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The Instacart buying guide to smart home devices
These days, it isn't easy to find a house that doesn't have at least one smart home device. Smart speakers, thermostats, doorbell cameras, garage door openers — the world of convenient smart home devices seems to grow year after year.
If you're thinking of upgrading your home with a smart device, you may be wondering where to start or where to go next. Here's a short guide to some of the most popular smart home devices on the market to help you along.
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FAQs about smart home devices
That depends on the device. Some devices, such as smart light bulbs, can be controlled through your phone via Bluetooth. A smart speaker can stream music from your phone in the same way.
However, your devices may lose some of their functions without a Wi-Fi connection. For instance, you may not be able to use your smart speaker to control your other smart home devices. Smart thermostats turn into normal thermostats when they're not connected to Wi-Fi. You could connect these devices through a smartphone hot spot, but this may significantly drain your phone's batteries.
Unfortunately, not all smart home devices are compatible with one another. Though there are hundreds of smart home devices to choose from, not all of them will work with your current setup. One of the best ways to avoid incompatibility is to purchase smart devices only from one company, but that will limit your options.
You can search whether a device is compatible with your current devices by knowing which smart assistant programs you're using and doing a quick search. Are you using Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple's Siri? Pull up a search engine and type in "Is [the smart device you're considering] compatible with [the assistant you're using]?" If you don't get a clear answer, consider the answer to be "no."
No, you don't, but you could control them all separately if you wanted to. However, if you're trying to streamline your smart home experience, we suggest downloading the Google Home or Alexa app. These will allow you to connect all of your compatible devices through one app so that you can adjust them quickly rather than pulling up each one. Once you begin gathering more and more smart home devices, these one-stop apps become more useful.
You may still have to download an app for many devices that you will then connect to this single app that controls all of your devices. The first apps allow you to set up your device and then connect to your main Google Home or Amazon Alexa app. We suggest not deleting the device's original app if it requires one, as this app is where it might get its updates.
There are a few methods you can use to boost your smart home devices' security. Whether or not hacking is a concern for your home, you still want to protect your devices. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so:
- Good passwords. Your devices' passwords are their first line of defense. Create unique, difficult-to-guess passwords for your devices. Try not to repeat passwords.
- Secure your Wi-Fi. Change your Wi-Fi network's name and default password. You might also be able to hide your network from view, making your home more difficult to hack.
- Unplug unused devices. If you find that you're not using certain devices or you'll be away from home for some time, unplug those devices. It'll be one less avenue for a hacker to attempt to break-in.
If you're pressed for time or simply want to save yourself the trip, Instacart is here to help. Simply download the Instacart app or head to the Instacart website to see what stores in your area offer the smart home devices you're most excited about. Instacart shoppers can collect the items you put in your virtual cart and either make them available for pickup or even deliver them to you, depending on the store. With Instacart, upgrading your home with the latest tech is as easy as clicking a few buttons.