PROS / Crestron is compatible with more smart home products than any other home automation system.
CONS / The company’s higher-end residential products require lengthy programming by an experienced dealer.
VERDICT / Crestron is the pinnacle of home automation systems but requires an experienced dealer for proper installation.
Crestron is the largest home automation company in the world. Much of the company’s work revolves around commercial automation in businesses and schools, but it also offers a wide array of residential automation products. You can customize your Crestron system with security features such as cameras and smoke detectors. Similarly, Crestron offers features that let you take control of your home’s scheduling, energy use and entertainment. The breadth of its offerings exceeds that of other home automation company, helping it claim the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best home automation system.
Service & Support
Upon visiting Crestron’s homepage, you get the choice between viewing business or residential automation products. The residential product page shows you a few examples of what it’s like to have a Crestron system by walking you through a typical day with the smart home system. Under the solutions tab at the top of the page, there is a resources section that delves deeper into the system through case studies, brochures and videos. Of these customer education resources, the most useful are case studies, which show you real-world examples of what Crestron owners have done with the systems in their homes. Not all home automation systems offer case studies, but Crestron is a prime example of this useful tool.
The company offers customer support primarily through local dealers, which receive Crestron Elite Dealer training before they can install and service Crestron systems. You can use the company’s Elite Dealer Locator to find one in your area. If you prefer to deal with Crestron without a dealer, the company also offers limited customer support via email and telephone. While most of its products have a three-year warranty, some product types, such as speakers and shades, have longer warranties from five to eight years. Other pieces of equipment, such as touchscreen displays, have 90-day warranties. Check with the company or a dealer to find out exact warranty terms.
As with most whole-home automation companies, Crestron manufactures much of the equipment for its home control systems. One of the most recent is Crestron Pyng, which is a system controller that simplifies residential Crestron installations for dealers. Before Pyng, many of the company’s installations needed custom programming to work properly, which added to the cost of an already expensive Crestron home automation system. You can get custom programming for your system, but this is something best left to high-end installations rather than simple starter installations. Crestron has a large network of over 100 hardware partners, the largest in our review. Some of Crestron’s most prominent partners include Cisco, Denon, Honeywell and Trane, though the list is certainly more extensive than we can share in our home automation reviews.
Crestron systems do not directly work with home security monitoring, unlike some of the home automation systems in our review. However, you can get this service if your dealer installs a compatible home security system from among the company’s hardware partners. By integrating a security system into your smart home, you can have your lighting and entertainment devices respond to intruders by activating when an alarm goes off. This can be a good strategy to deter thieves that want to enter your home without calling attention to themselves. Security accessories for Crestron include security cameras and safety devices such as smoke detectors.
Crestron helps you control your home in a variety of ways. If you want to use your smartphone to control the home management system, you can use Crestron Mobile or Crestron Pyng if you have a Crestron Pyng system, both of which are available on iOS and Android devices. The mobile apps’ interfaces perform the same tasks such as raising and lowering shades and other window treatments or activating your security system. The main difference is that Pyng has a flat design style with simple icons. You can also control the system using one of Crestron’s touchscreens, which come in a variety of sizes.
Depending on the equipment your dealer installs, you can set schedules, monitor energy usage, use voice control and set up scenes to manage your system. Each of these functions allows you to change settings or toggle the lights without delving through menus and sub-menus to find your devices. Since Crestron is a whole-house automation system, you can connect the system to home theaters and intercom systems to play your music in every room.
Crestron is the best smart home system on the market. It offers a strong selection of products and has more hardware partners than any other home automation system. The system is common enough that you can find a Crestron dealer in most parts of the U.S. Although we don’t delve into here, Crestron is also the top commercial automation system. The system can be rather complex and expensive to install but more than makes up for that with a solid home control system that can work in any home.