From turning on your smartphone to your light, smart home gadgets let you do a lot of minor tasks hands-free. For the most part, these devices can be automated to do certain things at certain times or on some stimuli. You can change your playlist with just your voice using Alexa or lock your doors at specific times when you’re not home. The number of these devices increase week o week and year on year as technology gets better.
This big range of options can, however, become a problem if you’re just starting out with smart home devices. You’ll need to decide if you want an intricately interconnected network or just a few automated pieces here and there.
Below are some of our recommendations for an early 2021 purchase.
Best Smart Home Devices 2021
1. Google Nest Hub Max
When it comes to speakers with display-LEDs, doing better than Google Nest Hub is impossible. It includes smart front camera and can act as a security device for most homes. Hub Max is compatible with Google’s Nest Platform for better integration. It includes a large screen for the quality streaming tome and can double as a mini Hi-Fi device. Although there are still some issues that need sorting out, its Google Assistant is very responsive.
- Neat look
- The screen is big and superb
- Lightweight and easy fitting
- Intuitive operation
- Compatible with Nest Platform
- Music-friendly speaker
- The display isn’t sharp enough
- Lacks Netflix support
- Wobbly integration at launch
2. Ring Video Doorbell 2
There is a lot more to security than a camera, which is why Ring Video Doorbell 2 may be a better choice. The battery lasts long enough for practical applications while maintaining a praiseworthy motion tracking performance. The app is intuitive in use and the device itself integrates well with either Google Assistant or Alexa. Because it is battery-powered and designed to last for long use, it is somewhat bulkier than we’d prefer.
- Modern, aesthetic design
- Motion tracking is superb
- Easy-to-use app
- Impressive battery runtime
- Bulky and heavy
- Lacks free video storage
3. Arlo Q
Unlike Ring Video Doorbell, Arlo offers a free storage option with their Q home camera device. The scheduling feature is flexible and the motion tracking capacity is one of the best. Also, the camera maintains a 1080p resolution with a 130-degree viewing angle for clearer images. Not only does it combine brilliantly with Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Alexa, but it also has IFTTT support.
- Generous seven-day free storage plan
- Video quality is exceptional
- Flexible, intuitive use
- Simple installation
- Looks sleek with a small profile
- The app is single-user only
- Activity zones do not have motion detection controls
- Custom mode setup is difficult
4. Amazon Echo (3rd-Gen)
Echo 2nd-Gen used to be the most impressive and popular choice from Amazon, but the advent of this 3rd-Gen has changed that. It looks very different from its predecessor having adopted most of its design points from Echo Plus. Amazon Echo can read you audiobooks, connect to other smart hubs, buy things online, and even check the weather. It has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options and performs well as a home speaker.
- Terrific audio quality
- Seamless integration of Alexa
- Can connect to other smart home hubs
- Too similar to Echo Plus
5. Ecobee (5th-Gen)
For most, the selling point of Ecobee is in its seamless Alexa integration but for us, its wonder lies in its sensor. It is a 5th-gen thermostat with a sleek touchscreen interface that displays our exact room temperature. Ecobee is equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a speaker for the occasional music. It connects with everything from IFTTT to HomeKit and Google Assistant.
- SmartThings, Alexa, IFTTT, HomeKit, and Google Assistant support
- Works with Spotify
- Improved sensors
- Speaker is excellent
- Long-range and better runtime
- Too large
- The bezel is big and prominent
6. Nest Hello
Hello from Nest as its name suggests is a video security outfit with the best facial recognition on record. It is powered by a wire connection and sports a 1600p video resolution with 160-degrees of viewing angles. Like with all Nest products, it integrates with Google Assistant. Not to be left behind are also the speaker and microphone which are also superb in quality and performance.
- Cheap initial cost
- Best facial recognition
- Integrates with Alexa
- Supreme display quality
- Small and lightweight
- High running costs
- Needs to be hardwired
7. Philips Hue White A19 Starter
Smart lightbulbs have been a thing since a long while now, but Philips take it a notch higher with the Hue White A19. You can interconnect up to 50 in a single bulb of up to 800 lumens adjustability. While there is a specialized Philips Hue Sync app for better synchronization, it still works with Alexa and IFTTT.
- Wireless Zigbee connection
- Integrates with Nest, HomeKit, SmartThings, Google Home and Alexa
- Comprehensive sync app
- Needs a Hub to work
- The colour can’t be changed
8. Nest Protect
Since we have talked about bulbs, video doorbells, cameras, and hubs, a smoke detector may just round off your smart home. It can detect both categories of flames while also monitoring CO concentrations. Nest protect is both hardwired and battery-powered and can be set to auto-on Philips Hue in an emergency.
- Alerts are both spoken and lights
- Detects CO and smoke
- Easy setup
- Links to Lutron, Wink, IFTTT, Nest, Alexa, Philips Hue, and Google Home
9. Samsung SmartThings
- Best smart home hub on the market
- Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and Zigbee connectivity
- Allows for the most automation
- Easy installation
- Wide compatibility
- Slick looking design
- Small footprint
- No Nest integration
- Difficult to upgrade
10. WeMo Mini
Finally, a smart plug to round off all the smart devices. It has a physical switch for off/on and IFTTT, Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Assistant integration. WeMo Mini has an electrical rating of 1800W/15A/120V/60Hz.
- Slim profile
- Combines with most smart home devices
- Physical switch
- Wider than most options