When you step back and take a look at the technology in our world today, the things that we can accomplish is pretty amazing.
From the tablets in our bags to the doorbells on our homes, we are truly living in an exciting time. This technology can have amazing applications and with all of the advancements being made, we started to wonder what the best smart home devices might be for designers & creatives.
The benefit that smart home devices provide is an ability to make things easier, to save time, which many believe is our most important asset. If you feel that way, like we do, then let’s take a look at what things you should consider before buying a smart home device.
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Let’s get started!
Things To Consider Before Buying A Smart Device
When you’re considering making your office a “smart office”, there are some things that you should consider first. While not for everyone, using smart devices can make many things much easier so you can be more productive with your day. Here are some important tips to consider before buying any smart devices.
With the growth of smart devices, the number of new devices that come on the market every day seems to grow and grow. Not every one of these devices is something that you should trust in your home. Typically, the best products are manufactured by one of the following companies: Nest, Ring, Google, Amazon, Belkin, and August. You can also check reviews or search for the companies name to see any issues that consumers have had.
The price of many smart devices can vary greatly from $50 and up. The important thing to do when you start shopping is to set a price point you are looking to spend and the importance that the device will have. For example, if you’re looking for a smart thermostat, the device will save your heating and cooling costs to make the price you pay worth it.
Hub or Direct
Many people don’t realize that some smart devices require the use of a hub to connect to the internet while others can connect directly through your Wi-Fi network. While hubs used to be the best investment because of compatibility, that is becoming less and less as many new devices will connect directly to the internet.
Smart devices use a rechargeable battery or connect to a power outlet. Using battery-power generally means that you can place the smart device in hard-to-reach areas which are good when you are setting up security cameras. While this means you don’t have to hardwire them into your electricity, it does mean that you need to keep them recharged, which can be a pain from time to time.
While having a smart device in your home can be great, some need to connect to a remote server to work. This is true with many smart security cameras as well as smart speakers. Try to choose a device that has a free option as a standard unless you don’t have an issue with paying to connect to a server.
The Best Smart Devices for Designers & Creatives
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 – $129
- Amazon Echo Plus ( 2nd Gen) – $149
- Amazon Echo Show 5 – $89
- Philips Hue Kit – $159
- Ecobee SmartThermostat – $249
- Netgear Arlo Pro 2 – $279
- WeMo Insight Smart Plug – $39
- iRobot Roomba 980 – $891
- Fire TV Cube – $119
The Top 6 Smart Devices
Peace of mind for your home office
Integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connection @ 2.4GHz | Video: 1080p HD Video, Live View, Night Vision | Power Source: Battery or Hardwired | Size: 5.0” x 2.5” x 1.0”
When you’re working on a huge project or in your home office, the last thing you need is distractions at your door. Thanks to the Ring Video Doorbell 2, you can know exactly who is at your door. Easy to set up, the app is simple to use and the motion tracking works well especially since it can be integrated with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. If motion tracking or security features are important for you then the Video Doorbell 2 from Ring has you covered at an affordable price.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- 1080p HD video doorbell that lets you see, hear and speak to people from your phone, tablet, or select Echo device. Includes privacy features, such as customizable privacy zones and audio privacy, to...
- Get notifications whenever motion is detected by adjusting your motion zones.
- With Live View, you can check in on your home any time through the Ring app.
- Easily setup your Ring Video Doorbell 2 by connecting to wifi via the Ring app and mounting in your desired location.
- Powered by a quick-release rechargeable battery pack or connects to existing doorbell wiring.
A great smart speaker with excellent audio quality
Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, ZigBee smart home hub | Audio: 0.8″ tweeter and 3″ woofer | Ports: 3.5 mm line in/out | Size: 5.8” x 3.9” x 3.9” (148 x 99 x 99 mm) | Weight: 27.5 oz (780 grams)
Within the smart speaker market, there are a lot of different options for you to choose from, but the Echo Plus from Amazon is the clear winner. While like most smart speakers, it has the support and connectivity that they others have but it also has excellent range and utilizes Amazon Alexa, one of the best voice assistants around while the speakers deliver solid sound quality. The real draw of the Echo Plus is that its a gateway device to the other smart devices in your office, allowing you to control just about every item on our list. This can be extremely when you’re focused on your work and can do anything from changing the song on your playlist to ordering lunch and while there are cheaper options out there, none of them have the speakers and capabilities that the Echo Plus comes with.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Meet the Echo Plus - Same great sound as our Echo (3rd Gen) with a built-in Zigbee hub to easily setup and control your compatible smart home devices.
- Enjoy premium sound - Personalize your listening experience by adjusting the equalizer settings. Or pair with a second Echo Plus (2nd Gen) or Echo (3rd Gen) for stereo sound and add more bass with an...
- Voice control your music - Ask Alexa for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more. With multi-room music, play music on compatible Echo devices in...
- Voice control your smart home - Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more with compatible connected devices. Create routines to start and end your day.
- Keep your family in sync - Use your Alexa devices like an intercom and talk to any room in the house with Drop In and Announcements.
The Best Budget-Friendly Smart Display
Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks | Audio: Full range 1.65” built-in speaker | Ports: 3.5 mm line in/out | Size: 5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9” (148mm x 86mm x 73mm)) | Weight: 14.5 oz (410 grams)
With a 5.5-inch screen, the Echo Show 5 is on the small side but can offer a lot in terms of features. Like many smart displays, you can make video calls, control your smart devices, watch videos and ask the Alexa assistant questions. Being a budget-friendly smart display, it does only have a 1-megapixel camera as well as a single 4-watt speaker. The privacy features help the Show 5 stand out. With a slider to physically block the camera and the ability to erase recordings thanks to the newest Alexa privacy features. This is a great option for those looking for a smart display without having to spend hundreds of dollars to get one.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Alexa can show you more – Compact 5.5” smart display ready to help manage your day, entertain at a glance, and connect you to friends and family.
- Made to fit your life – Cook along to step-by-step recipes. Easily update to-do lists and calendars. Choose the clock face that fits your style best and glance at weather and traffic on your way...
- Big entertainment – Ask Alexa to show you movie trailers, TV shows, movies, or the news. Or listen to radio stations, podcasts, and audiobooks.
- Control your smart home – Voice control compatible devices or manage them on the easy-to-use display. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights, and adjust thermostats. Create morning...
- Connect with video calling and messaging – Call friends and family who have the Alexa app, an Echo device with a screen, or Skype. Make announcements to other devices in your home.
The most versatile lightbulbs available
Connectivity: Hue Bridge, Bluetooth App Control | Voice assistant compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Microsoft Cortana | Input voltage: 110V-130V | Lumen output: 650 lm at 4000K | Size: 3.7 inches (94 mm) | Weight: 3.46 oz (0.098 kg)
For being simply lightbulbs, Philips Hue offers a wide range of versatile options of what these smart bulbs can do. While they can be turned on and off with voice commands, they can also have the light intensity adjusted without using a dimmer, and much more. You can set a routine for a room on the app that can track your location and will automatically turn on the light in that room a few minutes before you arrive which is great if you have a presentation with a big client and can save you time setting up. With more than 16 million colors, the Philips Hue Smart Bulbs are a pretty neat piece of technology that will keep providing you with options every day.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Works with Alexa for voice control (hub required and included, Alexa device sold separately).
- Choose from 16 million colors to turn your everyday lighting into an extraordinary experience. Create light schedules to ease you to sleep, wake you up and ensure you never come home to a dark house.
- Voice control for Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant, three color A19 LED smart light bulbs plus a Hue bridge that manages up to 50 lights. Expand your system with up to 12 Hue accessories...
- To install, simply screw in the smart bulbs into your desired light location, download the Hue mobile app and pair your Hue bridge. Control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead lights via the...
- Easily expand your lighting system with accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor. Pair it for automation with your existing Nest or SmartThings system.
A thermostat with voice controls
Connectivity: 2.4GHz and 5GHz support, Bluetooth 5.0, | Integrations: Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, most HVAC systems | Features: Smart Sensor, Energy saver, Alexa built-in | Desired temperature range: 44° to 92°F (7° to 33°C) | Size: 4.29 x 4.29 inches (109 x 109 mm)
Working in a room that’s either too hot or too cold can greatly affect your productivity. Instead of having to get up time after time, installing a smart thermostat, such as the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat can make all the difference. With a room sensor that can manage hot or cold spots in the room for you and can read the temperature plus adjust energy consumption based on the number of occupants detected in the room. However, the feature that makes this thermostat stand out is the built-in Alexa features. This means that not only can you do things you would normally do with Alexa plus set the room’s temperature by using your voice. This can be great so you don’t have to keep getting up to change the temperature and allows you to focus more on what’s important – your work.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Place SmartSensor in the most important room, like your bedroom, child’s room, or office to keep it the perfect temperature
- Smart Home & Away detects your presence and automatically adjusts the temperature for comfort when you’re home and reduced energy use when you’re away
- Time of Use cools or heats your home during times when energy is less expensive without impacting comfort
- Named “Best Overall Smart Thermostat” by Tom’s Guide
- Take control of your temperature from anywhere with the ecobee app
The Best Option to Keep Your Home and Office Safe
Connectivity: 2.4GHz support, IEEE 802.11b/g/n | Resolution: 1080p HD | Video format: H.264 | Features: 2-Way Audio, night vision, Arlo Basic 7-Day Cloud Recording, Smart Security Siren, 3-second Look Back, Sound and Advanced Motion Detection | Size: 3.1 x 1.9 x 2.8 in (79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm) | Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Security cameras aren’t just for keeping your home safe anymore. They can be a great option for your business as well not only to keep those who might want to harm your business but also check on package deliveries, speak directly to visitors at your door or even see who might be there without getting up from your desk. This is why the Arlo 2 is such a great option. With features like weatherproofing, more than 300 feet line of sight, a rechargeable battery and wireless connectivity. The standard features are there as well such as sound and motion detection, night vision and local backup storage. The system is expandable up to five cameras for free and up to 20 cameras by upgrading. While the quality of the video is only 1080p, having a better resolution isn’t necessary for this purpose.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- 100 percent wire free: Free of power cords and wiring hassles
- 1080p HD high quality video with sharper and brighter details
- Flexible powering options use wire free, plugged in. Rechargeable battery
- Weatherproof Pro cameras are weatherproof so you can place them anywhere indoors and out
- 7 days of free cloud recordings pro comes with recurring 7 days free cloud recordings. Live stream or view recorded video and audio for up to 7 days
The Best Smart Plug for Your Small Office Appliances
Connectivity: 2.4GHz support, IEEE 802.11b/g/n | Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana | Maximum load: 15A | Input Voltage: 100 – 120VAC | Size: 3 x 2.6 x 3.9 inches
With the creation of smart devices for homes and offices, just about anything, these day is a smart device including some refrigerators that can order groceries for you. In our office though, there are still a lot of appliances that could use a little help to ‘smarten up’ and that’s where the HS100 Smart Plug from Kasa is such a big helper. Compatible with small electronics such as fans, coffee makers, lamps and radios as long as they run at 12 AMPs or under. You can control them through voice control, put them on schedules and even turn them on/off remotely. A nice feature is the plug’s Away Mode, which lets you turn your appliances on and off at random so even when you’re not in, you can be.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Control From Anywhere: Turn electronics on or off from anywhere with your smartphone using the Kasa app (Compatible w/ Android & iOS)
- Voice Control works with amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana supported devices for a hands free experience; Operating Temperature: 0 ºC to 40 ºC (32°F to 104°F). Operating...
- Flexible Control: UL Certfied to switch upto 15A, for flexible control of a wide range of plug in devices
- Kasa scenes & schedules: Schedule the Smart plug to automatically switch on and off when away or set a scene for controlling many devices with a single button
- Note: Requires a secured 2.4 gigahertz wifi network connection
The Best Option for a Clean Office
Connectivity: WiFi | Integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant | Features: iRobot HOME App, 3 Stage Cleaning System, Patented Dirt Detect sensors, 1 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier | Size: 13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 inches | Weight: 8.7 pounds
Cleaning can be a task that we tend to forget about all the time, especially when we’re putting in 12 to 16 hours a day on a huge project. This is why having a robot vacuum is such a practical option. While they may not be able to provide the deep cleaning that a standard vacuum offers, they can do a good job of keeping your floors free of dust, debris, and pet dander if you have an office pet. The Roomba 980 from iRobot offers that peace of mind with a vacuum that has voice-activated controls as well as an app that you can monitor and schedule when the Roomba cleans your office. Having a messy office is not something you want potential clients to see and with the Roomba 980, they most certainly will not have to.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
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The Best Hands-Free Streaming Device
Connectivity: WiFi | Integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant | Features: iRobot HOME App, 3 Stage Cleaning System, Patented Dirt Detect sensors, 1 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier | Size: 3.1 x 1.9 x 2.8 in (79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm)
In many offices, especially larger ones, you are more than likely to find conference rooms with televisions in them whether for video conferences or streaming presentations. The last thing you want to run into when trying to stream an important video on YouTube or another platform is struggling with remote controls that’s why we love the Fire TV Cube from Amazon. Sure there is a wide range of smart TVs out there but being able to use the TV without searching for a remote is a godsend. Whether its to turn the TV on, or if you are in the office alone, stream your favorite shows through Netflix simply by using voice commands through Alexa. The level of convenience that the Cube offers is unmatched.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- The fastest, most powerful Fire TV streaming device.
- From across the room, just ask Alexa to turn on the TV, dim the lights, and play your show.
- Control compatible soundbar and A/V receiver, and change live cable or satellite channels with your voice.
- With the built-in speaker, ask Alexa to check the weather, turn off the lights, and more – even when the TV is off.
- Instant access to 4K Ultra HD content, plus support for Dolby Vision and HDR, HDR10+.
The Best Smart Home Devices for Creatives
Every year, a new piece of technology comes out touted as a new smart device that you have to have. While that may or may not be true, if you’re working in a creative field, these smart devices can make your job easier from the moment you plug them in. We hope we’ve shed a little light on these amazing products so you can set up your own smart office.
Have you ever wanted to set up your own smart office? Have questions about how to set it up? Let us know in the comments below!!