Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

The Editor's Choice Echo Input adds Alexa functionality to your standalone speaker via a 3.5mm cable or Bluetooth. For Prime members only, it's $20 off and the cheapest it's ever been.
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Smart home gadgets let you do things such as turn your lights on using your smartphone, stream music to a speaker using Alexa, lock your doors remotely, clean your house, and much more. But smart home gadgets are about more than just convenience. These devices can also help you save on heating and energy costs, let you know if someone's trying to break in, or if there's some other emergency. 

While still in its infancy, the number of smart home products—from Amazon to Xiaomi—is rapidly growing. We've tested dozens of smart home devices, from cameras to lightbulbs to thermostats to smart light switches—even robot vacuums —to find the best of each for your new smart home. Here are some of our favorites.

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

Latest News & Updates (July 2019)

  • Ikea's Smart Blinds have been delayed, but they're still coming in 2019. We'll keep you posted on their release date, price and how they work.
  • The Sonos One and the Sonos Beam now work with Google Assistant. The smart speaker and smart soundbar have had Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant built in, but now consumers can also opt for Google’s assistant. While you can’t run both assistants simultaneously, you can switch the Sonos One and Sonos Beam from Alexa to Google Assistant in the Sonos app. However, at the outset, some features not available include: calling, voice match, purchases, interpreter mode, and setting routines in the Google Home app.

Best Smart Speaker

Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)

Best Smart Speaker

Reasons to Buy
Less expensive than original
Attractive
Changeable covers
Extensive Alexa voice assistant
Reasons to Avoid
Sound quality only on a par with original Echo

The second-generation Echo is smaller and more attractive than the original. Plus, you can change its skins to match your decor. Inside, the new Echo does all the same things the original 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 good, too.

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

Best Security Camera

Arlo Q

(Image credit: Arlo)

Arlo Q

Best Security Camera

Reasons to Buy
Simple, trouble-free setup
Intuitive, flexible scheduling
Unusual level of control over motion detection, scheduling
Excellent video quality
Generous free cloud plan
Easy social sharing of videos
Reasons to Avoid
Single-user mobile app
Difficult Custom Mode setup
Activity Zones not part of motion-detection controls
Timeline requires expensive subscription

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.

MORE: Top-Rated Wireless Home Security Cameras

Best Smart Thermostat

Ecobee (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Ecobee)

Ecobee (5th Gen)

Best Smart Thermostat

Reasons to Buy
Better speaker
Full Alexa support
Improved remote sensors
Works with Spotify
Reasons to Avoid
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. 

MORE: The Best Smart Thermostats for Comfort and Savings

Best Light Bulb

Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit

(Image credit: Philips)
Reasons to Buy
Comprehensive app
Works with a ton of smart-home systems
Dimmable
Reasons to Avoid
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.

MORE: Best Smart Lights 2019

Best Video Doorbell

Nest Hello

(Image credit: Nest)

Nest Hello

Best Video Doorbell

SPECIFICATIONS

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.

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

Best Smart Plug

TP-Link Kasa HS107 Smart Plug

(Image credit: TP-Link)

TP-Link Kasa HS107 Smart Plug

A simple, and inexpensive way to make any device "smart," you can control the power going to the TP-Link HS107 plug from your smartphone, wherever you are. The rectangular device has three-prong sockets at both ends, so you can control two devices independently from a single outlet.TP-Link's Kasa app also lets you create a schedule to turn the plug on and off, and has an "Away" mode that will turn your devices on to make it look like you're home. It can also be linked to other smart home devices, such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

MORE: Best Smart Plugs

Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

Nest Protect

(Image credit: Nest)

Nest Protect

Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

Reasons to Buy
Detects smoke, carbon monoxide
Spoken alerts
Links to other smart-home devices
Reasons to Avoid
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.

MORE: Best Smart Smoke Detectors

Best Smart Lock

August Smart Lock Pro

August Smart Lock Pro

Best Smart Lock

Reasons to Buy
Easy to install
Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Nest, IFTTT, and more
Flexible settings
Convenient Auto-Lock and Auto-Unlock features
Reasons to Avoid
No alarm, unlike competitor Kwikset

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.

MORE: Best Smart Locks

Best Smart Home Hub

Samsung SmartThings

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung SmartThings

Best Smart Home Hub

Reasons to Buy
Wi-Fi makes installing this hub easier
Allows for more automation than other hubs
Works with Zigbee and Z-Wave devices
Reasons to Avoid
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.

MORE: Best Smart Home Hub

Best Smart Garage Door Opener

Chamberlain MyQ

(Image credit: Chamberlain)

SPECIFICATIONS

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

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.

MORE: Best Smart Garage Door Openers

Best Sous Vide

Anova Nano

(Image credit: Anova)
Reasons to Buy
Smaller than previous model
Efficient at cooking
Good on-device controls
Excellent app
Reasons to Avoid
Bluetooth only

The Anova Precision Cooker Nano is a sous-vide machine, which uses a hot water bath to cook your food to a precise temperature. (The food is sealed in a water-tight bag, so it retains all its juices). It's the easiest way to get perfectly medium-rare steaks, juicy chicken, and much more. Plus, it's easy to use, and its app comes with a ton of great recipes from Serious Eats.

MORE: Great Gadgets for Home Cooks

Best Robot Vacuum

Shark Ion R85

Shark Ion R85

Best Robot Vacuum

SPECIFICATIONS

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

Reasons to Buy
Great pet-hair performance
Dustbin is super easy to clean
Easy app setup and notifications
Reasons to Avoid
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.

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.