The internet of things industry is growing rapidly, and every day there are new products being introduced. With this fast development, it can be confusing for shoppers to find quality products. We want our customers to choose devices that are high performing, affordable, and secure. This list of smart home products highlights devices that our team members have enjoyed using and have positive online reviews in order to advise readers.
Because of its early development, Amazon’s Echo is a very popular smart speaker that has earned our choice for top smart speaker. This device, like all smart speakers, can play music, narrate news, control smart home assets, and answer questions. We favor this specific speaker because it is able to connect to a larger variety of smart home devices and perform a larger number of functions. These functions are being added to every day, and currently, we enjoy its ability to order pizza, read recipes, and request an Uber. Each of these functions is performed with the help of a high-quality speaker, which produces impressive sound quality.
The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19- Gen 3 is our top pick for smart lighting because of its abilities and connectivity. Users will need to install a hue system that will allow them to ultimately control their lighting via an application. Through this app, users will be able to turn lights on and off, dim the lights, and change their color to one of 16 million options. This can be done in real-time or set to schedules. Additionally, this bulb is designed to integrate with a variety of other apps and smart-home systems. Popular systems that can be synced include Amazon’s Alexa, Nest, and Apple’s Siri.
Although there are a variety of smart cameras and smoke/flood/etc. detectors, our team wanted to focus on the best all-encompassing security systems. We put the Abode Starter Kit at the top of our list because of its ability to be customized and integrated with a variety of systems. Included in this kit are a hub with a siren and backup battery, two door/window sensors, a security camera, a motion detector, and a key fob which arms and disarms the system. Although the camera doesn’t offer live streaming, it takes three pictures when it detects motion. Both free and paid access to these images are available, depending on how long and where you want them stored. This technology can pair with Amazon’s Alexa and Nest, among others and be controlled through both Android and iOS apps. We chose this as our top pick because of its affordability and ability to be customized through device additions and plans.
For the many households that have used this technology, it is no surprise that the Nest Learning Thermostat earned a place at the top of our list. This device can be controlled through smartphones, computers, and other smart home devices. Within a week of using the device, the Nest will learn your temperature preferences and adjust itself accordingly. When the home is unoccupied, the nest will turn itself down to help save energy, which is just one factor that contributed to the device’s Energy Star rating. The device itself also has a superior face, which will light up when it detects motion to show the time, temperature, or weather.
With every smart vacuum developed, there are new features and abilities. We think that the Neato Botvac deserves its title of “Best Smart Vacuum” because of its power and connectivity. This device can be started, scheduled, or steered from both its LCD screen and iOS and Android devices. It has superior suction power, leaving behind a reliable clean. To navigate, the robot uses lasers for assistance and is able to compute an efficient path around each room. If you have a larger house that competes with the battery life, you can switch from “Turbo” to “Eco” mode. During “Eco” mode, we found the room to be quieter but still powerful enough to amply clean.
Hunter Douglas Shades have made their way to the top of our list because of their affordability, quality control, and abilities. These devices are controllable via a very user-friendly smartphone app as well as the two remotes. Connections to home control systems are available as well, most notably to the Crestron, Control4, and Savant systems. Users can select which individual blinds are adjusted when making changes, allowing for customized environments in each room. These changes can be made in real-time or scheduled “scenes” can be created.
This list highlights smart systems that are most popularly used and that our team members have experience with. If you have any questions about these devices, please feel free to reach out! Stay tuned to our blog to find out more about the technology industry, recommended IT practices, and company highlights!