HUBS & CONTROLLERS
Google Hub – Google has set out to create a home automation platform that can interface with and connect all manner of web connected devices. Use your voice to control thousands of compatible devices like lights, cameras, TVs and more from wherever you are.
Amazon Echo & Echo Dot – The Echo at is a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s handy voice assistant. Alexa works with a number of smart home devices directly, as well as with If This Then That (IFTTT) to control plenty of others via “recipes” you can create yourself. It’ll take some work, but you can use Alexa to control most of the gadgets in your house by the sound of your voice. If you already have a favorite speaker, the inexpensive Echo Dot can connect to it and add Alexa functionality. And if you want a touch screen to see search results and make video calls, check out the Echo Show.
Logitech Harmony Elite – Don’t like talking and prefer controlling things the old fashioned way: by pushing buttons? The Logitech Harmony Elite is the ultimate universal remote for a reason: it controls a lot more than just TV and stereo. The pricey unit connects with the included Harmony Home Hub to control other Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, or infrared devices in your house.
HEATING AND COOLING
Nest Learning Thermostat – The Nest Learning Thermostat has built-in Wi-Fi so you can remotely control the temperature from phone, tablet, or PC. This latest generation also has a larger display and a few more sensors than its predecessors, in addition to geofencing support and a furnace monitor.
Ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat – The Ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat is another stylish device you can control remotely. It’s not dependent on just monitoring home temperature from one spot—it checks multiple sensors in multiple rooms.
Philips Hue Bulbs – Want complete wireless supremacy over the lights in your home? The Philips Hue line delivers with bulbs that let you control not only the intensity of the light, but also the color. It can get pricey, but the Hue ecosystem has been around long enough that it works with just about every other system out there, from Alexa, to IFTTT, to Siri (using the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0). Not interested in colorful lights but still want that incredible granular control over an all-white bulb? Philips has the Hue White coming in at an almost bargain price, at least for smart bulbs.
Eufy Robovac 11 – With high-end models going for as much as $1,000, robot vacuums aren’t exactly an expense that’s easy to justify. So it’s a pleasant surprise that the Eufy RoboVac 11 is a quiet, efficient robotic vacuum cleaner that costs just $229.99, an absolute bargain by market standards. It lacks the Wi-Fi connectivity you find in pricier bots, and you’ll occasionally need to rescue it from tricky-to-navigate areas, but when it comes to cleaning, the RoboVac 11 does its job quite well. If you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, it delivers strong bang for your buck.
iRobot Roomba 690 – Roomba is practically synonymous with robot vacuums, but what many people don’t know is that there isn’t just one definitive model. The line spans from the $275 Roomba 690 to the $800 Roomba 980. It shares many of the same features with the top-of-the-line 980—like a camera for navigation, a smartphone app with detailed cleaning reports and maps, and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control—but comes with only one virtual wall and has a slightly less powerful motor.
iRobot Braava Jet 240 – A vacuuming robot isn’t enough these days. Don’t you want your floors mopped clean as well? iRobot’s relatively inexpensive Braava Jet 240, will do exactly that. It’s small, quiet, and perfect for apartment dwellers without a lot of floor space or time to clean it when they get home. It sprays a jet of water to clean deep, and can even do damp sweeping, like a Swiffer.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 3 – The third-gen Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller gives you control over eight or 16 zones depending on the unit you get, with a master valve terminal for systems that have one. It won’t water the lawn if it’s raining, and you can turn it on and off remotely with your phone. Plus, it integrates with lots of other services and devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.
Robomow RS622 – Robot lawn mowers don’t come cheap, but they definitely come in handy. Check out the Robomow RS622 or one of its siblings for different sized lawns. This model is good for handling up to 23,000 square feet—once you go through the process of setting up a perimeter to let the mower go on its automated cutting pattern. Its dual two-season cutting blades spin at 4,000 rpm, mulching grass back into the soil so there’s no need for cleaning up or dumping bags of grass.
LOCKS & HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS
August Smart Lock HomeKit Enabled – The big names in door locks have smart home options, but they haven’t pulled it off as well as upstart August. Its easy-to-install, Apple HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock mounts over your existing deadbolt switch to provide connectivity for your door. It speaks via Bluetooth to your smartphone, granting quick access to you or guests. The latest version integrates tightly with Apple devices, but still has support from other services like IFTTT.
Adobe Home Security Starter Kit – If you prefer a DIY approach to smartening up your home security, check out the Abode Home Security Starter Kit. Abode finds the sweet spot between a basic self-monitored DIY security system and a professionally installed and monitored solution. The system is easy to install and can be paired with dozens of Z-Wave and ZigBee smart home products including door locks, lights, and smart switches, as well as Nest devices, to provide whole house coverage. It also supports Amazon Alexa voice commands and IFTTT recipes.
ADT Pulse – If you’re looking for a mature provider when it comes to smart home security, you’ve probably heard of ADT. While ADT PulseBest Price at ADT Pulse is certainly much more expensive than a DIY system, it offers capabilities those systems simply can’t, including 24/7 monitoring and customer support. It’s the most complete, full-featured home security system, and doubles as an automation platform for your other smart home devices.