Smart devices let you turn off your lights using voice commands, turn up the temperature without getting out of bed, and see who’s at your front door from your smartphone. However, all your smart home devices have to be compatible with each other, or they won’t work. Here is our list of the best smart home devices you can buy and which smart home ecosystem they work with.
Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen: Best Budget Smart Speaker
Compatible With: Alexa Devices
The first thing you need when setting up a smart home is a smart speaker. These devices have digital assistants built-in, so you can use voice commands to control your smart home devices, play music, make phone calls, and more.
Amazon’s new Echo Dot is one of the best budget smart speakers because it works with over 140,000 smart home devices. You can also connect multiple Echo devices, so you can fill your whole home with music.
If you have Apple devices, the HomePod Mini is one of the best smart speakers you can get. With the HomePod Mini, you can quickly hand off music from your iPhone, create reminders or calendar events that will sync across all your Apple devices, and more.
This 3.3-inch tall speaker was also made for playing music, and it gets loud enough to fill a large room with 360-degree sound. However, Siri doesn’t work with nearly as many smart devices as Alexa or Google.
A smart display gives you all the advantages of a smart speaker, plus it comes with a screen that lets you watch videos, make video calls, and see a live view of your smart cameras and video doorbells.
The Nest Hub Max is one of the best smart displays because it comes with a large 10-inch touchscreen, stereo speakers, and advanced features like “Face Match.” This allows the Nest Hub Max to identify faces and show each member of your family their personalized notifications, messages, calendars, and more.
With a smart plug, you can turn almost any device into a smart one. All you have to do is plug your fan, lamp, or coffee maker into a smart plug, and then you can control them with voice commands or use the app to schedule them to turn on and off at certain times.
The Wemo Mini is one of the best smart plugs because it works with Alexa, Google, and even Siri. It also features an “away mode” that will turn your lamps on and off when you’re on vacation, so it looks like your still home. Plus, this smart home device is small enough that you can plug two of them in the same outlet without blocking other sockets.
With smart light bulbs, you won’t have to fumble around in the dark anymore. These smart home devices let you light up any room with voice commands or schedule your lights to turn on when you wake up and off when you leave for work.
You can sync up to 10 of these Bluetooth bulbs and use your smart speaker to dim them or choose between 16 million different colors. While Philips Hue smart lights are expensive, they are also Energy Star Certified and last an average of 22 years, so they can actually save you money over traditional bulbs in the long run.
A smart security camera lets you see what’s going on anywhere around your home from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. Most smart cameras these days will also send you notifications and record short video clips whenever motion is detected.
The Blink Outdoor is one of the best totally wireless smart cameras because it runs for up to two years on a pair of AA batteries. Plus, this small security camera is weather-resistant and has a cone-shaped mount, so you can place it anywhere on your property and point the lens in any direction.
A video doorbell lets you see who’s at your front door from your smartphone, TV, smart display, and more. You will also get motion alerts whenever someone approaches your home, and you can hear and speak to them with the built-in microphone and speakers.
The 2nd-generation Ring Video Doorbell is one of the best smart doorbells because it is one of the only wireless models that that comes with a quick-release battery and advanced features like Pre-Roll. This allows the video doorbell to record four seconds of color video before motion is detected, so you can get a better picture of what’s going on outside your home.
With a smart lock, you can check the status of your lock from anywhere in the world. Plus, you can lock and unlock your door using voice commands or give guests digital keys, so you can let the dog walker in when you’re away.
The Schlage Encode is one of the best smart locks because it comes with a keypad, so you can unlock your door if you forget your keys. With its built-in alarm, this smart home device will make a loud sound when someone tries to tamper with your lock. It also works with Amazon Key, so you can have your packages delivered safely inside your home.
If you to know more about what Amazon Key is and how it works, check out our previous article here.
A smart garage door opener lets you open and close your garage with voice commands or the companion app. Most models work with your existing garage door opener, and you will get notifications when your garage door opens or closes.
The Liftmaster MyQ is one of the best smart garage door openers because it works with most garage door openers made after 1993. This smart home device is easy to install and use, and it also works with Amazon Key, so you can have your packages delivered safely inside your garage.
Google Nest Learning Thermostat: Best Smart Thermostat
Works With: Google, Alexa
With a smart thermostat, you can control your room temperature using simple voice commands or set a schedule with the companion app. This means you can turn your thermostat on before you leave the office, so your home is nice and comfortable when you get home.
The Google Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the smartest thermostats you can get because it will learn your preferences and change the temperature automatically, so you don’t even have to set up complex schedules. In fact, Nest claims this smart thermostat saves people an average of $135 to $145 dollars a year on their heating and cooling bills.
If you want to keep your home safe, you might want to switch your old smoke detector to a smart one. These smart home devices will sound the alarm and send an alert to your smartphone if a fire breaks out in your home or when your batteries are low.
The Nest Protect is the best smart smoke detector because it has a Split-Spectrum smoke sensor that detects both smoldering and flaming fires, as well as carbon monoxide. However, this smart device doesn’t natively support Alexa or the Google Assistant.
In order to set up a smart home, you need to have a strong, reliable WiFi connection. A mesh WiFi system comes with a router and at least one “node” or “access point” that you can place in any room to eliminate the “WiFi dead zones” in your home.
The Google Nest WiFi is one of the best mesh WiFi systems for a smart home because each point also acts as a smart speaker, so you can ask Google to control your smart home devices, play a song, and more. Plus, a three-pack lets you extend your WiFi range to 5,400 square feet with speeds up to 1.7Gbps.
A streaming device lets you turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV. Then you can use streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, to watch movies, TV shows, live sports, and more.
The 2nd-generation Roku Ultra is one of the best streaming devices because it has improved WiFi range and an Ethernet port for the most reliable connection. Plus, this 2020 model has a voice remote, a lost remote finder, and you can even use your smartphone as a remote.
If you’re looking for the best smart 4K TV in the market, you can’t go wrong with the LG C1. It’s a great option for watching movies, playing video games, and everything in between.
Unlike LED and LCD TVs, which use a backlight, each of the pixels in OLED TVs can be turned on or off individually. This can give you the darkest blacks for a nearly perfect contrast ratio and reduced stuttering when watching sports or action movies.
The LG CX OLED TV also has Dolby Vision IQ, which automatically adjusts the picture based on how bright or dark the room is. It also has a response time as low as one millisecond, which means you won’t experience any lag when gaming.
If you want to find out more about the LG C1 or look at more budget-friendly models, take our short quiz to find the best smart TV for you.