A smart home on a budget
A smart home doesn't have to center around large scale connected appliances that cost thousands of dollars. Think smaller, and you'll find the kinds of bargains that can get you connected without breaking the bank. Click through for a few of our favorites -- none of which cost more than $50.
Available for preorder now, these tiny, Chiclet-like Clime sensors promise to keep tabs on environmental conditions around the home, then relay the info back to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Best of all, they only cost $15 each.
iDevices iGrill Mini
If you've got a Labor Day cookout coming up, then consider the iGrill Mini. At just $40, its probe will keep a watchful eye on that beautiful hunk of meat you're grilling, then ping your smartphone when it's cooked to temperature.
While we're talking grills, the $50 Quirky+GE Refuel is a smart propane tank sensor that'll let you know when it's time for a swap.
Your smart lighting options have increased significantly in the past year or so, but the $30 Insteon LED remains a solid option. This is especially true if you use a Windows Phone, as Insteon's controls now come baked into Windows 8.1 thanks to a deal with Microsoft. And yes, this means you can tell Cortana to turn the light on and off.
Philips Hue Lux
The Philips Hue Lux is another smart lighting option due out this fall. Like its color-changing cousins in the Philips Hue family tree, the Lux offers full smartphone controls and automation capabilities thanks to built-in Zigbee support. However, unlike its predecessors, the white-light-only Lux will sell for less than $50 per bulb.
The Quirky Spotter is a motion detector that also tracks changes in light, temperature, humidity, and sound. Aside from following along on your smartphone, you'll be able to use it to trigger IFTTT recipes, too. The sometimes-spotty performance could probably use some polish, but at $50, the Spotter is priced just right.
Tabu LuMini LED
If you want your home lighting to change color on demand, but you don't want to invest too heavily, the Tabu LuMini LED is a perfect compromise. It's not the brightest little guy, but with a full range of color-changing smarts and a low $35 price, this Bluetooth-powered bulb is big on value.
The Wink Hub is like a Rosetta Stone for your smart home. Fluent in multiple wireless protocols, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and Zigbee, the Wink Hub is capable of controlling all sorts of popular smart-home devices, uniting them within a singular interface. We've seen that same kind of functionality from high-end products like the $300 Revolv Hub -- which makes the $50 Wink Hub a bargain-priced breath of fresh air.