Smart home costs: how little it costs to get started
What does a smart home cost? The financial outlay varies a great deal, depending on the project and size. We show you some examples of the costs you can expect for an efficient smart home.
One of the key questions surrounding smart homes is cost. How much does a smart home cost? That depends. We provide some clarity here and lay out the most important cost factors relating to your smart home.
What does a smart home cost? This question is as hard to answer in a generalized way as “How much does a house or a car cost?” or “How expensive is a vacation?” Depending on the scope and type of smart home system, the cost of the smart home you choose will vary. So, the price range is broad, depending on what you can and want to spend on a house, apartment, car, vacation – or smart home. And, sure, you can spend a lot of money for a luxury smart home that has the best equipment.
The good news for smart home systems, though, is that you can start with a low financial outlay and then upgrade flexibly over time – at least in the case of wireless solutions based on radio technology. Here, the acquisition costs are more flexible than with professional wired solutions. “What does a smart home cost?” We want to help you answer that question, by looking at specific factors.
Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular, and demand for smart comfort and smart convenience in the home has risen significantly worldwide in recent years. As with other markets, there are lower-cost and higher-cost products on the smart home market.
In general, the more-expensive versions have so far been characterized by a stabler-than-average connection with the brand’s own devices. However, other smart home brands have now also upgraded significantly in this sector. Many brands are focusing more on versatility these days and designing their smart home products to be as simple and efficient as possible.
Costs go up when you choose a wired smart home solution. In addition to the cost of the system, there are additional expenses for installation and the laying of cable lines by an expert. This is where wireless systems score points, as in most cases they can be installed free of charge by the user via smartphone or tablet using an app.
Complexity costs more
So, you can start small with two or three interconnected wireless solutions and then expand your smart home range over time. One cost factor is, logically, the number of smart home devices you use. The more smart home devices you have, the higher the total costs will be, of course. With wireless systems, however, it is possible to start setting up your own smart home with manageable investment costs.
For example, a smart light bulb can cost as little as 15 euros. Controlling individual devices is the first step, but buying the next smart home device is worth it. Only the connection of several devices with each other makes your home a truly smart home. Each additional device makes your everyday life easier, with the practical option of home automation through the use of various scenarios. In addition, energy costs can be saved in the long term, since the additional power consumption of your smart lighting or heating can be balanced out by automated switching on and off.
According to Bitkom, user-friendliness is the most important factor for German users when it comes to smart home systems, followed by price. So, for newcomers, we recommend easy-to-use but multifunctional devices. In other words, devices that can be used in a variety of ways and that achieve a particular effect. Those who want to avoid large financial outlays should go for wireless smart home systems here. These can then be upgraded with extension sets and other functional devices.
Voice control of smart devices promises a high degree of user-friendliness. Google Assistant (Android operating system) and Siri (iOS) have established themselves on smartphones. However, your home will only become truly smart with intelligent devices such as smart speakers, intelligent lights, or smart plugs. You don’t have to spend too much money on these.
Smart speakers are available starting at around 30 euros, and they can be used flexibly. You can use them to play music in different rooms at the same time, create and update shopping lists, check appointments, or make calls. They also serve as a useful basis for smart home retrofitting. This is because once you expand your smart home, you can – in most cases – also control other smart home devices via the smart speakers using voice commands.
Wi-Fi sockets, also known as smart plugs, are another sensible purchase for beginners. These plugs make other devices smart, and cost around 15 euros each. For example, the old floor lamp in your living room or the LED lighting on your Christmas tree can be connected to a smart plug and switched on and off in combination with a smart speaker.
Smart lighting is also a good way to get started with smart home systems. It can be easily combined with other devices, and all of them can be automated or controlled by means of an app on a smartphone or via a voice assistant. Immerse your bathroom or living room in an atmospheric ambience, or simply use a timer to switch on your smart lighting when you’re on vacation – it’s a great way to deter burglars.
A smart home always works in a solution-oriented way. The goal is to make your life in your own four walls even more comfortable. For users, there are numerous smart home starter kits and expansion sets, with various extension levels, starting at around 100 euros. In most cases, these sets contain various components that cost less when purchased in a bundled collection than they would cost individually. So, if you want to expand your smart home, look for these sets. They are available for applications in different areas such as security, heating, or lighting – and, of course, they work perfectly together. In this way, you can equip various living spaces with smart technology relatively inexpensively. This smart technology can then be controlled centrally, such as with the Home Connect Plus app, and connected with previous smart home components without much effort.
The focus here is often on smart heating systems and door and window sensors. If you constantly forget to turn down the heat overnight during the cold season – resulting in a lot of wasted energy – then you could take this on as your next smart project. Smart radiator controllers and sensors are quick to install. They can usually be controlled via app or voice command, and can also be connected with other devices, such as smart blinds or the security system. Optimally coordinated, your smart system for controlling room temperature ensures that heating energy is used sustainably. If you’re at the office, the heat is off, but when you return home, the living areas are a cozy 23 degrees Celsius.
A smart home is not just useful – it’s also fun. The smart home beginner quickly becomes an advanced smart home enthusiast, with a small amount of effort. The goal is to equip the entire apartment or house with smart technology. As mentioned earlier, a wired system is a sound alternative to flexible wireless solutions, but it’s a more expensive option. Wireless smart home devices, on the other hand, are much more affordable.
Even on a smaller budget, there are many smart devices that offer excellent quality at a low price. However, if you have several devices from different brands integrated in your home, you should make sure that all smart devices are centralized in a single app. Here, too, there are elegant solutions these days, such as the new Home Connect Plus app.
An equally good strategy is to start by making the areas of everyday use smart, areas where things are not going so well or where there are particular challenges anyway. At this point, the issue of security plays a significant role. Families with children may find that they don’t want to entrust the kids with a key to the house yet. In connection with the existing smart home, smart locks offer an efficient solution here. They make it possible to unlock the front door without a key, via keypad or smartphone. Optionally, the smart locks detect via GPS when the occupants approach the apartment or house. This puts an end to the tedious search for the key when you’re standing in front of the front door once again, carrying several shopping bags and without a hand free. Smart locks cost around 200 euros, plus around 30 euros per radio receiver.
When it comes to costs, we have to mention the luxury version of a smart home with complete home automation. In this area, there are plenty of full-service suppliers who follow the smart home concept from the very beginning and implement the smart home system during the construction phase of the home. A general rule of thumb is that the cost for luxury smart home equipment amounts to about 5–10 percent of the price of the house. However, a clever choice of components here can also make a smart home far more affordable. Wired solutions are usually more expensive than radio-based smart home solutions. However, it’s precisely the possibility of laying bus cables that makes smart home systems such an attractive option in new buildings or core renovations. Once a bus cable network is in place, a new smart home element – anything from a light switch to the volume control of the stereo system – can be connected, removed, or changed at any time and anywhere. So, the luxury version of the smart home definitely has its advantages.
Buying a smart home at an affordable price: what’s the best way to proceed?
Pay attention to standards
Generally speaking, closed smart home systems certainly work well, but the follow-up costs are often high because you are tied to one brand. Open standards, such as wireless systems, have an advantage here because the product variety is enormous and you can combine different devices from different brands.
Smart heating, lighting, roller blinds, a security system, or just an intelligent entertainment system? Ask yourself what’s important to you in a smart home, and keep that in mind when considering which purchase should be made first. After all, your smart home should give you enjoyment in the long term and not cause unnecessary financial outlay. Only those who connect their smart devices and integrate them into their everyday life via automation and routines will get their money’s worth in the end.
Fix patchwork set-ups
The diversity of the smart wireless world also needs to be organized. Smart lighting from provider A, heating control from provider B, and the security system from provider C – all connected to the respective brand’s app for control. That works, but it would be better to control the individual devices in a central app and adapt them to your everyday life via smart scenarios. This is where the free Home Connect Plus app comes in. It unites smart home devices from many different brands under a single interface that’s easy to use. That way, you can streamline the patchwork set-up of your smart home devices.