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The best cheap smart home devices in 2020

best cheap smart home devices
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best cheap smart home devices help you raise your home’s IQ without breaking the bank. There are a number of affordable gadgets that you can use to turn on your lights, change the temperature, play music, and even keep an eye on your house while you’re away. 

Of all the best smart home devices we’ve reviewed, there are plenty of options under $100 that are just as good — if not better — as ones that cost twice as much. You can build your smart home for less than you’d expect as long as you know what to look for.

That’s where we can help. We’ve created this list of the best cheap smart home devices you can get at budget-friendly prices, from one of the best smart plugs to several of the best smart light bulbs. All of them work with at least one of the major smart assistants, giving you the power to control parts of your home hands-free, too. 

See all of the best cheap smart home devices below.

What are the best cheap smart home devices?

Our overall top pick among the best cheap smart home devices is the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock. Although the $60 Dot with Clock is a few bucks more than the standard third-generation Echo Dot, its clever LED display that lets you know the time at a glance adds incredible valu. It has an attractive cloth-covered exterior, built-in LED system and lets you take advantage of all of the best Alexa skills

Although there are a couple new affordable Alexa speakers on the way. The Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition are arriving later this year, for $50 and $60, respectively.

If you prefer Google Assistant and the Google Home platform, the best cheap smart home device for you is the Google Nest Mini. The $49 fabric-swathed smart speaker sounds great for its compact size and benefits from all the best Google Assistant commands and best Google Home commands. Just say "Hey Google" to dial up your friends or play your favorite jams. 

Smart plugs are some of the least expensive smart home devices, and you won’t find a better one than the $25 Wemo WiFi Smart Plug. It's as small as smart plugs come, and has a lot of handy scheduling features,. It's also one of the few smart products that we’d consider one of the best Alexa compatible devices, best Google Home compatible devices and best HomeKit devices

The best cheap smart home devices you can get today 

best cheap smart home devices: Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

The best cheap smart home device for Alexa users

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches | Weight: 10.6 ounces | Speakers: Single built-in speaker | Battery Life: n/a | Audio Out: Bluetooth, 3.5mm

Includes an LED clock
Sounds good for its size
Supports all Alexa features
Microphones could be better

The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock is our overall top pick among the best cheap smart home devices because it’s a worthwhile smart home entry point that sounds great and can replace your average alarm clock. As noted in our Echo Dot (3rd Gen) review, the hockey puck-sized device is a small-but-mighty speaker that you can use on your nightstand or extend to every room in your house.

As one of the best Alexa speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock puts Alexa’s powers in your voice’s reach, no matter how many times you need to hit snooze. And with the built-in LED display, you can see the temperature, check a countdown timer or steal a look at the time without having to listen carefully to your assistant’s response. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review.

best cheap smart home devices: Google Nest Mini

(Image credit: Google )

2. Google Nest Mini

The best cheap smart home device for Google Home users

Size: 3.7 x 1.7 inches | Speakers: 40-millimeter driver | Ports: None | Wireless: 2.4/6 GHz, Bluetooth

Fun color options
Loud for its size
Added microphones
No audio line out

If you’re a Pixel smartphone owner, or simply prefer Google Assistant over Amazon Alexa, the Google Nest Mini is another one of the best cheap smart home devices for you. Our first-generation Google Home Mini review highlighted the small speaker’s ability to compete with the Echo Dot, and the Nest Mini further upped the ante.

Available in Chalk, Charcoal gray, Coral orange and Sky-blue variants, the Google Nest Mini’s cloth covers an array of touch-screen controls, which let you play and pause music and launch Google Assistant. Thanks to its added mic, it can pick up "Hey Google" commands over other noises even from the other side of the room, too. If you're growing or starting your smart home, the Nest Mini is a perfect $49 starting point. 

Read our full Google Nest Mini review.

best cheap smart home devices: Wemo Wifi Smart Plug

(Image credit: Wemo)

3. Wemo WiFi Smart Plug

This smart plug is simple to use and works with all of the major smart assistants.

Size: 1.3 x 2.0 x 1.8 inches | Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, IFTTT | Electrical rating: 120V~/15A/60Hz/1800W

Improved footprint
Physical control button
Works with Alexa, Google Home and Homekit
Not compatible with 5Ghz Wi-Fi

The $25 Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is one of the best cheap smart home devices and our top choice among the best smart plugs. It's more compact than competing options out there, even its predecessor the Wemo Mini. And while it doesn't have energy monitoring like some other smart plugs, the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug does work with all the major smart assistants.

This smart plug has a physical switch, so if you don’t want to use your voice or an app to turn your appliance on or off, you can click the switch on the Wemo. It also has a clever Away mode. which can make it seem like you’re home even when you’re not by turning a lamp on intermittently. 

Read our full Wemo WiFi Smart Plug review.

best cheap smart home devices: Wyze Security Cam

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Wyze Cam 1080p

This camera costs less than $30, yet offers a ton of features

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 110 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: Yes | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: No | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant | Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for 14 days (rolling, in perpetuity)

Inexpensive
Free 14-day, rolling cloud storage
Local storage
Limited field of view
Cloud storage clips limited to 14 seconds

Like the Wyze Smart Lock, the indoor Wyze Cam is a dirt-cheap smart home device that works well enough to compete with pricier options and links to third party smart-home devices through Alexa and Google Assistant. As one of the best home security cameras you can get, the Wyze Cam 1080p lets you video at a resolution of 1080p which is sharp enough to let you see who’s there.

There's no subscription service, but the Wyze Cam 1080p comes with two weeks of free cloud storage — though clips are limited to 14 seconds — as well as a microSD card slot which you can use to enable continuous recording and create time-lapse videos. With an add-on module, you can link this camera to Wyze's motion sensors and smart bulbs, too.

Read our full Wyze Cam 1080p review.

best cheap smart home devices: Blink XT 2

(Image credit: Blink)

A great wireless outdoor home security camera under $100

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 110 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: two AA | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa | Cloud Storage: Free, but limited to two hours total

Inexpensive
Weatherproof
Doesn't work natively with Google Home
No person recognition

If you’re looking for a wireless outdoor security camera at a low cost, the Blink XT 2 is among the best cheap smart home devices for you. The Blink XT2’s camera is powered by two AA batteries, and communicates wirelessly with a small base station that's connected to your Wi-Fi network. 

The XT2's case is weather-proof, so you can mount it outside with its convenient mounting bracket. The 1080p picture is good for the price, and best of all, it comes with free cloud storage. Because Blink (and Ring) are owned by Amazon, the Blink app also has a connection to Ring's Neighbors app, where you can see a feed of other incidents in your neighborhood, and post videos from your Blink camera. Blink's own app is fairly robust as well.

Read our full Blink XT2 review.

best cheap smart home devices: Lifx Mini

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Lifx Mini

Best budget smart light bulb for smaller fixtures

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 200,000 hours | Brightness: 650-800 lumens | Power consumption: 9-11 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Bright
Advanced automation options
No hub needed
Expensive

When it comes to the best smart light bulbs, Philips Hue lights are tops, but they require you to also install a bridge for you to control them. By comparison, the $40 Lifx Mini smart bulb can connect directly to your Wi-Fi network, which can make setup much easier. At just 2.2 inches long, the Lifx Mini bulbs will fit in a variety of desk lamps and small light fixtures. 

Using Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, you can turn the Lifx lights on and off, and set their brightness and schedule. For $45, the color version lets you produce a number of cool lighting effects: The bulbs can flicker like a candle, flicker out for a spooky effect, strobe, and even change color with the beat of your music. 

Read our full Lifx Mini review.

best cheap smart home devices: Wyze Bulb

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Wyze Bulb

A dirt-cheap smart light bulb

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Power consumption: 9.5 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Inexpensive
Tunable white
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
Doesn't work with HomeKit
No color option

The biggest problem with smart lights is that they're expensive, even compared to other LED bulbs. That's why Wyze’s smart bulb is perfect for those on a budget. It’s one of the best cheap smart home devices if you’re looking for a light bulb you can control and connect to other smart home devices. You can change both the brightness and color temperature (2,700k - 6,500k) via the Wyze app or with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.

From within the Wyze app, you can create schedules for when the light should turn on and off—but only based on a specific time, not dawn or dusk—and set a Vacation mode, which turns the bulbs on and off randomly to make it look like you’re home. At $8 per bulb, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option at this price.

Read our full Wyze Bulb review.

Best cheap smart home devices: GE C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer (Credit: GE Lighting)

(Image credit: C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer (Credit: GE Lighting))

8. GE C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer

This smart switch works has a motion sensor built in

Size: 1.4 x 1.7 x 2.8 inches | Wi-Fi: Yes | Motion Sensor: Yes | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Dimmable: Yes | Supports three-way switches: Yes

No hub necessary
Supports Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit
Motion sensor
Utilitarian design
Confusing Android app

The GE C-Start Smart Switch isn't the sexiest or sleekest, but it’s our top pick among the best smart light switches because it gets the job done and is packed with features. The Wi-Fi-connected switch works with all kinds of bulbs, has apps for iOS and Android, and lets you control lights with a touch, voice, motion or remotely via a smartphone.

Installation, as with most other smart switches, requires a neutral wire, but it's fairly straightforward. The switch includes an ambient light sensor (so it can be set not to come on in daylight) and a motion sensor to automatically trigger the light. The latter feature worked seamlessly. If you turn it off with the switch, after a few minutes C-Start will engage the motion sensor again, or you can disable the sensor via the app in case you don't want it switched on in the middle of the night.

(Image credit: Honeywell)

9. Honeywell RTH8580WF Wi-Fi Thermostat

The best smart thermostat for those on a budget

Works With: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, | Remote Sensors: No | Self-Installation: Yes | Motion Activation: No | Works Offline: Yes

Inexpensive
Works with a lot of smart home devices
Plenty of scheduling controls
Basic design

The Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi Thermostat is among the best smart thermostats and one of the best cheap smart home devices because it offers much of the same functionality as higher-end models, but costs less than $100. 

Like the Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats, you can control the Honeywell RTH6580WF from your smartphone, and connect it to Alexa and Google Assistant, which not only lets you change the temperature with your voice, but link it with other smart home products. In addition, the Honeywell Home ecosystem includes a wide range of partners, including Arlo, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, Lutron, Kwikset Kevo, and more. 

Read our full Honeywell RTH6580WF review.

best cheap smart home devices: Wyze smart lock

(Image credit: Wyze)

10. Wyze Smart Lock

An inexpensive smart lock option

Lock Type: Deadbolt | Smart Home Compatibility: None | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Number Pad: Included | Alarm: No | Codes: Unlimited | App: Android/iOS

Simple, clean design
Easy to install, does not require new keys
Option to add a keypad for entry codes
No support for Alexa/Google/Homekit at present
Requires the included Gateway to connect to Wi-Fi

Most of the best smart locks cost well over $100, but there’s one we can recommend that’s affordable and able to keep up with your come-and-go schedule. The Wyze Smart Lock, from the company behind excellent budget home security cameras and smart light bulbs, is one of the best cheap smart home devices for people who never want to wonder if they left the front door unlocked. 

The Wyze smart lock is easy to set up and even easier to use, and integrates well with Wyze's other products. It can alert you when your door is left ajar without needing any extra sensors, too. However, as of our review, it had yet to support any other smart home systems, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, which limits its usefulness.

Read our full Wyze Smart Lock review.

How to choose the best cheap smart home devices for you

Choosing the best cheap smart home devices is unique to every shopper. Once you’ve determined your budget, picking which products to buy depends on which smart home platform you prefer. Devices that are compatible with your voice assistant let you create routines or control your gadgets hands-free.

Your main choices are Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant/Home and Apple HomeKit/Siri. To help you get started, we have guides on how to use Alexa and how to use Google Assistant, as well as an Alexa vs Google Assistant vs Siri face off. 

Alexa comes out on top in most of our testing because it works with the most smart home devices, and has the most third-party skills. However, Google Assistant can do some things that Alexa can't—such as control Chromecast TVs—and it's rapidly being built into a number of third-party devices in conjunction with its Works With Nest program. HomeKit’s availability is also growing, and could be the right platform for you if you use Siri often on your iPhone or iPad.

How we test the best cheap smart home devices

All of the best cheap smart home devices we tested are among the top picks within their respective categories, but also cost less than $100. We compare and contrast each gadget to more expensive options, taking variables like value, ease-of-setup, voice assistant compatibility and appearance into account. For example, the Google Nest Mini isn’t the best Google Home speaker overall, but is the best for less than $100 and represents its category on this list. The same goes for the Wyze Smart Lock and Wyze Cam. 

That said, there are a number of excellent options within each category that are not featured on this list. If you’re looking for more buying choices, we have individual pages that detail all the best smart lights, smart doorbells, smart security cameras and more we’d consider reliable purchases for your growing smart home. 

Check each of them out for more in-depth testing information for every category of smart home devices you should consider for boosting your home’s IQ.