Holiday Gift Guide 2018 - 2019: Best Smart Home Products

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By Alexander Maxham November 09, 2018, 9:24am
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The Smart Home is a pretty cool product category for a lot of people because it allows you to control appliances in your home using your voice, as well as keeping track of things in your home from your smartphone or computer. In 2018, a ton of smart home products hit the market, which includes some new smart thermostats, smart plugs, home security cameras and so much more. So there are some pretty exciting products on sale this year that would make some great gifts this holiday season. Whether you know someone that is just getting started with transitioning their home into a smart home, or those that are already deep into that transition. In the list below, we have a ton of awesome smart home products, but if you are looking for a smart speaker or display, robot vacuums or a new drone, you'll want to check out those lists as well. All of the products below work with the three major assistant platforms: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit/Siri.

Prices below are subject to change. This post will be updated regularly to ensure the most up-to-date pricing, but during the holidays, there will be flash sales and price drops so keep that in mind. 

Best Overall Smart Light Bulb - Fits most light sockets/lamps

Philips Hue is one of the biggest names in the world of smart light bulbs, this is primarily because it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit (and Siri), so that no matter what platform you use, you can control these with your voice. This A19 bulb is the standard sized bulb you'll find in many ceiling lights and lamps, so it'll work in just about any light socket. This is a colored bulb, so not only will it work as a regular white bulb, but it can do up to 16 million colors as well.

Best Overall Value Smart Light Bulb - save money with this one

eufy has its Lumos Smart Bulb which is a good option if you are looking to replace all of the bulbs in your home with smart bulbs, without breaking the bank. This is a soft white bulb, so it is not tunable, nor does it support different colors. That makes it the perfect bulb to use in a ceiling light in your home, since those you likely won't be changing to different colors like purple or blue.

Best Floodlight Smart Bulb - light up your backyard

LIFX's BR30 bulb is a good option for those that are looking for a bulb that they can use in their backyard. This is a floodlight that does have all of the smarts that you'd find in other LIFX bulbs. This includes being able to control it via the LIFX app, it also works with IFTTT so you can set up triggers for it to turn on. LIFX bulbs are also fully compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit/Siri and Google Assistant, allowing you to control it via your voice.

Best Smart LED Light Strip - add some accent lighting 

LIFX has a really good option for a smart LED light strip that will add some really good accent lighting to your home. Whether you are putting this under your cabinets, behind your TV, or even under your bed, it can really change the look of a room. This is also a multicolor light strip, which can be controlled via the LIFX app, as well as through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. LIFX allows you to connect multiple light strips together as well, if you have a long area you want to cover.

Best WiFi Light Switch - making lights smart without expensive smart bulbs

TP-Link's WiFi Light Switch is a good option for those that want to make multiple lights in a single room smart, without buying a bulb for each light in that room. This light switch is cheaper than most individual bulbs, so it's a good option. It does work with the TP-Link app, so you will need to keep the light on to be able to control it remotely. Additionally, it does also work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Best all-around Security System - everything you need

Nest Secure is a great smart home security system to pick up, especially if you already have some of Nest's other products - like the Nest Cam. The Nest Secure includes the Nest Secure Guard, as well as two Nest Detect and two Nest Tags. The Nest Detect is a small alarm that you can place on a door or window and it will let you know when it's opened. The Nest Tags are used to tap the Guard when you get home to let the system know that whoever just came in, was supposed too. Nest will also send you notifications when the doors or windows are opened, and if you have a Nest Cam, you can see who just came in.

Best Smart Home Camera - keep an eye on your home when you're away

Arlo Pro is one of the best cameras around, partly because it is a wire-free camera that can be used both inside and outside. The battery will last around six months on a single charge, which is pretty impressive, to say the least. Additionally, it will also only record when it sees motion, so it won't waste battery life recording nothing. Arlo will also let you know when it sees motion, so you can see what's happening outside. There is a base with a siren, so you can sound the siren if someone is in your home, and get them out as quickly as possible.

Best Value Smart Camera - save money without sacrificing features

TP-Link's smart home brand, Kasa has it's own smart home security camera in the Kasa Cam (model number KC120), which is under $100 and provides a really stellar picture. It is able to stream in up to 1080p quality, giving you plenty of resolution to see what's going on (and even zoom in) at home, both inside and out. The Kasa Cam is not an outdoor camera, but you can put it in a window to see what's happening outside your home. The Kasa Cam has nightvision, as well as Amazon Alexa support, which allows you to pull up the feed from the camera on your Fire TV, Fire Tablet or Echo Show/Spot device.

Best Amazon Alexa-enabled Smart Plug - "Alexa, turn on the living room lamp"

Amazon debuted its own smart plug this year, in the Amazon Smart Plug. This one works with Amazon Alexa the best, seeing as it is a first-party product from the company behind Alexa. This smart plug works like every other smart plug out there. Plug in an appliance into the smart plug and you can then control it with your voice via Amazon Alexa, as well as controlling it via the app that Amazon has available.

Best Value Smart Plug - WiFi smarts without the high price

Gosound's Mini Smart Plug offers WiFi connectivity, for a pretty low price. Allowing you to make your lamps, appliances or other products around your home, smarter, without needing to buy an entirely new appliance. It comes with an app that works to control whatever is plugged into it, and it also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Homekit/Siri.

Best Smart Thermostat - fits all your needs

The ecobee4 smart thermostat is definitely the best smart thermostat available right now. This is because it comes with room sensors that you can use in different areas of the home so that it keeps your entire home at the same temperature - which is going to reduce your energy costs. The ecobee4 also has Amazon Alexa built-in, which is going to allow you to talk to your thermostat and ask it how the weather is, turn off your lights and so much more.

Best Budget Smart Thermostat - not the prettiest, but it does the job

This smart thermostat from Honeywell is definitely not as pretty as the ecobee4 (also on this list), but it does a good job at bringing smart thermostat features to your home. It can still be used as a regular thermostat too, in case you don't want to use your phone to control it. It does work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use your voice to control it as well.

Best Smart Kitchen Appliance - cook your food, smarter

Companies are always trying to make the appliances in your kitchen smarter, but a smart oven, fridge and dish washer, aren't as feasible as a microwave. Nor are they items that you will likely purchase often. This smart microwave works with Alexa, not so much for you to tell Alexa to cook something for three minutes - as you can do that since you just put that in the microwave. But it will help you find out how long you need to defrost chicken, or cook popcorn, without having to Google it.

Best Smart Ceiling Fan - make your existing ceiling fan smart again

Instead of buying a new ceiling fan for your kitchen or dining room, you can instead pick up BOND and it makes your existing ceiling fan smart. It is very easy to setup, and it can also control multiple ceiling fans. So if you do have more than one in your home, you do have the option of controlling them all with BOND. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Which means that in addition to using the app to control them, you can also use your voice. It's a really good add-on for a ceiling fan, and costs far less than a new ceiling fan.

Best Retrofit Smart Lock - keep your existing keys!

The August Smart Lock (with Connect) will make your front-door smarter. Without having to replace your existing, physical keys, nor giving your lock a different look on the outside. The August Smart Lock uses Bluetooth and WiFi to connect to your smartphone, so you are able to unlock the door when you get home, and using August's Smart Alerts, you can have it set to automatically unlock the front door once you get home. Of course, it can still be used as a regular lock, with physical keys, which is what makes this such a good option.

Best Value Smart Lock - complete with a touchpad for entering a PIN number

Schlage has a good looking smart lock, in the Sense Smart Deadbolt. It is a Deadbolt that also has a numberpad outside, so if you don't have your keys or your phone with you, you can simply enter your pin number to get into your home. This is perfect for those that might be pet-sitting for you, and you don't want to give them a key to your home. You can instead give them a PIN number to remember and have them enter that to get inside. It also works with Alexa, so you can ask Alexa to unlock or lock the door and also ask her the status of the door.

Best Video Doorbell - see who's at your door, from anywhere in the world

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is another good option for many people, because it does have that camera built-in, so you can see what's happening at all times. Additionally, it is also pretty small and easy to install outside your home. Ring will notify you when someone is at the door, whether they ring the doorbell or not. You can see who is there and speak with them, or even just tell them where to put the package, if it is FedEx or UPS, when you aren't home.

Best value Video Doorbell - see who's at your door without spending a ton of cash

Zmodo has a pretty simple to install, video doorbell for outside your home. It does still have a camera built-in so you can see when someone is at your door. It will of course let you know when someone is there, so you can greet them or tell them to go away, etc. There is a cloud service available, for storing video clips, and finally, there is no Alexa support included. Instead you will have to rely on the Zmodo app.

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November 09, 2018, 9:24am
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