Sunday , January 24 2021

The best smart home appliances you can buy right now (winter 2018)

Worldwide, sales of voice assistants intelligent speakers have seen tremendous growth only in the past year and the same can be said about the intelligent residential sector as a whole. The technology underlying the products will continue to improve with price reductions and the new categories will continue to show, but at this point it is worth investing.

With this in mind, and to make sure you will not end donation (or be talented), then this holiday season will bring together a list of the best smart home appliances you can buy. Whether you just want to dip your fingers into the water with a cheap Google Home Mini or immerse yourself in the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats and a bell, we've covered you.

Voice-operated intelligent speakers

Best – Google Max
Choosing a budget – Google Home Mini / Amazon Echo Dot

This first category is often the entrance to other intelligent pet products and depends almost entirely on your choice of ecosystem. In the US, as in many other countries, there are two separate camps – Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. If you choose one of them, there is a variety of Google home devices at different price points, from Home Mini's handy portfolio, the original Original Home, to home-like Max, who likes an audio-piece that costs more than a lot of money. The Home Center has arrived as part of a new product category with many of the same features, but later we will get to that.

If you go down the Amazon Route, there is a similar set of Echo speakers to suit all your needs. Echo Dot is a great startup device that can be used for cheaper than $ 29 during sales times, and then there's regular Echo, Echo Plus and even the new Echo Sub to add bass. Choosing a product here is mostly for a price – get the most expensive that you can realistically afford. If the music is a major issue, only Home Max or Echo Plus with Sub will really make your tunes fair, but if you just want to be able to ask the strange question and control some other connected devices, Home Mini or Dot will do very well.

If you want something with the capabilities of Alexa or Google Assistant, but created by a company that knows a little more about the sound, including headphones and headphones as well as speakers, check out our guide to the best audio products you can buy right now.


  • Home Mini$ 49 $ 29 (until February 2nd)
  • At home – 129 BGN
  • Home Max – $ 399


  • Echo Dot – 29.99 lv
  • echo – $ 69.99
  • Echo Plus – $ 149.99
  • Echo Sub – 129,99 лв

Intelligent displays

Best – Lenovo Smart Display (10 ")
Budget – Google Home Page

This category has become its own since last year after Google has already entered the game. Intelligent displays are essentially intelligent, loudspeaker with glued screens (almost literally from the look of the Google Home Hub). The original Echo Show was over a year, but the first generation was non-selective and expensive. The new model looks and sounds better, but there is more competition in Google's Intelligent Display Assistant space.

Only Google's own center (above) is the cheapest of them, so this is a good place to start, but Lenovo, JBL and now LG also have options with camcorders for video calling and speakers. With the largest screen (10 inches) and undoubtedly the best design, Lenovo is probably your best bet.

Google Start Center – $ 139 from Google, $ 149 elsewhere

Amazon Echo show

  • 2nd Genes – $ 229.99
  • First gene – 129.99

Lenovo Smart Display

  • 10-inch – $ 249.99
  • 8-inch – $ 199.99

JBL Link View – $ 249.99

LG WK9 ThinQ Review

  • Frys – $ 296.99
  • B & H – $ 246.99

Media Streams

Best – Nvidia Shield TV
Budget – Roku Express

Another new category for this year, which we could not find on any of our other lists, is the media streams. The cheap Google Chromecast has been an obvious choice in this space for years, and although it's still good, there are definitely some better options there, especially if you prefer physical distance. At the end of the budget there is an excellent roulette express that is great for both Google and Amazon applications. If you're highly tied to Amazon Prime, Fire TV Stick is just as good and they both have 4K options that beat the more expensive Chromecast Ultra in terms of features.

If you want the best streaming media, you will want Nvidia Shield TV – this is the best Android TV box around (see Ryan's review if you do not believe me). It works with 4K HDR video content, but it's also a capable streaming gaming device. So, if you bet on a slightly more expensive edition with the added game controller (now available with a remote voice), you will have access to a variety of entertainment options that ATV boxers just can not beat.

As a bonus, why not breathe new life into an old sound system with cheap Chromecast audio? Connect them via a 3.5mm jack and now you can stream music from a range of services to the reliable old speakers.

Nvidia Shield TV

  • with a remote – $ 179.99
  • with remote control and controller – $ 199.99


  • I express – 29.99 lv
  • Streaming Stick +$ 59.99 $ 49.99


  • Firewire – $ 39.99
  • Firewire – BGN 49.99


  • Chromecast audio $ 35 $ 15

Smart Hubs

Best – Samsung SmartThings Hub
Extravagant Choice – Logitech Harmony Elite

When Google Home or Amazon Echo is not enough for you, it may be the answer. They can combine different intelligent home protocols, such as Z-Wave and Zigbee, providing you with more flexibility than the standard WiFi setup. SmartThings Hub of Samsung was our best choice this year and remains the number one thanks to a cheaper third-generation device that launches this year and still competes.

You may have noticed that there is no budget choice here, and that's because it's really nothing cheaper than SmartThings Hub that we think is worth buying. If you already have a Nvidia Shield TV, you can turn it into a dongle with Samsung SmartThings Link and save yourself some money. If money is not an object and you do not need Zigbee or Z-Wave sensors, you may be interested in the Logitech Harmony Elite that connects a hub with a powerful universal remote control that can be used to control your entire entertainment setting via IR , plus some smart home appliances.

Samsung SmartThings

  • Hub – $ 69.99
  • WiFi Router with built-in hub – $ 119.99
  • Link (for Nvidia Shield) – $ 39.99

Logitech Harmony Elite$ 349

Bright lights

Best – LifX +
Budget – IKEA Trådfri
Extravagant choice – Nanoleaf Canvas or LifX Tile

Connected light bulbs are a useful, cheap introduction to the intelligent home with many decent options that work with different protocols. Often there are not many things between different brands, most of which can only be controlled with Google Home Mini thanks to the WiFi connection. Our favorite is LifX + as it offers more than 16 million colors, but also improves the night vision of your security camera by providing additional infrared light. If you want something cheaper, the Philips Hue Starter Kit is a good choice for the middle class and also uses ZigBee so it will continue to work even if your internet disappears. Prices of luxury IKEA bulbs, dimmers, and switches now work with Google's assistant, so they are a great budget choice, although you have to pay $ 30. For Gateway, so it can only cost you if you want a lot of intelligent lights and Get involved in your home at cheap.

We can do something better than just illuminate our home efficiently, but with some more sophisticated products designed for creativity. Last year's best choice, Nanoleaf Aurora (above) is still impressive, but there are some attractive new features too. Nanoleaf has a canvas, a light square that can be personalized and respond to the sound. LifX has similar tile squares as well as light beam bars and Z LED tapes – no corner or corner in your home should be left in the dark. For gamers there, Philips Hue Play can create backlighting in the surrounding environment to improve your game.


  • Mini white single –
  • + Single – $ 79.99 $ 59.99
  • Set of tiles – $ 249.99
  • Beam – $ 149.99

Philips Hue

  • Single bulb – 14.99 lv
  • Starter Pack with Bridge – $ 99.99
  • Play (single) – $ 69.99
  • Play (pair) – $ 129.99

IKEA Trådfri


Plugs and switches

Best plug-in – Wemo Insight
Budget Coupling – IKEA Trådfri
Best Switch – Ecobee Switch +
Budget Switch – Switchbot

If your lights or other gadgets are not from intelligent diversity, you can improve their intelligence by plugging them into smart contact. Take this as a fun example of what you can do with a smart plug. They range from basic WiFi plug-ins that can be switched on or off with the Google Assistant Voice command to more complex options like Wemo Insight Plug, which can tell you how much power you use. If you get a smart power tape like TP-Link, you get six smart stores in one. As with lights, IKEA now offers enticing budget options – especially useful if you already have a Gateway.

Another way to turn on and off your electronics is to use a smart key. Like Philips and IKEA also make keys that go with their light collections, but the best is Ecobee Switch +. It may look a bit like an intercom, but this flash actually has Amazon Alexa integrated, so it can be used to control other things around the home.

At the end of the budget, the ingenious SwitchBot is a fascinating little robot (above) that can be attached to existing stupid keys to make them smart. This is not the most elegant solution, but it's pretty clever. There is also a flash that looks like a cloud (below), which should look like all the hubs if you ask me.

Belkin Wenmo

  • Plug – $ 29.99
  • Insight Plug – $ 49.99


  • Mini Smart Plug – $ 15.82
  • Kasa Powerstrip – $ 79.99

IKEA Trådfri

Ecobee Switch + – $ 89.95


  • Button – $ 29
  • Hub – $ 49


Best – Ecobee4
Budget – Nest Thermostat E

The world of intelligent thermostats has not changed much, as Ecobee4 is still the best there. It is activated by Alexa, like Switch +, and comes with several sensors that can be placed around your home for optimal temperature measurements. If you need something to connect with Google's helper, Nest Learning thermostat is the best option, but Nest Thermostat E is the best choice for those with a budget.

For those of you who do not live in a home or apartment with dynamic thermostats, there are other options for controlling the non-contact AC or heat pump. Both Sensibo and Cielo Breez are good options with Google Assistant support.

There are also products that help you regulate more than the temperature in your home. Netatmo has two interesting products in this area – Healthy Home Coach measures humidity, air quality, noise and temperature. The more expensive weather station looks at the same indicators with indoor and outdoor modules, taking into account both internal ventilation and external barometric pressure.

Ecobee4 – $ 239


  • Thermostat E – $ 169
  • Teaching thermostat – $ 249


  • Healthy coach – $ 99.99
  • Meteo station – $ 179.99


Cielo Breez

Security cameras

Best Without Plane – Arlo Pro 2
Best with a plan – Nest Cam IQ
Budget – Amcrest

Using connected devices so we do not have to climb from the sofa to turn on the lights is very good and good, but home security is probably the most worthy case to use. The Arlo Pro 2 had a few problems when it first came out, but now leads the way to the seamless field thanks to the battery-powered cameras that can be placed anywhere. If you are willing to pay a monthly subscription, Nest's Cam IQs are feature rich, with indoor units offering 4K. Logitech's Circle 2 is a good alternative to the mid range, but if you really do not want to break the bank, Amcrest has several cheaper cameras that will give you peace of mind.

Arlo Pro 2 (2-cam system) – $ 434.99


  • IQ Indoor Cam – $ 299
  • Cam IQ Outdoors – $ 349

Logi Round 2 – $ 149.99

Amcrest ProHD– $ 59.98

bell installation

The Best – Skybell Trim Plus
Budget – Arlo Audio bell

Because the ads would have believed, the thief always rang the bell for the first time to see if there was someone at home. Then we are ready with the decision – intelligent door. Something with a camera is the surest option that lets you see who's on the door and then have a two-way conversation with them. Skybell Trim Plus is one of the best, though the features among the major players are almost the same – offering free cloud recording, unlike many other competing products in a similar price group. If you already have products from Ring, Nest or August, they have many similar ringtones to complete your composition. If you want some of the smart for less money, you can get the first-generation Ring Video Doorbell for just $ 100. Alternatively, why not try an audio bell like that from Arlo. You get a phone call on your phone when it rings so you can answer faster, plus you already have a portable camera that can be used as a video for the best of both worlds.

Skybell Trim Plus – $ 199.99


  • Video intercom – 99.99 lv
  • Video intercom 2 – $ 199.99
  • Video Doorbell Pro (with cloud storage) – $ 249.99

Nest Hello – $ 229


Best – August Smart Lock Pro + Connectivity
Budget – August Smart Lock

So you have a smart security camera and bell but you still use an old-fashioned metal key to get into your house as a man of the past – who are you? Obviously, you need an intelligent lock and there are some good ones. Rita has reviewed Nuki's smart lock this year last year, and she thinks this is the best choice outside of the United States. Since then, they have released a new version. August intelligent locks are fully equipped and best looking in my opinion, so Smart Lock Pro + Connect WiFi Bridge with Alexa integration is my best choice. Similarly, Nest has allied with Yale to lock with Google Assistant smarts and Schlage also has an option that works with Google and Alexa settings. Third-generation Smart Lock without a bridge can be about $ 125, making it a good budget option.


  • Smart Lock Pro + connect – $ 232.95
  • Smart Lock – $ 124.87

Nest x Yale Lock – $ 279

Smart connection wand – $ 199.99


Alarm systems

Best – SmartThings ADT
Budget – Ringtone

There has been little traffic in this category over the past year, with Samsung's joint efforts with ADT and Nest Secure continuing to be two of the best options, while Wink Lookout works well as a budget alternative. Ring has also released its own alarm system this year, which may cost you to check if you're already connected to this ecosystem – it's also far cheaper than its competitors.

Samsung SmartThings ADT Starter Kit– $ 199.99

Nest Secure – $ 399

Wink Lookout – $ 199

Ringing alarm – $ 199

For more tips on the best gadgets to buy this holiday season, check out the rest of our 2018 shopping guides, including the best phones, the best audio products and the best Chromebook.

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