Homes have begun to transform into smarter, more helpful spaces, complete with Wi-Fi-connected lightbulbs, speakers, video doorbells, security cameras, and more.
Picking the right devices can be complicated. You might just need one gadget to address a particular issue, like a smart plug to put a lamp on a schedule. Or you may be thinking about how to build on what you already own, like an Alexa– or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker, or even Siri and Apple’s HomeKit smart home service. Voice assistants can be a great starting point for building a do-it-yourself smart home. They offer a convenient way for family members or roommates to interact with the various Amazon’s Smart Devices without having to manage basic access within each app. Many, but not all, of the products on our list of the best smart home products will work with multiple voice assistants.
Luckily, Amazon’s Smart Devices offers a wide array of smart devices and accessories that can make your home smarter with a tap in your Alexa app. Want to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee? Upgrade your old coffee maker with a smart plug. Tired of coming home to a cold, dark house? Ask Alexa to turn on the lights and turn up the heat while you’re en route. Expecting a delivery while you’re out of town? Tell the Amazon driver where to stash your package using your video doorbell.
With so many smart home products popping up all the time—and constantly getting smarter—it can feel nearly impossible to keep track of which smart home gadgets are actually worth bringing home. New updates are constantly being released, and there’s a new smart home gadget or gizmo on shelves (or online stores) every week or so, it seems. Fortunately, some tend to rise above the rest in popularity—and these are the new gadgets currently causing the good kind of buzz.
- Blink Outdoor
The best thing about this smart home security camera is that it requires absolutely no installation. The Blink Outdoor runs on batteries that last for two years, can be mounted anywhere (even in a tree), and is designed to withstand most types of weather conditions. Once it’s set up, you can watch the comings and goings on your property on your smartphone using the Blink Home Monitor app. Another great feature of the device is that it has a speaker and microphone, so you can communicate with visitors who are outside from inside your home while using the live feature on the app.
- Ring Video Doorbell with Ring Chime
The Ring video doorbell is a game-changer. It’s affordable, easy to install and use, and doubles as a basic home security system. Once you disconnect your existing doorbell’s wires and hook it up to Ring (the package includes necessary equipment for setup), you can see everything that’s happening outside your front door via your smartphone. Motion detection alerts let you know you have a visitor before they even ring the doorbell, and the two-way talk feature allows you to “answer” your door remotely. If you aren’t near your phone or tablet, don’t worry. The Chime box acts as a traditional doorbell notification and can be plugged into any outlet in your house. Use the Chime as an accessory, and you won’t have to give up your doorbell to use the Ring.
Keep an eye on the quality of the air inside your home design with this good-looking air quality monitor, which can sit neatly on a shelf or sill while it tracks toxins, chemicals, fine dust, CO2, humidity, and temperature indoors. It will even offer tips for cleaning up the air inside, so you can breathe easier.
- Google Nest Hub Max
The new Google Nest Hub Max—the latest iteration of the Google Home Hub, larger and with a new name—has all the features of a smart home assistant, plus video capabilities, with a built-in camera for video chatting, security recording, and more. The smart home assistant is smarter than ever; paired with the camera, it can do even more to give every member of the household a personalized experience.
- Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo smart home hub is, first and foremost, a speaker that can play music, podcasts, or audiobooks from partnering streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Sirius XM, Pandora, and Audible. Pair it with any Amazon-compatible device—including the smart plug or smart thermostat— to control your lighting, HVAC system, and other connected appliances using voice prompts through the Alexa assistant.
Other cool features of the Amazon Echo Dot are Alexa Guard and Amazon Kids, and both are available for free to Echo Dot users through the Alexa app. Alexa Guard can detect problematic noises like smoke alarms and breaking glass, and alert you accordingly via mobile alerts from the app. Amazon Kids gives parents access to parental controls that filter out explicit songs from active playlists, block the ability to shop online and provide kid-friendly responses for questions posed to Alexa.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
This Amazon streaming device is also compatible with other electronics that offer live feeds within your home. Use the live view picture-in-picture feed to check your front door camera or baby monitor video feed without having to pause the TV show or movie you’re watching. Sync it with your compatible Amazon Echo new tech devices for a truly immersive gaming experience.
- Ring Alarm
Bring home an easy-to-manage—and contract-free—security system with the new Ring Alarm, which includes a motion detector, a keypad, a smoke detector, and more, depending on which kit you pick. The various devices send alerts to your smartphone and can be armed, disarmed, and more remotely.
- C by GE Smart Switch
Most smart lights require replacing every bulb with a smart one—not the best system where multiple bulbs are involved. Enter the line of switches—a dimmer, a standard on/off, and a motion-sensor—from C by GE, all of which replace a room’s light switch to make all the lights in the room smart, controllable remotely or using a smart home assistant.
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