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Top Smart Home Devices of 2017

February 13, 2017
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Smart home devices are becoming more and more popular each year as there has been an increase of the number of devices on the market. These gadgets range all the way from indoor cameras to refrigerators. Take a look at Sandcastle Homes pick for some of the must-have smart home devices of 2017:

Best Virtual Assistant

Amazon Echo Dot

If you are looking for a central gadget for your home but not wanting to spend tons of money, the Amazon Echo Dot is the device for you. This hub connects your smart devices in your home and lets you have a centralized method of working with them. You are able to control your smart devices on one app similar to a universal remote. It is a smaller version of the Amazon Echo and has the same features such as voice commands, playing music from your phone, checking the weather and news. In addition, this device can order a ride from Uber or order pizza from Domino’s with command and streams music from Pandora and Spotify. For more information, click here.

Best Security System

Scout Home Security System

This DIY device is very similar to other security systems but will give you more choices and is available internationally. Scout has different modes you are able to set, home, sleep, away and vacation mode. You are able to check in from any smart device and can arm/disarm even if you aren’t home. For more information, click here.

Best Home Smart Lock

August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock is a door lock for your home that is so much more than a regular lock. It allows your smart phone to be the key using the app. You will be able to lock/unlock your door, keep track of who comes and go, and allow access to people for a certain amount of time all from your phone. This device also locks behind you when you leave and unlocks when your approach the door. For more information, click here.

Best Outdoor Smart Camera

Nest cam outdoor

The Nest Cam Outdoor is the outdoor security system of 2017. This camera is weatherproof and does not rely on batteries. If it detects activity that is unusual, it will alert you on your phone through the app.  An interesting feature that the Nest Cam Outdoor has is that is has a built-in speaker and mic so you are able to hear and talk to someone at your front door from anywhere if needed. For more information, click here.

Best Indoor Smart Camera

Nest Cam Indoor

The Nest Cam Indoor camera was designed to look after your home even when you’re away. This camera has a rotating, magnetic stand that can live stream 24/7 continuously and has a night vision mode as well. It can also be used to watch the pets when you’re out of town or at work! This device also includes an alert feature where you can be alerted when something happens in a certain area of your home. For more information, click here.

Best Smart Garage Opener

Chamberlain MyQ Garage

Like a lot of the smart devices above, the MyQ Garage is a device that control your garage door and can be control from your phone so no matter where you are, you can feel secure knowing your home is safe. Some interesting features about it is that you can close and open your garage door from anywhere, receive alerts when it opens/closes and installs in minutes. For more information, click here.

Best Smart Smoke Detector

Nest Protect, second generation

This gadget is a smoke sensor but with a modern twist. The Nest Protect speaks to you with an early warning when it detects smoke in a room of your home and will also alert you on your smart device through the app. In addition, this system tests itself to make sure all batteries are fine so there’s no need for you to check it every month. For more information, click here.

Best Smart Zoning System


Ecovent is the ultimate climate control system for your home. This system includes vents that allow the right airflow at the right time, sensors that have 24/7 monitoring and the smart hub, which coordinates the comfort in your home. Similar to the Scout Home Security system, you are able to adjust the temperature in any rom from the app on your smart device. It is able to monitor the temperature, humidity, and air pressure in each room you have Ecovent in. For more information, click here.

Best Smart Learning Thermostat

Nest Thermostat

The Nest Thermostat is a learning thermostat that adapts to your lifestyle, how you like the climate in your home and the seasons. This device has sensors that are able to sense if you are home or not and will set itself to Eco Temperature to save energy for your home.  Through the app, you are also able to see how much energy you have saved each month, and can change the temperature no matter where you are. For more information, click here.

Best Smart Refrigerator

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

This refrigerator that comes with a Wi-Fi touchscreen that lets you manage your food. It includes 3 built-in cameras that take a picture every time the door closes, you can access this pictures though your phone. If you don’t feel like making a trip to the grocery store, you are able to order them directly using the touchscreen. In addition, you can search new recipes and get motivations of when foods in the refrigerator are about to expire.  For more information, click here.


Until recently, creating an integrated Smart Home required hiring an “integrator” to install a hub (the “brain”) and various components for your system and to program them to work together seamlessly.  The biggest development we have seen over the last year or two has been a race by major players to dominate the Smart Home market with easy to install, plug and play solutions, ideal for the DIY enthusiast.  Nest, Amazon and Apple have a head start but count on Google to catch up rapidly.

The challenge is getting all of the components to work together with one app.  Currently, none of the players is quite there, so you will likely need to use more than one app to control your devices.  The chart below is an attempt to summarize what functions each of the major players is currently able to perform.  The chart is less than perfect, as there are different degrees of integration and there are many products that have been announced but are not yet available.  But it’s a useful reference for those seeking seamless integration.


Function Amazon Apple Home Kit Nest
Security System X    
Door Lock   X  
Indoor Camera     X
Outdoor Camera     X
Garage Door X    
Smoke Detector     X
Thermostat X X X
Lighting/Outlets X X  










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