Smart home tech wasn't super mainstream a few short years ago, but now in 2018, it accounts for some of the most popular consumer gadgets on the market. Whether you're shopping around for a smart speaker, light bulbs, or anything else in between this holiday season, we've got a few top picks that you won't want to miss out on.
Perfect smart home companion
The Google Home Hub is tiny, adorable, and one of our favorite smart home gadgets of the year. Its 7-inch LCD display is a joy to look at, the Google Assistant is just as powerful as ever before, and the helpful Home View feature gives you a central location for monitoring all of your other smart home tech. Read our full review for more info!
Pays for itself
Nest has been in the smart thermostat business since 2011, and the Thermostat E might be our favorite one yet. Its simple design fades into the background of any home, can be controlled from your phone or smart speaker, and learns your usage over time to help save energy. Plus, its price tag is one of the most accessible out there. Here's our review!
A smart home essential
Philips' Hue Lights are the go-to option for a lot of smart home enthusiasts, and if you've yet to get in the smart lighting game, this starter pack is a great first purchase. It includes two A19 bulbs and the hub that you need for controlling them. You don't get any fancy colors with this package, but you can dim the lights and schedule them to automatically turn on and off.
Small but mighty
Own a lot of Alexa devices or want to finally check out this whole smart speaker thing for yourself? Either way, it's hard to say no to the Echo Dot. The 3rd Gen model has a fantastic fabric design, the best speakers of any Echo Dot yet, and has all the power of Alexa in a tiny form factor that'll set you back just $49. Learn more in the full review
21st century doorbell
The Nest Hello isn't the most affordable video doorbell on the market, but it is the smartest. It's pretty easy to install, has great video quality, and can send off smart notifications to all your devices when it sees that someone's at the door. Recently, it got support for two-way talking using the Google Assistant. Just keep in mind you'll need a Nest Aware subscription for access to all of the smart features.
Keep an eye on things
Want a smart security camera system that won't break the bank? The Arlo Pro is one of the best options out there. It can be used 100% wire-free, is weather resistant against snow and rain, records in HD, and supports two-way audio. Something we especially like is how you get access to 7 days worth of video backups included for free.
The most powerful Echo
The Amazon Echo Show is one of the biggest and baddest smart displays around. It has a gorgeous 10.1-inch HD screen, seriously impressive speakers, and support for video services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. If you're invested in the Alexa/Amazon ecosystem, this is a fantastic addition that we think you'll have a lot of fun using. The full review is right here.
The door lock you deserve
This is, without a doubt, one of the most advanced smart locks on the market. It can be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere, alerts you if your door's not securely closed + locked, and constantly tracks all activity with a 24/7 feed that's accessible via the August app. It can even automatically lock as you leave the house and unlock when it detects you're approaching it.
Get a few of these
The Wemo Mini is one of our favorite smart plugs on the market. You can control it anywhere from the Wemo app or with the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri if that's more your jam. The Wemo Mini can be scheduled to automatically turn on and off at certain times, and thanks to its compact size, you can have two stacked on top of each other in most outlets.
If I had to choose just one item off this list to buy, I think I'd have to go with the Google Home Hub. I recently put one in my office, and it's been a joy for checking on my thermostat, quickly toggling lights on/off, streaming music, you name it. I'm also a big fan of the Philips Hue lights, and if you still don't have a Nest Thermostat E in your home, that's something that needs to change ASAP. Happy shopping!
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