Best Smart Home Products

Friday Nov 13th, 2020


Best Smart Home Products

The pros at share their top product picks, including "smart" bulbs, locks, smoke detectors, and more


Best Smart Bulb


Best Overall: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (Gen 3)

Across the board, the Philips Hue smart bulbs topped all of our tests thanks to an easy setup, a robust suite of features, and an intuitive app. Additional support with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri add tremendous benefit to an already impressive little light bulb. Once you throw in the additional rainbow of possible light colors, these are without a doubt the best smart bulbs you can buy.

The only downside is that unlike some other smart bulbs, the Hue bulbs do require a hub in order to work. Additional hardware isn’t usually a strong selling point, but it’s a small price to pay for the sheer performance and reliability the Hue bulbs offer—especially if you opt for the Starter Kit, which comes with the hub.

About $188; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Bulbs at

Best Smart Plug


Best Overall: iDevices Switch

If you’re looking for a smart plug that hits all the right notes and never puts a foot wrong, the iDevices Switch is the way to go. On top of Android and iOS compatibility, the Switch offers in-depth energy monitoring and seamless integration with the two most popular smart home ecosystems: Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.

Looks aren’t everything, but the iDevices Switch is easily the most attractive smart plug we tested. Along with its sleek, minimalist casing, it offers a unique “night light” LED strip that can be set to any color of the rainbow. Mercifully, the Switch only occupies a single outlet on your wall panel, and its own outlet is positioned on the right-hand side—a real advantage if you want to place it snugly behind a couch or bookcase.

About $26.49; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Plugs at

Best Smart Lock


Best Overall: Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

There's a lot to love about our top pick, the Schlage Sense. For starters, thanks to an interactive step-by-step guide in the app, it's incredibly easy to install and troubleshoot. It's intuitive, had the fastest average lock and unlock times (about two and a half seconds), and comes jam-packed with useful features.

Not only is it able to store and remember 30 unique passcodes, but it comes equipped with built-in alarm sensors that will issue an alert if it senses an attack. It's also Apple HomeKit compatible, which means you can ask Siri to lock/unlock your door and even through your remote control if you own an Apple TV as well. If you own an iPhone and have already taken steps to fill your home with Apple HomeKit compatible products, the Schlage Sense is a standout smart lock that should be on your radar.

About $229; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Locks at

Best Smart Thermostat


Best Overall: Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi

While Nest and Honeywell may be better known smart thermostat brands, we recommend the Emerson Sensi Touch, particularly if you have a C-wire. It won us over with the least stressful installation process, a helpful app, and functionality across multiple “smart” assistants.

The Sensi Touch Wi-Fi is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit. The smart functionality will vary a bit depending on which platform your house uses, but it’s a good thermostat regardless.

About $162.60; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Thermostats at

Best Smart Water Leak Detector


Best Overall: Honeywell Lyric

Our favorite smart leak detector offers easy setup, a solid app, temperature and humidity readings, and an optional cord sensor attachment that expands the detection area up to 150 feet. The detector works over WiFi for easy setup, doesn't need a hub, and should last up to 3 years on AA batteries.

About $54.90; Amazon

SEE MORE: Smart Water Leak Detectors on

Best Smart Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Detector


Best Battery-Powered Alarm: Nest Protect

The Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm is a solid smart detector with ample functionality. In addition to sending push notifications, the Nest Protect, which comes in both battery and hardwired models, includes voice alerts, a nightlight option, low battery alerts, and a monthly self-test feature.

The Nest Protect didn’t perform as well as some of its competitors in terms of responsiveness, taking 30 seconds or more after the alarm sounded to send notifications. However, the smartphone alerts do mention whether it’s a just a “Heads Up” (a.k.a. a little bit of smoke) or a genuine “Emergency.”

About $168; Amazon

SEE MORE: Smart Smoke Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Alarms, and Monitorson

Best Smart Doorbell


Best Overall: Ring Video Doorbell 2

The Ring Doorbell 2 was the most reliable of all the doorbells we tested by a large margin. With it, you get a great camera (especially a night) paired with useful features like the ability to define the motion detection areas and sensitivity. If you have a flag on your porch, you can tell the Ring to ignore the area where it tends to flap around and prevent endless notifications. And the fact that it can be wired in but also has a battery means there’s no reason to sweat a power outage.

If you want to save and play back video clips, you’ll have to pay $3/month or $30/year for storage. If you invest in multiple Ring devices, they offer a $10/month or $100/year package for as many devices as you want. Granted, this only becomes cost effective if you have more than three Ring devices.

About $199; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Doorbells on

Best Smart Indoor Security Camera 


Best Overall: Logitech Logi Circle

There’s no perfect smart indoor security camera (yet), but in our testing the Logi Circle came closest. In particular, we loved its incredibly simple setup process, minimalist but powerful app, and the fact that it has a built-in battery, so it can be temporarily placed anywhere in your home. On top of that, it has very good image quality in most circumstances, an extra-wide lens, and offers 24 hours of free cloud backup.

About $127; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Indoor Security Cameras on

Best Smart Outdoor Security Camera


Best Overall: Nest Cam Outdoor

As long as you don’t mind it being tethered to a power outlet, the Nest Cam Outdoor is the best smart outdoor security camera you can buy. That said, it's definitely a case of getting what you pay for, because the Nest Cam Outdoor is also one of the most expensive options we tested. While the upfront price is comparable to rivals, a subscription to the awesome Nest Aware cloud storage service will cost you anywhere from $100 to $300 per year.

Nest Aware totally makes this camera. It adds tons of super useful features, including notifications that differentiate between people and pets; customizable activity zones that prevent areas with frequent, benign motion from triggering alerts; and the ability to create clips that you can share with family, friends, or law enforcement. Coolest of all, it adds a video history feature that records to the cloud 24/7. With a fast enough connection, you can scrub through the remote footage like it’s on a local DVR. It’s absolutely magical.

About $140; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart Outdoor Security Cameras on

Best Smart In-Wall Switch


Best Overall: Leviton Decora Smart Switch (Wi-Fi)

If you want the very best smart switch, then you need to get Leviton's Decora Smart WiFi Switch. Its setup was a breeze and it was easy to get it connected to both Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant. The companion My Leviton app wasn't the most intuitive of the bunch, but it works reliably across both Android and iOS.

Aside from the app, the switch scored perfect marks for its responsiveness to app and voice commands (as most of the switches did) and its remote control capabilities. And since it works over WiFi, it doesn't require any extra hubs or hardware to get started, making your startup cost only $45. Lastly, it also supports three-way switches, meaning you can have multiple smart switches control the same light, which isn't something its competitors can do.

About $39.97; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart In-Wall Switches on

Best Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switch


Best Overall: Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Starter Kit

The best dimmer we tested was Lutron's Caséta Wireless system. This dimmer really nails the software details, even responding to the scrubbing of the app's digital dim slider in real time! The app worked well across Android and iOS, and we were able to connect and control it easily with all three major smart home ecosystems—Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home.

Unlike every other smart dimmer we tested, Lutron also offers the only dimmer that doesn't require a neutral power line, something which isn't common in the electrical wiring of older homes. The only downside to this system is that it doesn't truly support three-way switches (where you have multiple switches for the same light). Instead, the company offers wireless kits to mount its remotes over additional switch boxes.

About $89.99; Amazon

SEE MORE: Best Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches on

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