A "smart home" isn't as complicated as you might think. These days, all you need is a smart speaker, or a smartphone and some smart bulbs or smart plugs and you've got all the fixin's. Pretty soon, if you don’t already, you’ll be controlling your TV, air conditioning and kitchen appliances with your voice. Ah, the future. If you're gifting to a smart home nerd (or an aspiring smart home nerd) the chief thing is to find out what technology their smart home is based in and triple check to make sure your gift is compatible.
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is our pick for best smart plug because it's small, simple to install and works with all the major smart ecosystems (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit). It also has a physical on/off button for extra ease of use.
This little box and its articulating arm can turn any button or physical switch in a home into a smart device. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri and is perfect for any smart home tinkerer.
This is essentially a smart plug on steroids. It's a surge protector that has six individual smart outlets and three USB ports for additional charging. You can control each outlet individually or control a number (or all) of them in a group. It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The Awair Glow C is a smart plug, air quality monitor and smart light — all packed into one device that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.
NestAudio is a $100 smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in, but it sounds way better and looks way nicer than the original Google Home. It's available in a number of different color fabric finishes and is great for anyone with a Google-based smart home, or who's looking to build one.
Amazon completely redesigned its Echo smart speaker this year and this new spherical version sports a bigger and better sound, but still the same Alexa voice assistant. It's a great addition to any Alexa-based smart home.
There are devices that specialize in sanitizing your smartphone and other gadgets for you. Instead of using disinfectant or some other liquid to kill your harmful bacteria and germs, they use UV light. They’re essentially tanning beds bathe your smartphone, but they bathe it blue light to sanitize it over time
The Roku Streambar is a great and affordable entry-level soundbar that is perfect for anyone still using their TV's built-in sound for some reason. It's compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant right now, with support for Apple's HomeKit and AirPlay 2 coming this fall.
Philips Hue is biggest name is smart lighting and the White Ambiance are the smart lights it's probably best known for. They'll fit in most lamps and overhead lights, and allow you to adjust brightness and change color temperature. Additionally, they're compatible with all the major smart ecosystems, including Apple's HomeKit.
The Apple TV 4K is the perfect set-top box for anybody committed to the Apple ecosystem and already has a 4K TV. Also, Apple TV 4Ks from Apple come with a one-year subscription to Apple TV+ for free.
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is easy to install, attaches to your existing deadbolt and doesn't require a separate Wi-Fi hub to work. Plus it works with all the major smart ecosystems, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings making it a great gift no matter what ecosystem they're already into.
The Nest Hello is beautifully designed video doorbell that comes with facial recognition and motion/sound alerts. It works with the two biggest smart ecosystems, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
While true that traditional turntable setups have a lot of moving parts, that’s the nature of the beast — if not vinyl’s main allure. There’s also an easy workaround. These days, a bunch of turntables and speaker systems come with integrated components (like a phono preamplifier or amplifier) and they make listening to vinyl as hassle-free.
This is Nest's flagship smart thermostat works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, making it a great addition to any smart home.
Nest Wi-Fi is a new and improved version of Google's original mesh router system. Each individual hub (that is not the router) works as a Google Home smart speaker, too. It's simply the best way to improve the Wi-Fi and cure dead zones in any home.
What if your Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker had a built-in wireless charger for your phone and was engineered by a high-end audio company like Devialet? That's exactly what the Belkin SoundForm Elite is.
The Arlo Pro 3 combines high-end features (like motion detection and night vision) with an affordable price tag. The best thing about the Pro 3 (and Arlo cams in general) is that it's a portable battery-powered system, so you can place each camera anywhere around your house. It works with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s HomeKit.
One of the best-sounding portable speakers you can buy, the Sonos Move can also connect to an establish Sonos system by Wi-Fi. That versatility makes it a great gift whether or not your giftee already has other Sonos speakers.
The Arc is Sonos's new flagship soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos. Sonos also decked it out with all the smart features and industrial design of its smaller soundbar, the Beam. The Arc is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, and supports AirPlay 2.
The LG CX Series is the best OLED TV with a picture far beyond what any LCD-based 4K TVs can muster. Yes, as a gift it is a bit of a flext, but its smart operating system works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa which makes it a great smart home center piece.