Planning to transform your house into a smart home, but don’t know where to start? With so many smart home devices available with different systems and protocols, admittedly it can be a bit confusing, especially for first-timers.
With that in mind, here we will list our top 10 smart devices recommendation 2019. We put thorough emphasis on budget and value, so this list will focus on products that are affordable but provide decent—if not very good— set of features.
Let us begin with the first one.
1. Best Smart Lights: Philips Hue
Priced at $49.99/bulb, Philips Hue is compatible with most smart home hubs and systems, thanks to its usage of Zigbee Light Link standard protocol, which is supported by many hubs and smart light fixtures. Meaning, you get one of the best versatilities in mixing and matching the light bulb with other smart home products.
Philips Hue offers control in both light intensity (dimming/brightening) and color. You can use the app to, for example, sync the lamps’ colors with your music. You can also set color-coordinated moods, for example, you can wake up every morning to a totally blue bedroom.
2. Best Smart Home Speaker: Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)
Priced at just $69.99, the new version of Amazon Echo is more affordable and more powerful as the original. The speaker fills your room with 360-degree of audio and can be heard from any direction thanks to its advanced noise cancellation.
Besides catering to basic speaker functions like playing your music or set alarms, the Echo is connected to Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant that can answer questions, make calls or send messages, order an uber or foods, and create to-do lists among other features.
3. Best Smart Thermostat: Ecobee (5th Generation)
Relatively expensive at $249, but is competitively priced compared to its closest competitors like the Nest Learning Thermostat, and it offers a lot of features and reliable performance to back the price. A unique feature of the new Ecobee is that it’s connected to Amazon Alexa, so you can use all of Alexa’s functions without having to buy the Amazon Echo. This device also works with Siri and Google Assistant, so you get the most flexibility in voice control.
The core function of the Ecobee as a smart thermostat is fairly simple: controlling your HVAC units so all the rooms of your house are cooled or heated properly. However, the extra features like Spotify Integration and access to Alexa are great added values.
4. Best Outdoor Security Camera: Ring Spotlight
Priced at $199, Ring Spotlight Cam has two main advantages over its competitors: first, it’s very easy to install in a matter of minutes, and second, it has an integrated LED spotlight as a reliable lighting for your yard.
Comes with a 1080p HD resolution, built-in motion sensor and alarm siren, Ring Spotlight is a very reliable option for your outdoor security needs. However, you will need to pay $3 monthly for Ring’s cloud storage service.
5. Best Indoor Camera: Netgear Arlo Q
Relatively affordable at just $119, the Arlo Q records high-quality video (1080p HD) and audio, has a built-in motion detector, and comes with a very useful smart scheduling feature.
Another huge plus is that you get a week’s worth of storage for free, which is very generous compared to competitors. Very easy installation and intuitive scheduling, so you can customize the camera to automatically record when you’re not at home and other specific needs.
6. Best Smart Doorbell: Nest Hello
Priced at $189, Nest Hello is a complete smart video doorbell with a HD live-streaming camera that can push alerts and video feeds to your smartphone.
The Hello comes with plenty of useful features like automation and geofencing, allowing you to control when the camera needs to be on. A huge feature, however, is the very reliable facial detection system, allowing it to recognize your friends and family members just from photos you’ve uploaded to the app. You do have to subscribe to Nest’s Aware subscription—starting at $5/month— to create your face-scanning database.
Easy to install, reliable, and complete features for a smart video doorbell.
7. Best Smart Plug: TP-Link Kasa Smart HS-107 Wi-Fi Plug
Just for $29.99, The TP-LInk HS-107 is a very affordable option to transform any appliance into a “smart” device. Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, the plug won’t need any smart home hubs. You just need the smartphone app where you can control the power going to the HS-107 plug from inside and outside the house.
You can connect two devices to the HS-107 plug (there are two sockets at both ends), and each of these devices can be controlled independently. You can also create a smart scheduling from the app.
8. Best Smart Lock: August Smart Lock Pro
Relatively expensive at $220, but with the bundle you will get the Smart Lock Pro unit, Connect Wi-Fi module, and a DoorSense sensor. The smart lock works with Apple HomeKit and Google Home, and with the Connect Wi-Fi you also get Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.
Very easy to install, and very reliable performance. Wide integration with various smart home hubs and devices including Z-wave integration (hub not included).
9. Best Robot Vacuum: Shark Ion R85
At just $235, Shark Ion R85 is very competitive compared to other robot vacuums that can cost more than $1,000. The Ion R85 is a Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum that is great at all terrains, including cleaning pet hairs.You can control it via a smartphone app manually, or set up a smart scheduling.
10. Best Kitchen Appliance: The June Oven
Relatively expensive at $599, but with the June Oven, you technically get seven kitchen appliances in one: ovem, air fryer, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, dehydrator, and warming drawer. It is equipped with an internal camera that can recognize your food, and thus can suggest the correct preset.
Can be controlled with a smartphone app, and is constantly updated with new cooking abilities. A great long-term investment.
There are certainly more smart home devices available—some are cheaper, some are significantly more expensive than those on this list—-. However, these 10 products can be a good benchmark to help you know where to start. Remember that more expensive products don’t necessarily provide better overall value, and vice versa.