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Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Smart home gadgets let you do things such as turn your lights on from your smartphone, stream music to a speaker using Alexa, lock your doors remotely, clean your house, and much more. But the best smart home devices are about more than just convenience. They can also help you save on heating and energy costs, let you know if someone's trying to break in, or notify you when there's some other emergency. 

The number of smart home brands—from Amazon to Xiaomi—is constantly growing. We've tested dozens of smart home devices, from home security cameras to smart lights to smart thermostats to smart light switches—even robot vacuums —to find the best of each for building your new smart home. Here are some of our favorites.

MORE: Smart Home Guide: What to Know Before You Buy

Latest News & Updates (October 2019)

  • The all-new Echo (3rd Gen) is a step up from the previous Echo and our new best smart speaker
  • Google's new Nest Mini is a follow up to the excellent Home Mini smart speaker. The $49 smart home device packs Google Assistant for fulfilling voice commands. 

What you need to know about Black Friday 2019

Smart home gifts are a hot item during the holiday season and with Black Friday deals slated to begin in the coming days, there are a few things you should know before shopping for your smart speakers, smart plugs, Wi-Fi cameras, ect. 

Some of the best Black Friday Walmart dealsBlack Friday Best Buy deals, and Black Friday Amazon deals will give discounts to a number of smart home gadgets. Bottom line: It can pay to wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to up your home's IQ. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Now in its third generation, Amazon's flagship smart speaker delivers outstanding sound in an attractive package for less than $100.

Size: 4.8 x 3.9 inches (dia) | Speakers: 3-inch woofer, 0.8-inch tweeter | Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5GHz), Bluetooth

Affordable cost
Terrific sound quality
Seamless Alexa integration
Similar to Echo Plus

The third-generation Echo looks nothing like past iterations. Rather, it adopts the modern, fabric-swathed look of the Echo Plus. The new Echo takes advantage of everything Alexa does: control smart home gadgets, connect to other smart home hubs, read you audiobooks, check the weather, and even let you purchase things online just by using your voice. And, as a speaker, it sounds pretty excellent. Especially for the price.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo (3nd Gen).

MORE: Amazon Alexa Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos

Arlo Q

(Image credit: Arlo)

2. Arlo Q

Excellent video coupled with a generous free storage plan, and lots of features.

Size: 6 x 4.9 x 4.5 inches | Resolution: 1080p | Field of View: 130 degrees | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT | Cloud storage: 7 days free; longer plans start at $10/month.

Simple, trouble-free setup
Intuitive, flexible scheduling
Excellent video quality
Generous free cloud plan
Single-user mobile app
Difficult Custom Mode setup
Activity Zones not part of motion-detection controls

The Arlo Q's 1080p camera boasts excellent quality video, both day and night, has great motion detection, and a flexible scheduling feature. Best of all, though, is that you get a week's worth of video storage for free.

Read our full Arlo Q security camera review.

MORE: Best Home Security Cameras

Ecobee (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Ecobee)

3. Ecobee (5th Gen)

Our favorite smart thermostat has Alexa built in, but its real power lies in its remote sensors.

Size: 4.3 x 4.3 x 1 inch | Wireless: 802.11 Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, SmartThings, IFTTT

Better speaker
Full Alexa support
Improved remote sensors
Works with Spotify
Large
Big bezel

The Fifth-generation Ecobee smart thermostat has everything we liked about its predecessor, the Ecobee4, such as Alexa built in, a slick touchscreen interface and a remote sensor that helps ensure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. But the newest version has a better speaker so you can actually use it to play music, all of Alexa's features (including Drop-In and messaging), and Spotify integration. The remote sensor has a longer battery life and better range, too. 

Read our full Ecobee (5th Gen) Smart Thermostat review.

MORE: The Best Smart Thermostats for Comfort and Savings

Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit

(Image credit: Philips)

4. Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit

These lights work with just about every other smart home system out there.

Bulb type: A19 | Wireless: Zigbee | Works with: Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, SmartThings, Google Home, Nest

Comprehensive app
Works with a ton of smart-home systems
Dimmable
Requires hub
Light color not tunable

Philips Hue White starter kit includes two bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices. While you can't change these bulbs' colors, you can adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens), and add up to 50 to a single hub. Philips' bulbs also work with a wide range of smart home systems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Home, and Nest. 

Philips also has an app, Philips Hue Sync, which lets users synchronize their smart bulbs with multimedia content on their Mac or Windows PC. For example, you can set your lights to flash and change color in time with music, video and movies being played on your computer.  Users can also modify the color schemes and themes to suit their tastes.

Read our full Philips Hue White Starter Kit review.

MORE: Best Smart Lights 2019

Nest Hello

(Image credit: Nest)

5. Nest Hello

Excellent video quality and facial recognition make this our favorite video doorbell.

Video Resolution: 1600 x 1200 | Field of View: 160 degrees | Works with: Google Assistant | Size: 4.6 x 1.7 x 1 inch | Wired/Battery: wired | Starting Storage Fee: $50/year for 5 days video

Nest's device has the best video we've yet seen from a video doorbell cam; its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. Nest's camera can recognize faces, and even announce them when they come to your door. While it needs a hardwired connection, it continuously records video, so you'll never miss an event. You can also set up specific zones, so you'll only be notified when a person or object appears in that area of the frame. While you'll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $5/month) to get all of its features, they're worth it.

Read our full Nest Hello video doorbell review.

MORE: Best Video Doorbell - Reviews of Smart Doorbells With Cameras

(Image credit: WeMo)

6. WeMo Mini

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

Size: 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches | Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, IFTTT | Electrical rating: 120V~/15A/60Hz/1800W

Physical on/off switch
Works with lots of smart home systems
Slim profile
No energy monitoring
Wider than other plugs

Belkin's WeMo Mini smart plug is our favorite smart plug. It's wide, but thin enough so that you can fit two of them per outlet. While it doesn't have energy monitoring, the Mini does work with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant. A simple on/off switch also lets you control any appliance connected to it, no smartphone needed. It even has a clever Away mode, which lends the appearance that you're home. 

Read our full WeMo Mini review.

MORE: Best Smart Plugs

Nest Protect

(Image credit: Nest)

7. Nest Protect

This smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector lets you know where the danger is, and can turn on your lights to help you get out.

Size: : 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches | Detects: Smoke, carbon monoxide | Works with: Nest, Google Home, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Alexa, Wink, Lutron | Hardwired/battery: Yes/Yes

Detects smoke, carbon monoxide
Spoken alerts
Links to other smart-home devices
Expensive

Not only does the Nest Protect detect smoke and carbon monoxide, but its sensors are designed to pick up both slow- and fast-burning fires. Plus, the Protect will tell you in which room the fire is located, and can be linked to other smart home devices, so that it can automatically turn on your Philips Hue lights in the event of an emergency.

Read our full Nest Protect review.

MORE: Best Smart Smoke Detectors

August Smart Lock Pro

(Image credit: August Lock)

8. August Smart Lock Pro

Works with Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Assistant, and seamlessly integrates with security systems

Lock type: Deadbolt | Size: 2.5 inches x 3.4 inches (dia.) | Works with: HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Nest, IFTTT | Wireless: Wi-Fi via August Bridge

Easy to install
Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Nest, IFTTT, and more
Flexible settings
Convenient Auto-Lock and Auto-Unlock features
No built-in alarm
Bulky

We like August's Smart Lock Pro for its ease of installation, features that let you know if your door is ajar, and deep integration with other smart home devices, from Alexa to HomeKit to Google Home, not to mention August's DoorBell Cam.

Read our full August Smart Lock Pro review.

MORE: Best Smart Locks

Samsung SmartThings

(Image credit: Future)

9. Samsung SmartThings

Makes connecting and automating smart home devices very easy.

Size: 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches | Wireless: Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi makes installing this hub easier
Allows for more automation than other hubs
Works with Zigbee and Z-Wave devices
Still missing Nest integration
Difficult to upgrade from older hub

If you have a wide variety of smart home gadgets, you'll need a central system to integrate and control them all. While it has its imperfections, we found the Samsung SmartThings hub to be the best of the lot. It works with a wide range of devices and now has Wi-Fi built in, so you don't need to plug it into your router; this makes it easier to place in your house for the best connection to all your smart home devices.

Read our full Samsung SmartThings Hub review.

MORE: Best Smart Home Hub

Chamberlain MyQ

(Image credit: Chamberlain)

10. Chamberlain MyQ

An easy interface makes this a low-stress garage door opener.

Works With: Nest, SmartThings, Xfinity Home, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, IFTTT | Wireless: 802.11 Wi-Fi

Simple physical setup requirements
Simple app interface
Works with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit
Convoluted setup instructions
Doesn't work with Alexa
Requires subscription to use Google Assistant

Searching or reaching for that elusive garage door opener remote while trying to navigate a dark suburban street, toppled garbage cans or your kids' toys – or your kids – often proves awkward and dangerous. Chamberlain's garage door opener lets you tap your device's screen to open or close your garage from anywhere. Soon, the company also plans to add geofencing capabilities so it can sense when you're near your driveway to automatically open and, when your car is safely ensconced inside, close your existing garage door. MyQ can control nearly every garage door opener from all the major brands manufactured after 1993.

Read our full Chamberlain MyQ review.

MORE: Best Smart Garage Door Openers

Shark Ion R85

(Image credit: Future)

11. Shark Ion R85

Best Robot Vacuum

Cleaning Performance: 94% | Pet Hair Score (Out of 100): 88 | Avg. Cleaning Time (H:M:S): 1:01:57 | Loudness (Decibels): 59.2 | Bin Size: 625 ml | Smart Home Connectivity: Alexa, Google Assistant | Size: 12.8 x 12.5 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds

Great pet-hair performance
Dustbin is super easy to clean
Easy app setup and notifications
Can get stuck on thick carpet

It's not easy keeping a house clean, but the Shark Ion R85 can certainly help. In our tests, this vacuum proved excellent at picking up pet hair and other debris around our home with a minimum of fuss. We also like its notifications, smartphone control and easy-to-clean dustbin.

Read our full Shark Ion R85 robot vacuum review.

MORE: Best Robot Vacuums

Amazon Alexa vs. Google Home vs. Apple HomeKit: What should you get?

If you're looking to control your smart home devices by voice command, you have three main choices: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant/Home, and Apple HomeKit/Siri. (Yes, there's also Microsoft Cortana, but it lags so far behind the other three, we don't recommend it for your smart home at this time.) We compared Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, both on their own and in conjunction with the best-sounding smart speaker with each of the assistants

In short, Alexa generally came out on top, as 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.

While you can control far fewer things using HomeKit, Apple tends to have stricter privacy controls and security measures when it comes to third-party smart home devices.