15 of the Best Smart Home Devices That Are Worth Every Penny
Tech experts dish on the genius products that might just change your life. They’re easy to set up too—if you can use a smart phone, you can have a smart home.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
If you’re looking to get your feet wet with smart home devices, the WeMo Mini Smart Plug is a great option. “This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to branch into smart home tech,” says tech consultant Stephanie Duchaine Montgomery. Simply plug it into an outlet, and you can control any device—lamps, fans, curling irons—from your phone anytime, anywhere or by using Alexa. The “Away Mode” turns on and off lights in your house randomly to make it seem like you’re home. Check out these other ways to make it look like you’re home and fool burglars.
When it comes to smart home security, Ring is one of the best home security devices on the market. Security is a leading area for smart home devices, according to tech expert Lance Ulanoff. With Ring Video Doorbell, just ask Alexa to see who’s at the door, and know right away when packages have been delivered or guests have arrived. With Ring Video Doorbell’s motion sensors, you can choose to receive an alert to your phone if someone approaches your house and communicate with any visitors who ring the bell. One advantage over similar video doorbells: It can be battery-powered, so it’s no problem if your doorbell isn’t hard-wired.
Smart security camera
The Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor cameras offer continuous video recording, send you alerts when there’s motion or unusual sounds, and allow you to speak directly through their microphones to scare away intruders. All three also work with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. These little mistakes could make your home vulnerable to theft.
Saving money is absolutely one of the things we want to achieve with the best smart home devices. After all, who doesn’t want to lower their energy bill? The Nest Thermostat E saves households $131 to $145 a year, based on typical energy usage. Nest allows you to set different temperatures for when you are in or out of the house, and to make adjustments with your phone or by using Alexa. It will even turn itself down when it senses you’ve left the house—by tracking your phone.
Alexa enabled smart thermostat
The Ecobee4 thermostat works much like the Nest thermostat but with one major difference: It has a built-in Amazon Alexa voice command, so even if you don’t have a separate Alexa device, you can tell the Ecobee to adjust temperatures or even give you the news or order groceries. Here are more things you didn’t know your Amazon Alexa could do.
Smart devices for your pets
What’s Fido doing all day while you’re away? You’ll know for sure with the Furbo Dog Camera. Live streaming video lets you watch your pet’s every move on your phone and receive alerts when there’s barking. The Furbo will even dispense treats and allow you to say “good dog!” through a two-way audio speaker. Both our editors and our pups consider the Furbo one of this year’s best smart home devices.
The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator does way more than keep your food cold. It allows you to create shopping lists, order groceries, and share schedules and send messages to family members all from the large touchscreen on the fridge door. Not sure if you have enough milk while you’re at the grocery store? See what’s inside your fridge right from your phone. You can also stream music and sync with your Samsung TV to keep watching a show while you fix a snack. “This is a little bit more of an investment, but for busy families, it can make a huge difference,” says Montgomery.
The first popular robot vacuum is still the best. And the latest model, the Roomba e5, has overcome the drawbacks of previous versions: Its multi-surface rubber brushes are less prone to getting clogged with hair, and the super-powerful suction and high-efficiency filter trap dirt and allergens like never before. And of course, you can control the Roomba from an app on your phone when you’re out.
Smart laundry machines
Want your clothes to come out clean in less time and get an alert when your wash is ready to dry? The LG Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Front Load Washer takes up to 30 minutes less to do a standard load, removes up to 95 percent of pet dander, and uses steam to get clothes clean and fresh. Pair it with the LG Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Dryer, which you can also control with your phone. It senses the moisture level to determine the optimal drying time, gets wrinkles out of clothing, freshens non-washable items, and more. Both are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Check out the 14 facts everyone gets wrong about Alexa.
The smartest smart assistant
Proving that good things come in small packages, the Alexa voice-command enabled Amazon Echo Plus can play your favorite songs, make phone calls, research information, order a pizza, and control Alexa-compatible smart home devices. Get cold at night? Program a Routine to raise the temperature each night and never worry about having to get up to adjust the thermostat. Take your Routine a step further and have Alexa turn off the lights too at your ideal bedtime. Alexa’s large ecosystem of compatible options beats out other assistants like Google Assistant, according to tech and security expert Craig Peterson. Don’t miss these things your smartphone knows about you.