People who transition to smart homes make this top mistake:
Not using a centralized system to control their devices.
Hence, they can’t command their entire smart home with just a single app.
But don’t worry.
You’ll avoid this problem if you choose 1 of the smart home systems below.
Continue reading to find out:
- What a smart home system is.
- 5 best smart home systems worldwide.
- The main reason you need a smart home system.
- Which system has the highest compatibility with smart devices.
- And this is just the beginning…
What is a smart home system?
Think of it as the brain that controls all your smart devices.
A smart home system is usually a mobile application that:
- Allows you to set up Automation.
- Lets you remotely control your devices.
- Connects your smart appliances together.
Now, using the same smart home system for all your smart devices isn’t necessary.
But doing so is highly recommended.
Well, every smart home system uses a unique app.
So, if you use several of them…
You’ll also need to install and utilize multiple applications for your smart home.
Which, trust me, can be quite confusing and annoying.
“Do all my appliances need to be smart to use a smart home system?”
No. You may use, however, many smart devices you want.
Because these platforms work even if you only have 1 smart appliance.
Why do you need a smart home system?
You need a smart home system so you can use your gadgets conveniently.
Because you can only unlock some advantages of having a smart home with this platform.
1 of those is the feature called Automation.
See, this function allows you to set up triggers that make your smart devices adjust all at once.
For example, every time the clock hits 6 AM…
You may set up your smart home to:
- Play your favorite radio.
- Turn ON your bedroom lights.
- Read out what’s on your to-do list.
Furthermore, whenever you leave the house…
You may also command your smart home to do all these actions simultaneously:
- Activate the security alarm.
- Automatically lock the doors.
- Ensure that all appliances are turned OFF.
See, Automation is a very convenient feature. Because it allows your smart home setup to automatically adjust to your liking.
But you can only enjoy this feature if you have a smart home system.
Because if your gadgets don’t use the same platform…
They won’t be able to work together efficiently.
5 best smart home systems
First, let’s clear 1 misunderstanding:
Samsung’s SmartThings wasn’t discontinued.
Only the hardware devices that worked exclusively for the platform were stopped.
And although the developers removed the Classic SmartThings app permanently…
So, SmartThings, as a smart home system, is still thriving.
SmartThings can be confusing to set up at first.
See, this system has the highest compatibility with smart devices.
So, the steps to connect the SmartThings app to your appliances will vary greatly…
Depending on the brands of your gadgets.
However, once you get over the hurdle of linking your devices to SmartThings…
Controlling your smart home will be a walk in the park. Because SmartThings’ new mobile app is highly intuitive.
Inside the application…
All your favorite devices and Automation appear as tiles on the home page.
So, you’ll easily find what you need most without tapping endless options on your screen.
Further reading: Samsung SmartThings: What It Is & How To Use It
Best feature: High compatibility
As mentioned earlier…
SmartThings has the highest compatibility level out of all smart home systems.
And it’s 1 of the best strengths of this platform.
See, if you choose to operate your smart home with SmartThings…
You may buy smart gadgets from hundreds of different brands.
And still make them work seamlessly together using a single app.
“But how do I know if a device will work with SmartThings?”
Easy. Just check your smart gadget’s packaging or user manual.
And find the phrase “Works with SmartThings” on it.
Because if you see this line, the device is compatible with the platform.
Note: You need an Aeotec Hub to connect devices that use Zigbee or Z-Wave protocols to SmartThings. Because these devices can’t communicate with the platform’s app through WiFi.
You might also want to know: 39 Best Smart Home Devices & Gadgets (Updated)
#2: Amazon Alexa
If you’re looking for the best hands-free experience…
Opting for Alexa’s smart home system is the way to go.
Because among all the voice assistants I’ve tried…
Alexa understands commands better.
And she also gives the most accurate responses.
As a bonus, you can also do dozens of cool things with Alexa.
And you won’t be able to do so with other AIs like Google Assistant.
Alexa is another easy-to-set-up smart home system.
Because you can connect smart devices with this AI just by using these 5 steps:
- Launch the Alexa application (iOS/Android).
- Tap the More icon.
- Choose Add Device.
- Select the type and brand of your smart device.
- Follow further instructions on the screen.
This process only takes minutes.
So, you can easily set up this smart home system even if you’re not so techy.
Now, I often hear this question from others:
“Should I get Alexa or Echo for my smart home?”
And if you’re wondering the same…
Let me give you a brief explanation.
Alexa is the name of the actual voice assistant.
In other words, she’s the AI you hear when you say voice commands.
While Echo is simply a smart speaker that lets you access Alexa.
Think of it as the physical body of your AI.
“Do I need an Echo to use Alexa for my smart home?”
No. Just like you can use SmartThings without its physical hub…
You may also use Alexa without an Echo device. Thanks to its mobile application.
Best feature: Alexa’s Skills
Remember when I said Alexa gives the most accurate responses?
Well, it’s all thanks to the AI’s built-in Skills.
You can think of them as Alexa’s version of apps.
But unlike the ones on your phone, you can only access them through voice commands.
Now, there are hundreds of Alexa skills you may use.
But here are some of my favorites:
Smart home control
This skill allows Alexa to control your smart devices with just your voice.
To activate it, just say simple commands like:
“Alexa, turn OFF my bedroom lamp.”
And your voice assistant will immediately do so.
Unsure of what to cook?
Alexa has your back.
Just give her a command like this:
“Alexa, ask Best Recipes what’s for dinner.”
And your AI will start showing you the recipes for the most popular dishes.
Fun fact: You can filter out recipes with ingredients you don’t have.
Here’s 1 of the disadvantages of having a smart home:
Not being able to move as much as before.
However, you can easily avoid an inactive lifestyle with this Alexa skill.
“Alexa, open 5-minute workout.”
And follow your AI’s instructions to remain active.
Further reading: 29 Best Alexa Skills (#7 Is My All Time Favorite)
#3: Google Assistant (Google Home)
When I mention Google…
Most of my friends just think about the search engine.
Not the smart home system.
Google Assistant is 1 of the best platforms you can use to control your smart home.
1 of the leading reasons?
Well, this system is effortless to…
Like SmartThings and Alexa…
Google Assistant controls your devices through an app.
So, linking your smart gadgets to this platform won’t be too complicated.
However, this system only works with very few smart home brands.
Some examples are:
- Philips Hue.
So, if you want to set up your smart home using Google Assistant…
It’s best to carefully check a smart device’s manual before you buy it.
Note: Smart gadgets that work with this platform has a badge that says “works with Google Home.”
Best feature: Routines
Here’s what this function is in a nutshell:
You say a short command. And your smart devices automatically adjust as you want them to.
Yes, this is just another term for the Automation feature I mentioned earlier.
So, if you’re interested in a convenient smart home lifestyle, Google Assistant is for you.
See, with this platform’s Routines…
You can just say a command similar to this:
“Hey, Google, I want to sleep.”
And to help you do so, your smart home system will automatically:
- Dim your lights.
- Ensure that the doors are locked.
- Adjust the temperature according to your liking.
Want to know more about Google Assistant’s Routines?
This video will help:
Editor’s pick: SmartThings vs Google Home: Which Is Better?
#4: Ring Alarm Pro
Some prioritize convenience when setting up smart homes.
While others put greater importance on the safety of their households.
Now, if you’re part of the latter group…
Then, I recommend using Ring Alarm Pro as your smart home system.
Because this platform offers the highest levels of security for households with its:
- Video doorbells.
- Security cameras.
- Professional monitoring services.
Now, Ring’s smart device lineups are only limited to safety-related gadgets.
However, many brands also work with the Ring Alarm Pro system, including:
- Philips Hue.
So, can still control non-safety smart devices with this platform.
Related reading: Can a Ring Doorbell Turn On the Lights? 6 Things To Know
Despite being a security-centered system…
Ring Alarm Pro doesn’t need professional installation.
All you have to do is follow the app’s instructions.
And you can significantly increase your household’s safety overnight.
Note: This smart home system requires you to pay monthly/annual payments. Which costs $40 a year at the lowest. Otherwise, you won’t be able to store your smart cameras’ footage in the cloud.
Best feature: 24/7 professional monitoring
If your smart home system alarm gets triggered…
Ring’s professional monitoring team will immediately contact you.
And if you don’t answer immediately, or you verify that it’s not a false alert…
The company will request the government’s dispatch teams to head straight to your house.
So, with this smart home platform…
Your household will be as safe as it can be.
#5: Apple Homekit
It’s not a secret that Apple devices integrate with each other easily.
And luckily, this feature is even more enhanced by the brand’s Homekit platform.
With this smart home system, just by using your iPhone…
You can control your house’s:
Even when you’re home or not.
And if you want to use voice commands, Siri has your back too.
However, unlike the previous platforms I’ve mentioned…
HomeKit primarily controls Apple devices.
So, you’ll have a limited choice of smart gadgets when choosing this platform.
Based on experience…
HomeKit is the easiest smart home system to set up.
Provided you only use Apple’s smart devices.
See, adding a new gadget to this platform is as simple as:
Placing your phone near. Or scanning a QR code.
And this is a much quicker process than setting up:
- Amazon Alexa.
- Google Assistant.
Best feature: Privacy
Most smart home systems communicate through the cloud.
And while this is indeed an efficient communication method…
Unfortunately, controlling your smart home like this poses safety risks.
See, if a hacker accesses your network information…
They’ll also be able to control your smart home system if it uses the cloud.
But with Apple HomeKit…
This won’t be the case.
See, Apple devices connect directly.
And their end-to-end encrypted communication prevents hackers from accessing your data. Or gaining control of your smart home.
Interesting fact: Apple is 1 of the most trusted companies regarding privacy. This brand can’t even unlock your iPhone if it wants to. Because Apple devices prioritize the users’ security and privacy.