Wyze is Poised to Rule the Smarthome

A home with a garage open, and a superimposed Wyze notification stating the garage door has been open for 30 minutes.
Wyze

Smarthomes work best when you have enough devices per room integrated for convenient automation. But that can be expensive. Wyze, however, may have all the right ingredients at the right price to run your smarthome.

Wyze Already Makes Most Smarthome Things

A Wyze Cam, Wyze Cam Pan, Wyze Bulb, Wyze Plugs, and Wyze Sensor kit
Wyze

To start a basic smarthome, you need a few gadgets—smart bulbs, smart plugs, and a voice assistant to control them. More advanced smarthomes add in additional devices and sensors to enable true automation; step into a room, and the lights turn on, for instance.

Unfortunately, that leaves you buying smart gadgets from half a dozen companies or more and putting in the time and effort to integrate them all. You may need a purchase a hub to connect everything, then learn a complicated process for creating routines and schedules.

Wyze is well on the way to offering all the gadgets a basic smarthome needs and is even dabbling in advanced smarthomes. From one company you can buy indoor cameras, bulbs, sensors, and soon smart plugs,  which leaves you with less intercompany finagling to frustrate you. And while it hasn’t announced a release date yet, the company even stated it is working on an outdoor camera.

You Get More Devices for Less Money

The other challenging component to putting together an extensive smarthome is the expense. Smarthome gadget prices add up quickly, and usually, the best way to deal with that is to roll out your smarthome slowly. But Wyze has you covered because its gadgets cost far less than its competitors. You could almost argue that “holy cow that’s cheap!” is  Wyze’s entire business model.

Indoor Nest cameras cost between $200 and $300, and even the cheaper Arlo Q goes for $150. But Wyze Cameras? Expect to spend between $25 (for Wyze Cam) and $40 (for Wyze Cam Pan) after shipping. At nearly a tenth of the cost, you get 90% of the features the other companies offer, even person detection, without a subscription. And the Wyze Cam Pan comes with a feature Nest, and Arlo Q doesn’t offer: panning. Properly placed, you can potentially purchase one Wyze Camera to monitor an area that would require two Nest or Arlo cameras.

That same focus on cost applies to Wyze’s other products as well. White Philips Hue smart bulbs range between $12 and $21, with the latter adding tuning features so you can adjust the shade of white the bulb emits (like warm white or cool white). And you still need to purchase a $50 hub. A tunable white smart bulb from Wyze will set you back $12 (with shipping), no hub required. The cost goes down to $10 apiece if you buy a four-pack.

Although not released yet, Wyze Plug looks to continue that trend, coming in at $15 plus shipping for a two-pack. That’s less than half the cost of some of our favorite smart plugs. Even inexpensive iClever smart plugs, which are frustrating to set up, cost more than Wyze plugs will when they launch.

And Wyze takes the cake with its incredibly inexpensive sensor kit.

Sensors Take Your Smarthome Even Further

A contact senstor and IR sensor having a "conversation" with a lamp to turn it off and on.
Wyze

Voice controls aren’t the only important part to a smooth-running smarthome. Arguably one of the best smarthome features comes from smart sensors.

With smarthome sensors, you can create automations that do things for you, like turning on and off the lights when you walk into and out of the room. Unfortunately, most smarthome sensors require a smarthome hub like Wink or SmartThings.

Smarthome hubs are great for advanced users, but they’re an extra expense and come with a learning curve beyond the simple routines Google Assistant and Alexa provide.

Aside from the difficulty factor of using a smart hub, smarthome sensors are expensive. Samsung contact sensors cost as much as $20 per sensor. Motion sensors from Philips and Aeotec are between $40 and $60 each.

But the Wyze Sense Starter Kit is $25 for three contact sensors and an IR sensor. If you need to add more, another pack with four contact sensors is $24, while an IR sensor goes for $9 (all prices after shipping).

Contact sensors are the sensors you place on doors, windows, or anything that opens. One half goes on the door/window the other half on the wall. When the two separate, you get a notification, or a smarthome action can trigger. They’re easy to set up but limited in what they can detect (something opened).

IR Sensors detect changes in heat or movement in an area around them. Once the sensors detect a change in head or motion, it triggers an alert or smarthome action. IR Sensors can not detect motion through windows, limiting their use to indoors and the particular room you place it.

The Wyze Sense Starter Kit comes with a bridge that you plug that into an existing Wyze camera. That acts much like a sensor hub specific for Wyze sensors. Once installed, you pair sensors to it and create automations (called rules) in the Wyze app.

Wyze app showing custom rules, shortcuts, scheduling, and device triggers.
Wyze

You can place a Wyze contact sensor in your office, and it will turn the Wyze bulbs in that room on when you enter. Conversely, an IR sensor in the same room can turn the bulb back off with a rule that only activates after the IR sensor fails to detect motion for a chosen time.

You can’t create rules as complicated as some smart hubs yet, but it’s far more accessible and affordable.

Wyze is Still Missing Pieces

A Nest Hello Video doorbell and Schlage Smart lock.
Just a couple missing pieces… Josh Hendrickson

For all the company has going for it, Wyze is still missing a few necessary pieces to run your entire smarthome. If you want a good video doorbell or smart lock, you still need to look elsewhere. Video doorbells are an important component of the smarthome; in fact, I can’t live without one. Given the camera chops Wyze has already shown, a video doorbell doesn’t seem something it would be incapable of doing well.

Wyze is working on an outdoor camera that will alleviate some of the need for a video doorbell in the meantime, but it hasn’t given a release date for that product yet.

Smart locks go hand in hand with video doorbells—the combination clicks the first time you confirm a person’s identity and unlock your door remotely.

And as great as Wyze’s smart bulbs are, it doesn’t solve the light switch puzzle. Smart bulbs and light switches are all but sworn enemies, if a family member flips the switch your bulb isn’t smart anymore. A solution for that problem, whether it be a smart light switch or something innovative like the Lutron Aurora, would go a long way to giving you an intuitive smarthome the entire family loves.

But when you look at everything the company has to offer, it’s hard to argue with a Wyze-powered smarthome. Not when it does the same job for far less than competitors and continues to expand its capabilities. With a few more pushes in the right area, the conversation will go from “if” you should buy into a Wyze powered smarthome to “when.”

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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