The Best Smart Home Devices of 2022
Tech experts dish on 12 genius products that might just change your life. They're easy to set up, too. If you can use a smart phone, you can have a smart home.
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What are smart home devices, anyway?
Smart home devices are products that can be automatically controlled from anywhere thanks to internet connectivity. You can use your phone or other networked devices to remotely control and configure these devices. Items like the best smart light switches make turning lights on and off—even when you’re away—instantly available.
There are all sorts of weird smart home gadgets available to simplify your life ranging from smart light bulbs to smart Christmas trees and even smart door locks. Beef up your home’s protection with smart home cameras and doorbell security cameras and home security lights.
Are smart home devices worth it?
If you’ve ever forgotten to shut off your lights or stove, smart home devices are certainly worth the expense and the few minutes of required setup time. Smart home automation can also save loads of cash on heating and cooling bills thanks to the energy items like smart home thermostats save.
Are smart home devices safe?
Most smart home devices require only a few minutes to install and operate safely for even the most novice-level tech lovers. They’re designed to add convenience and safety to your life.
Best Smart Outlet
Wemo Smart Plug
If you’re new to smart home devices, the Wemo Mini Smart Plug is a great first option. “This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to branch into smart home tech,” says tech consultant Stephanie Duchaine Montgomery of this affordable option.
Plug it into an outlet, then plug any appliance into it—lamps, fans, curling irons—and you can control the appliance from your phone anytime, anywhere. It even responds to voice commands via Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant. The “Away Mode” turns lights on and off in your house randomly to make it seem like you’re home. If you love this, try the Kasa outdoor smart plug for patios and decks.
- Easy to use, no special technology training or set-up required
- Responds to voice commands
- Works seamlessly with whatever you plug in
- To be used indoors only
- Limited color selection
Best for Home Security
Ring is one of the best smart home security devices on the market. Security is a leading area for smart home devices, according to tech expert Lance Ulanoff. With Ring Video Doorbell, just ask Alexa to see who’s at the door, and know right away when packages have been delivered or guests have arrived.
With Ring Video Doorbell’s motion sensors, you can receive an alert to your phone if someone approaches your house, and communicate with any visitors who ring the bell. One advantage over similar video doorbells: It can be battery-powered, so it’s no problem if your doorbell isn’t hard-wired. These are the safest smart doorbells for your home.
- Helps see guests and package deliveries from anywhere
- Includes motion sensors
- Easy set up
- Can be battery-operated
- The batteries are temperature-sensitive due to lithium ion composition, and may not hold a steady charge in extreme temperatures
Best Smart Security Camera
The Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor cameras offer continuous video recording, send you alerts when there’s motion or unusual sounds, and allow you to speak directly through their microphones to scare away intruders. All three also work with Amazon’s Alexa. Learn 15 unexpected ways to use Alexa.
- Ofers continuous video recording
- Motion and sound alerts
- Allows you to speak directly through speakers
- Works with Alexa
- Some reviewers note it can be difficult to configure a large collection of these smart cameras, but households using just a few can set them up with ease
Best Smart Thermostat
Nest Thermostat E
Saving money is absolutely one of the things we hope to achieve with the best smart home devices. After all, who doesn’t want to lower their energy bill? The Nest Thermostat E saves households $131 to $145 a year, based on typical energy usage. Nest lets you set different temperatures for when you’re home and when you’re not, and make adjustments with your phone or through Alexa.
It will even lower the temperature when it senses you’ve left the house—by tracking your phone. These are some of the best smart home thermometers out there.
- Helps reduce energy expenditures and costs
- Lets you set temperatures from anywhere you have WiFi access
- Works with Alexa
- Smart tracking by phone
- Can be difficult to regulate even non-electric heat sources if the internet or power goes down
Best Alexa-Enabled Smart Thermostat
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
The Ecobee4 SmartThermostat works much like the Nest thermostat but with one major difference—Alexa voice command ability is built in. Even if you don’t have a separate Alexa device, you can tell the Ecobee to adjust temperatures or even give you the news or order groceries. Here are more things you didn’t know your Amazon Alexa could do and the fascinating Alexa Easter eggs you need to find.
- Alexa voice command-enabled
- No Alexa device necessary
- Quick installation and setup
- Saves energy and money
- The web-based interface can be challenging to navigate for some
Best Smart Device for Pets
Furbo Dog Camera
What’s Fido doing all day while you’re away? You’ll know for sure with the Furbo Dog Camera. Live streaming video lets you watch your pet’s every move on your phone and receive alerts when there’s barking.
The Furbo will even dispense treats and allow you to say “Good dog!” through a two-way audio speaker. Our editors and our pups consider the Furbo one of this year’s best smart home devices. These are the 14 best puzzle toys for dogs.
- One of the most engaging smart home devices for dogs
- Allows you to see and communicate with your dog from anywhere
- Easy setup
- Delivers treats
- Somewhat pricey, but worth it to see Fido’s tail wag while you’re away
Best Smart Fridge
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator does way more than keep your food cold. It allows you to create shopping lists, order groceries, plus share schedules and send messages to family members, all from the large touchscreen on the fridge door. At the grocery store and not sure if you need milk? See what’s inside your fridge right from your phone. You can also stream music and sync with your Samsung TV to keep watching a show while you fix a snack.
“This is a little bit more of an investment, but for busy families, it can make a huge difference,” says Montgomery. What is a smart home without genius kitchen gear, anyway?
- Takes inventory of what you have on hand
- Saves time and money
- Streams music
- Syncs with Samsung smart TVs
- More expensive than typical refrigerator models, but may end up saving you money over time
Best Smart Vacuum
The first popular robot vacuum is still the best. And the latest model, the Roomba e5, has overcome the drawbacks of previous versions. Its multi-surface rubber brushes are less prone to getting clogged with hair, and the super-powerful suction and high-efficiency filter trap dirt and allergens like never before.
Of course, you can control the Roomba from an app on your phone when you’re out. Discover more robots that will clean your home.
- Automated and remote use thanks to WiFi connectivity
- Strong suction
- High-efficiency filter trap
- Multi-surface rubber brushes
- Modest price point
- Rolling brush collector can get caught on long hair and fibers
- Models with more dust bin capacity exist, although the compact nature of this model makes it a good choice for apartments
Best Smart Laundry Machine
LG Smart Washer
Want your clothes to come out clean in less time, then get an alert when your wash is ready to dry? The LG Smart WiFi Enabled Front Load Washer takes up to 30 minutes less to do a standard load and removes up to 95 percent of pet dander. Plus, it uses steam to get clothes clean and fresh.
Pair it with the LG Smart WiFi Enabled Dryer, which you can also control with your phone. It senses the moisture level to determine the optimal drying time, removes wrinkles, freshens non-washable items and more. Both are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Check out these things you never knew your dryer could do.
- Can be controlled from anywhere through your phone
- Takes up to 30 minutes less to clean standard loads of laundry
- Removes up to 95% of pet dander
- Steam cleans clothes
- Only available in a front-load style
Best Smart Lighting
Phillips Hue Light Bulbs
You use LED bulbs to save energy. Now take it a step further with the Phillips Hue Light Bulbs. Put the bulbs in your lamps, connect the Hue bridge to your WiFi router, download the Hue app on your phone and you can control when and which lights go on and off and whether to dim them. Do all this without getting out of bed, or off the couch or even being home, of course.
For security, you can set it to turn lamps on randomly when you’re away. It will even let you use your bedside lamp to wake you by mimicking a sunrise. Learn more about LED color changing bulbs.
- Connects to the Hue bridge via Wifi, which ultimately lets your phone control all your lighting
- On/off capabilities from anywhere
- Acts as a remote security feature to make it look like you’re home
- Requires about 15 minutes of setup time
Best Smart Plumbing
Flo Water Detection System
This may not be what comes to mind first when you think “smart home gadgets,” but this is absolutely a must-have on our list of the best smart home devices. The Flo water detection system gives you peace of mind in case a pipe bursts, a tub leaks or your basement floods during a storm. Sixty percent of users discover a leak they didn’t know they had when they install Flo.
It monitors your water use, identifies leaks, sends alerts to your phone when there is a problem and automatically shuts off the water for you. Check out these brilliant home tech products that will keep you from worrying about appliances.
- Alerts users to pipe bursts, leaks and floors
- Ideal for homes with older and unreliable plumbing
- Also good for homes in flood zones
- Sends alerts via smartphone app
- Automatically shuts off water when necessary
- Requires more skilled installation than a smart light bulb or assistant, but has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars over time
Best Home Assistant with Video
Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show is everything you love about your Amazon Alexa, plus video capability. So you can ask Alexa to show you a recipe, watch live TV and sports, or see who’s at the front door. You can even make video calls.
Simply say “Alexa, call Cousin Emily” to be connected with a family member who lives across the country. You can also enable “drop-in” for your closest friends and family. Just say, “Alexa, drop in on my daughter” to start an instant video call. Here’s more about the Amazon Echo Show.
- Smart home assistant with video features
- Ideal for kitchen counters—watch cooking videos, catch up on news and more
- Seamless, quick setup
- Video calling features
- Aside from video capabilities, it doesn’t offer much more than other Amazon smart home assistant devices
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