Like a computer or major appliance, purchasing a home automation device is a big investment. You’re spending both time and money, and you want to make sure it works as it was advertised. Unfortunately, just like anything else, a device doesn’t always work the way you expected it to, or you realize you don’t actually have a real use for it.
Follow these six tips to make sure you never regret a home automation purchase again:
Do Your Research
This may sound obvious, but take time to research a product before you buy it. Too often we get swept up in advertising and we immediately purchase something, only to regret it a month later. Take time to read reviews and check out the specs. What can it do? What are its limitations? Will a new generation be released within a year? Also evaluate similar products to see if there is something else on the market that does what you want for less money. During your research, you may learn a better product will be hitting the market in a few months.
Take the App for a Spin
Most home automation devices connect with their own app. Before purchasing the product, download the app and play around with it. How easy is it to navigate? Does it offer the options you’re looking for? Some apps are easy to use, while others take a lot of learning. If an app is particularly difficult to navigate, it may be a sign that the product is just as difficult to install and setup.
Check for Updates
You want a home automation product that will still be relevant in a year. When looking at a product, see how often the company releases software updates to improve its compatibility with other smart devices. Consider it a red flag if a product’s software hasn’t been updated in a year.
Make Sure it Plays Nice
Your life will only become more complicated if none of your home automation devices work cohesively. When considering a new smart product, make sure it is compatible with your other devices. You want them all to work together on some level so you don’t have to separately control dozens of technologies.
Consider the Price
Home automation isn’t cheap. Smart light bulbs are much more expensive than regular light bulbs, but they also do more and may save more energy. Weigh the price of a device and compare its abilities to other products. If it can improve your daily life and increase your efficiency, it might be worth the big price tag. If it’s simply cool and nice to have, you may want to wait and put it on your birthday list instead.
Determine its Relevancy
Lastly, ask yourself, “How relevant will this product be in one year?” Home automation and smart technology is constantly advancing. If a product has certain limitations, there may be a better offering on the market just a few months later. This consideration should also weigh into the price factor. An expensive device should be usable and considered advanced for several years. The last thing you want to do is spend $300 on a security camera that is considered ancient in nine months.