Advice needed on which products to purchase for smart home


Newbie here. I’m doing an extension and need to install the following:

  1. Doorbell (want 24/7, no subscription, Face AI preferred) - Looking at Aqara G4 doorbel or Reolink, but open to others. would be good to announce who has arrive on ceiling speakers, or announce to visitor / postman but not compulsory.

  2. 2 x outdoor camera (want 24/7, no subscription, Face AI preferred but not necessary)

  3. 2 x indoor camera same criterion

  4. Would prefer doorbell/cameras on one system,but will use different if needed.

  5. Smart heating - looking at Hive Smart TRV

  6. Smart underfloor wet heating with 5 zones - Hoping Hive can do this.

  7. Alarm - Considering if worth using Hive for this too, to auto turn off heating when everyone has left the house and alarm on.

  8. Smart light switches - hoping to link to alarm and ceiling speakers.

8a. Sensor to auto turn on lights if people walk in corridor/kitchen.

  1. Ceiling Speakers - Looking at Lithe v2 wifi multiroom smart speakers.

  2. Garden wall speakers (don’t need to be waterproof as under veranda roof) - Hopefully sync to ceiling speakers but if not at least bluetooth.

I’ve never used HA, but have installed it on linux debian. I don’t actually know how to automate anything.

Could you please advise which hardware you suggest I purchase for each of the above (with purchase link if possible?).

I would like to get products that speak to each other via HA as much as possible.

Thanks for your guidance in advance.


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I have the Reolink WiFi doorbell. Really great camera. It doesn’t do facial recognition, but human detection has been spot on, even someone walking 40-50 feet away from the camera. It’s also been rock solid in terms of performance. Throw an SD card in it and it’ll record locally for up to a week (using a 128GB card).

I also use Reolinks for this as well (POE only, no WiFi). Again, rock solid and every one of my cameras as an SD card in it (all 128GB). I use Frigate for additional processing and storage of videos as well. Regarding the 24/7 recording, on the newer cameras, the AI detection has gotten to be really good that I no longer need 24/7 recording. Once you tune the settings, the events that trigger a recording are pretty much spot on in terms of accuracy.

With that said, Reolinks kinda suck for night vision in truly dark conditions. You could add an additional IR light to brighten things up or go with flood lights as well.

I use Zigbee contact/PIR/presence sensors and the Alarmo integration for this. It’s worked out very well for me. I’ve heard good things about Hive though, but never had a need for it and don’t have a need for keypads or anything like that.

Aqara T1 relays and Aqara rockers are my go-tos for smart switches. The T1s sit behind dumb switches in the gang box and provide a smart relay control. I have no need for dimmers, but there are dimmers available as well.

You want to look at either PIR or presence sensors (both have their own pros and cons but can be used together for better human detection). Again, I prefer Aqara sensors for this along with Moes (limptech) mmWave sensors.

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thanks again Bill. Really helpful info.

  1. ALARM - As a noob, I’ll be too afraid to go down the Alarmo route. I just found out Hive don’t do the alarm anymore, so not sure which smart alarm to use now.

  2. CAMERAS - I’m going to copy you and go for reolink I think. Do you have links/model numbers for which external/internal ones you used? I’ll see if I can move my router to a utility room, in which case I’ll go POE - otherwise, will stick with wifi as router currently in bedroom. For the night vision, I’ll probably stick some security lights on to make the area brighter. Reolink seem reasonably priced too comparedy to Eufy etc.

  3. DOORBELL - You seem to use a mix of both Aqara and Reolink. Why did you choose reolink doorbell over Aqara G4 which has Face ID so could allow more smart triggers?

  4. HEATING - Do you have smart heating for TRV and underfloor?

  5. LIGHTS -
    a. Do you have links for your Aqara switches and PIR used?
    b. What is Moes mmwave sensors?
    c. Which zigbee contact / PIR sensors do you use? do you have links?

Thanks again for your detailed responses. Its a life saver as this is all alien to me and so confusing.

thanks again

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Don’t be afraid. Alarmo is actually one of the best integrations I use in my setup. Once you add your sensors, it pretty much runs itself without having to create automations for everything. It’s full featured enough for advanced users, but also has enough guardrails and hand holding for new users. I really can’t stress enough how well it works. As for other alarm systems, outside of the paid ones, I think Simplisafe and Ring are both supposed to be good (aside from the monthly fee(s)).


  • 2 Duo2 cameras (both POE and both with the Floodlight attachment). FANTASTIC camera. Gives you a 180 degree view and eliminates the need to additional cameras to cover a large zone.
  • 1 doorbell
  • 6 510a 4k POE

To give you an idea, this is my side yard. I used to have 2 cameras to cover this area, but with the Duo2, I only need one.


POE is definitely the way to go with these. Super easy to wire up and can stream 4k easily with no lag at all.

2 reasons, 1, I wanted all my cameras in one ecosystem with 1 app (should I choose to use it). 2, While the G4 is nice, it requires either Homekit (which I have) or the Aqara hub (which I don’t have) to be added to Home Assistant. Plus, I really prefer the smaller form factor of the Reolink compared to the G4.

Nope. I’m in the US, so I only have central air and heat. For that I use an 8 year old Ecobee that still works perfectly.

Aqara double rocker (US version):
Aqara T2/Matter relay: Dual Relay Module T2 - Aqara
Moes/linptech mmWave sensor (human presence sensor):

For contact sensors, I also use Aqara contact sensors (they are SUPER tiny and the batteries last a long time):

For motion sensors, the Aqara P1 is good, but I find it has issues when it comes to re-triggering (when it detects motion, there is a cooldown period before re-triggering new motion. While this is configurable, the timeout can still be too long for some applications). Because of this, I use Hue motion sensors. They are ROCK SOLID, the batteries last forever in them and they re-trigger quickly.

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Interesting conversation. Just to add if you consider 24/7 recording with Reolink cams they do have a NVR that you could add later if you think you need it.
@code-in-progress Do you see any issues combining Reolink cams with Frigate? There is a note on that Reolink might cause issues.

Nope. There are some “quirks” with using go2rtc to get audio and video properly, but overall, they work fine. Occasionally, the stream will get locked up by the mobile app, but it usually corrects itself fairly quickly. IIRC, most of the issues noted were due to older firmware and there was one bug with the newest doorbell firmware, but I believe they are getting that resolved (if not resolved already).


thanks again Bill.

On the doorbell, just wondering why you went for wifi instead of POE?

What would you say are your top 3 reasons for going for POE btw for my education?


Reolink are great but amcrest is better. look at IP5M-B1276E. When I test Reolink contrast was poor (in the posted images the shadows are too dark). During the day this is less of big deal but at night it really makes difference. Amcrest low light is just amazing. I think better than the reolink. I think images and audio are preference so I would buy and test for yourself before final decision. I considered unifi cameras in past and based on reviews and people comments they seemed amazing but in reality they were Terrible, especially for the cost. Dont trust comments. Choose some and test yourself unless your like me and just but new cameras yearly for fun.

I think reolink is the only decent POE doorbell option. Dahua(basically amcrest) has some but they are low resolution unless something new was released. you dont need smart doorbell. Sometimes they are just ugly for location they will be placed. I camera placed to cover door can work just as well. I use frigate and use the “person detection” to ring the doorbell or notify phone. I prefer it because you catch the people who walk up and dont ring bell. Placement of door camera is important as you must be able to see the persons activity at the door so it must be dedicated for the purpose of watching door and not covering other . You MUST also gaurantee face will be seen and identifable.

Konnected alarm is great. Really for alarm you just need something with input for open/close sensors and a siren. Konnected gives this and is east to setup but cost is high. I would go for some esp32 solution if you can find one. Doorbell can be connected to this if you do not use video doorbell.

I use zwave for lights and AC. I would look at matter devices if building today.

Sheer laziness. I didn’t feel like running a network drop for the doorbell. WiFi was WAY easier. :rofl:

Top 3 reasons?

  1. Ease of cable runs (1 ethernet wire for both data and power)
  2. Reliability: No WiFi interference and no worrying about the device losing connection should I want to rotate my SSID passwords
  3. Being able to support an NVR should I ever want or need one (all the newer NVR units are POE by default).

This is all true, but my beef with Amcrest has always been their mobile apps and their AI. I tested the B1276E for a few days before returning it due to false positives I was constantly getting. Great image/audio quality, but those false positives were causing my phone to blow up. lol

I highly recommend not using manufacturers apps for several reasons

Privacy- no way I trust them not to look at my feeds. Not that I much care , being outdoor and all but I do occasionally setup camera in house for testing or “where are the mice coming from”. I live in country.

Privacy- no way I trust them with my data. There will come a day when insurance companies raise rates based on traffic around home or persons coming and going. I’m sure they will be happy to use the cameras sensor and ai data. Read the app TOS.

Privacy- no way I trust them not to “insert conspiracy theory”. I think the concept of app is outdated and only hangs on so companies can pull user data. This is a bit out of scope for this thread but if you can avoid using OEM app, you should do it. That is the entire purpose of home assistant. Using OEM apps only encourages them to maintain these old ideas.

Frigate NVR covers AI. It works well enough for me to use it as only method to ring my doorbell and can identify random stealing my mail and packages which is all I need. Storage is cheap and you can use any crap used PC or raspberry PI. I got a cheap used 8bay rack server, 6TB HDD For cam storage and google coral and all is great.

HA covers need to quick check my cameras or review recent events. Connect direct to frigate to investigate problems of which I have had several types.

I have considered using one of their NVRs as a decoy recorder but will probably just setup pi with short 24/7 recording retention. I imagine if someone breaks in they may try to take NVR or take my servers. I think hidden recorder would be a hedge against this.

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While I don’t disagree with the privacy aspects (I mean, we are all HA users for a reason), I have to admit that Reolink has never rubbed me the wrong way privacy-wise. I’ve sniffed a LOT of their traffic and while I can’t say 100% that they are completely honest, I’ve never seen anything that makes my cybersecurity feelers raise up. No Chinese servers are used and strong encryption both inbound and outbound.

Sadly, there is the house approval factor and sometimes the Frigate UI doesn’t always satisfy that for other users in my house :frowning: Personally, I only use the app when setting up a new camera as there are settings that can only be modified that way, but then I usually ditch the app and use Frigate for all my needs.

There is an ESP package for econet water heaters

For the same reason of laziness + will have to change my whole router placement, I’m thinking of just going with wifi for cameras.

Its worked okay in another place with eufy cameras before, but I never stored in an NVR using HA/Frigate/other options.

Would the wifi option work if storing backup to FTP locally, in terms of data constantly being fed to the server from 4 cameras?

thanks again

On paper, sure. It should work and shouldn’t flood out your WiFi (depending on what kind of router you have an such). At least not for 4 cameras. Should you want to go above that, I would definitely look into setting up POE. You might hit a bit of lag if you are both recording from Frigate AND doing WiFi as well.

From the advice here, I’ve decided to go POE for everything.

Only questions I have are:

  1. How much power does the switch need?

a. How do I calculate power need? Do I look at camera W or V? Max camera Watt i’ve seen is 10W so doesn’t seem like an issu.e

b. If needed, can I put in separate power to my POE cameras (as my builder can do the power without issue).

c. Is it safer (to future proof incase I need to move to a different location ever) to get a Wifi camera (they seem cheaper too) and just put in Cat 5/6 cable + power to that. Going down this route, the non POE switches are also cheaper.

d. Do I need Cat 5,5e,6,6a,7 cable?

I’ll have:
a. 3 outdoor Reolink cameras (confused which is best as such a large variety).
b. 2-3 indoor Reolink indoor cameras (again confused which is best)
c. Will later add Home Assistant linux laptop as server/yellow
d. Some form of NFS for NVR perhaps?

  1. I will have 1 router and 2 x POE switches

a. Do I need to connect the routers/switches to uplink port on each side, or only uplink one side and normal port the other side.

  1. Is this Switch OK? 1/3 the £price of the more expensive models but power/speed/reviews all seem good. 16port POE 1GB Switch Each port is max 30W and total switch for 16 ports + 2 Uplink ports = 200W.

Thanks in advance again.

ps. Be warned, that once I come I purchase everything, I’ll have loads of HA queries to setup etc. too.

Switch itself is 120v
I think that’s 220 or 240 for you?

For me camera and AP are about 2.5 - 5watt each. Just multiply the number of POE devices by 5 and you will get the needed wattage for the switch

I think many switches will by 5xPOE port anyway so you likely only need to plan ports for total devices

Unless you plan to move in next year or two go POE. And even if you do maybe still go POE. Unless you buying camera with cost above $100USD cameras and available feature improve so much year by year a camera bought in 2024 will seem ancient in 2026. For example. The base $50USD Amcrest was 4 MP with no mic in 2023 and is now 5MP with mic and flood light in 2024. The other still look great but I wouldn’t reuse them if i had ability to sell or budget to replace.

Also if it’s not POE you still Have to plan power. I install everything so that could change reasoning since cable and labor may be expense for you. For me these are free.

Generally it will be router >> switchA >> switchB

I used managed switches meaning I can configure each port to be a defined vlan. This is handy so that I can setup vlan that blocks incoming/outgoing traffic to my cameras by default and specify which devices or vlans are allowed to connect to camera to pull the images/video. Same for other POE IOT sensors/relays

For camera and IoT only, yes it is OK only if:
Incoming LAN places this on a vlan that has no internet access
However you use this it will not connect to the internet

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I went ahead and purchased the above switch and POE Reolink Doorbell.

To my surprise, it doesn’t have rich phone notifications (without subscription on wifi version) or calling the phone on doorbell press.

These are basic features present in my eufy cameras and even cheaper ezviz doorbell.

I’ve read that they will be updating this, but can’t see this on my newly installed android app.

Can you please advise:

  1. If you have phone rich notifications and videocall on doorbell ring via the app?

  2. If no to above, have you been able to successfully do the same via HA without subscription to any online service?

  3. Separately, have you been able to use HA to create notifications of doorbell press on a normal TV eg. Samsung TV?

  4. Have you been able to use HA to create facial recognition triggers on any Reolink product, including the doorbell?

It seems to me that the app is currently lacking basic features like above, but unsure how easy it will be for HA to bypass these shortcomings. I’ve read that some people have achieved it but others found it too problematic.

thanks again

just sayin!

  1. have you been able to successfully do rich notifications and phone call on door press (even when out of house) via HA without subscription to any online service?
  2. Separately, have you been able to use HA to create notifications of doorbell press on a normal TV eg. Samsung TV?
  3. Have you been able to use HA to create facial recognition triggers on any Reolink product, including the doorbell?