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How to Smartify Your Home

Better to buy a hub or stand-alone devices? Sign up with the cable company? Get a Wi-Fi dog camera? Find answers to these and other questions in our connected-home guide of picks and expert advice

Automatic Shades

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Lutron's Smart Bridge ($120) triggers the brand's Serena remote-control shades (from about $349) to open when you arrive home or close when you leave. Slick.

Thermostat

Illustration by Harry Campbell

The Ecobee3 (about $229) can leverage your phone's GPS to adjust the temp as you come and go. Its unique remote sensors ensure the bedroom isn't broiling at night.

Smart Plug

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Turn on lamps and such plugged into iDevices Wi-Fi Switch (about $60) by setting your iPhone to trigger it when you walk in the door or simply asking Siri to activate it.

Door Lock

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Schlage's Connect (about $199) dead bolt opens with a PIN code or an app, and can signal a Z-Wave hub to, for example, activate lights or other connected devices.

Doorbell

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Vivint's HD Doorbell Camera lets you clearly see and speak with visitors, and the app logs video clips of activity. Available with a $60 per month monitored security contract.

Router

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Securifi's Almond+ router (about $250) sets up in minutes (sans computer) and doubles as a hub to command other Z-Wave or ZigBee devices.