Different products can cause chaos when they don’t communicate. So choose a platform that uses a networking hub or an app (or both) to marry disparate devices and give your house a centralized brain from the get go.
For The Keyboard Banger: Belkin WeMo
Most WeMo devices can connect to an app right out of the box, no tinkering required. But simplicity brings limitations--there are only 14 products to choose from. Products $30-199
For The Weekend Webmaster: Wink
Wink uses a hub and a smartphone app to connect unrelated brands and devices, bringing more gadgets--think locks and self-closing blinds--into the fold. Hub $50
For The GeniusBar Nerd: SmartThings
With 150 third-party products, this hub-and-app system accommodates plenty of gadgets. Users can also design their own interactions. The trade-off is a trickier setup. Hub $99
This article was originally published in the May 2015 issue of Popular Science as part of our Smart Homes feature. Click here to read more about how to make your home intelligent.