• Smart speakers and choosing an assistant• Smart plugs• Smart lights• Smart switches• Video doorbells• Home security cameras• Smart locks• Smart thermostats• Smart appliances• Robot vacuums and robot mops• Smart garage door openers• Smart smoke detectors
Welcome to the ultimate smart home guide. If you want to make your home smarter, but don’t know where to start, we can help. There are plenty of entry points — both in terms of device and price — for building the best smart home for you.
Knowinghow to get started with a DIY smart home means you’re on your way to connecting devices or appliances to the internet. From there, you can use your smartphone or voice for controls and automations. And the things that make a home "smart" will be different for every individual. Anyone can introduce thebest smart home devices into their lives, whether it’s a voice-activated kitchen,renter-friendly products, an immersive entertainment setup, proactive security system or funoutdoor party gadgets.
Another popular place to start with smart home devices is thebest smart lights. From individual light bulbs and decorative light strips to light fixtures and outdoor path lights, there are plenty of app- and voice-controlled lighting products to choose from.Philips Hue lightsare considered the category leader, though Sengled, Lifx, Wyze, Wiz, TP-Link Kasa and GE’s Cync are some other brands we’d recommend. When you use the color-capable bulbs from these brands, you can try outAlexa smart light colors.
For non-traditional lights, Nanoleaf’s wall panels are particularly popular. The newNanoleaf Lines earned 4/5 stars in our review, and the Nanoleaf Elementsmade our DIY smart home cooler. There’s also the kid-friendlyEcho Glow, which we used totrain our child to sleep later.
Smart lights also go viral on social media more than your average smart home devices. Some of thebest TikTok lights have smart features, so you can change your light scenes on your smartphone then return to scrolling.
Our favorite smart lights:
An alternative to smart lights are thebest smart light switches. In fact, we usedsmart switches instead of smart lights when we remodeled our DIY smart home. Smart switches aren’t as easy to install and requireknowing about neutral wires, but could save money if you have a lot of light sockets. Smart switches cost somewhere between $40 to $60 depending on the brand and features, and can be used with several basic LED bulbs that cost about $1 per piece, or less in bulk. In other words, a single smart switch can be more cost-effective than a set of high-end smart bulbs.
Some smart switches are more than just a light switch, too. TheBrilliant Smart Home controller is thesmart home gadget we’d been waiting for, combining light switches with a display for navigating the rest of your connected smart home devices. The best smart switch overall is the GE C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer, though.
Our favorite smart switch:
You'll never have to guess who's at your door when you have one of thebest video doorbells, all of which send a live feed to your smartphone or tablet when someone pushes the button at your front door. Plus, it acts as an intercom, helpful for those who have trouble getting to the door quickly. Some video doorbells alsooffer package detection, so you can see when you have a delivery.
Ring is probably the best known video doorbell maker, with theRing Video Doorbell 4 as the latest offering. TheNest Doorbell (battery) is our favorite video doorbell overall, though you should check out ourRing vs. Nest guide to see which is right for you. Arlo, Blink and Wyze also make capable video doorbells.
Are youbuying a video doorbell? Here's 8 things you need to know. The most important of those is probably that all video doorbell brands offer storage plans at an additional cost. If you want to be able to look back at all your front door activity, you’ll need to pay for advanced storage.
Our favorite video doorbell:
Similarly, you’ll need to consider storage if you’re installing one of thebest home security cameras or thebest outdoor security cameras.
Our guide tosecurity camera storage plans compared can help you understand how much you’ll pay with thebest DIY home security systems, or any smart home products you use to keep an eye on your house. Note the better cameras will also have night vision and can be linked with other smart home devices. Based on your interaction with our devices, your camera can start recording when you leave home and stop when you return.
TheNest Cam (battery) andWyze Cam (v3) are our favorite security cameras that can be mounted inside or out, while theRing Floodlight Camera is a great option exclusively for outside. It can be used withRing Alarm orRing Alarm Pro, which are more advanced home security solutions.
If you’re not sure whether you want a camera inside your home, read why we’d recommend one that has a physical shutter you can lift when you leave. Most cameras have light indicators to let you know when they’re recording, for your privacy’s sake.
Our favorite home security camera:
You can use thebest smart locks to secure your home without an actual camera, too. Beyond allowing you to lock and unlock your door using your smartphone, a smart lock will also let you issue temporary passes to others and see who's using your door. Integrate the lock with other smart home devices, and you could have your lights turn on automatically when you unlock your door when returning home in the evening.
Our favorite smart lock is theAugust WiFi Smart Lock. It has advanced features, like knowing when you’re left the door ajar and sensing when your smartphone is nearby. We also like theSchlage Encode, which we called aDIY smart home security game-changer.
Our favorite smart lock:
Unlike the regularbest vacuum cleaners, thebest robot vacuums make vacuuming less of a chore. You'll still have to break out the Hoover or Dyson from time to time, but a robot vacuum will help cut down on the daily accumulation of dust and pet hair. And, because of its low profile, a robot vacuum can get to places you can't, like under your bed or dresser. Wefinally bought a robot vacuum, and found it’s worth the investment.
Ourrobot vacuum buying guide can help you decide from the best cheap robot vacuums,best robot vacuums for pet hair or specifically thebest Roombas, if that’s the brand you’re most familiar with.
The best robot vacuum overall is theRoborock S4 Max, though theRoborock S7 is more versatile as one of thebest robot mops. For a robot mop that doesn’t vacuum, we like theiRobot Braava jet m6.
Our favorite robot vacuum: