Woman using tablet in her smart home kitchen.

The Best Smart Home Devices For 2022: Are They Worth The Investment?

Holly Shuffett11 minute read
May 10, 2022

People have long been dreaming of futuristic home devices to help streamline our daily routines — from the Jetsons’ robot vacuum to Tony Stark’s JARVIS-powered Malibu mansion. But as technology continues to develop and innovate, it’s clear that home automation isn’t just fiction anymore. With smart home devices, convenient entertainment and peace of mind are just an app or voice command away. 

According to International Data Corp. (IDC) — a global market intelligence group with a specialization in technology — the worldwide market for smart home devices grew 11.7% in 2021, with anticipated continuous growth over the next 5 years. The IDC coined smart home devices “mainstream” within the U.S., popularized by a sophisticated and connected homeowner experience. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your home but don’t know where to start, consider this your basic guide to all things home tech. Get ready to explore the availability and cost of different smart home devices and how a high-tech home can boost your lifestyle — and maybe even your wallet. 

What Is A Smart Home Device And How Does It Work?

Although we’re still in the early days of smart home technology, we have a pretty good idea of what it looks like. A smart home device is an electronic gadget that connects to a specific home system — and other smart devices like the homeowner’s smartphone — through various wireless network systems (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 5G). 

Homeowners with multiple smart home devices usually sync them with a central smart hub, like Amazon’s Alexa assistant or the Google Home Hub. Having a central smart hub keeps all of your devices in one convenient place and lets you control connected systems with your smartphone or even by voice command. 

Nearly any home-based system can be automated: lighting, security and surveillance systems, television — even some appliances. Smart home systems can be programmed to turn on and off, while some can even adjust their settings according to a schedule, like automatic sprinkler systems, thermostats, and home alarms. 

The Cost Of Smart Home Automation 

As of January 2022, HomeAdvisor found that home automation costs $791 on average — though installations can cost anywhere from $174 – $3,000. This disparity in cost may seem staggering because the price of home automation can vary greatly. Things like the size of your home, how many rooms you have, how many devices you want and the type of installations you have in mind all play a role in the final price tag of smart home devices. 

There’s a big cost difference, for example, between replacing some old light bulbs with smartphone compatible LEDs in the home office, and rigging your entire home with interactive thermostats, cameras, and entertainment systems.

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Type

Approximate Cost

Install labor 

$85 per hour

Smart home devices

$100 – $3,000 per unit

Subscription based devices

$500 – $1,500 per year

Custom systems and installs

$2,000 – $150,000

Home entertainment systems

$350 – $2,000

Home security systems

$450 – $10,000 

Source: HomeAdvisor 2022; Prices vary by brand, location and installation.

While some of these prices may seem fairly lofty, it’s important to remember that home automation might be able to save you money down the road. Not only can having smart home systems increase your home’s marketability to potential buyers (and maybe even up your home’s value), but many smart home devices can also boost your home’s energy efficiency.

Nest, the Google Assistant smart thermostat, was the subject of two independent studies to see how much energy is saved in a home when the product is in use. The results found that the automated thermostat could pay for itself in as little as two years. Homeowners “... saved about 15% on cooling and 10% – 12% on heating.” Similarly, the Department of Energy has also found that smart home technology can save homeowners an estimated 10% on annual heating and cooling costs.

If the investment of automating your home still seems intimidating, there may be a way for you to upgrade your home without breaking the bank. A cash-out refinance allows qualified homeowners to cash in on the equity they’ve accumulated on their home. This means that you could take the money from your refinance and put it back into your home. While homeowners typically use cash-out refinancing for more conventional home improvements, you can use the funds in whatever way that you see best fit for your home — including home automation upgrades. 

How Do Smart Home Devices Affect Home Sales?

If home automation is such a smart investment (pun intended), it must affect home sales, right? With the popularization of smart home devices being so new, it’s hard to pin down an exact figure for how much value they can add to your home — though the National Association of REALTORS® estimates that a smart home may fetch 5% more than non-automated alternatives. 

 

According to Master Appraisal Services, an Arizona-based appraisal company, this boost in value is likely due to appraisers, who will make “‘adjustments” when they compare tech-enabled homes with similar but tech-deficient houses.” This yields higher prices for smart homes, which could make them a more enticing option for home buyers. Regardless, it’s increasingly clear that smart technology can increase the value of a home

And since smart home automation systems present clear benefits in terms of convenience, security and energy-efficiency, sellers may be able to raise their asking prices and may have more leverage during negotiations. 

What Are Some Smart Devices For Homes In 2022?

As people continue to find new ways to make our lives easier, the types of smart home products you can get your hands on continues to grow. Here are just some of the most popular smart home devices on the market right now: 

  • Smart home security: Smart home security systems can include cameras to keep an eye on your home’s entrance points or sensors which can alert you to break-ins whether you’re home or away. Some systems also come with alarms and can even automatically alert local police of a break-in. 
  • Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat allows homeowners to control their home’s climate with the tap of a button — an especially useful feature when you’re out and can’t physically access your thermostat. Smart thermostats can also be scheduled to accommodate your lifestyle. Why have the heat or AC on if you’re not even home?
  • Smart smoke detector: Smoke detectors are essential for a safe home, but smart smoke detectors take this safety to a new level. Not only can smart smoke detectors send an alert to your phone when you’re out, but some can even alert the local fire department, potentially saving you precious time. 
  • Smart lock: Shirk the worry of forgetting your keys with a smart lock. From keypad options that only unlock with a unique code to futuristic thumb scanners, smart locks are sure to grant you peace of mind.
  • Smart doorbell: Whether you want to know when a package arrives, deter potential intruders, or simply know who’s at your door even if you’re not home, smart doorbells have you covered. 
  • Smart plug: Gone are the days worrying if you left a curling iron plugged in. With smart plugs, you have complete control over your appliances and devices, even remotely. And with the ability to turn a socket off at the touch of a button, you may even be able to reduce your electricity bills. 
  • Smart lighting: Whether you want a natural wake-up call or the ability to turn a light off from the comfort of the couch, smart lighting is sure to brighten your day with the convenience it has to offer. 
  • Smart speaker: These voice-activated virtual assistants can do more than play music. From telling you the latest weather forecast to communicating with other smart home devices, smart speakers are a staple of smart home technology. 
  • Smart display: Take smart speakers to the next level and you have a smart display. Smart displays are also virtual assistants which can relay information to the homeowner and serve as a hub for other devices, but their screen also allows this nifty gadget to display photos, lists, step-by-step recipes or reminders. Some smart displays also have a built-in camera to allow for hands-free video calls. 

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The Top Smart Home Devices You Should Buy For Your Home

Though relatively new to the technological scene, there are already plenty of smart home device options on the market today. These are our top picks for the best smart home devices for your home to help get you started. 

Smart Home Security System: ADT, SimpliSafe, Vivint  

When it comes to smart home security systems, you have plenty of options. Our standouts are ADT Command, SimpliSafe, and Vivint Home Security. All offer comprehensive home security systems, complete with motion sensor, camera, and doorbell options - not to mention wide compatibility, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. 

Here are their price points: 

  • ADT Command: $599 upfront, $59.99/month
  • SimpliSafe: $159.99 – $219.99 upfront, $14.99 – $24.99/month 
  • Vivint: $50 – $400 per unit upfront, $39.99/month 

Smart Home Security Camera: Arlo Ultra

  • Price: $299.99
  • Installation: Easy and wireless

A favorite among tech reviewers, the Arlo Ultra home security camera is a great choice for securing your home’s exterior. This water-resistant camera captures high-resolution, 4K color video day and night. With intelligent motion detection and a wide array of integration options, this is a great asset for those who want to prioritize their home’s safety. 

Smart Thermostat: Google Nest Learning Thermostat 

  • Price: $199
  • Installation: Easy, 20 – 30 minutes

An overwhelming favorite in the smart home tech space, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat not only looks sleek and modern, but it also allows homeowners to control their home’s climate with ease. Its coolest feature? Nest will actually learn from your temperature preferences and anticipate your schedule for maximum comfort and energy efficiency.

Smart Lock: August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

  • Price: $187.99 – $279
  • Installation: Easy, 10 – 20 minutes

The stylish August Wi-Fi Automatic Lock offers various third-party integrations, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and more. This means you can lock or unlock your door through your smartphone and even grant temporary access to others with a simple text message. You’ll also get alerts if your door has been left ajar and the companion app keeps a log of users who have locked or unlocked the door. 

Smart Doorbell: Google Nest Doorbell

  • Price: $149.99-$179.99
  • Installation: Easy 

The wide view Google Nest Doorbell captures detailed video footage and will even save up to 3 hours of footage in the cloud. You can get notifications for everything from package deliveries to guest, animal, or vehicle identification. This high-tech doorbell also allows for two-way communication. The downside? It’s not compatible with Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri integration. 

Smart Plug: Eve Energy

  • Price: $39.95-$68.03
  • Installation: Easy 

While Eve offers other smart home devices, it’s the Eve Energy Smart Plug which takes the cake. With Apple HomeKit integration and energy monitoring features to help you save money, this smart plug can give you control over appliances or devices with a simple voice command. Though it’s not Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant compatible, these smart plugs use Thread smart home support, not Wi-Fi, which improves connection stability. 

Smart Lighting: Philips Hue Light Bulbs

  • Price: $134.99/3pk
  • Installation: Easy

How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? When you're switching to the Philips Hue smart light bulb, who cares? The benefits certainly outweigh the minimal install time. Best known for their wide range of coloring and brightness options (up to 16 million color combos!), these LED light bulbs can transform a room in seconds. And with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Microsoft Cortana compatibility, Philips Hue bulbs are a fun and convenient addition to any home. 

Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo Dot 

  • Price: $24.99-$39.99 
  • Installation: Easy, 5-10 minutes

The Amazon Echo was a trailblazer in smart home tech, even achieving Internet meme status with “Alexa, play…” jokes across different social medias. Best known for voice control capabilities, its competitive affordability, and spherical design, the Echo Dot is a clear favorite among homeowners. 

Smart Display: Amazon Echo Show

  • Price: $49.99-$249.99
  • Installation: Easy, 15 – 20 minutes

If you want a few more features than offered by a smart speaker, the Amazon Echo Show smart display could be a handy addition to your home. While still supplying crisp, high-quality sound and voice activation capabilities, the Echo Show display can help you keep track of all your devices while also providing more visual features, like video access and temperature or photo display options. 

The Pros And Cons Of A Fully Integrated Smart Home

To help you decide if you should upgrade your home to a smart home, let’s discuss the ways smart home devices can make your life easier — and some of the risks you may want to consider before taking the plunge. 

Pros 

  • Energy-efficiency and savings: From adjustable smart thermostats to plugs which can be deactivated at the touch of a button, the control that smart home devices give homeowners add up over time and can put some money back in your wallet. 
  • Convenience: Gone are the days of running back upstairs to flip off a light switch or rustling through your pockets for the house keys — automated home systems can eliminate some traditional homeowning headaches. 
  • Security: Being prepared for an emergency isn’t something we want to think about — but preparation is key to safety. Smart sensors, cameras, and locks can work in unison to ensure that your home is secure and give you the heads up if something is amiss. 
  • Potential resale value: There are signs pointing to smart homes selling faster and for more than a traditional home. 

Cons

  • Cost: One of the most off-putting factors to homeowners considering smart home devices is the cost. With some products well into the hundreds, not to mention monthly or annual service fees, having and maintaining a smart home will cost you. 
  • System compatibility: Although smart home devices are meant to make our lives easier, we recommend doing thorough research before adding different devices to your shopping cart. If some of your devices aren’t compatible with one another or your home’s network, you may not get as streamlined an experience as you were hoping for. 
  • Installation: When it comes to actually installing your smart home devices or systems, some brands or products will also come with a lofty installation fee — especially if you need to hire professional help. 
  • Security: Perhaps the most notable concern among tech-savvy homeowners are issues of privacy and home security. Some smart home device companies may store personal data and a high-tech home could be vulnerable to hackers. 

Are Smart Home Systems Worth It?

Whether integration of smart home devices in your home is worth the investment depends on your situation. In many cases, the cost of the device and its installation can be pricey upfront but may pay off over time. In other cases, the convenience and safety that automated systems can provide make them well worth the initial investment.

Why We Like These Smart Home Devices

To find the best smart home devices on the market we sourced from top technology media groups. Devices that overlapped across different platforms were dubbed our “Top Picks.” 

Here is a graph detailing each platform we drew from and the patterns we found: 

 

PCMag

TechRadar

HP

IGN

GQ

Security.org

Home Security

ADT Command

N/A

N/A

SimpliSafe Home Security

N/A

Vivint

Home Security Camera

Arlo Pro 4

Arlo Pro 4

N/A

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra

Wyze Cam

Thermostat

Ecobee Smart Thermostat 

Google Nest

Google Nest

Google Nest

Google Nest

N/A

Lock

August Smart Lock

August Smart Lock

N/A

August Smart Lock

August Smart Lock

N/A

Doorbell

Ezviz Video Doorbell

Eufy Video Doorbell

Google Nest Doorbell

Google Nest Doorbell

Arlo Essential Doorbell

N/A

Plug

ConnectSense Smart Outlet

Eve Energy

N/A

TP-Link Kasa 

Eve Energy

Amazon Smart Plug

Lighting

Wyze Bulb Color

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

Speaker

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

N/A

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

Apple HomePod

Display

Amazon Echo Show10, Google Nest Hub Max

Google Nest Hub Max

N/A

Amazon Echo Show8, Google Nest Hub

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

The Bottom Line

Smart home technology can save you time, money, and many of the stresses that come with homeownership. If you think upgrading to a smart home system is something you’re interested in, consider a cash-out refinance. With some of the lowest interest rates available, refinancing allows you to leverage money you’ve already put into your home and put it toward upgrades which can improve your overall enjoyment in your home. Make the most of your home and get a cash-out refinance today. 

Need extra cash for home improvement?

Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

NMLS #3030

Holly Shuffett

Holly Shuffett is a staff writer who writes with a focus on homeownership and personal finance. She has a B.A. in public relations from Oakland University and enjoys creative writing and reading in her free time.