A “smart home” doesn’t mean what it used it. It’s not complicated. These days all you need is a smart speaker that you can talk to, or a smartphone and some smart bulbs or smart plugs, and you can consider that a “smart home.” The cool thing is that building out a smart home is easier than you think; you can just start with something simple, like an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, and then gradually add devices that work with it. Pretty soon, if you don’t already, you’ll be controlling your TV, air conditioning and kitchen appliances with your voice. Ah, the future.
1. Wyze Cam
This tiny little smart home camera works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and it has basically the same exact capabilities as the larger and more expensive cameras by Nest and Ring. We can’t recommend this Wyze Cam enough.
2. Philips Hue White (2-Bulb Pack)
In addition to making some of the best smart bulbs on the planet, Philips just released a new range of Hue smart bulbs that can be controlled with Bluetooth instead of with a proprietary hub. That makes them terrific all-in-one gifts.
3. Tile Sticker
Price: $40 (2-pack)
Tile’s smallest tracker ever is also the company’s first-ever sticker. That’s right, there’s an adhesive on the back of each Tile Stick so you can attach it to anything that doesn’t fit on a keychain — like a camera or laptop or even a bike – and keep track of it with your phone.
4. Lifx Candle Colour
The Candle Colour is unique among smart light bulbs because it’s able to emit multiple colors at the same time. That’s right, one bulb and many different colors. It’s compatible with HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
5. ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2
This is one of our favorite smart plugs because not only does it function as a dual outlet, but it’s also compatible with every smart home ecosystem: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant.
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6. Echo Dot With a Clock
That’s right, Amazon’s newest Echo Dot has an LED display with an always-on digital clock. For anyone bought into Amazon’s smart ecosystem, this makes a great alarm clock.
7. Lenovo Smart Clock
For people who are more into Google’s network of produts, this affordable smart display from Lenovo is a terrific smart alarm clock. You can set (and then later snooze) alarms with “Hey Google” voice commands and it’s small enough to fit on any nightstand.
8. Awair Glow C
The Awair Glow C kills three birds with one stone. It’s a smart plug that works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but it’s also an air quality monitor and a smart night light to boot. It’s an unexpected but useful trio of functions your giftee will never have expected.
9. Ring Video Doorbell 2
In addition to working seamlessly with other Alexa smart gadgets, this video doorbell is great because installation is a snap: it has a rechargeable battery so there’s no wirework whatsoever.
10. SimpliSafe Smart Home Security
This popular smart security system comes with a base station, keypad and number of various main and motion sensors (and you can always add more). Set up is quick and breezy – even a smart home neophite could figure it out – and it works with Google Assistant and Alexa.
11. Sonos One
The One is an easy gift because it will fit right into just about any home. Whether your recipient already has a bunch of Sonos speakers or don’t have any, they’ll love the One. And if you think they don’t want a speaker that’s too smart, you can buy the One SL ($179), which is the exact same speaker as the One just without Alexa.
12. Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
Nest’s Learning Thermostat has been the industry’s gold standard for a long time. This third-generation model, which is the company’s latest and greatest, can actually learn you and your family’s habits and, over time, it’ll plan your home’s heating and cooling temperatures around them.
13. August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Bundle
This smart lock is the best one for most homes so it comes easy to recommend for gifting. It works with Apple’s HomeKit, meaning it’s super easy to use your iPhone (or Siri) to lock and unlock your door. It works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant as well.
14. Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV 4K is arguably the best digital streamer you can buy today, especially if you have an iPhone and are locked into Apple’s ecosystem. As an added bonus, it’s a terrific way to get the games from Apple Arcade onto the biggest screen in your home.
15. Fyrtur Power Blinds
Give the gift of lowering (or raising!) the blinds without getting out of bed. Fyrtur Power Blinds let you can lower or raise them with the touch of a wireless remote or with your own voice. They’re compatible with Google Home right now, with Alexa and Apple HomeKit support “coming soon.”
16. Google WiFi System
Price: $249 (3-pack)
Google’s mesh Wi-Fi system is the perfect solution for homes that have pesky “dead zones” in their farther reaches. It also gives you granular control over your network to, say, cut off access to a certain bedroom after curfew.
17. Amazon Smart Oven
Last year’s smart microwave was an undercover gem, and it’s still a great entry-level microwave that you can control with your voice. This year’s smart oven takes it to the next level – it’s a convection cooker, air fryer, food warmer and a microwave, all in one.
Twelve South HiRise Wireless
The HiRise Wireless is an upright wireless charging station for your iPhone that helps you keep an eye on incoming messages, alerts, scores or what’s playing on Spotify. You can also use it for hands-free FaceTime calls or watching live videos on Facebook and Instagram.
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