Are you looking to design and build a smart home, complete with connected devices in every room? Do you know whether to go HomeKit, Brillo or SmartThings? Do you even know what that means?

Getting started when setting up a smart home can be a daunting experience. There are just so many variables – and we’re not just talking about the plethora of choices when it comes to selecting the connected smart scales for your bathroom.

But don’t worry – we’ve got your back. We’ve got a wealth of smart home guides, features and reviews on hand…

Setting up the ultimate smart home

The smart home of the future may be a way off, but the systems powering the internet of things revolution are getting ever more sophisticated. All of the major players – Apple, Google, Samsung and so on – are competing for space in the ever evolving new marketplace.

There’s already a load of HomeKit connected devices (Apple’s platform) and Google’s Brillo’s platform – essentially Android for your house – was unveiled at I/O back in June 2015.

As with every other tech genre, the devices on sale are upgraded rapidly and there’s always a new, killer, bit of kit around the corner. Make sure you read our guide to the most exciting new smart home kit coming in 2016 to find out what’s coming next.

Smart home kit can also save you plenty of cash. The most compelling connected kit is that which justifies its existence by paying for itself and then cutting your costs in half.

Controlling your smart home

What use is your connected smart home if you still have to get up off the sofa to get it working?

Instead, grab yourself a smartwatch and get full control of your life with a quick tap of your wrist. Whether it’s your heating, your media or your home security that you’re looking to fine tune – there will be an app for that.

IFTTT connected devices are also brilliant and there are a tonne of great IFTTT recipes already set up for syncing up your wearables with your smart kit. Alternatively, we’re also seeing the rise of the really universal remote.

The best smart lighting solutions

Wi-Fi enabled bulbs are the easiest place to start if you’re looking to overhaul your home.

They’re easy to use, fun to show off and they double as a superb security measure while you’re away from home. What’s more, some can now even be controlled by wearables such as the Apple Watch and Pebble, and with low power LED tech, they’ll save you money over a bad old incandescent bulb.

Smart thermostats to install

Smart thermostats are designed to give you more control over your home heating. They will learn your habits for when you’ll really need that burst of warmth and heating your home intelligently means big cash savings.

Nest may the the darling of the smart home, but Hive – a British Gas funded upstart straight out of the UK – has big ambitions. Check out our Nest v Hive head-to-head and also see how Nest compares against Honeywell.

Connected kitchen tech

If your fridge isn’t connected to the web, then you’re living in the dark ages. If your cutlery isn’t Bluetooth enabled you may as well be eating your dinner with twigs.

From connected coffee pots to washing machines that know when to start a load based on you location, the kitchen has never been so cool.

Smart home security

The big question with smart security systems is Nest Cam v Piper NV v Canary. They are the big players in a genre that is exploding in popularity.

As well as a smart camera security system, you should also consider connecting your door locks.

Smart locks aren’t perfect: there is that rather large question mark about what happens when they crash and they are expensive. But they are ever-evolving and offer a wealth of features that your regular deadbolt simply cannot.

Connecting the garden

You don’t necessarily need to a back yard to enjoy a smart garden. The connected world has caught up with horticulture.

There are handfuls of sensors at the ready which are adept at picking up those key variables like light, temperature, moisture and soil pH conditions, and there’s some great kit for indoor and outdoors.

Tommy Alvarado
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