Yes, You Can Fit Out an Entire Smart Home at Bunnings

Yes, You Can Fit Out an Entire Smart Home at Bunnings
Image: Apple Emoji, Bunnings logo.

Earlier this month, we reported that Bunnings was a pretty decent place to pick up some tech kit (and a gaming PC). So, we’ve decided to put the home of the sausage sanga to the test: can we build a smart home using only devices sold at Bunnings?

We’re using the kit available via the Bunnings online marketplace to build this smart home, but a lot of it (if not all of it) can be purchased in-store.

Building a Bunnings smart home

The internet

For any smart home, you first need internet. Does Bunnings sell internet? No, but it sells modems/routers. Assuming you already have internet, but your modem/router is trash, you can get a new one from Bunnings.

In total, it has nine, and they’re all TP-Link. The cheapest is the TP-Link Archer C20 Wi-Fi Router, which will set you back $59.95. It will do the job, but not brilliantly. With the Archer C20, you will get simultaneous 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 433 Mbps at 5 GHz for 733 Mbps total available bandwidth.

The most expensive is the TP-Link Cat6 4G+ Wireless Router. For $300, you’ll get 4G backup (most routers you get from your telco now offer this) and the pitch is you can connect up to 64 devices.

If you need to extend your Wi-Fi range to connect smart home devices in all of your rooms, Bunnings has a bunch of extenders, too. The cheapest extender is the TP-Link 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender, for $33.71, and the most expensive is the Netgear AC1750 Wi-Fi Mesh Extender, at $128. For comparison, Amazon’s Eero mesh network routers will set you back $439 each. You’re going to get what you pay for. But if you live in an apartment, you should be fine.

Smart home hub

Now the internet is sorted, you’re going to want a smart home hub. Bunnings, what have you got by way of a smart home hub?

Let’s start with shopping giant Amazon. For $37 you can get the 3rd-gen Amazon Alexa and the gen-4 Echo Glacier for $57-$79, depending on your preferences. All of these Alexa-enabled hubs are capable of switching lights on/off, playing music, answering questions – everything Amazon has taught Alexa to do. But, there isn’t a control ‘hub’ element to these, so you’re limited to what your voice can do.

In the smart home hub space, however, Bunnings has some more Alexas. The gen-2 Echo Show 5 will cost $77 and the gen-2 Echo Show 8 will set you back $127. All of these allow you to select buttons on the screen and watch stuff like Amazon Prime and Netflix, control lighting, power outlets, etc.

Google Assistants (which I personally prefer) are also available at Bunnings. The 2nd-gen Google Nest Hub will cost $97 (this isn’t the one with sleep tracking), but you can also pick up the Google Nest Mini for $49 and the Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker for $124.

You can use the physical screen on the Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub but you’re going to benefit from having the Alexa app or the Google Home app on your phone.

So, a phone (a smart one, ofc) is integral to your smart home.

Phones and tablets

No, Bunnings doesn’t sell smartphones. It does, however, have a super cute rotary telephone for $99.95. But that’s not going to help us build a Bunnings smart home. It also doesn’t sell iPads or Android equivalents. So, let’s assume you already have at least a tablet or a smartphone. The next thing we need is some smart lights.

Smart lighting

Under the header of ‘smart light bulbs’, Bunnings has 60, ranging from flood lights to the standard light bulb you would use in your bedroom, RGB strip lighting and Nanoleaf coloured globes. You’ll obviously pay more for a flood light, but for the standard globes you’d put around your home, you’ll expect to pay $11 through $35 for one (with the latter giving you colour options). You can also get fun stuff like Nanoleaf shapes.

Other smart stuff

This includes motion sensors for both indoor or outdoor (which would notify you when movement is sensed or you can even trigger a specific light to illuminate). The cheapest one is $22.85 from Arlec. I haven’t used any Arlec kit before, so I can’t comment on the quality, but the brand Brilliant is available at Bunnings for $34.86 and Mirabella for $29.

Bunnings also sells Google Nest Smoke Alarms, which have a piercing alarm sound, but a soothing voice that tells you an alarm is coming and that it’s loud.

There’s also a tonne of security cameras, seriously, too many to list, and smart doorbells. If your device isn’t smart, such as a bedside table lamp, you can make it smart by connecting smart plug in between the outlet and your device.

Can you build a Bunnings smart home?

You can. But you need to purchase your internet or smartphone or tablet elsewhere. And you likely already have them.

Who woulda thought? Lowest prices really are just the beginning.