3 essential smart home products for beginners

If you're looking to turn your house into a smart home, these are the best three places to start

Amazon Echo Studio (2022) review: woman listening to music on a home speaker in a living room
(Image credit: Amazon)

One of the best ways to improve your quality of living is by turning your house into a smart home. By adding a few simple devices, you can make everyday tasks much easier, and begin to automate processes in your home.

But where do you start? With so many different products on the market, it can be tough to know what you need. Fortunately, it's easy to start small. Today, I'm collating a handful of the best options for kicking off your smart home.

One quick note before we start though. When you're looking at smart home products, you'll likely come across something called Matter. That's a new universal communication standard for smart home devices – think of it like how early phones all used SMS, regardless of brand. If something is Matter compatible, you'll be good to use it with whatever system you run your home on.

With that out of the way, let's dive into some products.

1. Smart Speaker

If there's one smart home device you probably already own, it's a smart speaker. Classic models like the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest Mini have become mainstays in most modern homes, proving digital assistance and audio playback.

If you do already have one – great! You can jump ahead to point two. If not, it's well worth investing in one. They're relatively inexpensive, and can be really useful. For example, mine is used as an alarm clock, and can also give updates on the weather for the day.

And, if nothing else, it's a simple solution for adding music to the room.

2. Video Doorbell

If the smart speaker is the device you're most likely to already own, a video doorbell is a close second. These have surged in popularity in recent years, as the double whammy of security and anytime access have proved popular.

Users can be notified on their phone when someone is at the door. That means you can respond even if you're in another room, or out and about. Plus, if you're somewhere where you might not have traditionally heard the bell, you'll still get notified.

Again, there are a number of options here. The Ring Video Doorbell and Nest Doorbell are both great choices. There are also options for wired and wireless options across the industry – the latter is perfect for those who are less DIY inclined!

3. Smart Plugs

The process of building a smart home can feel daunting. For some, that could be because of the amount of 'dumb' devices in the home. Fortunately, there's a solution.

Smart plugs allow you to turn just about anything into a smart product. Simply plug the device into the smart plug, and that into the socket, for controllable automation over just about anything.

You could automate the kettle to turn on when you get home, so it's ready for a cuppa when you get to the kitchen. Or, use it to turn on or off lamps that don't have smart functionality. The options really are endless.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.