set up. And that very well could be the case. But if you are getting a thermostat, you still have to make sure it will work with your existing furnace and wiring. If you are getting a doorbell, you still need to have doorbell wires. If you are installing a smart switch, there will still be needed wiring. Not to mention the WiFi requirements for 99% of all smart home products. Even though smart home products are generally made to retrofit into existing homes, it is a good idea to read and understand the technical requirements.
Double check the model
Read the fine print! Just because it says smart camera, thermostat or light bulb doesn’t mean it’s the one you want. Verify that it’s the right brand but also the right model. For example, maybe the latest version is the 3 but the one on sale is the 2. That’s okay as long as you know what you’re getting. It follows the same principle if you see a big screen TV being advertised for $200.00 on black Friday. You want to make sure it’s a reliable brand, know if it is a smart TV, what features it offers, if it’s high definition, etc… All big screen TV’s aren’t created equal and neither are all smart home products so be sure you read the fine print before purchasing.
Watch out for things that seem too good to be true
We had an instance where a client sent us smart home product pricing that was substantially cheaper than both suggested retail price and what we could offer. When we looked into it further, we found that these products were being sold on an unverified website with several spam warnings. There were also reposts that they were reselling used merchandise as new. If you can find a cheaper price, that’s awesome but if something seems too good to be true it probably is. And if you are purchasing products online, we recommend using a website you know to be reliable.
All warranties aren’t created equal
Look into what kind of warranty comes with the product because there can be a lot of variation in what type of warranty you get (if you get any). So check into what is covered under warranty and what is an additional cost.
If you have any questions on smart home products or their setup, we would be happy to help! Whether you are looking to purchase a single product or are interested in a whole-home setup, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.