5 smart home mistakes you’re probably making — and how to fix them

A tablet with smart home apps
A tablet with smart home apps (Image credit: Shutterstock)

We all love the idea of smart devices making our lives easier, which is why we're always dialled into the latest developments in the smart home space. Smart appliances in particular, can help us manage our household chores with ease, saving precious time for us to do things we like to do more of. In addition, your smart home can save you serious money, which is ideal for cutting down on rising energy bills.

However, if you’re finding your devices complicated and more hassle than they’re worth, you’re probably guilty of making a couple of simple smart home mistakes. Even if you’ve invested in some of the best smart home devices, these are pointless if you don’t have the right set-up or systems in place. And the last thing you want is to buy expensive smart gear, only for it to be left in the box — never used.

With so many smart home options available on the market, it can be tricky to know which one is suitable for your lifestyle, needs and household. That’s why a well-thought-out and maintained smart home is essential to make your life easier and more enjoyable to use.

We’ve asked the experts to share the common smart home mistakes, and their top tips on how to make smart home work for you. 

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1. Having poor Wi-Fi signal

Wi-Fi 7

Wi-Fi 7 (Image credit: Getty)

One of the common smart home mistakes is not checking your Wi-Fi, and having a poor connection for such devices. Before buying, always check the bandwidth setting of your home Wi-Fi, since each signal has a maximum bandwidth or maximum amount of data it can transmit (Mbps). Each smart device on your network requires a certain amount of bandwidth to work as it should — so the more devices, the less bandwidth to spread around. 

“As users add more smart devices to their network, strong Wi-Fi connection and adequate bandwidth is required for them to work properly,” states Claudia Santos, Director of Product Marketing, Samsung, Connected Living. “We also have seen that many smart home users will buy smart appliances but only utilize them to their minimal potential, so we encourage users to spend some time familiarizing themselves with their appliances”.

What’s more, if you have multiple smart devices in your home connected to a single network, this might slow down the internet speed.  It might be worth checking the specs of your Wi-Fi router to determine how many devices it can handle. Or perhaps you could upgrade to one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems to expand your coverage.  

2.  Not connecting to smart home appliances 

Woman connecting app to smart washing machine

Woman connecting app to smart washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another smart home mistake is not connecting to appliances at all! Be it via an app on your smartphone or another device, many simply don’t utilize or customize any of the available smart features enough.  

“The biggest mistake made with smart appliances is not connecting them and utilizing them through their smart home application,” says Adam Whobrey, Senior Director of Product Management at LG Electronics. “Appliances have made significant advances over the years and can now make life better. Connecting your smart home appliance through a smart home application enables consumers to receive reminders to fill rinse-aid, download new cycles to customize their wash or send alerts about a potential service issue, and overall helping to save time and money.”

Such features are super handy when it comes to setting programs, schedules, receiving real-time notifications, and even helps with maintaining your appliance to make it last longer.

Not only does connecting simplify life at home like being able to preheat the oven on your way home from the grocery store, start a load of laundry from your phone or automatically re-order detergent when the dishwasher runs low, but it improves the functionality of the appliance,” agrees says Subu Ramasamy, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Smart Home Solutions at GE Appliances.

If you want to upgrade your laundry game, you’ll need one of the best washing machines, or maybe you just want to wait until you see one of these 7 signs that you need a new washing machine. 

3. Having far too many different devices 

Phone app connected to many smart home devices

Phone app connected to many smart home devices (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might be tempted to go all-in and create a fully automated home, but do you need every single device at once? Experts advise that it’s best not to complicate home systems by setting up a bunch of different devices. Instead, invest in versatile smart devices that are easy to use, and will simplify your household’s needs. 

So what are the key things to consider when choosing? "The key thing to consider with smart appliances is to choose one brand for your whole home," suggests Whobrey. “This can help drive efficiency by using a single application for a better smart home experience. With one smart home application, consumers are given a one stop solution that works across their entire smart home appliance portfolio.” 

4. Buying cheap smart home devices 

Man buying devices online

Man holding credit care and buying online (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similarly, just because you’ve spotted a cheap smart home device online, doesn’t mean it’s any good (or will last long!). Plus, you don’t want to be spending more cash in the long-run for a better model.

Smart appliances play a key role in your home, and are a long-term investment — so you’ll need to make sure you do your research first, and always buy good quality products, even if it means spending a little extra. In addition, it’s worth checking things like warranty, cost of replacement parts, and accessibility. Remember, if you pay cheap, it can cost you dearly, so don’t chance it!

5. Forgetting to update software

Smart home app on phone

Smart home app on phone (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another smart home mistake is not updating the system’s software. And while there are various advantages, you could be missing out on new, advanced features if you don't update your devices regularly.

“The beauty of our smart home appliances is that they continue to get better with time as we push new features and capabilities!” says Ramasamy. “The appliance that consumers take home today will not be the same experience 10 years from now. We encourage consumers to take advantage of all of the capabilities and the new features that we push out so they can continue to get the most out of their appliance.”

In addition, updating your smart device software will help you get the most out of your smart appliance, make it last, and should save you money in the long-run. “LG offers diagnostic reports to help alert of any potential service issues,” explained Whobrey. “If a problem is identified, it will alert LG and we can send the part directly to the owner. This saves a significant amount of time instead of waiting for a technician to diagnose and repair and enables longevity and reliability for the home appliance.”  

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!