The home keeps getting smarter and smarter. There are more and more appliances coming out with a brain these days, and it's hard to determine which products are worth picking up. We've rounded out a list of ten great smart home tech that you can pick up and get your smart home started. Some of these products are small and inexpensive, while others are not.
The majority of the items on this list work with Alexa, so you'll want to pick up an Amazon Echo so you can use that functionality. The Amazon Echo is a great speaker, but most people buy it for the Alexa functionality. Allowing you to control your smart home, ask it simple questions like "How did the Cowboys do this weekend?" and so much more.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Ever wondered who was at your door, without giving away the fact that you are actually home? Well the Ring Video Doorbell Pro fixes that. It's a doorbell that has a video camera built in. This doorbell can be connected to your phone or tablet using Ring's own app, and you can actually talk to the person at the door, through your phone. Really great for telling the FedEx person where to leave your package if you aren't home.
Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor
You've probably heard about the Nest Learning Thermostat, but what about Ecobee3? It offers basically all of the same functionality. The ability to control your thermostat when you aren't home, schedule when to change the temperature and so forth. It is also compatible with Amazon's Alexa. Allowing you to use your voice to control your thermostat, instead of needing to get up and go change the dial.
TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
One of the cheapest smart light bulbs on the market, and that's largely due to the fact that these do not require a hub, and they only do white, and not different colors. The TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb can be controlled from an app on your phone (both iOS and Android are supported), and it also works with Alexa. So you can tell Alexa to turn your lights on or off in a certain room, or the entire house.
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
It's definitely a good idea to keep an eye on your home, and Nest's new outdoor camera is a great option. It allows you to keep track of what is going on around your house, without getting off the couch, or even being home. Nest allows you to watch a live feed of the camera from your smartphone, as well as watching what happened a few hours ago, or even a few days ago.
Neato Botvac Connected
There are loads of other great robot vacuums out there (some of which are even cheaper than this), but this is currently the only one that actually works with Alexa. Yes, that means you can tell Alexa to clean your home. That's pretty sweet right? The Neato Botvac Connected does have its own app, so you can schedule a specific time of the day for it to clean your home, perhaps when you are away at work.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Like with the Neato Botvac Connected, there are also loads of other smart plugs out there, but what sets this one apart is the fact that it is much slimmer. While the others also cover up the second outlet, this one does not. So you can actually have two of these on one outlet. Wemo does have an app so you can control whatever is plugged into this smart plug, doing simple things like turning it on or off.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
Philips Hue is one of the best lighting systems out there right now. However it isn't cheap, and it does need a bridge or a hub, to get started. Which is why you need this starter kit. It brings you the hub along with three light bulbs. Philips Hue does work with Alexa, and is coming soon to Google Assistant. There is also an app that you can use to control all of your lights in your home.
August Smart Lock
This smart lock from August is pretty popular due to the fact that it looks like a regular lock on the outside, but you can actually unlock your home using your smartphone. It connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth to authenticate your device and then unlock the door. It does also have a guest access mode. So you can give your babysitter or house-sitter access to your home for a specified amount of time or number of days. Then the key is removed and gone forever.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
So this isn't necessary a "smart home" product, but it made the list because it has Alexa, and allows you to control your smart home. The Amazon Fire TV Stick does everything you'd expect a streaming TV stick to do, but it also has Alexa. So you can ask Alexa for the weather, ask her to turn on the lights and so much more.