Do you have someone on your list who has hinted their interest in creating a smart home but you have no idea what gifts to get? We have put together a list of the best gifts for a smart home and the popular smart home devices this holiday shopping season. We include smart home devices from home assistants, automation devices and smart plugs to help you make the right decisions.
Best Gifts for a Smart Home: Assistants and Speakers
Amazon Alexa Devices
Amazon continues to update its line up of Alexa enabled speakers. They adapt quickly to issues raised from customers adding mute buttons and camera shutters for video enable devices. I currently have 3 Alexa enabled devices in my home but am sharing the entire line up so you can pick the perfect gift.
Why get an Alexa Enable Device?
From a good morning briefing which includes, traffic, weather and news localized to your region to turning on and off smart plugs and lighting inside your home. Alexa continues to evolve with new “skills” (the apps that teach her to do things) like reading audiobooks, playing Apple Music playlists, connecting to the family with the device or turning on lights in your home.
The Echo is available in numerous models including the video-enabled Echo Show, compact echo dot, and the Echo (tower). New this year is the Echo Studio and Echo Dot Kids Edition and Echo Glowlight. At the lower price point, I feel it is the best at-home assistant on the market.
Smart Home Connections the Echo can handle include: Philips Hue, Ecobee, Wink, T-link, iHome, Sony and more. Connect everything from home heating, security, lighting and more.
Music streaming services compatible with Echo devices include: Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio
Other Assistant Devices
If you have the budget and a person on your list that is brand loyal to Google Android or Apple devices, then the Google Home devices are perfect gifts for a smart home.
Most agree that Amazon devices are the best bang for their buck however, Google and Nest have combined to form Google Nest and they have a number of smart speakers and devices to include in this best gifts for a smart home list.
Apple lags behind in the smart speaker market, relying on brand loyalty and no innovation. Their Home Pod also comes with a very hefty price tag but if you have an apple crazy person on your list and can afford to splurge this is pretty much the only Siri Enabled device.
Smart Plugs for Automating Devices
For those starting to create their smart homes and who don’t want to do complex electrical installations, a smart plug is the easiest way to get started. Most smart plugs on the market will connect to any of the devices above. I have them connected to my HomeKit on my iPhone and Alexa is also able to learn how to operate them.
Once activated you can create rooms, moods, scenes and teach your home assistant to turn them on or off with a voice command or control them with a simple tap on your phone.
iHome Smart Plug
This plug was super easy to set up and link to my home wi-fi. It is also effortless to set up lamps and other electronic devices using the iHome app and to sync with both Apple Home and Alexa.
Another favourite smart plug on the market is T-Link which has some many starter kits you can purchase. Like the iHome plugs they take up limited sockets. It is important to ensure that the plugs you purchase don’t use up more than one socket space.
Smart Home Lighting from Philips Hue
Again this comes down to simple set up without an electrician or installing switches and dimmers which connect to your smart home apps and devices.
I chose the simple way, especially when giving these as a gift. Philips Hue Lightbulbs come in kits which include a wifi hub that plugs into a regular home electrical outlet. Once the wifi hub is activated the lightbulbs can be controlled depending on their type. For those willing to do little electrical work, you can also buy kits that include dimmers.
- Hue White: These are just white light bulbs
- Hue Ambient: These are white light bulbs with some neutral colour dims
- Hue Colour: These are lightbulbs that can change colour in a spectrum
- Philips Go: Take this spectrum light on the go and move it around your house indoors and out. It charges up and then can be taken anywhere.
Smart Home Comfort
I live in an older condo, so I haven’t been able to set up a smart thermostat because they are not compatible with the building’s system. When purchasing an intelligent home thermostat as a gift make sure you include a gift receipt as not all furnace systems are compatible and quickly set up. The two most popular models for automatic thermostats are Nest and Ecobee.
Best Gifts for a Smart Home: Home Security
There are numerous door lock and home security models at various price points. The most popular models include August and Arlo by Netgear. From door locks to kits with multiple cameras, there are kits for many who wish to control their home’s security from their phone or tablet.
Best Gifts for a Smart Home: Around the House
The iRobot Vaccum now comes with smart home features that allow you to manage it from your phone. Some of the more expensive models include large storage bins allowing it to run many times before disposal. Other models from Shark and competing companies offer affordable options for your smart home lover.
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