The age of Internet of Things is upon us, and the result is embedded technology you can use in just about every room of the house.
You can use things cyber to turn your house into a smart home. What can your new smart home do?
- Control your thermostat, music, lighting from your smartphone or by your voice command
- Command your entertainment systems
- Lock doors remotely
- Clean your house
- Mow your lawn
- Increase your home security, including preventing burglary and even deterring package theft
And do all the above while not just saving time but conserving on heating and energy costs.
We test and review as many smart home devices as we can get our hands on, including
- Amazon Alexa and Compatible Devices
- Google Home and Compatible Devices
- Home Security Cameras
- Smart Light Bulbs
- Smart Thermostats
- Best Robot Vacuums
- Best Drones
- AR/VR and Entertainment
- Cybersecurity Gear
For the latest in our reviews visit our Tech Gear site
Here we recap the top smart home devices, foundational pieces of gear you absolutely should consider:
The Third Generation Amazon Echo
This low cost, high powered device delivers quality sound and the power of the Amazon cloud right into your home, and is the perfect way to use voice to activate components of your home. Note, this is NOT a full smart hub for controlling your smart home. But it is so very capable you may decide you don’t need a separate smart hub. This can control 1000’s of devices that have built in compatibility.
- Powered by Dolby to play 360° audio with crisp vocals and dynamic bass response.
- Pair with a second Echo (3rd Gen) or Echo Plus (2nd Gen) for stereo sound and add more bass with an Echo Sub.
- Voice control your music – Ask Alexa for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more. With multi-room music, play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms.
- Voice control your smart home – Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more with compatible connected devices.
- Keep your family in sync – Use your Alexa devices like an intercom and talk to any room in the house with Drop In and Announcements.
- Alexa has skills – With tens of thousands of skills and counting, Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new skills like tracking fitness, playing games, and more.
- Designed to protect your privacy – Built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the mics.
The Fifth Generation Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Alexa
- Powerful quad-core processor, dual-band Wi-Fi, and far-field voice, it’s a smart thermostat like no other.
- Includes a Smart Sensor to keep important rooms comfortable by adjusting your thermostat based on occupancy and temperature.
- By reducing wasted energy in your home, you could save a huge amount on heating or cooling costs.
- With Alexa built-in and an intuitive mobile app, you can control your thermostat and home using your voice, phone, tablet, computer, Apple Watch, or whatever works best for you – it’s that easy.
- Easily install it yourself in 45 minutes or less with handy video walkthroughs and a step-by-step guide on the ecobee app.Bluetooth 5.0
- Consider your life handled with Alexa built-in. Just ask for the weather, music, Alexa Calling and more.
- Integrates perfectly with your favorite smart home systems including Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.
Philips Hue Lights
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Works very well with Amazon Alexa!
- 1080p HD video doorbell that lets you see, hear and speak to people from your phone, tablet, or select Echo device.
- Get notifications whenever motion is detected by customizing your motion zones.
- With Live View, you can check in on your home any time through the Ring app.
- Easily setup your Ring Video Doorbell Pro by connecting to wifi via the Ring app and mounting in your desired location.
- Connects to existing doorbell wiring for constant power. Requires a transformer (not included): 16-24VAC, 40VA max, 50/60Hz. No halogen or garden lighting transformers; no DC transformer/power supply.
- Record all your videos, review what you missed for up to 60 days, and share videos and photos for $3/month per device with a Ring Protect Plan.
- Connect your Ring doorbell with Alexa to hear announcements on your compatible Echo device when your doorbell is pressed and see a live view of your camera if you have an Echo device with a screen. Talk to visitors by saying “Alexa, talk to the front door.”
Etekcity Smart Plugs
These little devices work perfectly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. No hub is required. They give you unlimited smart control over anything that is plugged into the outlets, including direct control from your smartphone.
Set countdown timer, create schedules, track energy usage, schedule lamps and lights by sunrise and sunset or share devices with family members. Get full access to your smart plug via VeSync app
August Smart Locks
- Works with Alexa for voice control
- Control and monitor your door from anywhere. Lock and unlock your door, control keyless access and keep track of who comes and goes, all from your phone. Alexa can also provide notifications when your battery is running low so you can proactively replace them. Set up smart reorders through Dash Replenishment to make sure you always have replacement batteries when you need them.
- Be sure you’re secure with DoorSense. Only August has DoorSense to tell you if your door is securely closed and locked
- Always know who is coming and going. Track activity at your doorstep with a 24/7 Activity Feed
- Keep your existing lock and keys. Easily attaches to your existing deadbolt; use your existing keys at anytime. Requires 110 to 240 Volts
- Locks automatically behind you, and unlocks as you approach. Requires iOS (9.0 or higher) or Android (5.0 or higher) smartphones. Retrofit installation works with most standard single cylinder deadbolts