The best smart home devices can raise your home’s IQ, from security cameras and Wi-Fi locks to cutting edge light bulbs.
The best smart home devices can make your home more automated, safer and cleaner. In some cases, these connected products can even help you save money.
Whether you’re looking to turn your lights on from your smartphone, stream music to a speaker using Alexa ( Google Assistant or Siri,) lock your doors remotely or vacuum your floors without lifting a finger, these smart home devices provide complete convenience.
The number of smart home brands is constantly growing. That said, not all smart home devices are as reliable as they claim. We’ve tested dozens of offerings across all categories, from the best home security cameras to the best smart light bulbs. Whether a device can be controlled by an app or a voice, we’re here to help you decide if it fits your needs.
So, without further ado let’s get started!
10. Chamberlain MyQ
If you’re looking for the best smart garage door opener, look no further than the Chamberlain MyQ. It includes a sensor for your garage door as well as a hub that connects to your Wi-Fi network. When you send a command using your smartphone, it is relayed to the hub, which then goes to the sensor that activates your garage door. The MyQ app, available for Android and iOS devices, lets you check to see if your door is open, and then close — or open — it remotely.
MyQ will work with most brands of garage door openers made after 1993 that have standard safety sensors, according to Chamberlain. Currently, MyQ works with Nest, SmartThings and Xfinity Home smart home systems. The one thing it doesn’t do, though, is work with Alexa.
9. Samsung SmartThings
If you have a wide variety of smart home gadgets, you’ll need a central system to integrate and control them all. While it has its imperfections, we found the Samsung SmartThings hub to be the best of the lot. It works with a wide range of devices and now has Wi-Fi built in, so you don’t need to plug it into your router; this makes it easier to place in your house for the best connection to all your smart home devices.
Because the SmartThings hub has both Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas, you can pair it with several of the best smart home devices. Using the companion app, you can arrange dozens of scenes and automations. It also has a comprehensive home monitoring component, which can send you an alarm, record video, turn on lights, play sounds, and unlock your doors in the event of an emergency.
8. Nest Protect
The Nest Protect is the top choice among the best smart smoke detectors. When it picks up on something in the air, it sounds an alarm and lets you know what room in your home triggered the alert. Plus an LED ring on the bottom of the alarm changes color in case of an emergency, giving you and the people you live with a visual cue.
What we like most about the Nest Protect is how well it integrates with some of the best smart home devices. When you use smart home routines, your smart smoke alarm can automatically turn on your lights, making it easier for you to get out of your house. However, these routines only work for those who have converted their Nest account to a Google Assistant account. It also does not natively work with Alexa.
7. Wemo WiFi Smart Plug
The $25 Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is one of the best smart home devices and our top choice among the best smart plugs. It’s more compact than competing options out there, even its predecessor the Wemo Mini. And while it doesn’t have energy monitoring like some other smart plugs, the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug does work with all the major smart assistants.
This smart plug has a physical switch, so if you don’t want to use your voice or an app to turn your appliance on or off, you can click the switch on the Wemo. It also has a clever Away mode. which can make it seem like you’re home even when you’re not by turning a lamp on intermittently.
6. Nest Doorbell (battery)
The Nest Doorbell (battery) gets almost everything right, and that’s why it’s not just one of the best smart home devices but the best video doorbell we’ve reviewed. The video doorbell’s 3:4 vertical aspect ratio means you can see more of your front door; it can work either wired or on battery power alone, and it has a lot of great features, such as the ability to recognize familiar faces, packages, animals, and vehicles.
Even better is that the camera also offers some of those features for free, as well as three hours of rolling video storage — things that used to require a subscription. If you want longer storage, you can still sign up for Nest Aware, which starts at $6/month. As such, it pairs nice with the Nest Cam.
5. August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
There wasn’t much to improve on in our August Smart Lock Pro review, but the company went ahead and tweaked its original to make it smaller and easier to use. As our new top pick among the best smart locks, the the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is 45 percent more compact than its predecessor, so it looks less obvious on your door. It also has Wi-Fi built in, so you can skip the August Connect bridge for linking your lock to your home network.
Everything we enjoyed about the August Pro is still here: An easy installation process, features such as DoorSense (which lets you know if your door has been left open), and compatibility all the leading smart home systems, from Alexa to Google Assistant to Xfinity. And, the August Wi-Fi lets you keep the keys from your existing deadbolt.
4. Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit
Philips Hue White starter kit includes two bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices. While you can’t change these bulbs’ colors, you can adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens), and add up to 50 to a single hub. Philips’ bulbs also work with a wide range of smart home systems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Home, and Nest. In fact, there’s all sorts of things you can do with Philips Hue bulbs, check out these 9 things you never knew you could do with smart lights.
Philips Hue lights also have an app, Philips Hue Sync, which lets users synchronize their smart bulbs with multimedia content on their Mac or Windows PC. For example, you can set your lights to flash and change color in time with music, video and movies being played on your computer. Users can also modify the color schemes and themes to suit their tastes. For $30 more, you can upgrade your starter kit to include 4 bulbs instead of 2.
3. Ecobee SmartThermostat
The fifth-generation Ecobee SmartThermostat has everything we liked about its predecessor, the Ecobee4, such as Alexa built in, a slick touchscreen interface and a remote sensor that helps ensure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. But the most up-to-date version has a better speaker so you can actually use it to play music, all of Alexa’s features (including Drop-In and messaging), and Spotify integration. The remote sensor has a longer battery life and better range, too.
Its audio can’t compete with the Echo Dot or other Alexa speakers in terms of quality, but the Ecobee is clever means of equipping a room with Alexa without plugging in another smart speaker. Not only is the Ecobee one of the best smart home devices you can buy, it’s our leading choice of all the best smart thermostats, too.
2. Nest Cam (battery)
The well-designed Nest Cam (battery) has a simple shape and is one of the easiest home security cameras to install, thanks to its magnetic base. Its 1080p camera captures sharp images day and night, and its microphone and speaker made conversations a breeze. That’s the main reason we consider it the top choice among all the best security cameras we’ve tested.
The Nest Cam (battery) also offers three hours of rolling video storage for free, as well as person, vehicle, and animal detection. If you sign up for a Nest Aware subscription (starting at $6/month), you also get familiar face detection as well as the ability to store up to a month’s worth of video.
1. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
The name says it all: This is an Echo Dot with a clever LED clock built in its face. However, this seemingly simple addition adds a ton of functionality to the Echo Dot, making an even better smart home companion. In fact, we wish more smart home companies took Amazon’s cue and make minor —yet effective — enhancements to already excellent devices.More than just the time, though, the Echo Dot with Clock’s display can also show you the current temperature, and also functions as a timer. It also has an ambient sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on the lightning of its surrounding environment. The Echo Dot with Clock costs $10 more than the Echo Dot, but based on our experience, we think it’s a worthwhile upgrade for those who want to know the time without having to ask Alexa.