With more options than ever before, the smart home is here! You can now use voice command to turn on lights, lock doors, play music, and much more and set up is super easy. We list our top 5 smart home devices which are great options to get you started in creating a network of smart devices for your home.
Amazon Echo is a smart speaker equipped with Alexa, Amazon's voice service that turns your commands into action. The speaker itself has great sound quality and a sleek look, making it a great addition to any room. The Amazon Echo works with a variety of other apps so you can ask Alexa to play your favorite audiobook from Audible or music from Apple Music. You can also add other compatible smart home devices to the network and manage everything through the Echo. For example, you can add a smart light switch so that you can use your voice to dim or turn on lights. The Amazon Echo works with the Alexa app giving you control over the device through your smart phone. There are also a variety of Echo devices to choose from so you can pick the perfect device for your smart home needs. The major downside is that Alexa is only compatible in English and Spanish but we still recommend the Amazon Echo for its great third-party and first-party app compatibility all a great price of around $100.
Originally started as Nest and rebranded as Google Nest when acquired by Google, Google Nest is at the center of smart home devices despite the branding changes. The Google Nest is one of the first devices that is more than just a smart speaker and integrates fully into your home. There are Google Nest smart thermostat controls, cameras and security monitoring systems, and smart smoke and carbon dioxide monitoring systems -- all of which you can control through your Google Home app. Google Nest devices are compatible with Google Assistant, Google's voice service, and works in over 10 languages. Most of the Google Nest products have good integration with other compatible smart home devices so you can use your voice to dim lights even if there are no Google Nest specific options. We like Google Nest as the best option if you're into smart hardware as there are over 20 different products to choose from and most are relatively inexpensive, with the cheapest product starting at around $35.
Samsung SmartThings products focus on two main categories: smart home and security. Samsung SmartThings for home learns over time to be compatible with your lifestyle and can do things like automatically turning on lights for you in the morning or opening the garage door for you when you get back in the evening. Samsung SmartThings for home integrates well with the Samsung SmartThings security which works with ADT. The collaboration with ADT brings together a traditional home security system with a smart security system that automates things like unlocking doors when you get home or lets you know when motion is detected. Finally, there are other smart devices that work with Samsung SmartThings like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro so you can create a network of smart devices with all your favorite products. We like Samsung SmartThings for smart home security because of their partnership with ADT, a proven home security option.
NetGear Arlo offers a variety of devices for a smart home security system including smart cameras, security lights, and video doorbells. The main appeal of the NetGear Arlo is its weatherproof, wireless devices that are easy to use and install in comparison to traditional security systems. The NetGear Arlo connects to the Arlo app and uploads all your home security footage so that you can easily monitor your home even when you're away. The NetGear Arlo devices also integrates with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit if you use other smart devices and want to connect all your devices. Most of the cameras are HD quality so that there is enough detail in recording when you need it. We recommend the NetGear Arlo for your smart home security needs even if it's a bit more expensive than other options with a basic smart home security system starting at around $250.
Apple HomeKit is a system that lets you control all your compatible smart devices. Though Apple doesn't make any smart hardware like smart speakers, the Apple HomeKit is one of the most versatile options if you're looking to integrate many third-party products. Apple HomeKit is compatible with Siri, Apple's voice service so you can use any of your Apple products to control your smart home devices. Apple HomeKit currently works with 22 different product categories including air purifiers, doorbells, security systems, and routers. We like Apple HomeKit as the software piece that ties all your smart devices together all for free as long as you have a compatible Apple device.