Start Automating Your Home With These Small Steps

Manage your home with the ease of your smartphone.

About 46% of Americans use a Wi-Fi enabled digital voice assistant, primarily using their smart phones. You can control smart devices that connect with your home’s Wi-Fi through corresponding apps on your phone or tablet, with a connecting hub that syncs with Wi-Fi, or by voice commands if they’re compatible with your device.

Start small

A smart plug can control all your appliances and make it easier to manage your household electronics anywhere in the world with a tap of your smartphone. It's one of the easiest ways to start connecting your home. A smart plug is a Wi-Fi enabled device that fits in your existing outlet, looks like a simple 3-pronged plug, and connects directly with your home’s Wi-Fi or with a hub.Many manufacturers sell a variety of models in the $25-$50 range. Our TP Link Wi Fi Plug with Energy Monitoring is a simple, green way to wade into environmentally friendly home automation.


Here's how to set up a smart plug: 

  • Secure the unit directly into a 3-pronged indoor plug. 
  • Download the manufacturer’s app. 
  • Plug in any standard home appliance: a lamp, a coffeemaker, a printer, etc.  
  • Control the app from your smart device. 
  • Optionally, open your digital assistant app, choose “Skills”, and add your new smart plug. 
  • Use voice commands to operate your smart plug, such as “Alexa, turn on the fan.”

Smart Plug Compatibility

Amazon Alexa Google Home Apple HomeKit Smart Hub
TP Link

Beam me up 

Once you’re comfortable with a smart plug, move on to a smart bulb to improve energy efficiency and security. Start simply with a single Smart LED bulb or fixture that connects directly to your home’s WiFi. The 

Sengled Smart Sense Indoor LED bulb screws into any standard socket and has infrared motion detectors built in, so it switches on if you walk into a darkened room and switches off 90 seconds after no motion is detected.  

Add outdoor security with motion sensors and an HD camera by replacing your existing floodlight with an outdoor LED like the Sengled Snap. Mid-range models include the Philips Hue Go personal, portable wireless lighting system, or the LIFX vibrant color changing smart bulb 2-pack that can be voice controlled. 
If you’re ready to change up multiple lights in your home, consider investing in a starter kit that includes a hub and connects up to 50 bulbs. The Sengled Element Classic Starter Kit comes with a hub and two dimmable white LED bulbs. As a bonus, add up to 48 more Element bulbs, and for every one you buy, Sengled plants a tree to offset carbon emissions.  
Another option is the Philips White and Color Ambiance LED Starter Kit. It comes with a hub and three dimmable bulbs that can display up to 16 million colors selected from the Hue app. Add as many white Hue LED bulbs  as you need or take advantage of the ambient possibilities with additional color bulbs.  

Smart Lighting Compatibility

Amazon Alexa Google Home Apple HomeKit Smart Hub

Work with what you've got

If you already own a smart thermostat, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, you know it’s designed to learn when you’re away – and can turn off smart bulbs and devices accordingly. After you screw in your smart bulbs, download the corresponding app and instruct it to connect to Nest. Once your smart devices connect, they’ll automatically notice each other, and help you all on their own. If you have a thermostat with built-in Alexa, like the ecobee 4, you can add skills for your lights, music, and streaming media, and control them all with the sound of your voice or the touch of your phone.


Have confidence

Our research shows that more than 60% of Smart Neighbor readers find us by using their phones. Sounds like you’re already pretty tech savvy. Go a step further by browsing our home automation collection to see the bulbs, plugs, and power strips that can fit perfectly into your smart home.

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