Lowe’s Iris Smart Home System: Affordable, Hub-Based Automation

Lowe's Iris Smart Home System

When Iris first came out, it was a small little device from Lowe’s in a relatively new smart device market – a curiosity more than anything else. Now that the Iris smart home system has developed into a fully fledged suite of home automation devices based on a single platform, it is an entirely different animal, and one well worth looking at if you are ready to adopt a smart home system.

Lowe’s Iris Smart Home System Accessories

The core of every smart home system are the devices that you can use. Yes, Iris requires the Iris Hub, which is a central device that everything communicates through, but the Hub doesn’t do anything on its own. No, for Iris you need to pick out your smart devices of choice, and they all have to be in the Iris suite to work. Fortunately, they are all easy to understand and can be installed without any professional assistance (if you have a step ladder and know what you’re doing). Those smart devices include:

  • Video Cameras: Iris is heavily focused on security, and offers a few different wireless video cameras for the job. There’s a traditional wireless video camera designed for in-house use, so you can perch it on a shelf or table. There is also an outdoor version with a larger range and more weather resistance so you can keep a watch on your doors and yard.
  • Door and Window Sensors: The Iris door and window sensors come in two different parts. When armed, the system can detect when these two parts separate – when a door or a window is opened, in other words. The system can then sound an alarm, send you alert, or other activities based on how you customize it.
  • Motion Sensor: This square little sensor uses infrared beams to monitor a 120-degree space for motion within 20 feet.
  • On/Off Switch: this is a normal on/off switch that you can use with lights or other devices…but it also works with your smartphone.
  • Smart Plug: Similar to the switch, this is a simple wall outlet that allows you to remotely program and control devices plugged into it.
  • RTOA Smart Thermostat: Everyone has a smart thermostat out these days. The version Lowes offers is fairly simple, it includes based 7-day programming and a simple display, but it also allows you to program or change it online.
  • Senior Pendant: This is a “call for help” button that can be worn by seniors, especially those at home alone.
  • Water Leak Detector: A smart device for your utilities, this attaches to your basement, laundry room or a similar area and allows you to get alerts when it detects a leak or something more serious.
  • Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Obviously, these detect smoke and carbon monoxide, plus mobile alerts.
  • Electricity Meter Reader: If you don’t already have a smart reader, this can measure your electricity usage day by day and offer you new ways to save, or at least closely monitor how you use electricity.

Iris Kits and Prices

The prices of the Iris smart home system vary based on what you decide to buy. Central to the system are the three kits that Lowes offers – Safe & Secure, Comfort & Control, and the Smart Kit. Each includes the necessary Hub device, but includes a different set of devices.

The Safe & Secure kit, as you can imagine, includes contact sensors (two) and motion sensors (one) along with a keypad you can use to create your own in-house arming code. It costs $149, but remember that you can add other devices to it if you want.

The Comfort & Control kit, meanwhile, offers only a smart plug and the smart thermostat. It’s an easy way to get started with the Iris system, but it’s also a bit expensive – you’ll have to pay $129. However, compared to other smart thermostats on the market, this may seem like a good deal. Finally, the Smart Kit is a combination of the first two packages that also throws in a range extender for covering larger areas, for $249.

You can also piece together your own package. The Smart Hub itself will cost you $100, but accessories vary greatly in price. A video camera can cost you as much as $149, but a door sensor as little as $20. The thermostat on its own is $100, and the Smart Plug is $30.

Is Iris For You?

While the Iris smart home system has a lot of options with some very competitive prices, it suffers from two big caveats. First, it’s all centered on a smart hub, which the home automation industry is quickly moving away from. There are plenty of options on the market these days that don’t require a hub at all (Apple and Nest come to mind). Second, Iris is a very self-contained system, which means you can’t pair up with any non-Lowes devices baring one or two random entries like the Verizon USB modem. If you already have smart home devices, they won’t be compatible, which could be a major barrier to adoption.