There are some impressive high tech homes out there. Mansions with massive security systems that can view thermal imaging from across the globe, elevators that run cars from the street to the living room to protect high end vehicles, a British mansion with its own device-controlled energy source below ground. Incorporating gadgets into a house or apartment is becoming fairly normal.

But we don’t all have millions of dollars to dedicate to the task. For most, starting small is the way to go, and these smart home products can help you do that.

Nest Thermostat ($249) 

My husband used to work for Nest, and we got our unit for free. Before I spent a year living with it, I would have said I would never spend the money to actually buy one. Now, I would do it in a heartbeat.

From the ability to monitor your home’s temperature while away, to saving on energy costs through smarter heating and cooling, it is a fantastic investment. In the summer, I can cool the house just right from my phone while by the pool so it is where we like it when we come in. When out running errands in the winter, I can set it to heat the place up so we are immediately warm when we get home.

Totally worth the cost.

ISmartAlarm ($199 – $349)

Plenty of projects have been released on crowdfunding sites that promise a simpler – but more thorough – home security system. The iSmartAlarm project started on IndieGoGo, and has since become a market favorite.

Not only does it provide an expansive monitoring system that includes alerts of possible threats through motion detection, camera views, and pet or child tracking. It also allows you to remotely control functions in your home to give the impression of people being there. Think of the fake party in Home Alone.

You can customize your system with either the basic or premium package, and further adapt it by adding accessories.

Control 4 Home Automation (Various) 

If you are looking for a bigger investment that would turn your entire house into a smart home, you may want to look into Control 4. They are the first complete home automation service that provides smart technology for a large number of functions within your house or apartment.

They provide touch screens that can be independent or wall mounted, audio and visual products, lighting and climate control, and security. For business owners, they also offer automation for offices, restaurants and bars, boardrooms, hotels, and fitness and spa centers.

What makes them unique is the ability to fully customize any room based on what interests you. There is a whole gallery ideas, from a Star Trek themed wine cellar, to rooms with controls so simple that even the most technologically challenged could use it.

Conclusion 

Of course, this is only a small sampling of what is out there. Smart homes are becoming a reachable goal for anyone, with lower cost products hitting the market every day. Whether you want more control over the climate, the lights, or the media in your home, you can find plenty to start customizing (and techifying) your place.