Although it may have taken years to become a reality for many of us, the smart home has finally arrived. Devices designed to turn your "dumb" home into a smart center are more popular than ever. Now you can turn up the thermostat, close the doors and play your music with a simple voice command.
The best part is that setting up your smart home is now as simple as putting a smart speaker or Amazon Echo Dot in your living room. Or, if you want to go all inclusive, as complex as creating an intricate network of connected devices.
How much you invest in your smart home is really up to you, and you can customize it to your comfort level. The best thing about smaller and cheaper smart devices (we are looking at Amazon Echo Dot) is that there are no problems or commitment to a more connected home.
But with all those options, there are many options, new product categories that are released every week and a daunting shopping experience. And, since smart homes depend on the components that can communicate with each other, before you supply your shopping cart with the best and most modern smart home devices, you should make sure that they are compatible with any other smart device that you have. You already have your smartphone, tablet and smart speaker.
To help you start your smart home journey or complete the home full of your dream technology, we have selected a list of devices that we believe are the best smart home products you can buy correctly.
Here are our recommendations on the best smart home devices to take your home to the future and give you a much needed update.
The best smart home devices 2020 at a glance:
Choose the best smart home ecosystem
Before you start building your smart home, it is worth thinking about what smart home ecosystem you want to start with. There are quite a few out there, including Apple HomeKit, Google Home / Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Alexa platform, IFTTT, ZigBee, Z-Wave and more.
There is a lot to choose from, right? We have prepared a guide to help you consider what you need when assembling your smart home, which you can check here.
You will also want to consider the ecosystem to which you are already connected. For example, avid Android owners might have more luck with Google Home than with Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod. On the contrary, those who need quick and easy ways to order things online might prefer Amazon Echo.
Want to see even more smart home recommendations? See our complete guides for the different product categories below:
The best smart home devices 2020:
Best Smart Doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 2
Peace of mind on your porch
Great motion tracking
The application is easy to use.
There is no free video storage
A bit bulky
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a solid device. The configuration is easy, the application is very easy to use, the movement tracking works very well and the battery lasts long enough not to be a nuisance.
We really liked the design of the application, and the fact that the system can be integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant only makes things even better for smart home enthusiasts.
But should you buy it? If you don't care about size and want a battery-powered device, this is the one for you. However, if you prefer something a little smaller or do not want to pay to store video recordings, you can look elsewhere.
However, if motion tracking or safety features are at the top of your priority list, Ring Video Doorbell 2 has it covered and in a way that we find useful rather than irritating.
Read the full post here: Ring Video Doorbell 2 Review
Best smart speaker: Amazon Echo Studio
An affordable smart speaker that offers audio that sounds really good
Gigantic sound Dolby Atmos
Cheaper than Apple / Google speakers
Great new Alexa features
Bigger than your average echo
For years, we approved smart speakers in the audio department because we thought there was no way for a speaker to be smart and sound good. That was until we found the Amazon Echo Studio.
At Echo Studio, Amazon has made its best speaker so far. It is ambitious, flexible, serves multiple purposes and has a low price that only a company with the scale of Amazon could achieve competitively.
It is a bombastic speaker, packed not only with smart home technology and assistant, but also with intelligent audio considerations. In the best case, its 3D audio effects give new life to your favorite songs, and that says nothing about its ability to connect to your Amazon Fire TV devices to deliver more immersive sound.
The audiophile community is eternally demanding, and again it is unlikely that Echo Studio will win them completely, but at this price, it is fair to say that Amazon is not only courting audiophile listeners: it wants of all hey, and seeks to romance them with a tempting balance between audio quality and affordability. If you still haven't got an Amazon Echo speaker, Amazon Echo Studio is the one to buy.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Studio
Best smart screen: Google Nest Hub Max
A great entrance to the world of screen speakers.
Good music friendly speaker
There is no Netflix support
Google Nest Hub Max is a larger version of the Google Home Hub, a smart speaker with display
So why isn't it called Home Hub Max? The Nest Hub Max also has a front camera and can be connected to Google's Nest platform to act as a smart home camera. Google also changed the name of the original Home Hub to incorporate it into the Nest family.
This part of Google Nest Hub Max needs some work to judge from our experience. But this is a great smart speaker. Sounds good enough to act like a mini stereo, Google Assistant feels receptive and the big screen lets you watch YouTube while cooking.
Although the Google Nest Hub Max had some minor problems at launch, it is still not just a big smart screen, but a big smart speaker and a way to entertain while waiting for the onions to skip.
Read the full review: Google Next Hub Max Review
The best smart bulb: Philips Hue
IPhone-controlled light bulbs, anyone?
Easy to install
One thing you can do as soon as you decide to make your home a smart home is to turn off the light bulbs, something easier said than done considering how many different options exist. However, of all of them, we believe that the best smart light bulbs are the Philips Hue range of smart light bulbs.
If you opt for Philips Hue bulbs, you will need to get the Philips Bridge, which is like a center for your lights. The advantage, however, is the reliability and the fact that the system is compatible with a range of different standards and home control systems, including Apple HomeKit, Nest and Samsung SmartThings.
TO UPDATE: One of the things we like most about Philips Hue is that the range is constantly updated. For example, you can now have the Philips Hue Play lightbar in your hands, which creates special lighting effects while watching movies and playing games, as well as a new selection of Edison style smart bulbs.
Read the full review: Philips Hue
The best smart thermostat: Nest Thermostat E
Cheaper than the Nest Learning Thermostat, but just as smart
Easy to use
It helps to save money.
The frosted screen can be hard to read
When you think of the "smart thermostat", what comes to mind? For most people, it would probably be the Nest Learning Thermostat.
Nest was one of the first companies to inject machine learning to heat and cool your home, and has since been acclaimed as the best manufacturer of smart thermostats. Now you are back with a new, more affordable version of the smart thermostat in the Nest Thermostat E.
The Nest Thermostat E shows that you don't have to pay for an intelligent thermostat. It eliminates some unnecessary features, but keeps most of the intelligence and saves you a lot of money.
There are few situations in which thermostat E is not the best option for you. For example, if you have a high-end multi-stage heating or cooling system, the learning thermostat may be a better option. Still, if the Nest Thermostat E is compatible with your configuration and you don't mind the lack of Farsight or a slightly lower quality display, then it's an excellent option.
Read the full review: Nest Thermostat E
The best smart security camera: Arlo Pro 3
The best security camera on the market, with a great flaw.
Easy to use and configure
Limited utility without subscription
It's easy to see why Arlo is a popular choice among those who take home security seriously. There is no doubt that this is one of the most advanced systems we have tested with a lot of useful features that include an integrated siren and control over the web.
Sure, the Arlo Pro 3 doesn't have a 4K resolution like the most expensive Arlo Ultra, but the quality is still an impressive 2K. You will get a field of view of 160 degrees and, as expected in 2020, the cameras have night vision and two-way audio. There are also other smart features, such as automatic zoom and motion tracking, that should help ensure that the camera captures things when necessary. The camera can zoom up to 12x, and also offers HDR support.
The Arlo Pro 3 also integrates with the rest of your smart home. It is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, plus you can use it with HomeKit. Which is great, but unfortunately, some features are trapped behind a payment wall.
You will get a three-month trial, and the subscription is only $ 3 per camera per month, for the basic Arlo Smart subscription, but if you don't pay, you will lose access to things like object detection, cloud recording and plus. Arlo used to offer a free cloud storage option based on seven-day events, but unfortunately that option is not available for the Arlo Pro 3.
In general, the Arlo Pro 3 is a worthy successor to the Arlo Pro 2, and an excellent choice for those who want an outdoor security system that offers good and reliable image quality without overpaying for the Arlo Ultra.
Read the full review: Arlo Pro 3
The best smart plug: Belkin WeMo Insight
An excellent smart plug that monitors energy use
Good energy control
Solid integration in the smart home
The application is poorly designed
The Belkin WeMo Insight smart plug is more than a way to control the devices connected to it. It is also a way to monitor your energy consumption and get estimates on how much the power of certain devices in your home will cost.
This is great if you are trying to save some money and be a little more energy conscious. While the plug is a bit bulky, you may be able to live with it for all the dollars / pounds you save on your monthly energy bill.
The application could use some work, but in general, we have been completely impressed by the Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug. It also connects to a wide range of smart home platforms, from IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and (unofficially) Samsung SmartThings.
Read the full review: Belkin WeMo Insight smart plug
Best smart lock: August Smart Lock Pro
Bulky and expensive, but finally worth it
Nice and strong
The smart home is getting smarter, but not everyone wants to completely eliminate their old systems. For example, while there are many smart locks designed to completely replace your old lock in favor of a new keyboard or lock, some people want to maintain the ability to use their older keys.
However, that's where August enters with the August Smart Lock Pro, which fits your existing lock and allows you to continue using your old key when you (or your landlord) want it, while adding the benefits of a lock smartest .
But although August is hailed by many as the best manufacturer of these modernized smart locks, August Smart Lock Pro is still not cheap: at $ 229 (around £ 179, AU $ 300) for just the lock, and $ 279 (around £ 219, AU $ 380) for the lock with the "Connect" Wi-Fi adapter, August Smart Lock Pro is an investment.
Even so, for people who rent, they live with someone who prefers to use a key, or who simply want a super easy to install and relatively well designed device, the August Smart Lock Pro is a great option, and one that is easy to use. . recommend.
Read the full review: August Smart Lock Pro
The best smart smoke detector: Nest Protect
Receive emergency alerts on your phone, anywhere in the world
Very subtle design
It works well with other Nest products
Basically a regular smoke detector
Nest not only makes excellent smart thermostats: it also offers smoke alarms that can be connected to the rest of your smart home. Nest Protect looks great and offers great connectivity through Wi-Fi and IFTTT.
Nest Protect will alert you if there is a fire, even if you are on the other side of the world. The accompanying application is also well designed and easy to use, although I hope you never need it.