Technology has changed the way we live and go about our everyday duties. And that’s particularly obvious in our homes. Over the past decade, smart home technology has become more common and can now be spotted just about anywhere.
These smart home devices can be appealing and make life a little easier. But there are also some drawbacks to having your home entangled in so much technology. Here’s what you should consider before investing in smart home devices.
There’s no denying it, smart home devices are super handy. From smart home coffee devices that know when to make you a fresh cup to smart fridges that help you build a shopping list, these gadgets are useful, helping you save time as you go about your daily routine.
Of course, whenever you’re getting convenience, you’re likely to pay for it. Smart home gadgets are often more expensive than their traditional counterparts. You can always wait to find them on sale or opt for a less pricey brand, but if there’s not much wiggle room in your budget, you may want to skip these purchases — especially if you plan on moving to a new home in the future and leaving these appliances behind.
While you may have to front a large amount to invest in smart home devices, they do tout energy-saving features, which can translate to savings on electricity bills over time. Many smart devices use less energy than their non-smart competitors, which can make them a better choice for eco-conscious shoppers — or anyone looking to save a few dollars on their utility bills.
If you’ve been investing in smart home tech for a while, you likely have items made by several different brands. And not all devices communicate well with one another. For example, some of your smart devices might sync to Amazon’s Alexa, while others work better with Google’s smart home assistant.
This could also cause a problem if you want certain devices to work together, such as smart light bulbs and outlets, but have two different brands that won’t sync together. Of course you can solve this by buying the same brands, but if you already have a hodgepodge collection, it may seem wasteful to repurchase gadgets.
One major perk smart home devices offer is that they’re often kid-friendly. This can be extremely helpful if you want your kids to turn off their lights or use their voices to activate devices. For example, instead of an intercom you forget to turn on, calling up to your child’s room through Google Home is an easy way to communicate when you’re in different parts of the house. It can also teach your kids responsibility by ensuring they turn off electronics before leaving a room.
Technology can be a great tool to help make our lives easier, especially in our homes. But if you have a smart home gadget for just about everything — vacuuming, storing your food, monitoring your house, etc., you might find it’s actually more difficult than simply locking your front door yourself or pressing the “on” button on your coffee maker.
Let’s be honest — technology isn’t foolproof, and if things go wrong, it can be a hassle trying to deal with gadgets that aren’t cooperating. And if you have complicated smart routines set up, you may find it’s even more difficult to do simple tasks.
Smart home protection and monitoring devices, like camera doorbells, alarms, and Wi-Fi cameras, can help you feel more secure, even when you’re away from home. You can monitor your kids if they’re home while you run out to the store, keep an eye on pets when you’re out for the night, and make sure any packages that you get delivered stay on your porch. It can also alert you to unusual activity and allow you to record video and alert the police if someone tries to break into your home.
For this reason, it’s also a great idea to consider if a home comes equipped with smart devices when choosing a property.
Of course, since most smart home devices run on Wi-Fi, they’re also susceptible to vulnerabilities if a hacker is able to gain access to your wireless network. This could give a stranger access to your cameras, smart devices, and other valuable information stored on your home Wi-Fi network. It’s important to use strong passwords, change them regularly, and make sure you have a solid firmware in place to protect your smart devices. But even then, it’s important to realize there are risks you can’t always prevent.
If you’re not in your forever home and plan to move one day, one benefit of smart devices is that they can improve the value of your home. Smart devices like in-home alarm systems, surveillance cameras, and other smart appliances can help increase the amount of money your home is worth, helping you get a better payout if you decide to sell in the future.
When you’re ready to sell your home, be sure to talk to your real estate agent to find out if your smart devices can boost your home’s selling price. The value of your smart devices may even offset your real estate agent’s commission, saving you money overall.
Although technology is meant to streamline tasks, setting it up can be frustrating. Even the smallest devices, such as a Wi-Fi doorbell, may require multiple steps or attempts before it’s functioning as planned.
And if you invest in more complicated technology — home alarm systems, smart washers, dyers, fridges, or other appliances — you may find yourself frustrated with the setup or installation process. The good news is you can always hire help, if needed.
Smart devices can make managing your home easier for everyone in your family. They can also boost your security, save you time and money, and they’re super convenient. Plus, they may even help boost your home’s overall value, which could help offset fees when selling your home.
But smart home devices can also be overly complicated, hard to install, finicky, expensive, and prone to Wi-Fi attacks. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons when deciding if these home gadgets are right for your family.