Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The RundownBest Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector:Google Nest Protect at Amazon"Sends a message to your phone if the alarm sounds or the batteries are low."Best Smart Display with Google Assistant:Google Nest Hub at Best Buy"Bringing you all the perks of an Amazon Echo at a reasonable price."Best Smart Thermostat:Google Nest Learning Thermostat at Amazon"The Nest learns and adapts to your own personal habits and preferences."Runner-Up, Best Thermostat:Ecobee SmartThermostat at Amazon"A study in ease and the capabilities of smart home products."Best Smart Plug:Amazon Smart Plug at Amazon"You can set automatic turn-on and turn-off times for things like table lamps, fans, or even small appliances."Best Robot Vacuum:iRobot Create 2 Programmable Robot at Irobot.com"A top-of-the-line cleaning robot that hopes its convenience outweighs its cost."Best Smart Mop:iRobot Braava Jet M6 at Amazon"The robot mop can handle sticky spills, kitchen grease, and other messes throughout multiple rooms and in large spaces."Best Smart Light System:Philips Hue at Amazon"Boasts a highly intuitive user experience with a simple app and easy-to-install component parts."Best Doorbell:Remo+ RemoBell S Smart Video Doorbell Camera at Walmart"See who's at your door no matter where you are in the world."Best Remote:Logitech Harmony Companion at Amazon"Control more than just your TV with this smart remote."
When it comes to smart home products, the future is now—consumers have never had so many options, making it the perfect time to embrace smart home technology. If the smart home concept is new to you, smart home products are devices or appliances within your home controlled via an internet connection, generally your smartphone or a tablet.
You can set up a home hub, through popular systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which allow you to control all the functions of your home with a voice command or the touch of a button. You can find smart home products for just about every part of your home, including kitchen appliances, vacuums, home lighting, and smoke detectors.
If you're new to smart homes or are looking to upgrade your tech, we've researched and reviewed the best smart home products from top brands such as Google, Philips, Amazon, and iRobot. We've evaluated them based on evaluating them on ease of set up, how well they integrate with other devices in terms of ecosystem, cost, and additional features.
Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector:Google Nest Protect 2nd Generation5Buy on AmazonBuy on WalmartBuy on Google.comWhat We Like
Alerts both vocally and via a notification of smoke or carbon monoxide
Easy integration with Nest products
Performs routine self testsWhat We Don't Like
Works better as a team than standalone
Expensive, especially if you're buying multiples
If you're looking for a combined smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, the Nest Protect may be just what you need. Part of the Google Nest smart home family, it integrates easily with other Nest products and provides you with the peace of mind that your home is safe. The Protect makes sure you know what's going on in case of emergency—it changes color when something concerning is detected and it alerts you vocally as to the location of the smoke or carbon monoxide. It also sends an alert to your phone, a very handy feature if you're not at home.
The Protect goes above and beyond your normal home fire alarm, as it can detect heat, humidity, carbon monoxide, plus it can detect both fast and slow-burning fires. If you set off the alarm accidentally, such as while cooking dinner, you can quickly turn it off via the app.
Protect also performs routine self-tests, making sure it's functioning correctly. The set-up process is easy as well, you'll just need to screw the base plate into the ceiling, attach the Protect, and then sync it with your phone. While the Protect is no doubt more expensive than your run-of-the-mill smoke alarm, its effectiveness and ease of use make it the best smart home alarm on the market—especially if you're already using Google Nest.The 5 Best Smart Smoke Detectors of 2021
Best Smart Display with Google Assistant:Google Nest Hub5Buy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartBuy on Google.comWhat We Like
Great screen and stylish design
Intuitive and easy to use
Compatible with over 5,000 smart devicesWhat We Don't Like
Audio quality could be better
Limited compatibility with appsGoogle Nest Hub Review
The Google Nest Hub is one of our favorite smart display systems, offering Google Assistant and a sleek, modern design that will look right in place in any room of the house. The Hub is more affordable than Amazon Echo, its main competition, and offers compatibility with thousands of smart devices, allowing it to control your lights, thermostat, or smart home features vocally or with a touch of a button.
It offers a 7” screen that looks similar to a tablet, giving you touchscreen controls. Use the screen to enjoy YouTube music, cook as Google talks you through the recipe, or display your own images as a digital photo album. For a few additional features, such as 10” and front-facing video calls, you'll want to upgrade to the more expensive Google Nest Hub Max. It's worth noting that even though it looks like your tablet, it has very limited connectivity with apps, a design shortcoming.
We love that the Hub is not only a control for your smart home, but it doubles as a personal assistant. Customize it with the daily news, weather, or have it displace your first appointment of the day, ensuring you don't miss a thing.
“The Google Nest Hub stands out to me for its sleek design and ease of use, and I love the convenience of using it to follow recipes as a cook or play music in the kitchen, while also managing my other smart home appliances.” —Katie Dundas, Product Tester
Best Smart Thermostat:Google Nest Learning ThermostatBuy on AmazonBuy on Home DepotBuy on Lowe'sWhat We Like
Adaptive device that quickly learns your preferences
Support monitoring from smart home
Automatic schedulingWhat We Don't Like
Requires some installation
Not compatible with Apple HomeKit
One of the most popular smart home devices is the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.
Nest exploded onto the scene in 2013 with the launch of its self-learning smart thermostat, and less than a year later the company was acquired by Google, which says a lot about the strength of their product. The Nest is a thermostat that not only optimizes the heating and cooling of your home but also learns your preferences and times when you're not home, adjusting accordingly. If you're out all day, for example, the Nest will adjust your usage while you're away to save on energy bills. Or, if you tend to turn the heat up at night in winter, it will start to do so automatically. It works in conjunction with Nest's temperature sensors, sold separately, that the Nest can use to ensure heating is working as best it can.
The system is easily controlled from your phone, giving you the option to view usage resorts to see how much energy you're consuming. The Nest isn't compatible with Apple HomeKit, but for Google fans, it's one of the best thermostats out there and will change the way you heat and cool your home. Installation can be tricky, so many homeowners prefer to have it installed by their HVAC contractor.
“Heating and air-con costs are so expensive where I live, so I love that the Nest Learning makes it easy to program my preferences and adjust settings when I'm not home, helping to lower heating bills.” —Katie Dundas, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Thermostat:Ecobee SmartThermostatBuy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on Home DepotWhat We Like
Automatic temperature adjustment
SmartSensor included, with additional available for purchase
Full compatibility with AlexaWhat We Don't Like
Interface can be buggy
Design may be a bit large for some
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is a top choice for your home thermostat needs, thanks to a large touchscreen, Alexa integration, and the inclusion of a SmartSensor—something its competition, the Nest Learning, only offers as a separate purchase. Use the Ecobee to control the heat of your home, but for rooms with a SmartSensor, it can also adjust temperatures automatically based on the number of people in the room, a neat feature. It does a great job of keeping temperatures steady, making it easy to control your home's heating needs, even in challenging areas like basements or bedrooms at the far end of the home.
The Ecobee's display also doubles as a smart speaker, with built-in Bluetooth to stream Spotify, plus you can pair with external speakers for boosted audio quality. We also like that the Ecobee can easily integrate with lots of other home systems, including Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, Google Assistant, and Amazon. The display screen itself is quite large, which may be off-putting for some, but its ease of use makes it worth the size.
Looking for more specific devices for your home? If so, you should also check out our list of best smart doorbell cameras and best robovacs.The 9 Best Smart Thermostats of 2021
Best Smart Plug:Amazon Smart PlugBuy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyWhat We Like
Simple and convenient design
AffordableWhat We Don't Like
Only works with Amazon Alexa
Only one outlet included on each smart plug
A smart plus is an easy way to transform any device or appliance, like a coffee maker or lamp, into a smart device. Once plugged into a smart plug, the devices can be controlled by your smartphone. One of the best smart plugs on the market is the Amazon Smart Plug, an affordable and easy to use device that plugs into your power outlet, then you plug your device into the smart plug. You can purchase as many as you need for your home, but not that only one outlet is provided for each plug, which limits their use. We do love that the plugs are slim though, as it means they can easily fit behind tables or on kitchen appliances.
The Smart Plug is only compatible with Alexa, but it's your best choice if you're already using the Amazon ecosystem. However, with Alexa you can control any device via voice controls or digitally, plus you can use Amazon's Alexa app if you don't already have a home hub. As long as your Wi-Fi is working, controlling your entire home is simple with smart plugs—literally just plug them in, connect via the app, and away you go. They are a great way to dip your feet in smart home technology, if it's new to you, as the simplicity and low price is a great entry into the market.The 10 Best Alexa Accessories of 2021
Best Robot Vacuum:iRobot Create 2 Programmable RobotBuy on Irobot.comWhat We Like
Holds up to 30 bins of dust
D-shape body for edge cleaning
Lots of options for custom programmingWhat We Don't Like
Works best when paired with Braava smart mop
The house cleaner that's always around, the iRobot Roomba S9+ is the company's latest, a top-of-the-line cleaning robot that hopes its convenience outweighs its cost. Vacuuming is a chore many of us hate, making robot vacuums one of the more desirable pieces of smart home tech. If you can look past the steep price, the S9+ takes care of housekeeping so you don't have to: Its docking port serves as a charger and empties its dustbin. It can also hold up to 30 bins of dust and dirt, so you don't need to empty after each use.
Unlike previous models, the S9+ has a D-shaped body, ideal for reaching all the corners and crevices of your room. It uses something called PerfectEdge technology to make sure no spots are missed, using sensors to guide the robot tightly along your walls. Through the iRobot app, you'll be able to customize when each room is cleaned, and the robot's Smart Mappings helps it learn the layout of your house so it knows where to go and how to tell different areas apart. There are plenty of options to program and customize, with the S9+ actually designed with budding programmers in mind. The S9+ is meant to be paired with iRobot's Braava Jet M6, which mops up after the Roomba has vacuumed.
Best Smart Mop:iRobot Braava Jet M6Buy on AmazonWhat We Like
Can easily mop large spaces
Great navigation skills
Quiet and smallWhat We Don't Like
Works best when paired with Rooma S9+
Big messes may still require some scrubbing the old fashioned way
If your home is mainly tile or wood, rather than carpet, you may benefit from a robot map. Similar in functionality to the robot vacuum, but for mopping, the iRobot Braava Jet M6 is one of the best smart home tools for mopping. The M6 can easily tackle sticky spills, kitchen grease, and other messes throughout multiple rooms, as it can clean up to 1,000 square feet in each session. It navigates with ease and also operates quietly, a great feature if you're trying to relax or get work done while using the mop. Thanks to its smart mapping technology, the M6 learns the different rooms in your house and navigates between them, based on the cleaning schedule you set in the iRoomba app. It can also be paired with the iRobot Roomba S9+ to commence mopping after the Roomba has finished vacuuming.
While there's no getting around that this is the most expensive mop you'll ever buy, it works amazingly and makes life easier by doing the dirty work for you, literally. The M6 pairs with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.
Best Smart Light System:Philips HueBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartWhat We Like
Connect up to 50 bulbs to one hub
App to customize lighting
Plenty of options to automate home lightingWhat We Don't Like
Can take some getting used to not having light switches
If you're looking to set up a smart home lighting system, the Philips Hue system could be what you need. A smart home lighting system is an investment, as it requires its own hub—the Hue is no exception. You'll want the Philips Hue with Bridge to control your entire home, giving you control of up to 50 bulbs per hub. The Hue provides an easy setup, an intuitive app, and plenty of customization apps—with the Hue, your only limit for your home lighting is your imagination, with seemingly endless options to automate and personalize your home's lighting.
There's a reason it's one of the most popular home lighting systems, as users love the ability to adjust brightness, color, timing, and even create lightning scenes to dim and alter your home lighting over the day. Controlling your lighting system via an app may take some getting used to, but it'll soon become natural. While the Hue is an investment, it's an all-in-one smart lighting solution that suits many homeowners.
"For fully customizable lighting throughout your home or apartment, the Philips Hue is the best lighting setup to use. It even integrates with your TV or PC to match media or gaming experiences."— Ajay Kumar, Tech Editor
Best Doorbell:Remo+ RemoBell S Smart Video Doorbell Camera3.5 Buy on WalmartBuy on Home DepotBuy on WayfairWhat We Like
Two-way talk lets you speak to anyone at the front door
HD video and night mode helps you see who's outside
Connects via your existing doorbell wiringWhat We Don't Like
App can be confusing to figure out
Video quality isn't always the bestRemoBell S Review
A smart doorbell helps you see who's outside the home, even if you're not home. With the Remo+ RemoBell S WiFi Video Doorbell Camera, you get an affordable doorbell that's simple to install and lets you see who's outside, no matter where you are in the world. Even better, you can have a two-way conversation, ideal for letting the postman know where to leave a package or letting the neighbor know when you'll be home. The Remo system connects through your existing doorbell wiring, so installation isn't overly complex.
With this smart doorbell, you can have alerts sent to your phone each time the bell rings or whenever motion is detected̦—plus, you can enjoy live streaming of your front door at any time. Up to five users can have access, helpful for families, and the system is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. If you're purchasing the Remo, note that the app itself can be confusing, so it may take some time to fully wrap your head around all its features. However, for the price, it's hard to beat this one in terms of value for money and usefulness.
Best Remote:Logitech Harmony Companion3.7 Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on Logitech.comWhat We Like
The smart remote controls not only your TV, but plenty of other devices
Automate via the remote or the handy Harmony app
Battery life lasts up to a yearWhat We Don't Like
Set up and pairing with multiple devices can be complexLogitech Harmony Companion Review
Have you ever imagined a remote control that can not only power your TV but also your whole home? That's exactly what the Logitech Harmony Companion sets out to do. It's a smart remote that can be configured to control your home entertainment system, but also your lights, blinds, or other household devices. It even works with devices that don't have a line of sight, such as those behind doors or cabinets. Once linked, you can control the devices via the remote or through the Harmony app on your phone. It also offers Alexa voice control and a battery life of up to a year, helpful so that you don't need to word about charging.
However, it's slightly expensive for a remote, and some may wonder why they need the remote if they're going to control devices via the app anyway. We think the Harmony will best appeal to homeowners who prefer the convenience of smart home control via a remote instead of their phones—finally, a truly universal remote.The 8 Best Smart Hubs of 2021Final Verdict
If you're trying to make your home smart, one of the best starter devices to get is the Nest Protect. It works best with other Nest devices, but it's one of the easiest to add to your home, telling you where smoke or CO2 is detected. It supports smartphone integration, and can interact with a variety of other devices to give you the emergency information you need. No smart home is complete without a hub. The best smart display is the Google Nest Hub. It boasts a big, crisp display, is compatible with over 5,000 smart devices, and supports voice commands.
What to Look for When Buying Smart Home Devices
Ecosystem - The most critical factor to consider when purchasing a device for your smart home is whether or not it'll work with your existing setup. Whether you select an Amazon Alexa, a Google Home, or Apple's Siri to be the controller for your devices, you'll want to make sure that your new gadgets can communicate.
Hub vs. no hub - Some devices (such as Philips' Hue lighting system) require a central hub to communicate on your Wi-Fi network. Be sure to check whether or not specific products need you to purchase an additional hub or will work right out of the box.
Smartphone apps - Most smart home devices will need to be set up via your smartphone. Be sure to check whether the device you're purchasing has an app available for your device of choice before buying.
Our team of trusted experts put our top picks for the most essential smart home through a rigorous testing process, ensuring they can remain connected and useful in a variety of home networking environments. Regardless of whether the product is a robovac, thermostat, or home automation hub, our experts put these products through their paces to make sure you get the absolute best for your home.
About our Trusted Experts
Andy Zahn has been writing for Ach5 since 2019. He has expertise in smart home and general consumer tech. He liked the Google Nest Hub for its useful integrations and excellent display and camera.
Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Ach5 with over seven years of experience in the industry. Previously published on PCMag and Newsweek, he's reviewed thousands of consumer tech products, including smart home devices, phones, tablets, hubs, and smart lights. He personally uses the Philips Hue lights to set the scene in his living room and bedroom.
Katie Dundas is a freelance writer and journalist who has been writing for Ach5 since 2019. She personally used the Google Home Nest Max for its convenience and versatility.