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Which smart home devices are actually worth it?

The best smart home devices

Not all smart home devices are created equal. The big question to consider is how much of a difference a device will make in your life. Remember that sometimes, in an attempt to make things more convenient, we accidentally create new potential problems.

Smart devices that make an everyday activity easier and more convenient or improve your overall safety and well-being are probably worth it. Expensive technology with a gimmick is not worth the trouble.

For example, having a smart thermostat that you can more conveniently control and operate is useful and will improve your everyday life. But buying smart outlets that let you turn the power supply from an outlet on and off from afar is sort of a waste. Simply unplug devices after you are finished using them or use power strips with simple on and off switches. It does not take any extra time to just flip the switch on your power supply.

Even if you do not want to spend much on turning your home into a smart home, some products can provide simple time savings that would add up over the years. Using Smart LED light bulbs allows you to turn your lights on and off without touching your light switches again. Are your hands often full when you walk in the door? There is no need to stumble around in the dark when there are solutions available to brighten your day.

Useful smart home devices for security

There are lots of smart home devices designed to improve your home’s security and general safety. Some technology used to be very expensive but is now an excellent smart device option, like home security cameras.

Other pieces of equipment like smart locks are more of a potential security threat than an improved safety measure. It might be convenient to be able to unlock your deadbolt from anywhere at the touch of a button, but that just means anyone who obtains access to the system can just as easily enter your home. There is no replacement for a proper lock with a key that only you have.

Some smart devices are not external security cameras, but monitoring devices meant to be inside your home, letting you watch out for your pets or young children with ease. Turning a nanny cam into a convenient smart device makes your life easier and your children and animals safer.

Wyze Cam v3 ]

What you need to know: This is a great budget buy if you need a smart security camera.

What you’ll love:  It works indoors and outdoors and also has a bunch of upgrade peripherals available. Even without additional parts, it has motion detection, voice control, local video storage and more. It has 14 days of free automatic cloud storage and even allows users to use a built-in two-way audio system so that you can speak with visitors and they can respond.

What you should consider: The camera works with Google Assistant and Alexa, but if you use Alexa, the one-way talk feature is unavailable.

Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor ]

What you need to know: This is a high-end baby monitor system that allows parents to measure their child’s growth, breathing and sleep.

What you’ll love: The system is not just a camera that monitors the baby and identifies movement or crying. It has sleep tracking and helps parents to look at statistical patterns to help their baby sleep better. It has a 1080p full HD visual from a bird’s eye view of the baby so you can monitor their health and safety from anywhere in the house.

What you should consider: The baby monitor system is pretty expensive.

Furbo Dog Camera ]

What you need to know: This is a great monitor that is designed for dogs, but would also help you monitor other beloved pets.

What you’ll love: The Furbo has a built-in treat tosser, so you can fill it with your pet’s favorite treats and deliver them at the push of a button or a voice command from the companion app. It has full HD video quality, even when recording in night vision. The two-way audio allows you to talk to your pets from afar and help them be calm even when you are not home.

What you should consider: It will need a stable Wi-Fi connection to have good performance. It is a bit expensive.

Useful smart home devices for convenient living

If you want to listen to music or audiobooks with ease and manage other smart home devices with a central system, there are a couple of families of smart home products to consider. There are the Amazon Echo products that use Alexa, the Google Nest Hub products that use the Google Assistant and other products like Sonos that can adapt to either of the main voice assistants. Whatever your preferred smart home assistant, there are lots of products available to make your home more high-tech and convenient.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) ]

What you need to know: This is both a smart speaker and a clock that lets you make calls hands-free and use the Alexa assistant to its full potential.

What you’ll love: This is a classic digital alarm clock mixed with a smart speaker so you can play your favorite music and manage your other smart home devices with Alexa. You can use your voice to turn on or off the lights, adjust your thermostats and more.

What you should consider: The device is only compatible with the Alexa voice assistant, not other assistants or systems.

Google Nest Wi-Fi Mesh ]

What you need to know: This Wi-Fi router is a solid supplement to your Google Nest Hub smart speaker system to improve Wi-Fi connectivity in your house.

What you’ll love: It has a built-in smart speaker, but the big benefit of this device is that it expands the Wi-Fi signal throughout your house. Customers specifically like how easy the device is to set up and use right away.

What you should consider: The product is compatible with Google Assistant and the rest of the Google Nest products, but not other voice assistants or systems.

Sonos One (Gen 2) ]

What you need to know: The device comes with Alexa built-in, but it is compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa.

What you’ll love: It is a particularly powerful smart speaker, despite its compact size that fits pretty much anywhere. If you put two of these high-quality speakers in the same space, you can pair them and enable a detailed stereo sound experience for music or a home theater.

What you should consider: Though it is very adaptable hardware, it is pretty expensive.

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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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