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Best Smart Home Devices 2023

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A smart home often begins with just a couple of smart light bulbs, but there are many products that can take your home from a simple light show and turn it into a proper home of the 21st Century. You can find all sorts of home devices that can interface with the internet, letting you then control them remotely with apps, smart speakers, or even some crafty automation.

Smart home devices can let you bolster your security with smart locks and a wide variety of security cameras or even video doorbells. If you want to save on your energy bill, you have a solid option to do that by cutting down on excessive heating or cooling by installing a smart thermostat. And, even if you don't want to shell out the big bucks to get a smart version of a product you already own, you can more or less convert any electronics into smart home devices by powering them through a smart plug.

We've rounded up an assortment of different smart home devices to fit various niches within your home, so you can find just what you need to make each part of your home that little bit smarter.

TL;DR – These are the Best Smart Home Devices

Google Nest Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostat

Google Nest ThermostatGoogle Nest Thermostat

If you've got central air and heating, you've surely seen the huge spikes you'll sometimes get in your power bill. A smart thermostat can help you manage the indoor climate with a little extra finesse, so you can hopefully avoid watching the furnace burn through your budget. The Google Nest Thermostat is built not only to help you with those savings, but it's also a fairly affordable smart thermostat option, so you don't have to put down too much money upfront.

The Google Nest Thermostat can wire up in place of an existing thermostat. With it, you'll be able to set the temperature as you like on the device itself or on your phone from anywhere in the world. In other words, you might leave your furnace idle while you're off on vacation in the winter if the weather is particularly mild, but you'd still be able to turn it back on if you saw a cold forecast with temperatures low enough to risk a burst pipe. You can also set the Google Nest Thermostat to change temperatures when you leave the house and then to start making it more comfortable when you're on your way home.

Sonos One

Best Smart Speaker

Sonos OneSonos One

Where most smart speakers are content to listen to a voice command now and then and pump out a little music to keep the kids happy, the Sonos One smart speaker doesn’t settle for mediocrity. This smart speaker comes from a brand known for its speakers, so you can rest assured you’re going to get sound that blows the many $30-$40 smart speakers on the market out of the water. At $200, it may be expensive, but it can actually serve as part of a stereo or surround sound setup, and it has a lot going on that justifies the price.

The Sonos One ironically boasts two speaker drivers. These are custom-built drivers that come powered by a pair of Class-D amplifiers. By splitting up those speaker drivers as a tweeter and a mid-woofer, the Sonos One can cover more frequency range and deliver more accurate sound. As much as you’ll want to hear this speaker, you’ll want it to hear you too, and that’s where its far-field microphone array comes in. Better still, Sonos isn’t locking you into one smart ecosystem like an Echo, Nest, or HomePod would. The Sonos One supports Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for voice commands, and it even supports Apple’s AirPlay.

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

Best Smart Display for Alexa

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

A smart speaker can deliver tons of useful information, but sometimes it’s a bit slow to spit out just the words you’re looking to hear, plus certain information is just easier to digest visually. That’s where the Amazon Echo Show 10 comes in. This device does the whole smart speaker thing just fine. However, the real star is the 10.1-inch touchscreen display. You can look at recipes, check the weather, and watch shows. Just connect it to your Wi-Fi, and you’re off to the races with the best that Alexa has to offer.

The 3rd-Gen Echo Show 10 is a highly capable smart device. The screen itself is actually motorized, so it can follow your movements around a room, ensuring a perfect view from just about anywhere. You also get a built-in camera, ideal to use for video calls with the family, or you can even remotely check in on your home. Beyond the camera on the device, with Zigbee integration, it’s possible to access other security cameras around your home as well as control other smart devices like lights and thermostats. And, for privacy, there’s a built-in shutter to block the camera and an option to turn off the microphone.

Google Nest Hub

The Best Smart Display for Google Assistant

Google Nest HubGoogle Nest Hub

If you’re team Google Assistant, the Nest Hub is the smart display we recommend. It lacks some of the extra features of the larger Nest Hub Max, but it has some other benefits. For one, it’s smaller – there’s a 7-inch display – and doesn’t have a camera, making it better suited for putting it in a bedroom or any privacy-conscious home.

It acts as a portal to all of your connected smart home devices and can also easily stream videos and music through the hub. In fact, we prefer the interface to Amazon’s Echo Show displays. The Nest Hub is even a great digital photo frame thanks to Google’s ambient light technology, the screen constantly adjusts to the lighting of the room to make your photos look impressively vivid without too much backlighting. This light technology also allows for a cool sunrise alarm feature for an easier wake-up.

Philips Hue White and Color A19 Medium Lumen Smart Bulb

Best Smart Lights

Philips Hue White and Color A19 Medium Lumen Smart BulbPhilips Hue White and Color A19 Medium Lumen Smart Bulb

Let there be light — smart light — with the Philips Hue White and Color A19 Ambiance bulbs. These are as good as it gets, giving you a ton of customization from a bright and power efficient bulb that’s also incredibly flexible with how you use it.

This Philips Hue White and Color A19 Ambiance bulb is a 75W-equivalent bulb that can put out 1,100 lumens of brightness, making it a capable addition to any room that needs high visibility. The bulb offers a color temperature range for white from 2000K to 6500K, letting you get a warm white in the evenings when you want to wind down or a cool white to energize you in the morning and throughout the day. The bulb is dimmable as well, and will let you set more specific moods with its 16.7 million color options. You can control the bulbs with a simple Bluetooth connection, but a Zigbee or Hue Bridge connection will allow more advanced control for larger setups and let you get smart assistants into the mix.

SimpliSafe Home Security System

Best All-in-One Security System

SimpliSafe Home Security SystemSimpliSafe Home Security System

When it comes to home security, you have two options: buy an all-in-one system or build it a la carte. If you’re going with the former, SimpliSafe makes the, well, simplest security system right now. There are several starter packs with varying numbers of sensors and cameras – starting with ‘The Foundation’ and working up to ‘The Haven’ – but you can opt for a custom package if you’d prefer.

The best idea is to size up your home and the number of doors/windows you want to cover, and go from there. Once you’ve turned your home into a cozy Fort Knox, SimpliSafe sells a smart lock and even a connected smart doorbell, should you want to take things to the next level.

Kasa Smart Plug Ultra Mini

Best Smart Plug

Kasa Smart Plug Ultra MiniKasa Smart Plug Ultra Mini

Smart plugs are dime a dozen these days, with loads of great options. Our pick? TP-Link’s compact little number, which happens to be super affordable and compact, making it easy to stick some intelligence behind just about any electronic device. It’ll even work with power-hungry appliances thanks to a max power limit of 1.8 Kilowatts.

You can control the Kasa Smart Plug Ultra Mini from just about anywhere using the app, and you won’t need a hub; just plug it in and get going. It’s easy to set up schedules or pair it with smart automations. There’s even Alexa and Google Assistant support, but no HomeKit. And if you ever misplace your phone for app access or the Wi-Fi is out and you want to turn something off, the outlet still has a handy hardware button to power the plug on and off. There’s no energy monitoring, though – if that’s important to you, look to the Belkin Wemo Insight.

Google Nest Doorbell

Best Smart Doorbell

Google Nest DoorbellGoogle Nest Doorbell

You can give your doorbell some serious smarts with the Google Nest Doorbell. This unit is easy to set up, as it can run on either its built-in lithium-ion battery or connected to 8-24V AC power that may already be built into your existing doorbell setup. Get the Google Nest Doorbell connected to your Wi-Fi, and you’ll be in business.

The Nest Doorbell provides a wide field of view to capture more of what’s happening on your stoop, and its 960 x 1,280 resolution will let you get the details. The camera will save up to three hours of event-based footage in the cloud, and you can get notifications when anything happens, including smart identification of people, animals, vehicles, and packages. You even have the option of two-way communication if someone is waiting at your door.

Arlo Ultra 2

Best Smart Security Camera

Arlo Ultra 2Arlo Ultra 2

The Arlo Ultra 2 isn’t only the best of Arlo’s smart cameras—we think it’s the best smart security cam you can buy, hands down. 4K HDR recording delivers an ultra-crisp picture, letting you zoom in on images for a better view of a potential criminal or some hilarious incident that deserves a share online. An integrated spotlight helps to see/scare off any chancing burglars in the dark hours. And it’ll run off your household wall power or the battery, which should net you 3-4 weeks of use before a recharge.

This Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit friendly device does have one major drawback, how expensive it is. The two-camera kit will set you back about $600—though it’s often on sale, and Arlo’s range has other, more wallet-friendly choices. You’ll also need to shell out for a monthly subscription after you use up the three-month free trial, which ranges from $2.99 to $10.99 a month.

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

Best Smart Lock

August Wi-Fi Smart LockAugust Wi-Fi Smart Lock

August’s Wi-Fi Smart Lock is an especially smart addition to your home because it doesn’t involve a lot of work to add. The Wi-Fi Smart Lock can fit onto a bunch of different deadbolts simply by removing the indoor half of the lock. This means you can keep the deadbolt in place and you’ll still be able to use the same keys from the outside.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock makes your existing deadbolt a lot more capable though. This lock connects to your Wi-Fi to provide remote control. You can stay comfy on the couch and still let guests in when they arrive even if that comfy couch is actually in another city. You can also set up guest access with scheduled or temporary keys. The lock can also react when you come and go, automatically locking or unlocking on your departure and arrival.

Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen

A Cheap Alexa Smart Speaker

Amazon Echo Dot 5th GenAmazon Echo Dot 5th Gen

Alexa widely supports other smart home devices, so you've probably got more than a few good reasons to grab an Alexa smart speaker. Fortunately, Amazon's 5th-gen Echo Dot makes that perfectly affordable, costing just $50. With it, you can control your smart home, play music and podcasts, set alarms, or even order pizza.

The Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen looks similar to its predecessor, featuring a cute ball shape (there’s even a stylized model for kids) with a slightly larger, better-sounding 1.73-inch front-firing speaker and microphones—which can deactivate for privacy using a button. And along with a few physical buttons and your voice, there’s now tap control to pause audio or snooze an alarm, while temperature and motion sensors let you create routines with compatible devices. It can even act as a node in your eero mesh system, adding an extra 1,000 sq ft of wifi coverage.

Google Nest Mini

A Cheap Google Assistant Smart Speaker

Google Nest MiniGoogle Nest Mini

For the Google crowd, the Nest Mini is your version of the Echo Dot. It also comes in a fabric coating, but unlike the Dot it can be mounted to a wall. The latest model also comes with ultrasonic sensors that detect when someone is nearby and light up the capacitive buttons. Most of the time you’ll be asking the Nest Mini questions (“Hey Google, what’s the weather forecast for today?”) and commanding it to control your smart home devices.

Whether you opt for the Nest Mini or the Echo Dot depends on whether your allegiance lies with Google Assistant or Alexa. Amazon has more third-party integrations than Google right now, though the latter is fast catching up.

Apple HomePod Mini

A Cheap HomeKit Smart Speaker

Apple HomePod MiniApple HomePod Mini

Apple's gadgets don't usually come cheap, and that's true of its HomeKit devices as well. But, the Apple HomePod Mini shifts the equation a bit with a price of just $100. This compact little speaker comes with a stylish design and light-up top so you know when Siri is listening. Each HomePod Mini delivers 360-degree audio, too, so you can set them up wherever you want.

With the Apple HomePod Mini, you can set up speakers throughout the home and go for whole-home audio or even pair two in the same space for stereo audio. You can call out to them to control smart home gadgets, have Siri set reminders, check the weather, or even send voice messages from one HomePod Mini to others in the home with the Intercom feature. If you bring your iPhone near the HomePod Mini with audio playing, it can automatically switch over to play on the speaker. It's packed with handy features for the home and is probably one of Apple's cheapest gadgets.

What to look for when buying smart home devices

Ongoing costs

When it comes to cameras and doorbells especially, some of the more useful features can be locked behind a subscription.

Before you buy a device like this, get clarification on what comes for free, and what doesn’t. Offline storage is ideal, at least as an option, as it means you don’t have to rely on the company’s cloud servers. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can get pricey.

Choose your platform

The smart home is, sadly, a bit of a platform war. Most of these devices will come with their own app and don’t have to integrate with Alexa/Google Assistant/HomeKit, but chances are you’ll want the convenience of controlling all of your devices using a smart speaker.

In that case, be sure to check that any smart home device you buy is compatible with your platform of choice.

Hugh Langley is a tech journalist who’s fascinated by wearables, health tech, the smart home, and more. You can find him tweeting (often nonsense) over at @hughlangley.

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