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In times past home automation was a future fever dream of Jetsons-style technology making every aspect of home life easier. We now live in the Jetsons' future with home automation technologies that would even make George stare in awe.
Today's home automation systems do everything from securing your home to entertaining you - and many things in between! A basic home automation system should at least have a doorbell intercom and camera; detectors for motion, doors and windows left open, smoke, and carbon monoxide; plus a few cameras to monitor exterior and interior spaces. If you have more budget, find a provider that also includes entertainment and environmental controls for television, music, lighting, and temperature.
Thursday, March 30th
Crestron offers home automation systems to make your sanctuary "simply smart" . Everything in your home can be controlled through a single intelligent platform, so you can have more security, comfort and convenience. In business since 1972, the company has received numerous awards for design, whole-house control, and cutting-edge technology in home automation systems.
Home automation for luxury markets
Take one look at the case stories on the Crestron Home page, and you'll soon get the impression that these home automation systems cater to the luxury residential market. There's nothing wrong with that: why can't you have a Victorian estate built in the early 1900s with as many modern conveniences as possible? We encourage you to browse those examples of Crestron's home automation systems to get an idea of what they offer, prior to reaching out for a quote.
Get an "OS for your home"
Crestron Home can give you a state-of-the-art operating system that integrates not just the proprietary components they offer but also your favorite devices - and almost any other specialized systems you may already have in place. From lighting to shades, climate to home access, plus audio and video, there's really no limit to what you can accomplish with Crestron's home automation. You control every single part of your system through a single app on your phone or tablet. You can also incorporate tabletop or wall-mounted screens that stay in each room: no need to go hunting for your iPad every time you want to turn the lights off or reset the thermostat.
Extremely scalable, expandable
Your Crestron network will be capable of supporting over 250 network devices. Yes, you read that correctly: more than 250. Your system may not have that many features, but rest assured that whatever configuration you're imagining, it's doable. That could include lighting modules, touch screen panels, gateways and bridges, sensors, and so much more. The company ensures that upgrades are as seamless as possible, keeping up with the technology and updating systems in a timely fashion.
Custom tailored for your needs
Every Crestron Home system is custom tailored for each homeowner. When you set up a call with a representative, you'll go over everything you have in mind for your home's automation. That means you won't be able to use the website for a simple, quick quote, and that your total package will probably be more costly than the out-of-the-box options out there (our research indicated that you can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 - or more - depending on your customization needs). But, if you're seriously considering Crestron Home, that's probably not a concern.
The installer matters
One aspect that can create some variability in terms of customer satisfaction with Crestron's home automation systems is the installation. This is certainly no do-it-yourself equipment, and it will require professional set-up. You'll want to be comfortable with the installer you choose: be sure they know what you want to get out of your system, and that they have the experience to be successful. You may want to talk to other homeowners that they've worked with as well. The Crestron system itself is the most powerful out there; however, the installer can mean the difference between a successful implementation and a frustrating experience.
Sleek new interface with Crestron Home
One of Crestron's newest innovations is something they call Crestron Home. This includes a sleek, standard interface for accessing all parts of your home automation. In the past, Crestron had a reputation for being one of the more complex systems with respect to programming - but no more. Behind the new, smooth interface is a system that makes installation and setup far easier. Plus, it's a simple process if you decide to add or change functionality to your Crestron system in the future. This is truly a game-changer for Crestron.
Pre-purchase customer service could be better
The only issue we found with Crestron was with their sales experience. While their representatives can be knowledgeable and friendly, getting to speak with one may be a challenge. For example, when we used the live chat to connect with a representative, they took our contact information and said someone would reach out to tell us more - and nearly a week later, we still hadn't gotten a call. You may need to be particularly proactive to get a quote for a Crestron system.
Most robust and complete home automation package
While a Crestron home automation system may not be the right fit for smaller residences, it is undoubtedly the system of choice for those who want the most out of their home automation. With solutions for lights, shades, music, video, thermostats, security, pool, scheduling, timers, remote access, and more, Crestron's powerful automation controls is matched by its sleek new interface. Across the board, feedback from customers to installers say that this brand is worth the investment: seamless integration, simple to use, and easy to maintain. If you're looking for a complete home automation system, Crestron should be your first stop.
Savant creates home automation systems that are future-friendly and easy to use. It is one of the first companies to embrace mobile technology. Most of their customers are owners of luxury homes, castles, and yachts. The attention to detail of their devices and systems is truly impressive and very detailed for the extremely picky - but keep in mind it will also cost you a pretty penny.
Innovative luxury features
When you visit the Savant site, you can browse several online brochures and guides that focus on high-end luxury audio, remote control, lighting, home theater, shades, entry and cameras, and flexible energy management solutions. Savant's offerings are targeted towards the highest incomes. You can:
Deal with a dealer
To become a Savant customer, like with almost all other home automation services and solutions, you'll need to enter your zip code to find a dealer and contact them with questions or get an estimate and installation. While there is an online store, you must be a dealer and log in to see the pricing. There are no DIY options with Savant systems.
Pricing depends on the system
It should be no surprise that your Savant system pricing will depend on how you configure it. It's also largely determined by the markup from the dealer/installer. Digging behind the scenes a little, we found sample pricing of $50,000 or more for a fully-featured home automation system on a multi-million-dollar property.
Worth looking into - if you have the ca$h
If you have the means to check out Savant to get a quote from them for your home, they do have very high-quality home automation systems: customers and technicians alike say that the company delivers on its promises. Just keep in mind, you'll need to have deep pockets if you choose to move forward with Savant.
Elan focuses on advanced smart home automation systems for homeowners and businesses. They offer an entertainment and control system that combines TV, video, audio, climate, lighting, and more in a simple user interface that you can control from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Elan also supports the Gary Sinise Foundation by creating and supporting home automation systems to entertain, inspire, educate, and strengthen military veteran communities.
Get a quote from a dealer
To become an Elan customer, you must contact a dealer who will consult with you on the design of your home automation system and then quote you a price. The dealer will then send a professional to your home to configure and install the purchased system. Dealers can use a management cloud system to assist you with remote management and full control of every element of your smart home. As a ballpark, we found Elan systems priced anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to a staggering $100,000.
Elegant user interface
Elan's Intelligent Smart Home Touch panels are the centerpiece of how your home automation system is controlled. All options for a given room are on a single screen. Each screen uses facial recognition technology to detect which person is using the panel and then present a list of options customized to that user. For example, each user can have their own custom "scenes" (lighting, music, climate, and so on). Voice control can also be enabled via Amazon's Alexa. In addition to the screens, you can also choose to control your system using a handheld remote.
If you're watching a movie in one room, you can easily move that experience to another. Likewise for audio. This includes any outdoor media experiences you want to enjoy. Everyone can take turns switching to their favorite movies and music with the convenience of a smart home remote control or mobile device without having to go inside.
Environment controls at your fingertips
Elan's climate and lighting controls are part of the package. You can change the air conditioning settings and lighting intensity, manage shades, and schedule your spa or pool and associated equipment to be running when you return home.
Security system features
The Elan security system is a combination of regular cameras, video intercom doorbells, and video recording systems. You can lock doors, turn lights on and off, and ensure the garage door is closed. You can also check on your kids visually and audibly if you know you're going to arrive home late. And if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off, you'll know it.
Gallery of ideas
If you'd like ideas on what you could accomplish with Elan, you can check out their online gallery which shows how other customers have designed and configured their installations. Click on the "Residential" tab and you'll be able to browse systems like "The Ultimate Weekend Party Pad" , "Outdoor Smart Home Automation" , and even the setup used by NASCAR legend Mark Martin.
Where's the customer feedback?
Elan seems to be a well-designed and very capable solution for most homes. However, it is difficult to know whether most customers are content with Elan or if there are any problems. Elan doesn't have a BBB listing, and there was very little client feedback to be found anywhere, other than the testimonials sprinkled throughout the Elan site.
Despite the lack of reviews, the Elan products and services do seem capable for the average homeowner. We also like their contributions to home automation for disabled veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation. Elan's home automation system is a solid choice for the average homeowner.
Guardian is a smart security system for your whole home or business. Each system is installed by expert technicians who recommend security and automation solutions for your particular needs. They include free personalized quotes, professional installation, and 24/7 professional monitoring.
Guardian's focus is on security, so if you're looking for additional features such as entertainment, you'll want to consider another provider. However, if you're only interested in security, Guardian has many compelling features, such as:
Supports Apple Watch
A neat feature is the ability to use your Apple Watch to activate or deactivate security, locks, garage doors, lights, and more. Of course, this is functionality is also available through a separate phone and tablet app as well - but having this kind of control on your wrist is very convenient.
Temperature, lighting, and locks can all be set to a schedule for recurring events, such as a spouse returning from work or a child leaving to go to school. Monitoring of events such as fire or carbon monoxide is always on.
Fill out online contact form
To become a Guardian customer, first search on their website for your zip code to see if Guardian is available in your area. If so, just call the number or fill out an online quote form. A professional will be assigned to come to your home and talk with you about your needs. After purchasing, the technician will come to your home and install the system.
A feature we didn't see with other security system providers is Guardian's orientation mode. Once installed and activated, and except for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, there will be a 7-day period during which you'll have some time to get used to the new system without false alarms and any related fines. If an alarm goes off, Guardian will only call your primary phone number and not emergency responders (unless you request emergency intervention).
Excellent choice for security-focused home automation
Guardian Protection has a BBB rating of 4 out of 5 stars and around 275 customer reviews. There were 304 complaints closed in the last 3 years and 94 complaints closed in the last 12 months, indicating that even though there were issues, they were resolved to customer satisfaction in the majority of cases. Looking through the complaints, it's clear that Guardian is responding in a thorough, timely, and proper manner. Other non-BBB reviews match the BBB ratings very closely, with the vast majority of system owners ranking Guardian as "excellent" . For all of these reasons, Guardian gets high marks for those interested in a security-focused smart home system.
Control 4 is a whole home automation system that personalizes and unifies smart home system elements such as intercom, climate control, audio, video, lighting, and security. It was founded in 2004 and now functions in an ecosystem of over 10,000 different products sold by other vendors.
Two ways to get an estimate
To get started with a Control 4 system, you can either call their toll-free number or fill out the "Find a Smart Home Pro" form on their website. You'll be contacted by a representative who will discuss your home automation needs and how you want to use the system. After taking this information, you'll be contacted by a local Control4 dealer who will provide you with an initial estimate. We did some digging and found that you can get a bare-bones Control 4 system for around $1,000 - or you could spend as much as $250,000! As you would expect, your cost will depend on the components you choose and the installer's fees as well.
Controlling Control 4
Control 4 is controlled through their Smart Home OS3 mobile app. It is quite advanced, yet intuitive. Smart Home OS3 allows you to have fine-grained control over everything, including locks, lights and dimming, cameras, home theater volume and play controls, shades and blinds, security systems, the garage door, thermostats, intercom, and much more. Rooms can be made into favorites and a simple swipe takes you between each room in the house.
Variety of home automation functionality
Control 4 can be used to control your home functions in a variety of ways:
Handy idea gallery
Should you want some ideas of how other people have set up their Control 4 system, visit the Idea Gallery of the website. There you can find photographic walkthroughs of homes all over the world that have unique and interesting setups. You can also check out the Showroom Gallery page to see even more ideas.
Mixed reviews from homeowners
We weren't thrilled with all of the feedback on Control 4's home automation systems. About half of all customer reviews qualify as positive while the other half seem to describe some trouble with the equipment. On the upside, customers say it's simple to use with a lot of options, quick replacements of problem components, and good software. Those complaining had problems with installations not working, being confused by so many options, service issues, problems with devices or connectivity, and having to rely too much on expensive service engineer calls. A lot of the complaints may have more to do with the quality of the dealer who installed the system rather than Control 4 itself. As with all home automation systems, make sure you're comfortable with your installer before you proceed.
Very good, but room for improvement
Control 4 has some compelling features for customers shopping for home automation solutions. But with the balance almost equally split between satisfied and dissatisfied clients, this provider doesn't quite reach our highest rating. We hope to see further improvements down the line that would boost Control 4 in our rankings.
Vivint sells home security systems, smart home systems, and cameras, plus the services to install and monitor them.
Connectivity to popular devices
With Vivint, you can connect Google, Amazon, and Nest devices to the system and control everything from the Vivint app or hub. Turn up the AC, play your favorite music, or even order a restock of your favorite snacks: no problem.
Installation and customization for your home
Professional installation involves helping you customize your system for your home, setting it up, and showing you how to use it. There aren't any DIY options here, so your first step will require you to reach out to the Vivint rep in your area and set up a consultation.
Smoke, carbon monoxide, and flooding detection
Vivint protects your home against fires, water intrusion, and carbon monoxide with specialized detectors. Smoke detectors can shut down air conditioning airflow in the home to prevent feeding the flames with more oxygen until emergency responders can arrive. Flood detectors can be placed anywhere water could accumulate and alert you in the event of a burst pipe, basement leak, or an overflowing sump pump.
Constant monitoring and video retention
For monitoring, Vivint has security specialists to respond during an emergency at any time of day or night. Vivint includes its Smart Drive, a hard drive storage unit that records up to 30 days of 24/7 security monitoring.
Way too many negative customer comments
Good customer reviews in other places are at odds with Vivint's dismal BBB rating. Out of all the vendors we've reviewed, Vivint has, by far, the largest number of BBB complaints issued against it - almost 4,500 complaints in the three years prior to our evaluation, and over 1,700 of those over the most recent year alone. In addition to that, in 2021 Vivint settled a complaint filed with the FTC where they had been accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by improperly gaining access to credit reports of potential customers.
Choose a home automation provider with a better track record
With all the negative BBB issues and the other mixed customer reviews we found, we couldn't help but be disappointed with Vivint. While their home automation system can provide a lot of functionality, that doesn't mean their customers are satisfied with their experience. We recommend looking at one of our higher rated home automation companies before considering Vivint.
With the exception of a few providers with do-it-yourself offerings, these companies provide service through dealers who professionally assess your home's needs and then design, build, and install your system. A good home automation vendor will get back to you within a week with a price estimate, including a visit to your home to visualize and measure.
Installation and configuration times can vary widely. Simple systems take a few days at most to install. More complicated systems can take up to a month or more to install. Expect that with more advanced systems some walls, floors, and ceilings will have to be modified to accommodate mounting of equipment and wiring.
Feeling overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start? If you're looking for home automation solutions, here are some factors to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Home Automation solutions available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right home automation system that you're looking for!
Our home is our castle, the archive of our lives, the repository of our treasures, and with ever-rising energy costs, an increasing expense. A home automation system can provide you with peace of mind and lower our energy consumption, a good thing for our environment and your wallet.
Compared with earlier generation home-monitoring systems, the benefits of the new generation of home automation systems - systems that enable us to interact, directly and in real time - with our most expensive possession, can be equated to the difference between owning a horse and buggy and a hybrid automobile.
Today's home automation systems allow more control over home heating and cooling than programmable thermostats that can only follow preset instructions. With most new home automation systems, a Smartphone call from you can bring your home to your preferred at-home temperature settings, rather relying on the clock to make the changes. Suspect someone is cranking up the heat or air conditioning when he is home and you are not? Home automation systems can monitor and report on this.
Going away for a long weekend? Why have your electric water heater working to provide a hot shower unnecessarily. Either access your automation system through your computer before you leave, or use your Smartphone to turn off the water heater until you are on your way back home. Add-on water sensor devices available on today's generation of home automation systems can text or email you that the hot water tank has sprung a leak, so you can call the plumber who you can let into your home using add-on remotely controlled door locks. Not only can you turn on outside and inside lights for the plumber, but with available add-on outside and inside remote controllable, streaming video cameras, you could watch him come, go and make repairs.
Available add-on system sensors can alert you, and potentially your home alarm monitoring service if you choose to subscribe to it, to an unexpected rise in a room's temperature, possibly indicating a fire. They can also detect smoke or a rise in carbon dioxide (CO) levels whether you are at home, asleep, or out and about.
Door and window monitoring devices, including doggy-door monitoring, garage door opening and closing, glass break sensors, curtain movement sensors and motion detectors are also features. Some of them come standard and others are add-on devices, and are features that be accessed for arming and disarming through a central monitoring station in your home through your computer and Wi-fi. These same features can be accessed, as an add-on service, through a keychain device.
Provided you had the iron or the coffee pot plugged into an electrical outlet connected to the home monitoring system, you could be absolutely certain, via your Smartphone, neither was left on and likely to burn the house down.
It is also possible to realize a savings on your home insurance premiums when you have a home automation system in place, yet another benefit of owning a new generation home automation system.
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