Smart homes are becoming more common and easier to set up. Having a smart device can greatly improve the functionality of a home by using simple voice commands to control basic features. Smart devices range from smart thermostats that adjust the temperature based on room occupancy to smart lights that can adjust the color and brightness of a room. There exist numerous others including smart locks, security cameras, and general smart plugs that can turn on anything that is plugged into the device. Here, we describe the best smart device in a few popular categories.
The smart devices outlined here include a smart thermostat, smart light bulbs, indoor security camera, and smart home lock. While there are many to choose from, the smart device we consider to be the best in each category is noted here.
While Nest traditionally dominated the smart thermostat market, the EcoBee4 is now considered the best model. It’s considered one of the most accurate models on the market, which is important for those who want an appropriately temperature controlled room. The EcoBee4 also acts as an Alexa speaker for Echo smart devices. Users can get surround sound in a room with an Echo device and the thermostat. The smart thermostat starts at $202 on Amazon.
Smart Light Bulbs
Smart light bulbs allow users to dim lights and control the coloring of rooms. The group of lights that are considered the best are the Phillips Hue smart lights. These lights can be bought in white or an array of other colors, and in strips or single bulbs. They can be connected via the Hue Smart Bridge to create a variety of moods and lighting scenarios. Smart devices like Echo or Google Home can be told to dim or brighten lights, or change the lights to preset lighting arrangements. Pricing ranges dependent on how many bulbs users want to purchase. For example, four white bulbs and a Hue bridge costs $94, four color ambiance bulbs and a Hue bridge costs $196.
Indoor Security Camera
Those wanting to purchase a smart security camera are required to consider a number of different factors. The factors to consider for this smart device are clarity of video, accuracy at detecting movement, app functionality, and video storage. Netgear Arlo Q is rated highly in all of these categories. The app lets videos be stored for free for seven days, the field of view is large at 130 degrees, and the night vision can pick up movement within 25 feet. The device starts at $174 for one or $246 for two.
Smart Home Lock
For those who are constantly losing keys, a smart home lock ensures keys can be forgotten without fearing you will be locked out of your home. The Kwikset Kevo that can use a physical key, a smart phone, or an external plastic “key” to enter or lock a home. The smart phone or plastic “key” act as Bluetooth activators for the lock that simply require the user to be close to the door and tap a finger on the lock. Temporary ekeys can be given to guests or house sitters that allows access within a certain time before the key expires on their phone. The smart home lock starts at $180.
Smart Home Integration
For users wanting a comprehensive smart home system, smart devices like those mentioned above should be integrated with a smart hub. A smart hub allows a virtual assistant device such as Google Home or Amazon Echo to seamlessly control the smart devices. In this manner, users can give commands like, “Alexa, lock the front door”, “Alexa, increase the temperature by two degrees”, or “Google, show me footage from the security camera”. The Amazon Echo Plus is specially designed to work as a smart hub, so an additional external device isn’t needed. For users who do not have an Amazon Echo Plus, the Samsung SmartThings hub (starting at $79) is highly rated.