If you're looking for a quick and easy smart home project for the long weekend, this list of accessible DIY devices might come in handy. All six of these products are available in major stores near you and can be set up with minimal effort. And after you master the basics, you'll be ready to delve into some slightly more advanced smart home installs.
Belkin WeMo Insight Switch
The $60 Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is a simple way to delve into the world of home automation. Plug a lamp, iron, or other small appliance into the switch and download the free WeMo app. Setup should take less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
After that, you can create custom on/off schedules and even get details on energy usage and how that's impacting your monthly bill. It also comes with IFTTT compatibility for establishing advanced rules and alerts. You can find the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch at OfficeDepot and Best Buy. Read the full review of the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch.
The $199 Dropcam Pro is an IP camera designed to be your eyes and ears when you're away from home. It boasts a 130-degree diagonal field of view, night vision, and Bluetooth BLE. You can keep track of what's happening via free Web and mobile apps and receive alerts when sound or motion events takes place. Installation is extremely straightforward. You can buy one today at Best Buy, Home Depot, and Walmart.
Also, stay tuned for Dropcam Tabs, the startup's new Dropcam Pro-compatible indoor/outdoor hardware designed to be placed on pretty much anything to track its movement and/or motion. Read the full review of the Dropcam Pro.
Neato BotVac 85
The $600 Neato BotVac 85 is one high-powered robot vacuum. It performed very well during testing, but really excelled at picking up pet hair. After an initial visit to the charging station, this robot vacuum is ready to clean your floors. If you have an open floor plan, take a look at my post on setting up custom cleaning boundaries. BotVac models are available in Best Buy stores nationwide. Read the full review of the Neato BotVac 85.
Quirky Aros Smart Air Conditioner
Quirky and GE have teamed up to make some interesting products in the past, but none of them have been quite so compelling as the Aros Smart Air Conditioner. This 8,000-BTU unit is the first app-compatible AC unit we've come across. You can use it to set custom schedules and budgets, and track your energy usage -- all for just $330 at Best Buy (that's more than the quoted $300 price, but buying on Amazon without a Prime subscription will cost closer to $470 including shipping and other add-ons). Setup takes roughly 10 minutes. Read the full review of the Quirky+GE Aros Smart Air Conditioner.
Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit
The Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit packs 800 lumens and a 25,000-hour life expectancy into its budget-and-setup-friendly light bulbs. You can use the related TCP app to program your own lighting schedules, including dimming, but it doesn't work with IFTTT or any other free automation services. The smaller, two-bulb kit is currently available in Home Depot stores for $80. Read the full review of the Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit.
Viper Home Starter Kit
The $230 Viper Home Starter Kit includes a hub, a motion sensor, and a door and window sensor. You can add cameras, sirens, and additional sensors to the mix a la carte and access everything on the related app. Installation is very straightforward; you'll spend the most time deciding where to stick each individual component for optimal usability.