How to upgrade your smart home set up for under $100

Upgrading your house with the best smart home products can seem daunting and expensive at the outset, but over the years some of the best equipment has come down in price. Now, you’re able to upgrade rooms in your home for under $100 with quality products that will work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control — or quite possibly both! Maybe you choose to strategically upgrade some electrical outlets to control lamps and small appliances first, then fill in the gaps with smart bulbs and switches in your bedrooms and other living spaces. The choice is yours — and the best tech has never been more affordable.

OK, Google!

Google Home Mini

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Google Assistant is probably baked into the phone you use every day, so it makes sense to stick with Google for your home smart speakers. The Google Home Mini is a colorful and compact smart speaker that lets you connect and control smart home products through the Google Home app, seamlessly integrates with Chromecast, YouTube, and other Google products and services you may rely on.

$49 at Best Buy

Add more Alexa

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

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Amazon’s entry-level smart speaker makes the list because it’s as functional as the full-size Amazon Echo while small enough to blend into any room you set it in, letting you extend Alexa voice control through more of your home. Amazon is currently offering Echo Dot bundles with a TP-Link smart plug or two Sengled smart bulbs for an extra $15 to $20 — a great deal that shows off how much utility the Echo Dot can provide.

From $50 at Amazon

No speaker needed

Samsung SmartThings Hub

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For those who want all the benefits of smart home controls without adding smart speakers with active microphones in your home, you will want the Samsung SmartThings Hub. SmartThings supports a growing number of smart home devices and appliances — from smart bulbs and switches to smart fridges and TVs. Definitely worth considering if you own a Samsung phone and enjoy their apps and products.

$65 at Amazon

Works with the Alexa app

Amazon Smart Plug

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Amazon’s Smart Plug does not require you to own an Echo speaker to use voice commands — it connects directly to the Alexa app and lets you control lamps, fans, or appliances and set schedules with little hassle. It’s a great option if you’re sticking with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem or buying for someone who already owns an Amazon Echo speaker.

$25 at Amazon

Smart buy

Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug 4-pack

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This is such an incredible deal that you might as well stock up even if you can’t think of a use for all four right now. Aukey’s Wi-Fi Smart Plugs are very easy to set up and use, and you just need the Aukey app and an Amazon Echo or Google Home to control lamps or seasonal decorations with your voice. A simple smart plug that doesn’t block the second outlet at all.

$50 at Amazon

Master control

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip

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This Kasa power strip is the ideal solution for automating your home theatre set up. Each plug can be controlled independently using the Kasa app or using your voice with Alexa or Google Assistant. You get six AC outlets along with three USB ports for charging your other devices. It’s a pretty amazing product that’s like six smart plugs built into one.

$80 at Amazon

Smart lights starter kit

Philips Hue White 4-Bulb Kit w/ bridge

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Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart bulb brands, and its starter kit offers a great value for getting started in a smaller home or apartment. You get four soft white bulbs and the Wi-Fi bridge required to control your bulbs through an Echo Dot or Google Mini. Once you’re set up, it’s easy to add more Philips Hue bulbs in the future.

$75 at Amazon

Smart lights everywhere

Sengled Smart LED Light Bulbs 8-pack

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These Sengled bulbs are a great option if you have a Samsung SmartThings hub or own an Echo Plus with the built-in Zigbee hub. Otherwise, you will need a Sengled hub to connect to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, but once you do, you’ll get eight lights to set up and group into rooms. Once you start controlling your lights with your voice, you won’t want to go back.

$77 at Amazon

Futuristic AF

Nexlux LED Strip Lights

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LED light strips are great for adding colorful accents to any room, and you can’t beat the value of these Nexlux LED strips. Available in spools of 16 feet and 32 feet, each kit comes with a Wi-Fi controller and power supply. You’re free to split the strip and use each half independently as long as each strip has it’s own controller and power supply plugged in.

From $30 at Amazon

Smart control for outdoor lights

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Switch

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Instead of investing in pricey smart bulbs certified for outdoors, swap out the light switch that controls your “dumb” exterior lights with this smart light switch from TP-Link. You can schedule and set everything up in the Kasa app and it works with either Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control and grouped commands.

$34 at Amazon

Monitor your home remotely

Wyze Cam Pan 1080p Wi-Fi Indoor Smart Home Camera w/ 32GB MicroSD

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Wyze Cam makes the best smart home cameras you can buy for under $100, and their best product is this compact Wi-Fi connected smart camera that can pan around 360-degrees. It can also be set up for continuous recording, motion and sound alerts, or recording time lapses, letting you keep an eye on your garage, kid’s room, or anywhere else in your home.

$51 at Amazon

An easy dorm upgrade

AmazonBasics Microwave

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If Amazon made a smart kitchen sink for under $100, it would probably be on this list. Instead they offer us a small 700W microwave which can, of course, be voice controlled via Alexa with an Echo smart speaker. Just say you’re making popcorn or defrosting vegetables and all the proper settings and times will be set automatically.

$60 at Amazon

There’s really no wrong way to build out your dream smart home, as long as you’re investing in quality products that can connect and communicate with one another. Whether or not you go with Alexa or Google Assistant, I would recommend the Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug 4-pack as a great starting point for controlling small lamps or other convenience appliances. Likewise, the Philips Hue Starter Kit is a great place to start for smart bulbs as Philips offers some other great smart lighting products — however getting the Echo Dot Sengled bulb bundle and Sengled smart bulb 8-pack gives you a smart speaker, the Sengled hub, and ten smart bulbs for under $150, which is an amazing deal.