Apps for Your Home

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on February 15, 2015, App Guides

We control so many things from our smart phones these days, that it’s only natural that our homes should be mobile compatible too. And the good news is that there are tons of ways to automate your home and then control it from your smart phone. Today we’re taking a look at some of the best of the best when it comes to home control apps. Whether you’re looking into controlling security, lighting or something else, there’s an app here for you. Do be warned though, that whilst these apps are free, the tech that needs to be added to your home isn’t, and you may be making an investment to automate your digs. That being said, let’s have a look at some of the best home control apps on the market.

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

Philips Hue

As you might expect, Philips Hue is all about lighting. You’ll need to equip your home with special Philips Hue lightbulbs, but once you’ve done that, the sky’s the limit. Yes, you can switch your lights on and off with your phone even when you’re not home (or when you don’t feel like getting out of bed to hit the switch), but Hue is more than just that. You can programme lights to be different colours, or to change along a spectrum of colours. You can even bring up a picture on your smart phone (something like, say, a sunset) and ask your lights to mimic the colour scheme. Philips Hue makes lighting your home innovative and, dare we say it, even fun?

ADT Pulse

ADT Pulse

ADT Pulse

Coming from renowned security company ADT, it’s no surprise that ADT Pulse is all about home security. With the right tech installed in your home you can use this app to switch your burglar alarms on and off, which is kind of convenient. But you can also use it to control connected thermostats and even door locks. Plus, you’ll get emails and texts should anything happen while you’re away that you should know about. A water leak? You’ll be notified and can call in the plumber (and disable the alarm and unlock the door so he can get in). If you’re already hooked up with ADT security, then ADT Pulse is a great choice, though you’ll need to pay a yearly subscription for the service too.

SmartThings

SmartThings

SmartThings

What we love about SmartThings is that it’s open, meaning that you can connect any kind of technology you want to the system. You’ll need to buy a SmartThings Hub, but you can then choose which connections you want based on your home. Once you’ve got everything connected you’ll be able to control devices from your phone. This includes things like the oven, a thermostat, lights, stereo, garage doors, really the options are endless. There are even security elements, such as motion sensors and door locks available. If you’re looking to fully automate your home as much as possible then SmartThings is the most flexible way to go about it. With the right connections you can literally control your entire home from your smart phone. Neat.

Nest

Nest

Nest

Nest was probably the first real home automation app, and it’s all about temperature. You install a Nest thermostat, and then you can control your home’s heating or cooling systems from your phone. You can turn heat on and off, up and down, but you can also do things like switch the heat on when you’re a certain distance from home, meaning you’re not wasting energy. Plus, Nest learns from the things you do most often, and applies rules such as heating the bedroom after 9 p.m., or turning radiators down when you generally leave for work. It’s simple, relatively cheap, and saves on energy bills, all of which mean that Nest is one of the most popular smart home tech systems out there.

WeMo

WeMo

WeMo

WeMo is cool because it lets you do anything you want, with no installation and low cost. You can use WeMo on anything that plugs into the wall. Simply put a WeMo device into a plug socket, plug in whichever appliance or gadget you want on top, and you’re good to go, that device can now be controlled from your smart phone with the WeMo app. Think you might have left the oven on? Check on your smart phone and switch it off. Easy. You can also schedule things using the app too, so if you need your coffee maker switched on so coffee’s ready when you wake up, no problem. WeMo is easy to use and very affordable.

Control4 MyHome

Control4 MyHome

Control4 MyHome

Control4 MyHome is the king of home automation systems and as long as you have the right Control4 tech installed you can do anything you want using your smart phone. That includes controlling temperature, security, entertainment systems, lighting and pretty much anything that plugs into the wall. Oh, and there are cameras too, so you can get access to video of what’s going on when you’re not home. We’ve got to be honest and say that the Control4 system is pricey, but you do get complete control of your home. With Control4 MyHome it’s about the little things as well as the big things. Do the cameras show that your kid is watching TV instead of doing homework? Then disable the TV using your smart phone. Control4 MyHome gives you the home of the future right now.

Alarm.com

Alarm.com

Alarm.com

The nice thing about Alarm.com is that it works with a variety of different home security systems, so you might already have the system that you need to use it. Enabling Alarm.com means, of course, control of home security such as burglar alarms, but if you allow it to, Alarm.com can do a lot more than that. Using the GPS on your phone the system can tell how far away you are and adjust your home’s light, temperature and alarm systems ready to greet you when you get home. You can also get notifications of things like doors that have been left open, or when the kids get home from school. If you’ve got a home security system that already supports Alarm.com, it’s well worth enabling it and downloading this handy little app.

Making your home a smart home can mean making a big investment. But the ability to control all kinds of functions from your mobile phone is more than just a convenience. Potentially you can stop break ins, save money on heating and lighting bills, and even keep an eye on your children. Smart apps let you stay abreast of what’s happening in your home, so that big investment might be worth it.

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