Interested in a smart home setup? Heard about all the cool stuff you can do if you make your home smart, but worried about the costs involved? While it’s true that a proper smart home setup does involve a fair bit of expense, but you don’t really need to break the bank if you’re just interested in setting up basic home automation yourself. Here, we’ll be showing you some smart home gadgets that will cover the basics for you, with each one costing less than Rs 3,000. While most of the gadgets we’ve listed come from different brands, some of them can even be made to work together thanks to the magic of IFTTT. Let’s get started.
Related read: Make your smart home smarter with IFTTT
One of the first things most people look for while starting out with a smart home setup are smart lights. Depending upon the options you choose, smart lights can offer the following capabilities:
And if there’s one smart bulb that we’ll recommend outright, it has to be the Yeelight RGBW E27 Smart LED Bulb. While it isn’t available officially in India, it is available to buy (at a slight premium) on websites like Amazon and eBay. If you’re prepared to wait though, you can save some money by ordering it from Gearbest, Banggood, or Aliexpress) from where you can order it from. If you order from Gearbest or Banggood, you can expect it to reach you within 10-12 days or so, after shelling out roughly Rs 1,200.
Apart from availability, the other issue with the Yeelight RGBW E27 smart bulb is the fact that it comes with a screw base (E27), whereas most bulb sockets in India use the B22 base. That is hardly a reason to worry though, since adapters are easily available online and will cost you just about Rs 200 or so for a pair.
Apart from the affordable pricing, the main reason why we’re recommending the Xiaomi Yeelight colour bulbs is that they tick pretty much all the points we listed above, including IFTTT support. However, remember that to enable IFTTT support for the Yeelight bulb, you’d need to set server settings to Singapore in the Yeelight app while setting them up for the first time. Worth mentioning that the Yeelight app is available on both Android as well as iOS.
Other affordable options for smart bulbs include the Count_On Smart LED Bulb (priced at Rs 1,696), and the Syska SmartLight 7W LED Bulb (Rs 1,550), both available on Amazon. However, from what we can make out, Syska's bulb only works with Amazon Alexa and not Google Assistant, and doesn’t support IFTTT either.
If you want to automate existing appliances like fans, tubelights or other fixed lights. The Sonoff WiFi Switch is an option worth checking out. Priced quite affordably, this is a small plastic box, hardly bigger than two matchboxes, and goes inside your switchboard. This particular model lets you control just one low-power appliance, and needs to be installed by someone who understands wiring. Just get an electrician to do it for you if you aren’t comfortable. The wiring diagram is included and is pretty simple too. Once you have it set up and connected to your home Wi-Fi, you can control the connected devices through the eWeLink app (available on both Android and iOS), set up timers and schedules, set up scenes to control multiple switches / devices with one tap, and thanks to IFTTT support, link to other support smart home devices too. And if you have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, you can control these switches using voice. Imagine uttering “Alexa, switch on the fan” to power up your ceiling fan!
Another smart switch option worth checking out is the Tesco WiFi Switch 4 Channel, which is listed for Rs 1,979 on Amazon at the time of posting this article. This switch also hides behind your switchboard, and lets you control up to four different appliances, fans or lights. The app is available for iOS as well as Android, and the smart switch is said to work with both Google Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa. IFTTT support however, seems missing.
For automating other appliances that use external plugs to connect to power, you’re going to need a smart plug. D-Link has an affordable option available in India, which connects directly to Wi-Fi and doesn’t require a separate hub. This will let you power a light appliance (such as a table lamp), and use other capabilities like controlling via an app (the mydlinkHome app available for both Android and iOS), set up times and schedules etc. The D-Link DSP-W215 WiFi smart plug supports both Google Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa, and also supports IFTTT. And thanks to WPS-enabled setup, this plug is quite easy to set up as well, requiring you to just push the WPS buttons on the plug and your router for it to connect to your Wi-Fi.
The TP-Link HS100 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (priced at Rs 2,099 on Amazon) is another smart plug you could consider. If you want to connect multiple appliances / devices, the Smarteefi 3-in-1 Smart Plug (Rs 2,999 on Amazon) comes in the form of a power strip with three sockets, letting you hook up three different appliances at the same time. These can be controlled individually. Both these TP-Link and Smarteefy options support Google Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa, but currently, the Smarteefi device lacks support for IFTTT.
If you’re looking to power a heavy appliance like an air conditioner, water pump or geyser, you can consider the Oakter Smart Plug for high-power appliances. This comes with a hub, is priced a tad higher at Rs 4,199 (on Amazon), and doesn’t support IFTTT, but offers all the other benefits like app control, scheduling and support for Google Assistant as well as Alexa.
Security is an important part of a smart home, and this D-Link Wi-Fi Motion Sensor can help give you some peace of mind if you’re out and there’s no one at home. This device uses the same mydlinkHome app as the one used by the D-Link smart plug we listed above (both Android and iOS), and once you have it set up, can send you notifications on your phone as soon as it detects any motion in the room. However, if you have the D-LInk smart plug as well, you can set up the motion sensor up to control any appliance / device / light you’ve connected to the plug. For example, if you have both the motion sensor and the smart plug connected to your Wi-Fi at home, the sensor can turn on a lamp connected to the plug as soon as it detects any motion. Further, thanks to IFTTT support, the motion sensor can also control other IFTTT-enabled devices. An example of this could be using IFTTT to switch on your Yeelight bulb when the motion sensor detects motion. A useful little device for sure.
While we haven’t tried this ourselves, the Orvibo Magic Cube (2018 version) listed on Amazon India for Rs 3,100 looks very promising. We also realise this is priced a tad higher than our cut-off for this article, but the Magic Cube does seem to offer quite a few interesting features and capabilities. This is essentially a universal remote that control various devices around your house that use infrared remotes. The list includes televisions, air conditioners, set-top boxes, home theatres etc. The listing also promises support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. While voice support via Alexa seems to be just limited to on/off functionality, the companion app should allow other functions such as controlling TV volume, switching channels, controlling AC temperature, etc.
So that was our list of smart home gadgets priced under Rs 3,000. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are quite a few other options and other types of devices available. Having said that, we sure hope that this list gets you started with your quest of making your home smart, and helps remove misconceptions you may have regarding the costs of smart home devices.
Note: the prices mentioned as per online listings available at the time of publishing this article, and are subject to change.