Best Smart Home Devices in 2019

Smart home devices can help you automate your house – regulating room temperature, shading your windows, and controlling your door locks is just one click away. Our list of the best smart home devices can help you choose the perfect product for your home.

Imagine if you could schedule your devices to turn on and off just by saying it or pushing a button. Well, guess what – you actually can. You can even make them fit your lifestyle. There is a variety of gadgets you can use to automate your home and make it more comfortable, energy-efficient, and interconnected. By just pushing a button, tapping on a screen or giving a voice command, you can automate your house to do various actions – from regulating room temperature and lights to shading your windows and controlling your door locks. Take a closer look at our unbiased smart home devices reviews and guide.

 

Best Smart Hubs

Smart hubs are like a command central that control your home system and the many devices that are connected to it. The hub connects to the Wi-Fi, and with a smartphone app, you can control all your devices. You can even manage some devices with a voice assistant. The most significant benefit of smart hubs is the centralized control that saves you time and the trouble of managing multiple devices separately. Intelligent hubs are there to make everything easy and comfortable for you – no need to use a separate app for your thermostat or lights.

Smart home devices also have the option to make routines that can change the temperature or dim the lights at certain hours in the morning and evening. However, compatibility is something you need to consider. Your smart hub needs to be compatible with the smart devices you have or plan to buy. Depending on the features and compatibility, their price can range from $50 to $250.

Wink Hub 2

Features:

  • AC power, without battery backup
  • Voice Control with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home
  • Protocol Support: Wi-Fi, Z-wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, IP
  • It has the Wink App for Android and iOS, which includes Android Wear and Apple Watch
  • One-year warranty

The Wink Hub 2 has excellent compatibility, and it can work with a big range of wireless options – more than 400 smart home devices. It can even connect with the Android Wear and Apple Watch. However, it lacks flexibility and customization – it is challenging to personalize settings for smart home devices. Nevertheless, this downside can be perfect for beginners that have just bought their first smart home product.

Wink Hub 2 was invented to make your home smart, comfortable, and convenient as much as possible. The Wink App automatically discovers the smart devices in your house and gives you instructions on how to set them up. Additionally, it’s effortless to handle each of the devices directly from the application’s dashboard.

Samsung SmartThings Smart Hub

Features:

  • AC power with ten hours of battery backup
  • Voice Control with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home
  • Protocol Support: Wi-Fi, Z-wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, IP
  • SmartThings app for Android and iOS
  • One-year warranty

Samsung SmartThings Hub 2 is on par with the Wink Hub in terms of compatibility. This product supports different wireless devices, even some less recognized ones like Z-Wave and IP, and many smart home brands like Yale, Philips, Kwikset, Ring, Skybell, Ecobee, Honeywell, and others. Additionally, the hub works with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Once you finish setting up the Samsung SmartThings hub, you will be able to synchronize all the smart devices in your home with the SmartThings app, that is available both on Android and iOS. After that, it’s time to set up your routines – like the time you wake up and go to bed and similar. The morning routine increases your temperature and brightens your smart lights, and creates an alarm clock that will wake you up on your preferred hours. The night routine, on the other hand, does the opposite: when your sleep time comes, it dims the lights, cools the temperature of your bedroom, and double-checks your smart locks. The routines can be changed and customized to fit your preference.

The Samsung SmartThings hub works on AC power, but it also has a reliable 10-hour battery backup that will keep running even during a sudden power outage. It also has a 130-feet wireless range that is more than you need for most homes.

 

Best Security Cameras

Today’s security cameras can do more than to record footage – they can connect directly to the internet connection in your home and give you a live stream through a downloadable phone app or a web browser on your laptop. Many smart security cameras nowadays also have two-way audio that doesn’t only record sounds, but also allows you to emit sound through the camera’s speaker that you speak into your smartphone. These security systems also include night vision, face recognition, some free cloud storage, and notifications of people arriving and leaving. You can even use them to monitor the security of family members in your home, especially children, sleepwalkers or older adults with dementia that tend to be lost, confused, and disoriented as they wander off. However, indoor and outdoor cameras are different. Outdoor cameras are engineered to be weatherproof, while indoor cameras, on the other hand, are not. They can also have different features, that can impact the price.

Wyze Cam

Features:

  • For Indoor use
  • Wired camera
  • 1080p HD
  • 110-degree wide-angle lens
  • Up to 30 feet night vision
  • 8x digital zoom
  • Two-Way Audio
  • 14 days of free cloud recordings
  • Works with Amazon Alexa
  • One-year of a limited warranty

Even though smart home cameras are costly, with the price being around $100, the Wyze Camera is different because it has the same amount of functionality and quality that comes with an affordable price of only $25. It can only be utilized indoor because of the 6-foot power cable that makes it safe and easy to place anywhere in the house. The package also comes with an adhesive metal base and a magnetic base so that you don’t have to screw the camera.

Using Wyze app, which is downloadable for your smartphones, you can set up and program users, talk back with the two-way audio, and share your video recordings. You can also zoom in up to eight times to get a closer look at your footage, and use night vision to illuminate up to 30 feet. However, The Wyze Cam is compatible and can only work with one voice assistant – Amazon’s Alexa. The camera comes with a limited warranty of one year and cloud recording storage that is free for 14 days.

Arlo Pro 2 by NETGEAR

Features

  • Can be indoor and outdoor
  • Both wired and wireless setup options
  • 1080p HD camera
  • 130-degree wide-angle lens
  • 100-decibel alarm
  • Up to 25 feet night vision
  • Weatherproof
  • Two-way audio
  • Free cloud recording for seven days
  • Compatible with Samsung SmartThings, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT
  • One-year warranty

Arlo Pro 2 is the best movable, functional, and handy camera you can find on the market today. It is also weatherproof (between 32-122 degrees Fahrenheit), and it can be used for indoor and outdoor recording. Plus, you can integrate it with Amazon’s Alexa, Samsung SmartThing, and Google Assistant. Apart from that it can be charged by a solar panel, rechargeable battery, or through a power cord, which allows you to pick the place to put it (and not be limited to where it can fit). You can make trigger actions to switch on the smart lights every time the camera catches unusual activities outside. You can even command it with your voice assistant to live stream on your smart TV. For emergencies, you can also activate the infamous 100-decibel alarm.

The Arlo app is available both on iOS and Android smartphones, and with it you can manage and get notifications for strange movements and sounds or even define and mark a specific activity area for heightened alerts (like the bed in a room for a child who sleepwalks at night, or even someone who has sleep-related movement disorders). The camera also has night vision that turns on when lighting conditions are limited. With the cloud storage available, recordings will be stored privately for up to one week. You can upgrade your cloud storage with a subscription to Arlo Smart and unlock additional storage choices, along with the ability to call 911 from your phone lock screen, and more customized alerts.

 

Best Smart Locks

Smart locks are a valuable addition to your home and can link to your phone with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Using either technology, they gather additional information which they use to help you. By knowing your location, they can unlock the door as you approach and close it after you leave. If you bring your smartphone, you won’t have to worry about carrying, forgetting, or losing your keys. You can also give digital keys (with which the lock can recognize a phone) to provide permanent or temporary privileges to other people. Some devices even have a digital touchpad for key codes. Apart from that, the device will notify you if there is anything suspicious happening in front of the door. You can also synchronize the smart lock with a voice assistant, which means you can ask Alexa or Google Home to check if the front door is locked. The best thing about smart locks is that they are convenient to install – it only takes about 15 minutes. It doesn’t take long because they were made to replace your existing deadbolt. However, due to their smart features and advanced functionality, these devices are more expensive than your regular lock. Their price ranges from $100 to $250 per lock.  

Kwikset Kevo

Features:

  • Bluetooth protocol support
  • Compatible with Android Wear, Amazon Alexa, Ring Doorbell, Select Honeywell Thermostats, Nest Learning Thermostat, IFTTT
  • One-year warranty
  • Comes with 4 AA batteries

The Kwikset Kevo is among the most popular smart locks, probably because of its streamlined technology and minimalist design. From the intelligent locks we looked at, this model is the most like a traditional lock, besides the glowing blue ring surrounding the keyhole that looks futuristic. The device is also available in gold, Venetian bronze, and silver finishes. However, Kwikset Kevo can connect with Bluetooth only, which you can’t open and close your door remotely or with a voice command. To do this, you will need to buy a separate Kevo Plus WiFi hub that is compatible with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa.

Nevertheless, this smart lock’s functionality is even more than what homeowners need. With the Bluetooth. The lock will be able to recognize Android and iOS devices, including Samsung phones and smartwatches. It is also less costly but equally handy, as many smart lock devices. You can even set up different users with permissions like Scheduled, Guest, and Anytime, and see activity logs with the app. Additionally, the smart lock is also compatible with other intelligent systems, including Honeywell and Nest smart thermostats that will adjust your home’s temperature the moment the door opens.

August Smart Lock Pro

Features:

  • Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Nest, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, iOS, Android
  • Protocol Support: Z-Wave, Wireless, or Bluetooth
  • Included with 4 AA batteries
  • One-year warranty

Among the locks we reviewed, the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect stands out with its excellent compatibility, stylish design, and app functionality. It also supports wireless Z-wave and Bluetooth protocols, allowing you to pick which one fits best with the existing home system. The setup takes ten minutes, and it can fit over your existing lock so you can still use your old keys.

The August App might be the lock’s best feature because of the dashboard, including your home’s status – whether it’s locked or unlocked. And you can also click through the other tabs to see detailed reports that will tell you who came to your house, when, and who went out. The device also uses the location of your phone to unlock your door automatically as you come near, and close and lock it behind you. This feature will save you the hassle of having to get your keys from your bag and return it, especially if your hand is full. The August Smart Lock Pro also comes with a little wireless hub that needs to be plugged in somewhere at your work or home.

 

Best Smart Lights

Smart light bulbs provide significant benefits in mood lighting and energy-efficiency. The essential advantage of these smart lights is their ability to tune your interior lighting to suit your lifestyle. You can adjust the tone, brightness, and color of the bulbs using a feature called scene programming. For example, you can create a scene with dimmed lights when you are watching a TV in your living room or schedule wake-up lights to brighten slowly before the alarm sounds. You can program the lights to operate according to a schedule that can replicate the sun’s setting and strengthen your daily circadian rhythms. Additionally, you can also program and use these scenes with a voice command, since they work with voice assistants like Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.

LIFX Mini Day & Dusk Smart LED Bulb

Features:

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Microsoft Cortana, Xfinity, Nest, IFTTT, and more.
  • Both cool and warm light bulbs
  • Scene programming
  • 22-year lifespan
  • Two-year warranty

The LIFX is a big name in the industry of smart light, especially with their LIFX Mini Day & Dusk White Bulb. They were engineered mainly to imitate the natural sunlight from dawn to help your body’s mood preference and light adjustments.

The compact design makes them convenient for a broader light fixture. Because it is a white-only bulb, you don’t get a customized lighting mood. However, LIFX makes up for its lacks with the energy-promoting and sleep-promoting lightscapes.

The LIFX has an app available on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 where you can insert your daily activities – when you go to bed, when you usually wake up, or when you return home. The app will routinely tune the lights inside your home to fit those activities. Thanks to specific automatic adjustments, you can have more amber tones in the evening and bluish whites during the morning. During the afternoon, the LIFX bulb brightens to increase your levels of energy. It also connects directly to the internet connection in your home.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19

Features:

  • Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, Vivint SmartHome, Razer, Xfinity, and Logitech.
  • Scene programming
  • Full-color bulbs
  • Three-year warranty
  • 23-year lifespan

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance is a smart lighting system that has eight hundred-lumen light bulbs that have vibrant colors for you to choose the specific shade of color or light that you want. The Philips Hue app is available on both iOS or Android, and with the slider, you can tune the lighting of the rooms as you prefer. This app comes with 30 pre-set scenes that are mainly inspired by sunsets and nature. However, each Philips smart light usually needs a Philip Hue hub to function, but it will allow you to use voice commands to do specific actions.

 

Best Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats provide two significant benefits in one small device. They are usually helpful with lowering your electricity bills, and they also support your normal sleep-wake cycle by adjusting the perfect temperature. All through the day, our core temperature usually changes rising temperature early in the morning to start energizing us for the daytime and lowering it in the evening as our body starts relaxing through sleep. With a smart thermostat in your house, you can adjust your circadian rhythms and body temperature fluctuation. You can set your ideal temperature for each point during the day – slightly warmer in the morning, somewhere in the middle temperature for the daytime, and a cooler one in the evening.

Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat

Features

  • Touchscreen Display
  • Compatible with iOS 8+, Amazon Alexa voice assistant, Android 4+, and Nest
  • Two-year warranty

The Nest Learning Thermostat acquires your behaviors and adapts to your lifestyle. Instead of programming or setting a specific heating or cooling schedule beforehand, you can try answering a few questions thrown by the device during installation and allow it to figure out the adjustment of the temperature based on your behavior. It has a Built-In motion and humidity sensors that can help the Nest device work smarter. The display also works as an analog or digital clock, and it switches on every time it senses a physical movement nearby.

Additionally, the Nest Learning Thermostat can perform great when it’s part of a Nest home system. During the morning, when you wake up, it can synchronize with your Nest automated lights to brighten the lighting inside your home, while the thermostat begins to increase the temperature inside. In case your Nest Smoke Alarm turns off, the smart thermostat notifies you about the problem using a speaker that’s already built-in.

Ecobee4 Thermostat

Features

  • Touchscreen display
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (Built-In)
  • Three-year warranty

It is usual for smart thermostats and other smart devices to be compatible with voice assistants like Google Home, or Amazon Alexa, which is where the Ecobee4 Thermostat stands out with its Built-In Amazon Alexa voice assistant. With this feature, you will no longer have to go to a section in your house to adjust the thermostat manually. Besides giving commands to regulate the temperature in your home, you can also command it to play your sleep playlist as you’re going to bed, listen to white noise, or even set up your morning ring alarm. The Ecobee4 is also compatible with numerous smart hubs, smartphones, Amazon, Android, iOS, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Watch. It only comes with a single room sensor and requires to be plugged in. If you want to extend its area coverage to multiple floors or rooms in your house, you can buy additional sensors.

 

How Smart Devices Help You Sleep Better

As your smart devices begin to become accustomed to your behaviors, life at home will feel more convenient and comfortable. Imagine walking straight to the door, and it automatically unlocks as soon as it recognizes your voice as you approach. As soon as you enter the house, the light will turn on as you walk by and adjust the brightness while the smart thermostat regulates the temperature. But the question is, how exactly, would these smart devices help you sleep better?  

Our body clocks follow the sun’s rotation. We are usually awake during the day and conversely, asleep during the night. A thermostat can accelerate and organize the naturally occurring shift in our temperature. You can try programming your wake and sleep schedules, and the smart temperature will help your body cool down by adjusting the heat of your home. Light also plays a vital role in our sleep routines. Our brains recognize the patterns of our sleep schedule through lights – lack of lights or night means it’s time for sleep, while daylight and artificial light mean it is our wake time. With the use of smart lights, you can program them to turn off and on according to your sleep behavior. Smart devices can even help your anxiety with a sleep playlist, coaching session, and they can even stroll you through deep breathing and rigorous exercises.  

Additionally, parents and caregivers can also benefit from this system. If you have a child who’s prone to a sleep-related disorder or sleepwalking, smart devices can help guarantee you that they will be safe. An intelligent camera can also give you alerts if any abnormal movement is recognized. If you have an elderly loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a smart home device will help keep them from wandering at night.

Advantages  

Energy Savings

All home automation devices and systems have proven themselves in the long run for being energy efficient tools. Smart thermostats let you program the temperatures in your home in advance. Some smart devices can even adjust to your behavior by adapting and learning your preferences.

Convenience

In today’s fast-paced society, automating things is becoming a part of our daily lives. Turning lights on and off automatically before you go to sleep or adjusting the thermostat will save you the hassle. Numerous systems also have remote control dashboard capacities. In case you forget to turn off the coffee pot before leaving, you won’t have to go back to turn it off as you can do it through an app for your smart home system.

Security

Remote monitoring can be an immense help in putting your mind at ease while you’re not home. The remote dashboard lamps and lights in your house can be switched on and off, window blinds can be raised high and low, all very easy. Having smart home devices can help lessen the risks of invasion by notifying when something unusual happens outside your front gate or in your house.

Disadvantages

Installation

The cost of installation depends on how many smart devices you plan on putting in your home.  Installation can also be a burden to the homeowner, especially with the wires that need to be put in your home. Because of this, you have two options for setting up everything – you can do it yourself and save money, or you can hire a professional.

Complex Technology

Having an automated home may sound fascinating, but some might find it more convenient to reach out for the switch and turn the lights on rather than trying to locate his/her phone to do it. Before buying a home system, you need to take a look at what you want and if it is convenient for you or not. Additionally, one of the problems a digitalized world faces is hacks – someone can easily break into your codes and enter your system to gain control of your house.

System Compatibility

Using a smart home system to control automated devices requires a  centralized section – smart hubs. However, some automated devices are not compatible with others, so it is vital to choose those that will work together. There isn’t a global commerce standard, which means that the protocols used in these devices are not universal, and many of them are not compatible with each other. You will have to buy products that use similar protocols or find those that match with the one you already have.

Cost

The price of these devices is changing over the years, with rising popularity. Buying and installing a smart device can be expensive because you have to pay a contractor to set it up in your home. Most families can afford smart products, but it certainly makes a mark on their budget.

Reliability

Automating your home means depending on your internet connection. If you suddenly have a problem with your connection, your smart devices will not work. Because of this, you should find out more about wireless signals, like the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-wave and more, and their advantages and disadvantages – especially how quickly they can be interrupted by other electronic devices. Investing in electronics or smart products has a disadvantage if they only connect to a system of a particular company that has had many failures and problems. Once your connection servers are down, your automated technology will be completely useless.

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