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Smart home devices and voice assistants (such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri) are always growing to make life a little easier, which is something we can all get behind these days. This year has provided us with several new voice-activated devices, including battery-powered video doorbells, energy-saving smart thermostats, and motion-tracking smart displays, to name a few.
Smart home technology is adjusting to our new normal of living a more flexible and connected lifestyle, as evidenced by the latest technologies’ increased versatility. Our GadgetBond Staff (a.k.a. GDB’s Staff) team has prepared a list of the best smart home products that are worth your money.
Apple HomePod mini
The blue Apple HomePod mini lets you control all of your compatible Apple products, talk to family members in other rooms, and use Siri. It connects to your WiFi network and gives you access to and control over all of your HomeKit-compatible devices. With Siri, you can listen to music, check the weather and traffic, get sports scores, control connected smart home equipment and more. The HomePod small can complete the specified operation in one instant thanks to a far-field four-microphone array. Siri can be called up by saying “Hey Siri” or by tapping and holding the touch screen. A variety of Siri features are compatible with the HomePod mini and other compatible Apple devices, allowing for complete integration into your Apple ecosystem.
Google Nest Audio
The Nest Audio smart speaker from Google offers outstanding, room-filling sound in a small package, making it our top smart speaker for the money. The built-in Google Assistant is incredibly quick at executing voice instructions like turning off the lights, locking the front door, and changing the ceiling fan speed. It connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and may be used in connection with other Nest smart speakers to provide multi-room audio. We particularly like the oval-shaped design, which is based largely on recycled plastic bottles and saves space.
Bose Home Speaker 300
The Bose Home Speaker 300 fills your home with thrilling 360-degree sound. The Home 300, which comes in black or silver, has several connectivity options (including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), tempting features, an easy-to-use interface, and extensive smart home integration with Alexa or Google Assistant. Regardless of which of the various music streaming services you use, or if you favor Amazon or Google, this speaker will smoothly accommodate you while providing a pleasant listening experience.
- Bose Home Speaker 300 — Check it now on Amazon
Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)
For any front door, the Google Nest Doorbell (battery) is the smartest video doorbell choice. It comes with attractive free features like a three-hour event history and intuitive smart alerts that can tell you when a delivery is delivered or a person crosses its pathway, as well as wired or battery installation. When you combine it with a Nest Aware membership, you’ll gain access to even more home security capabilities, such as Google’s Familiar Faces, which can notify you when Uncle Herbert or Aunt Bettie shows up.
- Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) — $180 at Best Buy / Amazon / Walmart / Adorama
- Google Nest Doorbell (Wired) — $229 at Amazon / B&H Photo / Walmart
Google Nest Learning Thermostat
The coolest one is the Google Nest Learning Thermostat, which takes the guess out of controlling your HVAC system. It’s supposed to make money-saving adjustments to your home’s temperature based on “learning” your behaviors. It also has Alexa and Google Assistant voice control for hands-free temperature control, as well as simple app connectivity, so you can alter the temperature from nearly anywhere, or just let it do its thing.
Phillips Hue White and Color Ambiance (Gen 3)
We choose Philips Hue smart bulbs because of their bright and vibrant array of 16 million colors and intuitive in-app features. The bulbs work with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit, and the app has a tonne of automation capabilities like geofencing, scheduling, and lighting simulations (like a sunset) to let you create the perfect mood indoors or out. When you’re away from home, you’ll need a Hue Bridge to control the lights, although Bluetooth control is accessible when you’re in range, and they also function with a Zigbee hub.
- Philips Hue A19 Bluetooth 75W Smart LED Starter Kit (White Ambiance) — $119 at Amazon / Best Buy / Walmart / Adorama / B&H Photo
Schlage Encode Smart Lock
You can get rid of your keys and utilize the Schlage Encode smart lock’s keyless touchpad instead. The lock is simple to set up (simply follow the instructions in the manuals) and supports voice control with Google Assistant and Alexa, allowing you to check in with your preferred smart assistant to see if the door is locked. One of the most attractive features of this device is that it can save up to 100 passcodes, which you may share with trustworthy friends and family members who may require entry to your home while you’re away. Whether you’re upstairs or at the office, it’s responsive and dependable, providing you peace of mind.
Wyze Smart Home Smart Plug
Smart plugs must be trustworthy, secure, and equipped with a variety of beneficial functions that make life easier. The Wyze Plug 15-amp ticks all of these boxes, with two-factor authentication and specific automation capabilities like scheduling, timers, and Vacation Mode. The front-facing outlet won’t impede your second outlet, and you can manage it with your hands or with Alexa or Google Assistant. The Wyze app also tracks the plug’s daily and weekly runtime to help you get a sense of your usual usage and make changes for more environmentally friendly living.
Google Nest Cam (Battery)
The Google Nest Cam (battery) comes with a range of installation choices (built-in rechargeable battery or plug-in), making it ideal for any outdoor home security configuration. The video and audio quality are both good, and the camera detects motion events quickly and accurately (people, packages, vehicles, and animals). It comes with free smart alerts and, because it works with Google Assistant, you can use it to do things like bring up the live view on a Nest smart display to keep an eye on what’s going on outside.
- Google Nest Cam (Battery) — $180 at Best Buy / Walmart / B&H Photo
- Google Nest Cam with floodlight (wired) — $280 at Best Buy / Walmart / B&H Photo
Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera
These days, privacy is hard to come by, but Arlo’s Essential Indoor Security Camera features an incorporated physical sliding shutter to keep your private moments at home to yourself. 1080p resolution, real-time live feed, two-way communication, two-factor authentication, and voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant are among the camera’s capabilities. From your phone, compatible smart displays like the Echo Show 5, or the Arlo Web Portal, you may live stream the camera’s view. Not only can it detect (and notify you of) motion events rapidly, but it also highlights the object (such as an animal or human) in green so you can see what’s going on right away from the preview alert.
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation)
The charcoal 3rd generation Amazon Echo Show 10 offers video capabilities to improve on regular Alexa functionality, with a 10.1″ touchscreen HD display and a 13MP camera. The Echo Show 10 connects to your home’s wireless network through Wi-Fi and has a built-in microphone, allowing you to video chat with friends, play music, check the weather and traffic reports, hear sports scores, watch videos, and more. When video chatting, the screen and camera will automatically follow you around the room, and you can manually tilt it up or down for better viewing.
Amazon Echo (4th Generation)
With the 4th-generation charcoal Amazon Echo, you can start or expand your Amazon Alexa ecosystem. The 4th-generation Echo connects to your home’s wireless network via dual-band Wi-Fi and a microphone array, allowing you to use Amazon Alexa to play music, check the weather and traffic reports, hear sports scores, and more. The Echo also has Bluetooth, which allows it to wirelessly pair with and play audio from a number of audio sources, including smartphones and tablets.
Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Generation)
The sandstone Amazon Echo Show 5 offers video capabilities to add on normal Alexa functions, with a 5.5″ touchscreen color display and a 1MP camera. The Echo Show connects to your home’s wireless network via dual-band Wi-Fi and two microphones, allowing you to play music, video chat with friends, check the weather and traffic anywhere in the US, hear sports scores, watch videos, and more.
Amazon Echo Show 15
The Amazon Echo Show 15 leverages video capabilities to improve on typical Alexa functions, including a 15.6″ touchscreen Full HD display and a 5MP camera. The Echo Show 15 connects to your home’s wireless network via dual-band Wi-Fi and a microphone, allowing you to play music, video chat with friends, check the weather and traffic reports, hear sports scores, watch videos, and more. It can be hung on the wall or placed on a stand, depending on your preference.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation)
With the twilight blue 4th-generation Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, you might expand or start a new Alexa ecosystem in your home. It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and the integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant lets you control a variety of things with your voice, such as weather and traffic alerts, music playback, and more. The 1.6″ full-range driver produces audio, or you can use the 1/8″ output to transfer sound to a pair of powered speakers.
- Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation) — Check it now on Amazon
Belkin SOUNDFORM ELITE Wireless Speaker
The white Belkin SOUNDFORM ELITE Wireless Speaker features a built-in wireless connection, wireless device charging, and Google Assistant. The SOUNDFORM ELITE connects to your home’s wireless network through Wi-Fi and an inbuilt far-field dual-microphone system, allowing you to use Google Assistant to play music, check the weather and traffic, hear sports scores, and more. With the top-mounted charging cradle, you can instantly charge your phone.
- Belkin SOUNDFORM ELITE — $200 at Amazon
Bose Home Speaker 500
The luxurious silver Bose Home Speaker 500 isn’t your standard wireless speaker, with built-in wireless networking and voice control. The Home Speaker 500 connects to your home’s wireless network and lets you listen to music, check the weather and traffic, and hear sports scores, among other things. The built-in microphones allow the speaker to pick up your voice from any direction in the room, even while music is playing, thanks to Alexa or Google Assistant voice control technology. You may also stream directly to the speaker via Bluetooth from a compatible device or via the 1/8″ input from older devices. For multi-room audio, the Home Speaker 500 can be wirelessly connected to other compatible Bose speakers.