woman using smartphone to control electrical appliances

How can I set up a smart home on a budget?

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

More people are getting on board with the smart home revolution. The convenience of smart appliances can be very appealing. Here's how you set yours up affordably.


What is a smart home? 

A smart home where one or more appliances are monitored and controlled remotely, usually via your home network, but sometimes via Bluetooth.  

A lot of homes already have a smart element to them in the form of voice-activated devices, such as Google Nest or Amazon Echo. But there’s more. With smart technology, you could control your heating or see who’s at your door when you're not home 

 While some smart appliances can be expensive, we’ve scoured the net to find the best budget options. 

Voice-activated devices 

They’re not necessary in all cases, but if you’re going to embrace smart technology then you could get a voice-controlled device. As well as asking them to set reminders, or play your favourite music, you can use them to control other smart appliances such as thermostats and lighting. There are various voice-controlled devices but it’s best to get one of the more popular ones as they work with a larger range of smart appliances: 

  1. Google Nest devices start at £49.99 
  2. Amazon Echo devices start at £34.99. 

Smart plugs 

If you’re new to smart technology then smart plugs are a good place to start. Using a smart plug you can remotely control when lamps turn on or start the coffee machine brewing in the morning before you get out of bed. They can be controlled via an app on your smartphone or tablet, and some are compatible with voice-activated devices. 

This TP-Link Smart Plug is £12.99 from Argos. 

Smart lighting 

Take automated lighting one step further by connecting all your lights to a smart system. You can use automated lighting for security purposes or just to change the ambience when you feel like it. Although they cost more up-front, long term use of smart bulbs could reduce your energy bill slightly. Some smart light bulbs feature motion detectors so they’ll turn on when someone enters a room.  

You could also use the app If This Then That to link your smart lights and doorbell together.  

starter pack from Philips including two bulbs and their Hue smart system is £69.99, but IKEA’s Gateway Kit is £50. 

Smart doorbells 

One of the widespread uses of smart technology is doorbells. Often they have cameras incorporated so you can see and speak to whoever’s at your door. The cameras even work at night, and some like the Google Nest doorbell let you record customised greetings for when you’re unable to speak. They’re easy to install and most of them work with all voice-controlled devices. 

The Google Nest doorbell will set you back £229 at Argos, while the Ring doorbell starts at £89.99. 

Smart Security Cameras 

If you want to monitor your home but don’t want a smart doorbell, then an indoor smart camera is a good alternative. Connect to the camera with your smartphone or tablet and keep an eye on your house while you’re out. Check up on pets and be reassured that your home is secure. If the camera detects motion it will start recording and alert you while it tracks the motion. 

Currys sell a smart indoor security camera for £39.99 (currently on offer).  

Read on to find out how to save money on your mobile bill. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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woman using smartphone to control electrical appliances woman using smartphone to control electrical appliances