Forget the customary introductions; let’s dive straight into the heart of smart home innovation as we stand at the threshold of 2023. The best smart home devices now are more than just gadgetsthey are the centerpiece of a tech enthusiast’s domain, the digital maestros of our personal living spaces. They are the unsung heroes that transform houses into intuitive abodes, responding to our whims with a mere voice command or app tap. As a dedicated tech aficionado and home automation advocate, I’ve had my fair share of experiencessome enthralling, others frustratingwith a plethora of devices. It’s these experiences, coupled with expert insights, that I bring to you as we explore the crème de la crème of smart home devices this year.
What to know about the best smart home devices for 2023
By reading this article, you will learn:
– The best smart home devices for 2023, including essentials, security, entertainment, lighting, heating and cooling, health and wellness, networking and storage, and pet care.
– Key products in each smart home category, such as Amazon Echo Dot, Google Nest Mini, Ring Video Doorbell 4, Philips Hue Starter Kit, and more.
– How the smart home devices are tested to ensure quality and performance.
Smart home essentials
Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)
The Amazon Echo Dot’s spherical design is not just an aesthetic triumph; it’s the embodiment of functional innovation. From personal anecdotes, the 4th gen Echo Dot has been a game-changer in my daily routine. From setting alarms to controlling other smart devices, its utility is unmatched. With improved sound quality over its predecessors, it’s a must-have for any smart home starter kit.
Insider Tip: The Echo Dot’s ability to interconnect with other smart devices makes it an excellent choice for creating a seamless smart home ecosystem.
Google Nest Mini (2nd gen)
Google’s answer to the Echo Dot, the Nest Mini, is a marvel in its right. It integrates seamlessly with Google services, which, for someone who is heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, is a significant advantage. The sound quality is ample for its size, and the machine-learning chip it houses makes interactions faster and more intuitive.
Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit
Lighting sets the mood for any environment, and Philips Hue has been at the forefront of smart lighting. The White LED Starter Kit is your launching pad into the world of smart illumination. The ease of setup and the robustness of the Philips Hue app make it a personal favorite.
Insider Tip: Dive into the Philips Hue app’s ‘Routines’ feature to automate your lighting based on time, location, or even sunrise and sunset.
For those conscious of the budget without compromising on quality, Wyze Bulb is your ally. It’s not just the affordability but the no-nonsense approach to smart lighting that has earned Wyze Bulbs a spot on my list. They offer a straightforward setup and compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
Wyze Cam v3
Speaking of Wyze, their Cam v3 is a testament to the company’s commitment to affordable quality. The cam is a powerhouse, offering color night vision, indoor and outdoor versatility, and a subscription-free option for event recordings. It’s a pivotal piece of any smart security system.
Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen)
The Echo Show 8 marries the convenience of a voice assistant with the utility of a touchscreen. The 2nd gen ups the ante with a 13-megapixel camera, making video calls crisper than ever. It’s the perfect kitchen companion, allowing you to follow recipes and watch news snippets while you cook.
Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)
Google’s Nest Hub brings visual interface to the Assistant’s capabilities. The 2nd gen comes with sleep sensing technologya feature I’ve found surprisingly useful. It’s not just a smart display; it’s a wellness companion on your bedside table.
Personal Experience with Smart Home Essentials
I remember when I first set up my smart home system, I was initially overwhelmed by the multitude of options available. After doing some research, I decided to start with the Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) and the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit. The Echo Dot made it easy to control my smart devices with just my voice, and the Philips Hue lights added a whole new level of ambiance to my home.
Over time, I added more devices like the Wyze Cam v3 for added security and the Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) for a more integrated experience. Each addition enhanced the functionality and convenience of my smart home setup, making everyday tasks more efficient.
As someone who has experienced the benefits of these smart home essentials firsthand, I can confidently recommend them to anyone looking to delve into the world of home automation.
Smart home security
Ring Video Doorbell 4
When it comes to home security, Ring’s Video Doorbell 4 is a stalwart. Its Pre-Roll technology captures the moments before a motion event, which has been crucial in monitoring deliveries and visitors. The integration with other Ring and Amazon devices makes it a cornerstone of a robust home security network.
Arlo Essential Indoor Camera
Arlo’s Essential Indoor Camera comes with a privacy shield, addressing a critical concern in today’s digital age. The camera’s ability to disarm when you’re home is a feature I’ve come to appreciate greatly, as it respects the sanctity of private life while keeping a vigilant eye when needed.
Wyze Video Doorbell Pro
For those on a budget, the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro offers an incredible value proposition. With a 1:1 aspect ratio and full HD video, it ensures you see your visitors in full clarity. Its slim profile is also a visual plus, blending with the aesthetics of most door frames.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock has been a personal lifesaver on more occasions than I can count. The ease of installation and the peace of mind it offers with remote locking capabilities make it an indispensable part of modern home security.
Smart home entertainment
Roku Streaming Stick 4K (2021)
As a cinephile and tech enthusiast, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is the perfect bridge between my two passions. The device’s extensive channel offerings and compatibility with various HDR formats make it a centerpiece of my home entertainment setup.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a powerful contender in the streaming sphere. Its Wi-Fi 6 support ensures smoother streaming, a feature that has drastically reduced buffering interruptions during my weekend movie marathons.
Google Chromecast with Google TV
Google Chromecast has evolved from a mere streaming dongle to a comprehensive entertainment device with Google TV. The interface is intuitive, and the addition of a remote provides a traditional TV experience augmented with smart capabilities.
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is an auditory delight. Its compact size belies its sound capabilities, and the integration with Sonos’s ecosystem allows for a multi-room audio setup that has transformed my listening experience at home.
Smart home lighting
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (2020)
For those looking to add vibrancy to their lighting, the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance kit is the go-to choice. The range of colors and the ability to sync with music or movies is a feature that has elevated many of my gatherings.
Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus V4 (2020)
The Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is a versatile lighting solution that can add ambiance to any space. I’ve used it under couches, desks, and even along staircases to create stunning lighting effects that are always a conversation starter.
Smart home heating and cooling
Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat with Sensor
The Honeywell Home T9 has been a revelation in temperature control. With its smart room sensors, it ensures comfort where it’s needed, optimizing energy usea feature that’s both eco-friendly and kind to the wallet.
Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control (2020)
Ecobee’s SmartThermostat is a robust climate control solution, offering voice control and a responsive touch display. Its remote sensor capability has been instrumental in maintaining a balanced temperature throughout my multi-level home.
Molekule Air Pro RX
While not a traditional heating or cooling device, the Molekule Air Pro RX purifies the air, contributing to a healthier home environment. Its medical-grade filtration system has significantly improved the air quality in my home, especially during allergy season.
Smart home health and wellness
The Withings Body+ scale not only measures weight but also provides comprehensive body composition analysis. It’s a device that supports my health-conscious lifestyle by offering detailed insights and syncing with my fitness apps.
Withings Sleep Analyzer
Sleep is a pillar of wellness, and the Withings Sleep Analyzer offers a deep dive into sleep patterns without the need for a wearable. It’s a non-intrusive addition to the bedroom that has helped me understand and improve my sleep quality.
Molekule Air Pro RX
Mentioned earlier for its air purification capabilities, the Molekule Air Pro RX is also an integral part of a health-focused smart home, ensuring that the air you breathe is free of pollutants and allergens.
Smart home networking and storage
Amazon Eero 6 (2022)
A robust smart home is built on strong networking foundations, and the Amazon Eero 6 delivers on this front. Its ease of setup and reliable coverage has eliminated dead zones in my home, ensuring that all my smart devices remain connected.
Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963)
For those with larger homes or demanding bandwidth needs, the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E system offers unparalleled coverage and speed. Its performance has been stellar in my extensive home network, handling multiple devices without a hitch.
Synology DiskStation DS220+
Data is the lifeblood of a smart home, and the Synology DiskStation DS220+ provides a centralized storage solution that’s both secure and accessible. It’s been an asset in managing my family’s digital content, from photos to important documents.
Smart home pet care
Petcube Bites 2 Lite
The Petcube Bites 2 Lite has been a delightful way to interact with my pets when I’m away. The ability to dispense treats remotely is not just fun but offers peace of mind that my furry friends are well cared for.
PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder (2nd gen)
For consistent pet feeding schedules, the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder is a reliable companion. It ensures my pets are fed on time, even when life gets hectic.
How we test smart home devices
At the heart of our recommendations lies rigorous testing, ensuring that only the best smart home devices make the cut. We evaluate everything from ease of installation and integration with other devices to real-world performance and reliability. It’s a comprehensive process that mirrors the exacting standards of our discerning tech community.
In conclusion, the best smart home devices of 2023 are more than just gizmos; they’re integral components of our digital lives, offering convenience, security, and entertainment. They have been personally tested, vetted, and integrated into the fabric of daily living. These devices stand not only as the pinnacle of current technology but as a promise of an even more interconnected and intelligent future for our homes.
Insider Tip: Stay updated with the latest smart home trends and product releases by bookmarking CNET’s comprehensive guides, ensuring you’re always at the forefront of home automation technology.