While smart mirrors are starting to become available to buy, they can be incredibly expensive. Purchasing a smart mirror can cost $1000-2000 depending on the size and features.
Fortunately, it’s far cheaper to build one yourself. Not only can you build one for a fraction of the cost, but your smart mirror can have the same features as a $2000 smart mirror.
Building your own smart mirror also means you can customize it to your needs. Instead of paying for features you don’t want, you can build a smart mirror with exactly the features you want.
The cost of building your own smart mirror depends on what materials you will use, what features you want, and the overall size of the mirror.
A small smart mirror might cost less than $100, a medium sized smart mirror from $150-300, and a large mirror could be $400+.
Let’s go through a few examples so you can get a better idea on the costs of building a smart mirror.
Building a Small Smart Mirror on a Budget
Small smart mirrors can be cheap to build. There are three main components to a smart mirror, so let’s look at how much each might cost for a small build.
Glass: you have plenty of options when building a small smart mirror. You could use regular glass with a mirror film, or use plexi-glass with two-way mirror coating.
To give you an idea of the cheapest option, you could simply buy a photo frame (~$10-20) and use reflective film (~$10) to turn it into a two-way mirror.
Display: the advantage of building a small mirror is you can find a display that fills up the entire mirror. If you have an old computer monitor, you can use that for your smart mirror at no cost.
Or you could easily buy a second hand monitor for under $50.
Computer: the most popular option when building a smart mirror is using a Raspberry Pi. You could buy a complete kit with all connectors for around $50-80.
Depending on what you already have available, you could easily build a small smart mirror for around $100. If you don’t have any parts, the total build might cost somewhere from $100-150.
Building a Medium Sized Smart Mirror
Medium sized smart mirrors can still be quite cheap to build. Depending on how you want your mirror to look, you might need to buy extra parts for a frame, but overall it’s still quite cheap.
Glass: depending on the size you want, you can still choose between plexi-glass or glass. You could use regular glass with a mirror film, buy a two-way mirror, or use plexi-glass with two-way mirror coating.
The larger the mirror will be, the more distortion you will notice if you use plexi-glass. If you’re building a mirror larger than 30″ diagonally, then it’s recommended to use glass.
Regular glass with a film should only cost around $20-50, good quality plexi-glass might cost around $150, and a proper two-way mirror might cost around $200.
Frame: building a frame is quite cheap and easy. With wood and paint/varnish, it might cost a total of $20-50 depending on what materials you want to use and the overall size.
Display: if you want your smart mirror to display across the entire mirror, you might need to buy a large monitor. A second hand 28″ monitor might cost around $80.
If you’re okay with the smart mirror only displaying on part of the overall monitor, you can buy something for far less cost.
Computer: unless you plan on adding a lot of processor intensive features to your smart mirror, a Raspberry Pi will likely be enough for your smart mirror.
A complete kit with all connectors will cost around $50-80.
Assuming you don’t have a spare monitor, medium size (eg: 30″) smart mirror could cost anywhere from $150-400 depending on the quality of materials and features you want it to have.
Building a Large Smart Mirror
If you want a large smart mirror for your bathroom, it will cost quite a bit more due to the size. The main cost will be the glass. All of the other parts such as the computer and display will be fairly cheap.
Glass: For a large mirror, you don’t want to use plexi-glass. The distortions will make it look cheap. One option is to buy a regular pane of glass and use a mirror film. This is what I did for my bathroom smart mirror and you will see details about it across this website.
Large panes of glass can be fairly expensive because they need to be quite thick (6mm). My large glass pane (55 x 30″) was $200 and a large film to cover it was $30.
If you want to purchase a two-way mirror, the cost rises dramatically as the size of the mirror increases. A 55 x 30″ two-way mirror could cost thousands.
Frame: building a frame is quite cheap and easy – even for a large mirror. With wood and paint/varnish, it might cost a total of $50-80 depending on what materials you want to use and the overall size.
The frame needs to be strong enough to support the mirror on the wall, so it’s worth spending money on good materials.
Display: A second hand 28″ monitor might cost around $80. Smaller monitors are perfectly fine on large mirrors as you won’t need to fill up much space with your mirror’s content.
A 20″ monitor is still perfectly fine, but aim for the largest monitor you can afford to get. You don’t want to build a big mirror only to be limited by a 15″ monitor.
Computer: unless you plan on adding a lot of processor intensive features to your smart mirror, a Raspberry Pi will likely be enough for your smart mirror. A complete kit with all connectors will cost around $50-80.
Large smart mirrors can cost anywhere from $400 to over $3,000. It really depends on how big you want it to be and what features you want. You’re still likely to find it’s quite cheaper to build rather than buy one.