Smart Home Devices That Will Help You In Your Everyday Life
Out of necessity, the transition began a few years ago. I was shocked to uncover a heavy coating of dust on the floor after peering beneath my bed skirt to collect a fallen object. My old corded upright vacuum was too big to fit all the way under the table, so I bought a robot vacuum to do the dirty work for me.
Then I bought a dog, which necessitated the purchase of a So-Nerdy smart air purifier to help with allergies and asthma, as well as a pet camera to keep a watch on my pet (and my home) from my phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since then, I’ve been reviewing smart home products for PCMag, and my small Florida beach bungalow has evolved into a test bed for the latest home technology, becoming smarter by the week. I now enter my bedroom and ask Google Assistant to turn on the lights. Alexa places a reorder for protein powder and dog food, and it arrives two days later. Before I get out of bed in the morning, I regulate my thermostat using an app on my phone from the comfort of my bed. On the screen of the smart display in my kitchen, I get severe weather warnings and cooking ideas. Even my air fryer notifies me when it’s finished preheating.
There’s a smart version of almost every household appliance you can think of these days. These goods, in general, link to the internet, allowing you to operate them from your phone via a companion app. Most of them also use voice control in some way.
Many smart home companion applications provide scheduling capabilities, allowing you to arrange your devices to perform a specific activity at a specific time. PCMag’s editor Wendy Sheehan Donnell, for example, wired her smart garage door to close automatically every night at a specified time after her bike was stolen.
You can build up routines with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to configure your gadgets to operate together and perform numerous things at once, such as adjust the thermostat and lighting when you arrive home. You can control your gadgets using Siri voice commands or an Apple Watch, and you can create scenes to trigger several devices at once with Apple HomeKit. You can connect numerous internet-connected gadgets and quickly program them to respond to real-world events, such as configuring your lights to switch on automatically at sunset, using IFTTT, a service supported by many of the leading smart home brands.
The top smart devices we’ve evaluated for every room of the house are listed below. Because there are so many goods, we’ve divided them by area to keep things organized, but most of these gadgets can be used almost anywhere.
Also, keep checking back since we’re constantly evaluating new items and adding them to our list.
Creating a Well-Lit and Secure Entrance in the Front Yard
Before you even walk through the front door, you’re greeted with technology in the ultimate smart home. In the front yard, you’ll find some of the most essential connected home gadgets.
You’ll need some outdoor-friendly smart lights to light up your home. The Ring Smart Lighting System is a great choice since it allows you to construct a network of motion-activated security lights for your home’s outside. Floodlights, pathway lights, spotlights, and step lights are among the components that can be added as needed.
The majority of Ring’s smart lighting components are battery-powered, making them simple to install. Each one functions as a motion-activated light on its own, but you’ll need to link them to a Ring Bridge to make them smart. Once connected, you can use Alexa voice commands or the Ring app on your phone to manage the lights, establish groups so that all of the lights turn on when one detects motion, and attach them to Ring security cameras like the Stickup Cam Battery. When the camera is connected, you can have it record video whenever a light detects motion.
Camera Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight
When it comes to outdoor security cameras, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is our overall favorite for keeping an eye on your property from your phone. Not only does this high-resolution, weather-resistant security camera capture motion-activated footage, but it also casts a bright light on anything is moving around on your property. It’s wireless, takes minutes to set up, and gives detailed 2K video with color night vision, as well as accurate and intelligent motion detection and a variety of connection choices.
When you want to see if it’s a delivery person or an unwelcome solicitor banging on your door, a video doorbell will allow you to do so without getting out of your chair. Video doorbells can also act as a first line of defense against property theft, home invasion, and porch pirates, in addition to being convenient. They not only allow you to see and interact with whoever is outside, but they also record video of guests who come to your door while you are away or unable to respond. The Ezviz DB1C Wi-Fi, our favorite budget-friendly model, gives excellent HD video with a wide viewing angle, supports IFTTT as well as Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, and enables local and cloud video storage.
A smart lock is another piece of technology you’ll want on your front door. These gadgets, which are arguably the most crucial component of a genuinely connected home, provide both security and flexibility, allowing you to come and go as you choose while also monitoring who enters and leaves your home while you’re gone. The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is our current pick because of its simple installation, automated locking and unlocking capabilities, strong third-party integrations, and elegant design.
Consider a professionally monitored smart home security system for the finest level of safety. ADT Command, one of our top selections, is a significant investment, but it provides practically everything you need for optimal security. ADT is more expensive than Vivint, another Editors’ Choice winner, but it provides better customer service.
SimpliSafe is a home security system that is simple to use.
Do-it-yourself smart home security systems are a more economical option for homeowners who wish to save money by monitoring their houses themselves. Our favorite DIY alternative is the SimpliSafe House Security System, which allows you to secure and monitor your home from afar without spending a fortune or signing a long-term contract. Keep in mind that when an alert is activated, DIY systems leave it up to you to take action.
Smart Lighting System by Ring
The Ring Smart Lighting System allows you to build a network of motion-activated security lights for your home’s outside.
Battery for Ring Stick Up Cam
The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is a wireless indoor/outdoor security camera that records motion-triggered footage and uploads it to the cloud.
Camera Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight
The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is a wireless outdoor security camera that installs in minutes, delivers amazing 2K footage, and comes with a slew of features and integration possibilities.
Wi-Fi Video Doorbell Ezviz DB1C
The Ezviz DB1C Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is a low-cost smart doorbell that offers clear HD video with a wide viewing angle, cloud and local video storage, voice control, and compatibility with a variety of third-party smart devices.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is simple to set up and offers a lot of functionality in a small package.
Command of the ADT
ADT Command is worth its premium price if you’re seeking for a professionally monitored smart home security system that provides practically everything you need for optimal protection, as well as world-class customer support.
Starting at $59.99 per month
Vivint Smart Home is a smart home service provider.
The Vivint Smart Home system provides 24/7 security monitoring as well as remote control of your cameras, door locks, heating system, and other smart home devices.
Starting at $49.99 per month
SimpliSafe is a home security system that is simple to use.
The versatile and easy-to-use DIY SimpliSafe House Security System has a lot to offer if you want to secure and monitor your home from away without spending a lot of money or signing a long-term contract.
Televisions and soundbars are the clear stars of the show when it comes to living room technology. However, in the ultimate smart home, a plethora of other devices collaborate to improve the ambiance, convenience, and security of your primary living area.
A smart speaker, for starters, is a must-have for the living room. Aside from playing music, our top models also act as a command center, allowing you to operate pretty much any other connected home device with your voice. The first step in selecting one is to determine which voice assistant platform is best for your home: Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri are all options. Most major smart home gadget brands are supported by all three.
If Alexa is your voice assistant of choice, we recommend the Echo Studio, which has absolutely exceptional audio quality for the price, or the fourth-generation Amazon Echo, which is a more cheap option. The Nest Audio is for Google Assistant enthusiasts, while the Sonos One allows you to use both Alexa and Google Assistant.
You may also use Siri to operate your smart home as a third option. You’ll need a HomePod mini in your living room in this situation. If you go this route, make sure any other smart home gadgets you buy are Apple HomeKit compatible.
A smart display could be used instead of or in addition to a smart speaker. They have the same hands-free voice assistant features as a smart speaker, but they also have a handy touch screen on which you can monitor live feeds from your smart doorbell or security camera, make video chats (virtual game night, anyone? ), and control your connected devices with a few clicks. When not in use, your smart display in the living room can be used as a digital photo frame to display personal photos or curated art. For the living room, we recommend the Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo Show 10 and the Google Assistant-enabled Google Nest Hub Max, while smaller options are best suited for the kitchen and bedroom.
Nest Hub Max by Google
Swapping up your ordinary incandescents for smart light bulbs that offer app and voice control is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to enhance your living room. You’ll never have to get up off the couch to turn on the light switch again after upgrading. Smart lights not only provide more convenience than standard bulbs, but they also use less energy and last longer, saving you money in the long run.
We found the Wyze Bulb Color to be the best cost-effective smart color bulb we’ve tried. It’s a lot smarter than your regular light bulb, but affordable enough to place in every fixture in the house, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for hub-free app management and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support so you can turn it on and off with your voice. It can produce practically any color, as well as a variety of warm to cold white tones, and may shine brightly or dimly, giving you many of options for your next movie night.
A connected thermostat is another smart living room technology that can add major convenience to your life while also potentially saving you money on energy. Our top picks let you use your phone or voice to monitor and control your home’s heating and cooling system, create temperature schedules, and take advantage of energy-saving features that can help you save money. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat With Voice Control, our top selection, comes with a remote sensor that you can place in different rooms to keep the temperature consistent throughout the house.
The Nest Learning Thermostat, third generation, distinguishes out for its capacity to program itself. It learns your heating and cooling preferences during the day and night during the first week of use, then creates a personalized schedule for you. The Nest Thermostat, which requires manual scheduling but is perhaps the most beautiful device on the market, is a more budget-friendly option.
Thermostat for the Nest
With a smart plug, you can turn any gadget that plugs into the wall into a connected device that you can manage from your phone, such as a lamp, space heater, humidifier, or even a Christmas tree. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 is one of the more expensive models in its category, but it’s also one of the most effective. It contains a USB charging port and enables you operate two outlets independently. It also informs you how much power each one is taking.
The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 is a smart surge protector with six outlets that can be controlled individually through phone or voice. It also supports IFTTT, allowing you to program it to switch various outlets on or off automatically when another event occurs, such as a camera motion trigger. The Wyze Plug is our favorite economical solution if you only want to make a few things smart.
With so many smart gadgets in your living room, a Wi-Fi-connected indoor home security camera is a wonderful option. The Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt, one of our favorites, provides brilliant high-resolution video and includes capabilities often found on more expensive models, such as local and cloud storage, automatic motion tracking, and support for all major voice assistant platforms.
Finally, if you have a cat or dog, your smart living room isn’t complete without a pet camera, which allows you to monitor and communicate with your pets at any time, from anywhere. The Furbo Dog Camera is as practical as it is entertaining, with barking notifications and a treat-tossing functionality that both you and your dog will enjoy.
Amazon Echo Studio
Amazon’s Echo Studio, with its shockingly powerful Dolby Atmos-compatible directional audio, rivals smart speakers that cost twice as much.
Echo (Amazon) (4th Gen)
The Amazon Echo Plus’s sound quality and smart home hub capabilities are combined in a new round package with the fourth-generation Amazon Echo speaker.
Nest Audio by Google
For a low price, the Nest Audio smart speaker provides Google Assistant functionality as well as clear, precise sound in an attractive design.
Sonos One is a sound system designed by Sonos.
The Sonos One, now in its second iteration, is a multipurpose wireless speaker with exceptional sound quality, multi-room audio capability, and voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Apple HomePod is a smart speaker that connects to your
When it comes to voice control, the HomePod excels as a high-quality smart speaker for listening to Apple Music, but it lags behind Amazon and Google.
Apple HomePod mini is a little version of the HomePod.
For $99, the Apple HomePod tiny speaker provides Siri voice assistance and smart home control in a cute little orb form, but the Amazon Echo provides significantly more sonic power.
3rd Generation Amazon Echo Show (2020)
The Amazon Echo Show 10 smart display, now in its third iteration, features strong audio and a motorized base that allows the screen and camera to spin as you move about.
Nest Hub Max by Google
The Google Nest Hub Max is a large, bright smart display with Google Assistant that can also be used as a security camera for your house.
Color of Wyze Bulb
The Wyze Bulb Color is a low-cost smart light bulb that you can manage with your phone and voice. It has device-triggered automations, scheduling, sleep routines, and more.
The price range begins at $20.99.
Ecobee Voice-Controlled Smart Thermostat
Alexa support, a touch display, a remote room sensor, and interoperability with a variety of other smart home devices are all included in the Ecobee Smart Thermostat With Voice Control.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a thermostat that learns as you use it (3rd Generation)
The Nest Learning Thermostat’s third edition includes all of the smarts of its predecessors, plus a larger display, geofencing capability, a furnace monitor, and a few extra sensors.
Thermostat for the Nest
The Nest Thermostat, which is reasonably inexpensive, allows you to operate your heating and cooling system through phone or voice, create temperature schedules, and has energy-saving features that can help you save money.
Smart Outlet 2 by ConnectSense
The ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 is a feature-rich smart plug that supports Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice commands and works with Apple HomeKit.
Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 from TP-Link
The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 is a six-outlet smart surge protector with a lot of features that you can manage with your voice or a mobile device.
Plug in Wyze
The Wyze Put is simple to use and allows you to control anything you plug into it with your phone and voice.
Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24 Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24
The Eufy Interior Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24 is a budget-friendly indoor home security camera with vivid high-resolution footage and capabilities found on more expensive models.
Camera for Dogs Furbo
The Furbo Dog Camera is as practical as it is entertaining, allowing you to keep an eye on your pet and offer it treats from anywhere.