Home automation, a dream that has been around for decades but only in the past 10 years it has become a major trend. Alexa, Google home and Arduino make it easier then never before. But what should you choose?

There are 2 ways to automate your house, one is to just buy already pre built hardware that you just connect to your other devices, the other is to build and program everything yourself. The best way to find out what might be right for you is to list the pros and cons.

Pre-built home automation:
Pros:

  • Easy installation (in theory)
  • Support from manufacturer
  • Usually user friendly interface
  • No technical knowledge required

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No access to source code
  • Limited to the pre built functionality
  • No control over your private data

Diy home automation:

Pros:

  • Full control over your data
  • Usually open source
  • Cheaper
  • Not bound to a manufacturer for support

Cons:

  • No warranty/support by manufacturer
  • Technical knowledge required
  • Some parts might not be easy to find
  • Risk of breaking things

As you may be able to tell there are reasons for both ways. While hardware like Amazon Alexa are more or less self-explaning, the diy way requires you to get into the topic much more than you might have thought beforehand. But you would be able to grow it to your needs. A good example is using a Raspberry Pi and/or an Arduino to hook up your devices to, or use rf-modules to connect to your devices wirelessly.

While pre-built hardware is limited to specific devices, it usually does not void the warranty because there is no need to modify the devices that you want to automate. Also they have good user interfaces that usually also offer configuration wizards.

So in conclusion, both ways seem to be justified, depending on your technical knowledge and comfort.

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