Hello all SmartHome enthusiasts!
Many people often ask the age old question "How do I start creating a Smarter Home?" It may seem complex or perhaps they don't know what to automate.
You'll often see posts where someone purchased a heap load of Wi-Fi devices and are ready to start their journey, followed by posters questioning the use of Wi-Fi rather than a Wireless protocol such as Z-Wave/Zigbee. Usually the common response is price https://showbox.bio/.
Well why would I want to pay more for these other devices, what advantages are there? There are several reasons why: https://tutuapp.uno/
The less wifi devices you own, the less congested your wifi becomes
At any given point a company can cease to exist or stop supporting a device. Now all of those wifi devices are useless. At the very least a Z-Wave/Zigbee device can be used as a dumb device like a normal light switch, for example. Imagine having to repurchase all those devices again.
When the internet cuts out, so does access to the Wi-Fi devices https://vidmate.cool/
Ok, so now you're interested in non-WiFi devices. Where do you start? I won't go over the different companies as there are many. The first steps you should take are figuring out exactly what it is you want to automate. Do you want motion sensing? Want your front porch lights to turn on and off automatically at certain times? Perhaps you would like temperature/humidity sensors and create routines based off of that. Understand that you don't need to purchase everything right away (as much as you see posters showing off their bulk purchases). I'm two years in and still finding things to automate. After you've set a plan, make sure your wiring includes a neutral wire, otherwise your options to choose from are more limited. If you own a newer house, this is not of worry.
For those of you with an much older home... Lutron and Innovelli are the way to go for switches that don't require a neutral wire. My personal go to for switches is GE Z-Wave Plus.
To use these devices, you need a hub of some sort. It can be as easy as a Z-Wave Hub (Stick) or as complex as Home Assistant/OpenHAB/Hubitat. For most beginners who just want things to work, my recommendation is the Samsung SmartThings hub. For clarification, Google Home / Amazon Alexa are NOT hubs. These are merely voice assistants that use the cloud. They can integrate with your home automation platform. I don't believe these devices are true automation, but that's a topic for another time.
Hopefully this helps someone out there. I know there's a lot more I could have touched upon, but then this would have gone on far too long..