Amazon Echo Second Generation
NetGear Arlo Pro Security System with Siren
Philips Hue White 60W Light Bulb
Every single day, more and more products are being added to the best smart home devices category. Connectivity to Wi-Fi, manipulation from smart speaker models and other various environmental items, and total mastery over your home: with a push of a button, a click of a mouse, or your voice activating your personal in-home assistant, anything is possible.
We’ve covered an assortment of the top fourteen best smart home devices to enrich your living experience, and bring immense value to your safety, entertainment, and getting you to utilize every moment that you’re not working. Smart homes are how the world is proceeding: grab any of these, and you’ll be hopping on the bandwagon to a more easygoing, simpler future.
The Best Smart Home Devices
Amazon Echo Second Generation
Amazon Echo won the top of our smart speaker buying guide, allowing you to essentially remote control your entire home from a single voice command. Command Alexa with seven different microphones for a full 360-degree audio capture. This system also outputs high-quality audio from the same number of internal speaker tweeters, keeping everything crisp, clear, and ultra enjoyable. Thanks to machine learning, Alexa is able to predict what apps, shows and music you’ll enjoy, and make recommendations based on how you use your Amazon Echo.
You have over five unique designs to choose from, some of them including a little more plastic and a little less cloth. The Echo can fit just about anywhere in your home, and connect to an Amazon Echo Dot to give you full vocal range throughout the entire home, however large it may be. Last but not least, when it’s hooked up to your phone via Bluetooth, you can answer and send calls completely hands-free. Control your smart lock, smart camera, and home monitoring kits (among other things) from this all-in-one command center.
Amazon Alexa voice control
Play music directly from your Prime subscription or other sources
Excellent price for a durable unit
Hands-free calling, in and out
- Weight29.0 oz.
Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
Samsung has always produced high-quality products, so when they took to the market with their best smart home devices, we were eager to give it a shot. SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit includes a central hub, two sensors, one motion sensor, and an outlet to help control other items that are plugged in. You’re able to interact with numerous devices and platforms, including Amazon Echo and Alexa products. All you have to do is flip on the app while you’re away, and monitor your home as you see fit.
You’ll also get notifications sent directly to you if your motion sensors are set to active, and something passed by them. I mean, you might get a notice once or twice that your cat passed by the sensor, but that’s a happy mistake. In all seriousness, this is your starter kit to getting a fully automated home, while also getting situated with smart home devices to bring full automation into your life. Be sure to also check out our list of the top 360 cameras for more great items like this.
Includes one hub, two sensors, one motion sensor, and one outlet
Smartphone app gives you immediate notifications when sensors are tripps
This kit allows you to gain greater control over your home safety
Works well with Amazon Echo, Bose, and dozens of other company smart products
An excellent first introduction and powerful product for home automation
- BrandSamsung SmartThings
- Weight2.9 pounds
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
Ever wished you could just shout at your thermostat and it would understand you? Well, that insane fantasy has become a reality in recent years, and there’s no better representation of the smart thermostat than the Ecobee4. As if you didn’t already expect it, this comes with Amazon Alexa integrated right into it. You can call out for Alexa, whether or not you have an Echo or an Echo Dot, and you’ll be good to change the atmosphere. It’s all done through energy-efficient means, so you’re not throwing cash out the window just to enjoy some chilly air.
That’s relying on the enhanced room-sending smart thermostat technology, which is what put this smart thermometer light years above the rest. It takes a more accurate temperature of your room with humidity in mind, and conditions or heats up the air until it’s precisely right. It takes about a half-hour to install it, and while nobody wants to hear that, it’s all done through an in-app video tutorial system, so you virtually can’t mess it up. As if all that wasn’t killer, there’s a room sensor included with your purchase, making this smart thermostat a two-for-one deal. Be sure to combine this with a handy air purifier from our list.
Built-in Amazon Alexa (works with Google Home and Apple Homepod too)
Easy installation process
Energy-efficient protocol saves you potentially hundreds per year
Enhanced room sensors better understand the actual temperature of your room
Includes an additional room sensor
- Weight1 pounds
Philips Hue White 60W Light Bulb
Philips is a pretty stellar brand, and they made getting a smart light bulb ten times easier than we could have imagined. Open box, screw into slot, download the Hue app to your Google Home or Amazon Echo. That’s it, you are ready to use Hue White 60W; you can then call Alexa to turn the lights off, on, or dim to set some mood lighting. You can’t control your home until you determine how bright or dark it is with your voice. Apart from the obvious amazement, you’re not paying too hefty a price to gather this little ability.
If you’re a resident of California, for once, we have good news for you. Philips has a separate buying option when you check the price, specifically for California residents. Totally compliant, ready to ship, even if you’re in the heart of LA. Four smart light bulbs per pack, and a quick way to get on the good foot with automating your home. We couldn’t be happier with the experience.
Four smart light bulbs per pack
Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
Includes a specific buying option for California residents to comply with state law
Ask your assistant to dim the lights, turn them off, and turn them on
Takes less than two minutes to fully set these up, right out of the box
- Weight11.2 ounces
Wemo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Smart home devices need to get their power from an intelligent electricity source: check. Grabbing a smart plug is the difference between minor and major control, and Wemo makes it super easy. Download your Wemo app, and get ready to crack into a serious amount of features. Heading out on a trip? Set the randomized lights feature to give the appearance that you’re home, so burglars will know not to screw with your house. Need to cut down on the electric bill? Wemo remembers when to shut the lights out with a schedule.
The best part of this is the misconception that the public seems to have: you don’t have to reinstall your light sockets. You’re no electrician, which is why Wemo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plugs are perfect: pull them out of the box, plug them in, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Integrate these with your app, or even hook them up to Amazon Alexa so she can do it for you. My personal favorite is shouting downstairs in the morning and saying, “Alexa, make me some coffee,” and then it’s done. I mean, I have to set it up the night before, but the convenience is astounding (and fun).
Turn appliances on and off with your smartphone app
Randomized lights give you the ability to appear like you’re home when you’re not, thwarting potential robberies
Set a schedule for your lights to be on and off, maximizing energy efficiency, and minimizing impact on the environment
Compatible with Amazon Alexa
Fits right over your existing outlets; five-second installation
- Weight11.4 ounces
Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Controller
Logitech rarely outputs anything that isn’t noteworthy: this excellent smart remote fits the bill with their usual lineup of excellent products. There’s a whole family of Harmony remotes, but the elite is by far the best. Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Controller look simple, but wait until you see what it can do. For one, you can control your items when you’re not even at home. If you want to turn the television on for the dog or whatever you can imagine, you just have to click into the app,
If you’re like 97% of normal people, you’re going to lose your remote control at some point, and find it three weeks later when you’re not binge-watching. No worry: make sure you have the app downloaded, and use your tablet, smartphone or even your Chromebook as a controller. Simple to get started, and as you may have imagined, this is compatible with Amazon Alexa, as well as iOS and Android devices and services.
Works with Amazon Alexa
Full color touchscreen aspect
One-touch activities, meaning you can perform five functions with one movement
Harmony app turns your tablet or smartphone into a makeshift remote when the real one is missing
Control items when you’re not even home with the app
- Weight1.75 pounds
Wink Hub 2
Wink Hub 2 works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but it’s a different twist on the standard central home hub. This isn’t a speaker, but it is the heart that all your smart home devices will link to, giving you ultimate control over everything in your house with a single app. You have a full year on the warranty for any mishaps to occur, though we doubt you’ll need to use it. Link this up to your high-speed Wi-Fi, or take the traditional approach with an ethernet cable for a structured setup.
Whether it’s Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, or whatever connection protocol you’re using, Wink Hub is able to understand it and connect flawlessly. Setup is a breeze, and the app simplifies all the mental mess that comes with automating your smart home. Control everything from one simple app, so you can cycle through every smart home device you own in a matter of seconds, and get back to enjoying yourself.
Control every smart device in your home from one app
Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Whatever connectivity protocol you use, Wink Hub will understand it
Multiple setup support through high-speed Wi-Fi or ethernet
- Weight8 ounces
Amazon Cloud Cam Security
Quite possibly the best smart camera to ever exist. Amazon isn’t stopping with Alexa; they’re going all the way, and the Cloud Cam security camera is the way they’re doing it. You get two-way voice audio, so you can speak to your family while monitoring the system, or just check-up on the dog and let them hear your voice. That camera also has Alexa voice activation, so you can look at your phone, ask Alexa to show you the feed on camera #4, for instance, and boom: you’re linked-in, baby.
This is an advanced and interactive safety measure for your home. This works flawlessly with Amazon Key, one of their most beloved smart home devices on the market. They’re not just for internal use, either: link these up outside, and active high-quality night vision mode. Whether it’s a racoon in the bushes, or something more heinous, you’ll have an eye in the sky to get it all down on camera. Burglars and criminals in general are far less likely to target a home if there is surveillance equipment. For the sake of your safety, and because it’s totally cool to voice activate your in-home camera, this is the next evolution in smart home technology. Be sure to also check out our list of the top webcams for more great items like this.
Already integrated with Alexa
Perfect night vision for external use
Two-way audio; have your family talk to you, or talk to them
Works flawlessly with Amazon Key
Affordable protection for your home
NetGear Arlo Pro Security System with Siren
Much like the Cloud Cam, NetGear provides you with another smart camera to nab critters on your doorstep, and deter criminal activity altogether: Arlo. Every smart home device needs to have a name, and Arlo’s a cheeky little addition that has a lot to offer. Customize your package with multiple cameras, and run them all on a seven-day free trial of cloud recording software. Store your videos off-site with a trusted source to keep evidence in capable hands (when necessary). You’ll have an ultra-high resolution of `1280 x 720 to get a clear shot of whatever you’re looking for on the feed.
That includes if you’re taking a peek at night. Night vision mode gives you full control over your home from the inside out, while two-way audio doubles down on that dominance. Whether you’re just checking up on the kids, or you’re on the couch, but want to tell a solicitor to buzz off without having to get up, this little feature comes in handy. There’s no wires to set up; nothing but rechargeable batteries, and full use with Amazon Alexa.
Works with Amazon Alexa
Completely wire-free setup
Two-way audio system
Video resolution up to 1280 v 720
Night vision mode
- Weight1.07 pounds
Kwikset SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt
When smart lock models first launched, we were a bit uncertain about them. Looking back, we wish they were mainstream even earlier, because these things rock. You’re not going to access this via an app (what good will it do if you lose your phone?); instead, you’ll be able to set up to eight unique user passcodes. If you gave the code to a now-ex, you can simply delete their code without having to undo the ones that you, your family and your children know. Give everyone their own setup, and get back to feeling safe and secure.
Kwikset SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt comes with a lifetime warranty on all mechanics, and a one-year warranty on all electronic components. Basically, if you run into just about any issues, they’ll be within the first few months of use, and then you’ll be covered. This smart lock also features a backlit keypad, so if you’re getting in late one night, or when the days shorten in winter, you’ll still be able to see what you’re doing. When and if the battery dies or all else fails, there’s the failsafe option of using the actual key. The installation can be a little lengthy, but this is designed to fit into most pre-existing door knob slots, so you might get okay with a quick installation procedure. To secure your bike, make sure you check our bike locks review as well.
Lifetime warranty on all included mechanics; one-year on electronics
Fitted to slip into standard door knob cuts
Compatible with Kwikset Keyway
Set up to eight different codes for different users
Backlit keypad for accessibility in the dark
- Weight6.7 pounds
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
A smart doorbell; if you’d said this ten years ago, I wouldn’t even know what you were prattling on about. Ring Video is one of the most-used smart doorbell models globally, and brings some pizazz to the table. For one, you’re equipped to rock and roll with Amazon Alexa, which is always a plus. Second, you get seriously high-res video imagery, and at that close range, it’s almost overkill. 1080p HD display will capture every facial feature from the USPS guy, or whoever the hell is trying to break through your smart lock.
It even comes equipped with infrared night vision, so if it’s the wee hours of the night and your neighbors know you’re not home, you’ll be able to pin the bastard before they ever even step foot into your home. Pair all of this with the smart lock above, and the Cloud Cam we just reviewed, and you’ll be a home defense fortress that nobody will want to mess with. Last but not least, you get a lifetime theft protection on this thing. If a thief actually steals your physical smart doorbell, they will replace it for free. Ambitious thieves mean you still get to keep your doorbell.
Works with Amazon Alexa
Compatible with iOS and Android devices
Lifetime theft protection; free replacement if doorbell itself is stolen
1080p HD video resolution
Infrared night vision
- Weight9.6 ounces
Chamberlain Durable Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
We may not be using Alexa with this smart garage door opener, but Chamberlain Durable Chain Drive Garage Door Opener packs a serious punch for quality when you wouldn’t expect it. This durable thirty-five pound unit has some of the highest personal-grade power on the market, and enhanced security features. Use the keyless keypad to enter your garage with peace of mind: there’s over 100 billion encryption codes, so hackers wouldn’t be able to slip into the system even if they tried. You’ll be golden to feel safe, secure, and keep your valuable and family protected.
On top of that, you get an impressive range of 1,500 feet, so even if you have a long driveway, you can start the process while your car is still approaching the garage door. If you’re worried about installation, there’s no need to be: we can personally vouch for the fact that the most difficult part will be physically securing this medium-weight unit. Online video tutorials will guide you through absolutely everything you need to know, so you can automate your home even further.
Ten-year warranty on motor; one-year warranty on parts and accessories
Includes simple online installation tutorial for flawless use
1,500 foot control range
Keyless keypad entry for security
100 billion code encryption process
- Weight35 pounds
Wemo Wi-Fi Light Switch
It’s a fact that having the lights on gives the appearance that you’re home, and stops criminals in their tracks. They won’t barge in, because it puts a greater risk of being caught on their shoulders, and more ramifications if something goes astray. Wemo brought up the smart switch, but this is an entirely different step up. Use their same lovable technology on your actual light switch, allowing you to dim, turn on, or turn off your lights whenever you feel like it. Just fire up the Wemo app, and you’re good to go.
If your phone isn’t in reach, you’re still covered: just call for Alexa to handle it, and you’re all set. Wemo flawlessly connects this smart switch with Google Assistant as well, and with all this versatility and convenience behind it, it’s nowhere as pricey as you’d think. Wemo Wi-Fi Light Switch is one of the least expensive items on our list that you can use to get started with a smart, automated home. Save money with timer scheduling, keep your home looking full even when you’re on vacation, and live with peace of mind.
Extremely competitively priced
Works with Amazon Alexa
Control your lights without getting up, using the app
Allows you to set schedules and timers
Randomize Light feature makes it look like you’re home, even when you’re not
- Weight4.8 ounces
Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
This smart smoke detector also lets you know when carbon monoxide levels appear, and does perhaps the greatest thing ever: there’s no chirping involved, whatsoever. That is, as long as you listen to the audible warnings. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm will literally talk to you and tell you when the batteries are running low, or if there’s an issue and it requires maintenance. Your kids will never have that memory of dad cooking bacon, and setting off all the smoke alarms in the house.
It comes with battery self-check, so you’ll never be left with a smart smoke detector that stops functioning without letting you know. To add the icing on top, this also sends you notifications if there’s a problem, so if nobody is home and an electrical fire breaks out, you can notify the fire department right away before you lose anything. If you’re still not fully sure how to automate your home with these smart home devices, read our buying guide below, circle back, and start your smart home journey with the products you feel more comfortable with.
Detects smoke and carbon monoxide
Automatic battery self-check
The Nest talks to you and tells you when maintenance or batteries are needed
Phone notifications if something happens when you’re not home
No annoying chirp
- Weight1 pounds
Smart Home Device Buying Guide and FAQ
There’s a lot to cover about smart home devices. The concept was still in its infancy less than a decade ago, but now, you have all the major technology, appliance and electronics companies dipping their toes in the proverbial pool. If you want to get started on automation but don’t know where your jumping-off point is, you’ve just found it. We’ll explain how we got this list, what smart home product features you should be on the lookout for, and more.
How We Chose Our Selection of Smart Home Devices
Versatility - The more functions your smart home device can perform, the better. Being versatile is one of the key features in numerous security-based smart home features, whether it’s night vision on a doorbell camera, or two-way audio on your smart camera equipment. Being able to apply it to multiple uses and numerous scenarios is how you take these to the next generation, and get your use out of them.
Quality - Whether it’s the external build or how well the microphones and speakers work in your gear, there’s a lot of subjective parts to quality. If it works, doesn’t break down after a few months of use, and expands on the previous generation of smart home devices, then they’re on this list.
Performance - From the strength of connection to how the software actually plays out, there’s a lot that goes into performance. We’ve taken a look at user interface, time between voice commands and tasks, delays on app screens, simplicity of setup, and a whole lot more to ensure this category is on-point with our rigorously strict expectations.
Features to Look for in Smart Home Devices
Purpose - What’s your endgame? Full automation can get a bit pricey, so if you’re looking to get the most out of your money, you have to start small and work your way up. The two main categories these smart home devices fall into, depending on how you use them, is either automation, or home security.
Durability - Most of these products are about automation and hands-free use, so it’s important to take the time and pay special attention to how fragile or durable an item is. For the most part, you’re dealing with fragile microphones in voice activated bits of technology, so it’s always better to assume something is breakable rather than durable.
Connectivity - Whether it’s extremely fast Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 5.0, you need strong connections to maintain the balance in your smart home. The main issue we run into is that we have a phone, tablet, television and other items that already soak up all that Wi-Fi juice, and severely interfere with smart home devices. Good thing is, most of these smart home devices we’ve chosen use such little power and data transfer that you can keep them synced, and keep on living with a strong internet connection.
Q: What Are Smart Home Devices?
A: Anything that can be controlled with voice activation, an app, or through other means without direct contact (through another controller) is considered a smart home device. More often than not, it includes the ability to cross-link, transforming your space into an automated home. If you can use your voice from across the room, and command that your coffee pot turns on, your front door locks, or your favorite delivery place is given your quick order, you’re in the right foundation for an automated home.
These increase the joy in day-to-day living by an ever so slight amount, allowing you to pass-off the mundane tasks, calendar appointments, and simple chores to your in-home assistant. If you were to tell someone you had smart home devices, they would immediately assume they are in some way voice activated.
Q: Do I Need a Smart Hub?
A: If you want to truly automate and voice activate your smart devices , you need some sort of a hub. That can either be Amazon Echo, Google Home, or anything else designated to control multiple points of your smart home. Voice control is the epitome of dominance over your smart home, and hubs either allow that, or massive control through an app.
If you don’t want to have numerous apps downloaded and end up using many things manually, you’ll want a hub. It not only centralizes the process, but it simplifies it immensely. What may take you five minutes of messing with apps and remembering certain settings, can be done with a few voice commands. Hubs are essential to getting the full experience, and maximizing productivity. A hub can basically be any smart speaker that allows you to voice activate smart devices in your home.
Q: Why Get Smart Home Devices?
A: The future is automated. In truth, it actually makes your hectic life that much easier. I can’t tell you the number of times Alexa has reminded me of important meetings or birthdays, helping me to avoid looking like a jackass. I haven’t missed a birthday in two years, and before then, I missed every one. Apart from alarms and notifications, you get to enjoy some other serious perks.
There’s immense home security benefits that you just can’t get with other systems. When home security first really started taking flight, it was with call centers filled with real live people who monitored your cameras. It’s a bit creepy, don’t you think? With a smart camera and smart outlets, you’re able to set up sensors, detect when someone tries to enter your house, and deal with it on your own with a quick phone call to the police. Whether you’re inside or at work, having immediate knowledge of what’s going on is invaluable.
That also comes down to greater security than you could ever get before, like with a smart lock. Criminals are far less likely to break into your home (whether you’re inside or not) if the whole pad is tricked-out in smart features. Nothing freaks out thieves more than smart doorbells, cameras on the outside with night vision, and smart locks with buttons above the keypad.
When it comes to making your life easier, you smart home can be operated with your voice, or a simple swipe of your app. Call out to Alexa and have her turn the coffee pot on with your smart plug, check the thermostat and smoke detectors, and even show camera feeds right to your smart TV. If you want to know why the dog’s barking in the yard, or you want to check on the napping baby in the other room, it’s all a voice command away.
It isn’t all about personal benefits. Automating your home can actually increase your family’s happiness, since there’s less to stress about. You can shout out to the room to order pizza, purchase Amazon items, change the lights, lock the doors, and do all those mundane tasks that are piling up on your to-do list.
Q: What do I Need for a Fully Secure Smart Home?
A: Think of your home as a living, breathing person. It needs as many senses as possible to be able to understand its environment. You can essentially give it the sense of sight, touch, and hearing, giving you a three-point security system if that’s your reason for automating your home.
Basically, you’ll need the following items to get the most out of your security desires:
- Smart Cameras
- Smart Sensors
- Smart Doorbell
- Smart Lock
- Smart Lights
- Smart Plugs
Think of all these points behind why you need this specific batch of items. You’re trying to either give the appearance that someone is home, lowering the likelihood of being robbed, or you’re trying to show so much gear and tech that nobody would even dare walk on the same side of the street as your house, if they possess any intent to steal from you. Think of this as your basic home monitoring kit.
- Cameras will help give an immediate appearance that you’re someone who takes home security very seriously, and you probably have more technology that can capture their face, and help identify them. Nobody wants to risk that.
- Sensors are used internally, and are excellent if you have a babysitter, maid, or nanny and you’re not quite certain that they’re being totally honest with you. If things go missing, nanny cams have been around long enough that they might know where to look. Sensors are the next best step.
- Doorbells are an immediate deterrent. They’re eye-level with mostly everyone, and put the thief’s face right on display in high definition. They might pretend to knock and see that you’re not home, and then leave, even if their intent was to break in.
- Locks are a line of defense; not a deterrent. These have insane amounts of encryption, and allow you to give multiple users different codes. You can usually track the backlog and see what code was used, so even if someone broke into your house and you used your smart sensor to detect them, you can figure out who compromised their code, and continue from there.
- Lights will allow you to do the same as plugs, by randomizing your smart light bulbs and scheduling different times for the lights to be on. So long as you have a garage, nobody will know that you’re not really home. This is ideal if you live alone and want to keep the house looking alive while you’re out of town, or simply when you’re out with the family for dinner. (You can also get this effect from a smart switch.)