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How to turn your apartment into a smart home

Woman uses a smart display to turn on her smart light

If you live in a rental apartment, you may be hesitant to invest in smart devices. We get it. Maybe you're concerned they'll be difficult to install and damage the walls, making them not worth the hassle. Or perhaps you're hesitant to invest in a variety of gadgets that may or may not work the next time you move.

But with little-to-no installation, you can create a smart apartment without rewiring, installing bulky products, or losing your security deposit. And when you move out, all that comfort and convenience can easily come with you—if you buy the right devices. We'll help you out.

At Asurion, we take care of you and your tech, from what to know before switching to a smart thermostat to the best smart gadgets for your new home. Here's how to make your apartment a smart home.

Smart plugs

When setting up a smart apartment, start small. Smart plugs cost less than $50 each, and they can transform the devices you already own into smart gadgets. All you need is an outlet and a smartphone. Just connect a smart plug into any wall socket, link it to your Wi-Fi network, and set up the companion app. Then connect a wired appliance, like a coffee maker, slow cooker, or lamp, to the smart plug. Now you can control it on your phone from anywhere. Let's say you're at work when you realize you left your coffee maker on. Instead of calling a neighbor or going home to turn it off, you can do so right from your phone. Cool, right?

What's even cooler: If you use a smart home hub, you can connect it to your smart plug, letting you control your coffee maker, slow cooker, or lamp with your voice.

For more tips, check out our guide to smart plugs.

Smart bulbs

Never flip a light switch or come home to a dark apartment again. Smart lights, which start around $15 each and last 2 to 3 years longer than traditional bulbs, make a perfect addition to your smart apartment. They're energy-efficient, which means you save a little money. Plus they let you set up lighting schedules, group lights by room, sync with music, and even change color. Just switch out the bulbs—no wiring required.

To learn more, read our guide to smart lights.

Virtual assistants

Smart assistants, like Alexa™ from Amazon™, Siri® from Apple, or Google Assistant™, are applications on your phone (or tablet, smart speaker, or other smart device) that can understand voice commands, respond, and take care of tasks.

A virtual assistant can check the weather for you, play music, set an alarm, call your mom, control smart home devices, and more. When it comes to smart apartment technology, a virtual assistant is one of the easiest additions you can make, because it's built into your smartphone—all you need to do is download a free app.

Smart speakers

Smart speakers are small voice-activated devices that play music, podcasts, news, and more. They'll even recite recipes, set timers, and report the weather. Want to wake up to classical music in the morning or unwind with jazz at night? A smart speaker can take care of that, so you don't even have to get up off the couch. Smart speakers also act as a controller for the other smart tech in your home, letting you manage everything—smart locks, smart bulbs, smart thermostat—with your voice. For renters, consider the fourth-generation Amazon™ Echo Dot®, which is small, costs $50, and would be easy to bring to a new home. At $85, the Echo Show™ 5 comes with a small screen. For the best audio experience (and a step up in price), consider the Amazon Echo Studio® ($200).

Smart locks

Put your landlord's mind at ease with locks like the Wyze™ Lock ($124) and August Smart Lock® Pro ($230), which attach to your existing deadbolt on the interior side of the door. A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your door with your phone or smart watch, track who opens your door and when, and create and share unique access codes with others (which you can revoke at any time). You can still use your original keys, and when you move out, it's easy to uninstall. Just be sure to get your landlord's permission first.

Smart thermostats

Some smart thermostats cost as much as $400, but you can get a decent model for under $100, and it will quickly help you make your apartment a smart home. Just be sure to run it by your property manager first, before making any modifications.

An added bonus: You'll save some or all of the money you spent on the device within the first year of using it. How? A smart thermostat learns your schedule and temperature preferences, accounts for the local weather, and helps you save energy—and money—by adjusting the climate when you're away or asleep. It's easy to use through your phone or with a voice command via a smart home speaker.

To learn more, here's everything you need to know about switching to a smart thermostat.

Smart home security system

A home security system gives you peace of mind, letting you keep tabs on your apartment when you're out and even keep an eye on your children while you work from home in another room. Best of all, you don't need to drill into the walls to set one up. Many of these accessories come with a strong, two-sided adhesive, so you can stick them to the wall.

DIY starter sets, which include motion sensors, door and window sensors, and a keypad, cost around $150 (though they can reach $300). They're easy to set up on your own—simply place them where you want, connect to the internet, and you're ready to go. Keep in mind, you should tell your landlord you're installing a security system, as you may need a permit, and the system could lead to visits from the police and fire department.

For more details, read our guide to the best outdoor and indoor security cameras.

Make sure your smart home is protected

An Asurion Home+® protection plan provides coverage for nearly all the technology in your home with one simple plan. Laptops, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, smart thermostats, and so much more—even future purchases. Plus, you'll get 24/7 live expert support and robust digital security. Learn more about Asurion Home+® coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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