October 30th, 2018 | Updated on November 7th, 2020
Generally, they’re defined by their ability to connect wirelessly, allowing users to interact with them from their smartphones. The smart home predicted by generations of sci-fi writers is finally becoming a reality – and some of the new devices out there fulfill even the most ambitious fantasies.
So, you want to turn your “dumb” house into a smarter one. You’re not alone. Analysts expect the smart home devices industry to reach $107.4 billion by 2023. But the question is, where do you begin?
The number of gadgets available to buy and the different brands can overwhelm smart-home beginners who are ready to enjoy better-equipped abodes. While many of these useful gadgets remain in the realm of luxury, others are perfectly affordable and can start making your life easier right now.
This super buyer’s guide covers smart devices for every budget and every lifestyle, whether you’re looking for simple objects or want to embrace the smart home lifestyle with the most advanced tech on the market.
We’ve rounded up 25 cool, diverse offerings in list below.
1. Amazon Echo Show
Amazon’s Echo Show is an Alexa-powered speaker with a built-in camera and a 7-inch touchscreen. The aforementioned features bring a whole new layer of functionality compared to past Echo products, including the ability to make free video calls with other Echo Show users.
Review: Ed Rempalski
I know that many media folks have stated that the “Drop-in” feature of the Echos is “creepy” and can see their point. Here’s a different perspective.
Mom is now almost 95 and she has short term memory dementia, she’s in great spirits but I really can’t teach her anything technical, like dialing a phone or even pressing a memory dial button. She lives near my sister and is 2 hours away so visiting is always a bit of a project. Read Full Review…
2. Google Home
The stylish Google Home smart speaker is a rival to the Amazon Echo. It features the tech giant’s AI-powered Google Assistant, which responds to voice prompts by tapping into an ultra advanced neural network. It can play music, answer questions, set timers, and control connected appliances, among many other things.
Read Full Review…
3. Airmega 400S Air Purifier
The Airmega 400S can keep the air clean in up to a whopping 1,560 square feet of living space, so it’s well worth its considerable price tag.
The device has a built-in real-time air quality sensor, as well as a sophisticated dual-filter setup that allows it to keep both particles and odors at bay. You can control the air purifier via a sleek smartphone app or Amazon Alexa.
Review: Amazon Customer
This is a fantastic air filter/purifier but I wouldn’t recommend buying it for the ‘smart’ features. I personally bought the 300S model but I would recommend the 400/400S if you can afford it.
Below I first discuss the issues I have with the smart features, then the reasons why over all I am happy with the product.Automatic Night Mode: Unfortunately one of the primary reasons I purchased the 300S model was for the light sensor that would automatically enable night mode when the lights went out. Read Full Review…
4. Linksys Velop
The Linksys Velop mesh Wi-Fi system consists of one or more high-performance mesh nodes with pleasantly understated design and a compact footprint. A single node can cover up to 2,000 square feet with high-quality Wi-Fi. A pack of three units is good for 6,000 square feet of space.
Each Linksys Velop node packs tri-band Wi-Fi technology, which includes a single 2.4 GHz frequency and two 5 GHz ones. Multiuser MIMO is also part of the specs, as is support of Amazon Alexa voice commands. Setting up the Velop Wi-Fi system requires an intuitive app for iOS and Android.
Goal: to eliminate all dead WiFi zones in my home. We have tried multiple routers and a WiFi repeater without success in obtaining 100% signal coverage.
Summarized result: all dead zones within the 1600 square foot (ranch-style) home were eliminated. Some outdoor locations where I would like to also have a signal still have dead zones, pending additional tests over the coming days. Read Full Review…
5. Netgear Arlo Pro Security System
The Netgear Arlo Pro is an easy-to-install home security system that consists of a base station with a built-in siren and up to six wireless cameras.
These cameras can last for weeks without recharging, and they come with sturdy magnetic mounts. Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings, the Arlo Pro can alert you when its cameras automatically detect activity, as well as activate the powerful siren if you need it to.
Review: M L
I’m a longtime Drop-cam/Nest and Samsung Smart-cam user. I had some locations outside far from power outlets where I wanted surveillance, purchased and Arlo Pro system for this coverage.
I have to say, after a few weeks of use I prefer the Arlo Pro to my Nest and Samsung camera systems.The image quality is slightly poorer, but the functionality is easier, there is free cloud recording, the app interface is cleaner, and the wireless feature means I can place these in spots the others can’t go. Read Full Review…
6. Sonos One Smart Speaker
The all-new Sonos One speaker has Amazon Alexa on board just like your Echo, but it sounds a whole lot better.
Available in black or white, the gadget has an easy, six-microphone setup for seamlessly hearing your voice commands, plus superb audio quality for its form factor.
Review: Old Man Fran
I am a 70 year old struggling to keep up with technology because, well it’s important. Like many my ability to check out new tech with the systems administrator or a Millennial colleague came to an abrupt end along with my final paycheck.
Since I think it’s important that you know the perspective with which a review is written let me briefly tell you what this Sonos One was meant to replace. Read Full Review…
7. Nest Protect Smoke Detector
The Nest smoke detector has a cool design and gesture controls, as well as the ability to send alerts to your smartphone while you’re away from home. There’s a wired and a wireless variant to choose from. This is definitely a must-have connected home gadget.
Review: J. Page
I have been eyeing the Nest Protect now since it came out about 2 years ago. Like most I simply hate my smoke detectors. Random low-battery chirping, ear piercing function test getting up on a ladder at least twice a year to change batteries weather they need it or not you get the idea.
My smoke detectors were approaching the 10 year threshold which is the “end of life” for a smoke detector and I knew I would need to be replacing all of them. Read Full Review…
8. Logitech Harmony Elite
The Logitech Harmony Elite is arguably the best universal remote control available on the market. It can control just about every piece of electronics you own (it supports over 270,000 devices!) in every room of your house or apartment, including TVs, gaming consoles, streaming devices, and sound systems, among others.
The remote has Wi-Fi connectivity and a crisp color touchscreen, and there’s also a free app that can turn your smartphone into a remote.
Programming has a learning curve, particularly since the manual doesn’t tell you that some things require use of the computer application, you simply can’t use the app to do them.
Used tech support once, and they were very helpful, bounced a number of emails back and forth to accomplish other issues after we got off the phone. One thing I do not like at all is when you use the app, or application, it has to connect to Logitech servers. Read Full Review…
9. Amazon Echo Plus
The Amazon Echo Plus has similar looks to the original Echo, but it has a vastly improved audio performance and microphone setup.
The newcomer can also double as a smart home hub and give you the ability to control a vast selection of compatible devices. Amazon offers the speaker in black, white, and a brand-new silver color.
Review: Farid S.
I don’t know what everyone’s talking about. But my Echo Plus discovered my devices instantly. All I did was say the a word discover devices.
Boom light bulb smart thermostat found. I’ve also ordered more Philips Hue bulbs to surround my house with the Echo Plus. In my opinion it’s awesome. It’s loud it’s attractive it’s a Smart Hub without having to purchase a hub and it discovers devices easily. Read Full Review…
10. Samsung POWERbot R7040 Robot Vacuum
The Samsung POWERbot R7040 is a well-priced robot vacuum with Amazon Alexa support. This means you can simply tell the gadget to clean your home with a simple voice command.
Other key features of the device include powerful suction, excellent floor mapping, and a washable filter.
I’ve been following the advancements in the robot vac space for several years. Spent a great deal of time researching them, watching product demos, using them where possible in an effort to find the one product to fit all of my needs. It’s become a bit of a holy grail for me.
The problem was that every model seemed to have one or more fatal flaws, regardless of manufacturer. Some are poor at cleaning. Read Full Review…
11. WeMo Mini Smart Plug
The WeMo mini smart plug supports a plethora of popular connected home standards, including Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. You can control the sleek Wi-Fi-connected device from anywhere, as well as set the schedules of the connected appliances.
You can even randomize your lights while away from home to create an impression you haven’t left. Genius!
This light switch and the other outlet style plug has worked reliably for over 3 years. There would be occasional hiccups like power interruptions that cause the switches to restart, but they have never failed on me.
However, you are at the mercy of your internet connection and if you happen to be away while the network crashes, you won’t be able to communicate with the switches. The daily programs will continue to work regardless. Read Full Review…
12. Nest Cam IQ
The Nest Cam IQ is a sleek and incredibly clever home security camera that can recognize faces. This enables the device to alert you in case there’s a stranger in your home, office, or place of business. The video quality of the device is exceptional too — the Nest Cam IQ is the first security camera with a 4K HDR sensor.
Read Full Review…
13. Logitech Pop Home Switch
The Pop Home Switch by Logitech is a lot smarter than its understated appearance suggests. Compatible with all major home automation platforms, the gadget can control a host of smart devices, including connected lights, speakers, and power outlets, among others.
Its functionality can be customized via an intuitive mobile app for iOS and Android. The price is for a starter pack with two switches and Wi-Fi bridge, though additional ones are also available in various colors.
Review: Omar Shahine
This product is an exceptional addition to the smart home.I was so excited to get the POP based on what I read it could do.
We have a full array of Sonos devices in our house as well as August locks and Lutron Caseta lights. We also use the excellent Logitech Hubs for our remote controls. Read Full Review…
14. Kenmore Smart Air Conditioner
The Kenmore smart air conditioner has Wi-Fi connectivity and support for Amazon Alexa via an easy-to-enable skill. Available with up to 24,500 BTU of cooling capacity, the AC is easy to install and incredibly energy-efficient.
Review: Felix D.
This AC works well. We bought the 8,000 BTU unit. This was the only small window unit that has the feature that draws in outside fresh air. We’re very happy with this.
We bought one, tried it, were happy with it, and therefore bought two more of this model (the first we bought from Amazon and the second two we bought directly from Sears due to a discount being offered to us on the Sears website). Read Full Review…
15. Ring Video Doorbell
Sleek and easy to install, the Ring video doorbell allows users to see and talk to visitors even while away from home. The device is available in a quartet of colors, ranging from a silver-looking Satin Nickel, all the way to an option with brass finish.
This allows buyers to always find a perfect match for their door. Setup is easy, and the weather-resistant design ensures that water and humidity won’t damage the Ring.
Review: MT Gal
Love it! Set up was easy, even the wiring part. I would recommend charging it before installing, even if wired, the battery will run out eventually.
I get a crystal clear picture, and love the notifications (even on my apple watch) and the app is a breeze. Worth the monthly subscription to have all the features. Read Full Review…
16. ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
The ecobee4 smart thermostat utilizes room sensors to keep tabs on the temperature in your home. You can connect multiple sensors for best results.
The device’s smart features include full Amazon Alexa support (not just thermostat commands), as well as compatibility with Samsung Smart-things, Apple Home-Kit, and the IFTTT automation standard.
After trying and using the other popular smart thermostat in my home I learned many things. The most important was that no matter how basic the thermostat that came with my home HVAC was, it worked for the simple functions it was intended to do.
When I installed my first smart device I got a lot of all new features and functionality but the reality of running a day-to-day schedule of heating and cooling my home actually got more complicated and in some ways not any more improved. Read Full Review…
17. Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
The Schlage Sense smart deadbolt with turn your iPhone into a key to your home. A mobile app allows users to manage access to the lock, check its usage history, and receive notifications when someone opens the door.
Designed to meet the highest industry standards for security and durability, the lock has a traditional key and a touchscreen just in case your phone’s not around.
Review: D. Solberg
The lock is very well designed. There are a lot of very nice touches, both for the lock operation and the installation procedure.Installing it took me about 5-10 minutes, and was very simple. I followed the video that comes on the iPhone app – it was very helpful.
The most important thing is not to try to move the lock until the lock has set itself up at the end of the installation. It doesn’t turn easily until it’s set up, and you shouldn’t turn it at all. Read Full Review…
18. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Wireless Lighting Kit
This lighting kit by Philips supports a whopping 16 million colors, including 50,000 shades of white, thus allowing users to find the perfect ambiance at all times.
The set is compatible with major home automation standards such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit, and Nest, among others. The starter kit includes three bulbs and a connectivity hub.
I have been using 1st and 2nd generation Hue bulbs (color and white) for about two years now and I love them so much. These 3rd generation bulbs have much better greens, cyans and blues than previous generations, lending to much better lighting scenes.
I use them with my Echo and Google Home for voice-controlled lighting, and IFTTT and my Smart Things hub for automating lights based on time of the day and a bunch of other events. Read Full Review…
19. Dyson Pure Hot Cool Link Air Purifier
Dyson’s smart air purifier will not only remove pollutants and allergens in the room, but it’ll also keep it warm or cool. The device will also monitor the air quality and deliver the results on an intuitive smartphone app. There are two colors to choose from — white and blue.
Expensive I know but worth every penny!I hope to write a review that will answer some questions that a lot of people seem to have as well as explain why this is one awesome product.
This one product will replace 3 separate products. I have a fan that we get out for summer then put it up & get out the portable heater all the while running a HEPA filtration system. Read Full Review…
20. Logi Circle 2 Security Camera
Available in wired or wireless guise, the latest iteration of one of our favorite home security cameras has both Amazon Alexa and Apple Home Kit support.
Key features of the camera include the ability to record and stream Full HD video, an ultra wide-angle lens, and free 24-hour cloud storage of the captured content.
I purchased the Logitech Circle 2 wired camera. Due to several reported issues by community users with the wireless version such as battery life, video quality, and motion detection. I went with the wired version.
Please note, most if not all issues, may be resolved by future firmware updates. However, to be on the safe side. I purchased a wired version since a battery can be added in the future. Read Full Review…