17 Best Smart Home Products
Rewire your home—and take a load off your mind—with these ingenious gadgets
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Keep an eye on your pad
Check in on pets, kids, or the sweet sound of nothing-to-worry-about via the Nest Cam’s app and website portals. The 1080p HD camera delivers the clearest video feed we’ve seen—even in Night Vision mode—and Nest uses an alerts algorithm that will only notify you (via phone alerts or emails) if an actual event occurs, not when shadows dance across the walls. $199; .
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Watch the weather
If you’re often without an umbrella in the rain or overdressed for hot, sunny days, check out the Netatmo Weather Station and its app-based dashboard. The device monitors both indoor and outdoor air so you can plan for days outside—and keep track of air quality (a spike in stale-air indicator CO2 alerts your phone) and humidity indoors. $179; .
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Sleep like a baby
A good night’s rest has three elusive parts: getting to sleep, sleeping well once you’re there, and waking up without any a.m. grogginess. The Withings Aura Connected Alarm Clock, which would look at home on Captain Picard’s nightstand, promises to align your snoozing habits by transmitting a red glow to get you into a high-quality sleep faster and a melatonin-suppressing blue light (plus your Spotify playlist) to awaken you feeling refreshed. $190; .
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Don’t break a sweat
We love the Ecobee3 thermostat not only for its user-friendly touchscreen control panel but also its ability to pair with wireless room sensors around the house to accurately read temperatures and adjust its programming accordingly. So when you walk into a drafty bedroom that’s nowhere near the thermostat but outfitted with a sensor, the sensor’s motion detector will recognize your presence and tweak the temperature to make the room comfortable. One sensor is included with each Ecobee3, and up to 32 can be used in a home. $250; .
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When all your paid music is on one app, but your streaming subscription is on another, and your podcasts are—hey, where exactly do they live on your phone? No matter—it’s time for Sonos Play: 1. The system pairs with the Sonos app via Wi-Fi or its own wireless network to stream all your music, radio, and podcast accounts through a HiFi speaker that audiophiles will love. Best
of all, you can connect multiple Sonos speakers throughout your house to stream in every room—no custom wiring required. $199; .
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Command and conquer
The Amazon Echo is like your home’s digital know-it-all. Alexa, the Echo’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, serves as a hands-free central command center that plays music, answers cooking questions, tells you the day’s weather forecast or traffic report, turns down the lights, and, of course, adds necessary items to your Amazon shopping cart. $180; .
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Color your world
Creating dramatic mood lighting by throwing a scarf over a lampshade is not only dangerous, it’s so 20th century. With the Philips Hue LED White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, whether you want to set a rela warm glow at day’s end or prep for a binge streaming session with TV-appropriate blues, the white and color LED bulbs found in the kit can create more than 16 million lighting combinations. $200; .
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Upgrade the exterior lights
Most porch lights require bulbs that aren’t smart yet. But as long as they’re on a switch, it won’t matter—you can power them with the WeMo Light Switch. This Wi-Fi–connected switch lets you program any bulb to come on at a particular time. For instance, set it to turn on 15 minutes before sunset, and you’ll never have to worry about a dark house when you travel. $50; .
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Step up your smoke alarm
Smoke detectors don’t stop fires; people do. Leeo, an LED night-light programmed to listen for your alarms, will call your phone if the sirens go off, whether it's your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, or water-leak warning that sounds. And if you don’t answer the call, Leeo can be set to your neighbor of choice. $49; .
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Watch when you're away
Web security cameras typically just keep an eye out, but Piper nv has a 105-decibel siren that goes off while in “away” or “vacation” mode if its 180° lens detects intruders. It also tracks temperature, movement, and humidity, and connects to window and door sensors. But the biggest innovation might be ditching a monthly subscription-based security system. $269; .
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Detect and protect
A carbon monoxide detector that moonlights as a night-light, American Red Cross by Etón Blackout Buddy CO makes audible and flashing alerts when the odorless gas is present. And if the power goes out, the plug-in automatically turns on, becoming a removable LED flashlight. $60; .
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Light it right
Wi-Fi–connected lightbulbs, like Cree’s Connected LEDs, are more than just a parlor trick for controlling lights with a phone. Working with an app (like Wink), they ensure the basement lights weren’t left on, and compared with incandescents, they sip power. They’re also significantly less expensive than some of their smart counterparts. $15; .
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Cool your heating bill
The Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t just make your heating and air-conditioning more efficient, it’s also a hub, pairing with non-Nest devices to add smarts to your house. For example, when Nest’s Protect smoke alarm notes a fire, it works with the thermostat to turn on Rachio’s Iro sprinkler controller to help fight the flames. $249; .
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Control the whole home
The idea of a house controlled by a phone is great—until you have guests. An in-wall touch screen, Wink Relay links to a variety of app-controlled smart home products, from bulbs to locks, letting anyone in the house access its whiz-bang features. $300; .
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Be the key
If you can open your car by touching the door handle (and holding the key), why can’t you access your home by tapping the lock? The Kwikset Kevo smart lock allows this by linking with your phone via Bluetooth. And if you have friends who need to enter your pad, you can grant their phones temporary access. On the off chance the connection fails (during a blackout, for example), Kevo also accepts a regular key. $219; .
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Close the garage from anywhere
Do you ever get the feeling you left your garage door open? Chamberlain MyQ Garage won’t just confirm your suspicion, it will also let you use your phone to close (or open) it from anywhere. The kit even enables your existing opener to work via Wi-Fi. $130; .
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Water with the weather
Lawn watering is among the most wasteful things homeowners can do, because “dumb” sprinkler controllers run based on a clock, rain or shine. Iro, a Wi-Fi– connected sprinkler controller, saves water by setting a schedule based on the weather and your geography. Program it via your phone, then forget it. $249; .