Connecting a talking Bluetooth speaker or deadbolt lock that links to the internet may feel daunting, but you can hire a personal smart home installation services team, which can put together a piece of tech — and make sure you can use it before they leave.
Most won't handle a 9 pm call if the cable goes out, but they can get a product online, installed and make sure a smart speaker, for example, actually talks to the smart thermostat.
People can install any of these products on their own — some as easy as screwing in a light bulb. (Really.) But when you just don't know where to start, or you're staring a C-wire and think, 'No that's not for me,' one of these seven are a fine place to begin.
Best Buy - Geek Squad, Full Service Tech Support for any Tech Device
Best Buy will install smart home products even if you didn't buy them at its storeiStock
Best Buy's Geek Squad is well known for helping customers get up to speed with purchases made from the company. And last year, the brand extended that service to any smart home product, even if it wasn't purchased through Best Buy.
Installing some devices, like smart thermostats, can take a bit of time and some comfort with the electrical system. Others like smart assistants, however, are really quite simple, involving little more than plugging a speaker or display into an outlet, downloading an app to a smartphone, and linking the two through Wi-Fi. A tech expert may not be necessary.
But if complete hand-holding is requested, buyers can customers select an installation service — even without buying a product — and purchase that through the web site. Best Buy installs a number of products — from smart thermostats to smart door locks — and also will make sure the items are connected to Wi-Fi before they leave.
People can also sign up for voice assistant training, help with installing a smart speaker or connecting to it a wireless network, and the service will give lessons on how to control other connected products. With a membership to Smart Home Services for $199.95 a year, customers pay just $49.99 for each install. Note that tech support later down the road is not included for smart devices, according to the company's web site.
Customers can also pay for a single installation — starting at $99.99 for each device — but keep in mind, that may be more than the product costs itself. Smart speakers, like the Echo Dot, can be picked up for as little as $29.99. So before you decide you want to pay someone to plug in a speaker, you can also find simple installation guides, like GearBrain's How to get started with Amazon Alexa or How to install a second Amazon Echo
For 2022, the company has added a new subscription service called Totaltech which includes Geek Squad and more. See below.
Pocket Geek Home Protects and Services Smart Devices
Pocket Geek Home can help you setup your smart home including a smart kitchen.
Besides helping you with installation, there are services that also provide protection for your smart devices. Pocket Geek Home is a new service we are testing. It is owned by Assurant, a Fortune 500 company, and offers unlimited tech support and protection for all your smart home devices. Their monthly plan covers setup, connection, troubleshooting and repairs for your TVs, laptops, tablets, gaming systems, Bluetooth headphones and more. The smart devices covered are Wi-Fi routers, External hard drives, hubs, Light-dimmers, Door Locks, Thermostats, Smoke detectors, Video doorbells and Home security cameras. Their plan also covers mobile devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and and smart speakers, but it doesn't cover smartphone repairs.
Pocket Geek Home has a monthly cost for unlimited remote usage and coverage of your devices. Whether it's setting up surround sound or a smart thermostat, it costs only $24.99 per month with no long term contract. The company does offer In-Home service repairs by professional installers but this is an incremental cost.
The Pocket Geek Home service also comes with membership to Pocket Geek ID program. This security program comes with email alias manager, password manager and tracker manager. It also has a Wi-Fi speed checker. All programs can keep and your devices safe and security from unwanted guests.
Lastly, Pocket Geek Home also has a special app which you can use to show your Pocket Geek Home Pro your problem. Many home repair services usually send you a text to your smartphone asking for access to your smartphone's camera. Not a very secure way to operate in our opinion. With Pocket Geek Home, there is no need to download a special app or open up a camera share window on your smartphone. The Pocket Geek Home app provides a secure connection for you and your Pocket Geek Home Pro to see and fix your problems.
(Note: GearBrain will update this portion of the article after we complete our testing of Pocket Geek Home service.)
Best Buy's New Totaltech versus Geek Squad - Which is better?
Best Buy totaltech
Best Buy's Totaltech is a new subscription service which the retailer launched last year. It includes many of the features found in Best Buy Total Tech Support, Best Buy Beta and Geek Squad support, like free delivery and standard installation services.
The cost of this new membership is $199.99 a year and includes free Geek Squad support 24/7/365, 24 months of product protection with active membership, free delivery and installation services on devices purchased at Best Buy, VIP access to dedicated phone and chat teams, free 2-day shipping on Best Buy purchases, extended 60-day return and exchange window, access to special Totaltech member pricing and savings on repairs and advanced services.
Best Buy Totaltech does include include Apple Care+ protection on your Apple products with an active membership. All services you can get with Geek Squad too.
So, what is the difference between these two services. Not much. Both services can help you with in-home installs and repairs. Both offer protection plans for your smart devices and cost the same ($199.99 per year). One difference is how these two services actually assist you with your problems. Totaltech experts are available via phone and chat support while Geek Squad experts can be found in Best Buy stores, online and can come to your home.
So, it all depends on the type of support you need in your home. For users who need help with connecting devices, setting up your Wi-Fi 6 router or installing a new DIY smart home security system bought at Best Buy, a Totaltech subscription is a good choice. But if you plan to install new appliances or need help with your computer and appliances, you might want to go with Geek Squad. Their plan includes protection but does offer re more services which will fit your needs, and you can speak to a person.
Puls, The Smart Home Tech Team that Makes House CallsYou can ask a tech to install a product \u2014 and also connect it to your home Wi-Fi before they leave iStock
Puls is a nationwide smart home tech team, that's reachable online — but makes house calls. The company handles a lot of tech from repairing garage doors, to fixing the screen on a smartphone. But smart home installation is also available, and you pay per device, with prices dropping as you add more products to your installation.
There are membership tiers that start at $79 a year all the way up to $499 a year, and all offer some kind of discount on installation, on devices from August Smart Lock, Philips Hue lights, Wemo smart plug, Honeywell thermostat and the entire Amazon Echo line, as well as Wink Hubs and Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub. (They don't play favorites.)
The company makes it easy to book online, and the service is available in hundreds of cities, with a team of more than 4,000 techs, Puls says. They don't have a list online, but typing in a zip code will bring up which services are available.
Handy Offers Installation Help for Google Nest ProductsSmart home installers can set up devices from smart thermostats to connected locks iStock
You can probably find help for nearly any home need on Handy, let alone installing an outdoor Nest camera — but you can get someone to do that too.
The company has a specific Smart Home section, where people can book directly from the site at any time, connecting to Handy's network of techs. Testing the sign up process, we were able to find appointments as early as the next day.
Handy is definitely focused on the smart home space. Handy co-founder and now Angi CEO Oisin Hanrahan (Angi and Handy are owned by the same company) talked with GearBrain about smart devices, and the need to support customers who are interested in these gadgets but aren't entirely sure how to get them working in their home.
Handy doesn't offer flat fees for smart home installation, but you can get a price quote before you agree to a service, and you can view requests other customers have made, and see how many hours their specific installation took. Customers are charged by Handy, which takes care of handling payments to techs doing the job.
On its site, the company highlights installations for smart locks, thermostats, hubs, video doorbells, and smart security cameras. Wi-Fi routers are also covered, and there's a separate link where you can describe the device if it's not mention — smart blinds or maybe an outdoor smart sprinkler system — to get a quote on those as well.
Handy has partnerships with Nest and Google Home, operates in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and every city where they have a tech available is listed clearly on the web site. (And yes, Kona, they've got you covered.)
HelloTech Provides Smart Device Installation Help Online and On SiteHelloTech will not only set up an Amazon Echo, but link it to three other smart devices in your home GearBrain
HelloTechHelloTech works both on site and online — meaning you might be able to get the help you need even if someone doesn't come to your home.
Customers can reach someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But at home visits are only made between 9 am and 9 pm, every day of the week. Pricing is per installation, and the company does have only service plans that start at $69 a year, which includes phone and online support, with discounts on in-home visits, according to its site.
Some of the smart home installs HelloTech supports are Ring doorbells, August smart locks and Nest thermostats for $99. Installing an Amazon Echo device costs $79, which includes connecting three additional smart home products to the smart speaker. HelloTech charges the same price for setting up a Google Home speaker, and connecting it to your Wi-Fi but won't link additional products.
Again, keep in mind you can buy a Google Home Mini for as little as $29, and GearBrain may be able to help you install these on your own. You can check out GearBrain's YouTube channel, and the video on What you need to know about Google Assistant Devices, or read our detailed guides on how to change Google Assistant's voice, create routines, control lights or even make phone calls.
Angi (formerly Angie's List) Does Offer Smart Home SupportAngie's List does help people connect to smart home specialists through its site iStock
Founded in 1995, Angi, formerly known as Angie's List, has been around long before anyone was really talking about building a smart home. That doesn't meant the company doesn't offer some smart home support, connecting customers to professionals who can install smart devices for them.
You do need to have an idea of what kind of service you need when scrolling through Angi. This is definitely the place to come to for opossum control or for some Feng Shui advice, but finding smart home techs takes a bit more digging. We found support for installing Nest thermostats and Wi-Fi routers, but little else dedicated to smart devices. That's not to say that a Commercial locksmith couldn't install a Yale smart lock, but you'd need to ask.
Angi doesn't make the appointment or act as a middle man. Instead, it's honestly a list of service providers who can do a specific job. You can see how many ratings a specific company has had from Angi members, and you can request a quote directly through the site.
The site is available across the U.S. in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and once you're a member (joining at the basic level is free) you can find which services are in your area.
Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine which can not only help you find smart and compatible devices help you get answers to questions you might have on your smart devices or just troubleshoot issues you might be having with your smart home security systems as well as Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled devices. It's free and easy to use.
How to Ask Questions on The GearBrain, the Compatibility Find Engine for Smart Devices. www.youtube.com
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