How much does smart home technology cost? It's not an easy question to answer. It's not as if you can walk into your local big box store and ask for a medium-sized lighting system with a side order of climate control.

The answer really boils down to how large your home is, not to mention how many (and what sorts of) things you'd like to control. To give you an idea of how much you might spend transforming your own home into a smart home, let's take a look at three hypothetical smart home systems, broken down into three price categories: low-budget, mid-sized, and sky's-the-limit.

Getting Started for Next to Nothing

Taking your first steps into the world of smart home technology usually means focusing on one specific need, like lighting, or climate, or even security, and building a system around what you need.

Take this security starter bundle for example. For just over $400, you can arm yourself with a Piper nv Smart Home Security System—which includes motion/sound detection, temperature/light/humidity sensing, two-way audio, and a 105 dB siren all in one sleek little box, along with a fully integrated Z-Wave smart home hub—as well as a FIBARO Z-Wave Motion (and temperature, light, and vibration) Sensor and a couple of Aeon Labs Z-Wave Door/Window Sensors—and have a truly smart, protected home with zero monthly monitoring fees. Better still, you'll have a foundation on which you can add additional Z-Wave technology as your budget allows.

Automating the Average Home

Of course, if you're ready to make a more serious commitment to smart home technology, you don't have to start so small. Given how affordable Z-Wave devices are, you could automate your entire home from top to bottom and spend no more than $1,000.

What would that kind of money get you? Starting with the advanced One-Touch Living starter kit, you could add a SmartThings Hub, six smart dimmer switches (one for each bedroom, the den, kitchen, and foyer, if you like); a smart thermostat for all of your climate control needs; an Aeon Labs Multisensor 6 or two to detect motion, temperature swings, humidity, light levels, and even seismic activity in and around the home; smart locks for your front and back doors; and even a couple of Water & Temperature Alarms to keep tabs on any potential spills or broken pipes.

Go Big and Go Home

All of the above is really just scratching the surface of what's available in terms of smart home technology. You can add more lighting, of course, since most Z-Wave hubs support up to 232 total connected devices. If your budget allows, you can go all out with garage door openerssmart power outlets for every room in the house, water shut off valves to automatically protect you in the event of a breakage event, connected smoke/CO detectors, ceiling fan controllers, Sonos wireless speakers in every room, and even connected door viewers that allow you to see who's at the front door even if you're a thousand miles from home.

Needless to say, if you incorporated all of the devices listed here you could easily spend $3000 or more on your smart home, but consider this: just more than a decade ago, that same level of smart home integration would have easily cost ten or twenty times as much, if not more – proving that even the most decked out smart home is reasonably priced with Z-Wave!