The Best DIY Smart Home Devices You Can Make Yourself

Smart home tech and smart home automation is a popular trend. You'll find no shortage of smart home devices, from light bulbs to smart door locks to connected speakers, and voice assistants. However, while many of these are available to buy ready to use out-of-the-box, you can totally make your own do-it-yourself smart gadgets. Check out the best DIY smart home devices you can make yourself!

1. Arduino Automatic Smart Plant Watering Kit

I've got quite an array of plants including a Christmas cactus I fostered from a cutting, and a lovely San Pedro cactus. Unlike my dog, when my plants need water, they don't bark. Enter smart watering systems. Elecrow offers an all-in-one kit. Or, you may whip up your own Arduino-powered plant watering alarm system. This will inform you when it's time to water your plants, complete with light and sounds. The Sprout modern indoor planter automatically waters plants as well, and it's Arduino and Android based. You can build a hydroMazing system for crop growth management. An Arduino-based wireless intelligent water irrigation system helps keep your plants thriving, or a Raspberry Pi and Arduino crop growth monitor maintains healthy plants. Try creating a soil moisture monitoring device with Xamarin and Netduino! 

2. Raspberry Pi-powered Smart Home Hub

The Raspberry Pi is an ultra-popular single-board computer. Because it's tiny and uses little electricity, the Raspberry Pi works wonderfully as a smart home hub. Home Assistant, or Hass.io, is a comprehensive smart home automation hub. Home Assistant addons include Google Assistant and Let's encrypt integration. MisterHouse is a Perl-based monitoring system which runs on Linux, MacOS, and Windows PCs. With MisterHouse, you can control security cameras, sensors, and more. OpenHAB is a popular Raspberry Pi smart home software option. Overall, there are tons of options you can pick from. 

3. Voice Assistant 

Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana are helpful voice assistants. For an open-source DIY voice assistant, try the likes of Mycroft. You can install Mycroft on top of a Linux OS for the Raspberry Pi such as Raspbian. Alternatively, there's a standalone Picroft distro for a smart virtual assistant with a Raspberry Pi. Mycroft for the Raspberry boasts the ability to play media, tell jokes, read off NPR news bits, and query Wikipedia. 

4. Music Streaming Server

With its tiny footprint and extreme energy efficiency, the Raspberry Pi makes for a superb music server. This is akin to a DIY Spotify where you provide the music files. You can run Plex, Ampace, Airsonic, Libresonic, Emby, and more on the Raspberry Pi. piCorePlayer makes a robust networked music server, and you may even spruce up your Pi for streaming to an Amazon Echo. Though it's not the most powerful device on the market, video streaming with a Raspberry Pi works as well for a Raspberry Pi media server. Local media playback in a Raspberry Pi home theatre PC (HTPC) works fantastically well. 

5. DIY Smart Thermostat

Nest, Ecobee, and other smart thermostats allow for smart home control and automation. But rather than a potentially pricey device, you can make your "dumb" thermostat smart. Plus, this could be an inexpensive retrofit. With a couple of sensors and a few pieces of software, you can make your own smart thermostat for under $5 USD. That's a thrifty, fun, and extremely useful project. 

6. Curtain/Blind Control System

While you might not be asking HAL to open the pod bay doors yet, you can totally control your curtains or blinds with Alexa. All you'll need is access to a 3D printer. A simple Arduino and Alexa project, this is a fantastic idea for leveling up your smart home. 

7. Garage Door Opener

With the garage commander, you may control your garage door from anywhere. Sure, there are garage door openers from the likes of Samsung SmartThings, but this is an awesome DIY smart home project with tons of benefits. It uses Servo, Particle Photon, Blynk, IFTTT, and more. Try pairing this with a do-it-yourself garage light using PIR sensors

8. Smart Security System

Security remains arguably the most widely-used application in the smart home space. Using a Raspberry Pi, you may make the ultimate smart door lock security system. It rocks three-factor authentication and is pretty affordable to cobble together. 

9. Pool Temperature Monitor

Just as you can monitor water levels for crop growth, so too can you use sensor data for a pool temperature monitoring set up. That is, if you're lucky enough to have a pool at your house or apartment building. If your lowly apartment complex is pool-less, find a friend with a pool or create an IoT pool monitoring system using Thingsboard.  

10. Pet Feeder

Why should the hoomans enjoy all the smart home tech? With a Servo motor and some 3D printing, you can whip up a cat feeding project. This could work for dogs as well. For keeping pet's water cool, try an Arduino-based automatic pet water chiller. Entertain your menagerie with a buddybot, a means of controlling a stepper motor with an Android smartphone. WHile these are fantastic, I admittedly prefer the analog method of feeding my doggo. 

Top DIY Smart Home Devices You can Make: Final Thoughts

Though an off-the-shelf smart home device boasts simplicity of use and set up, a DIY smart home gadget is infinitely rewarding. Plus, you might be able to save a bit of money by going the do-it-yourself route. You'll have more choices and customization options when making a smart home gadget versus buying one. I suggest a Raspberry Pi smart home hub using Hass.io. While it may sound complex, it's pretty simple to cobble together. A smart home security system is a solid chouice, and a voice assistant or streaming media server remain fun, useful, intuitive creations. 

What DIY smart home gadgets are you making? 

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