Making your home smarter isn't the cheapest endeavour but if you have a smart speaker, Apple TV, HomePod or iPad then you've already got the brain of the system in place.
Smart lights have been really useful for us, as has a smart thermostat. We went for a Nest and once I finally got around to setting up Homebridge on my Raspberry Pi, it has partial integration with HomeKit so we can control everything from one place if we choose to.
But a Nest isn't cheap and replacing your dumb bulbs with smart ones can cost many times more. Over the past 12-18 months I've come across two accessories that make it cheap enough to get started and you can even automate them to work together.
Koogeek DW1 door/window sensor
Koogeek's DW1 sensor can be used on doors and windows to detect if they'r open or closed. True HomeKit integration means you don't have to use their own app but you get the benefit of a history of what the sensor has detected if you do.
The sensor costs around £26 on Amazon before any promotions that are regularly available. Thanks to automations, you can trigger lights based on the sensor's state.
The DW1 is built to work with Apple's HomeKit ecosystem but there's another version that works with Google's and Amazon's too.
Osram Smart+ LED strip
I'd purchased cheaper light strips, but the biggest problem was always their inability to render the colour white. Either it was very yellow, blue or red and green mixed which was very odd. They just never looked right, but the price of the Osram Smart+ strip dropped considerably and works really well.
From what I've read, the Osram version is not as bright as the Philips Hue alternative. For me, it's been more than bright enough as a night light and can easily be shortened by removing sections and you can even cut it if you need to.
You can always look at the Aqara ecosystem, but despite the cheap accessories, it requires a hub masking some of the cost.
Programmable plugs and sockets are a thing, but I have very few uses for them at the moment. You need a lot of trust in it all but I wouldn't put the security of our front door in it's hands just yet.
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