Best Smart Devices of 2021

For a healthy work-life balance, the time at home is valuable. Smart home gadgets automate and expedite home processes. The best smart home devices save time and money to focus on the moments that matter most.
Updated May 12, 2021
Written By
Lena Borrelli | Contributing Writer
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5 Best Home Automation Systems

Factors to consider when building your smart home

  • Power Outages

    During power outages, you’ll want to make sure that your smart home devices have a backup power system to keep your home running normally. Thankfully, most smart home devices continue to work normally and have factored power outages into consideration. But, if your smart home gadgets don’t have a backup battery, consider add-ons or other manual backup options to keep your home safe.

  • Network Security

    Your smart home will rely on a network connection to enable most smart electronic features. You’ll need a secure network connection to safely store your gadget’s data, information and control your home. The smart home devices will also need a network strong enough to support your home’s day-to-day activities – cell phones, tablets, gaming consoles. Consider a special home network system or smart home hub to safely and easily use your devices.

  • Usability

    Smart home devices are designed to provide ease and efficiency. When considering smart home devices, consider the compatibility to other devices within the home. Answer a few quick questions before buying smart home devices. Will it easily connect to other smart electronics? Is it easy to use? Does the device save you time and money? With many options to choose from, you’ll want to get the best bargain that will save you both time and money.

Compare Smart Home Systems

  • Best Voice Assisted Smart Home Hub

    Amazon Echo Plus

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Amazon Echo is an all-in-one smart home hub. It has the power to play music, act on voice commands with Amazon Alexa and connect you to other rooms like an intercom using the Drop-In feature. The Amazon Echo Plus’ smart home hub has the power to connect and control your home’s devices including light bulbs, smart locks and security cameras for your convenience.

    Stand-out features include

    • Includes a low-power Zigbee smart home hub to connect each product to one another for a better connection
    • Built-in Amazon Alexa manages all smart home devices using voice commands
    • Use the Alexa mobile app and your smartphone to quickly connect smart home gadgets
  • Best Energy-Saving Thermostat

    Nest Learning Thermostat

    Our rating

    Our take

    Designed with Farsight so you can easily view the temperature, the Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart device that will learn your schedule and automatically adjust the temperature for you. You can also save on your monthly energy bills with this ENERGY-STAR certified device.

    Stand-out features include

    • Simple installation in as little as half an hour
    • Customizable ring colors to fit the style of your home
    • Generates monthly energy reports for you
  • Best Smart Video Doorbell

    Ring Video Doorbell 2

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Ring Video Doorbell 2 uses a crystal clear 1080 high-definition (HD) video camera to see who’s at your door day or night. With this doorbell camera, you’ll receive any doorbell alerts using the mobile Ring app and an iOS or Android mobile device.

    Stand-out features include

    • Powered by an easy-to-remove battery pack to charge the battery without detaching the doorbell
    • Weather-resistant to continue working through weather conditions from -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit without worry
    • Uses the Ring app to control customized motion sensors that best fit your outdoor home activity
  • Amazon Echo Dot

    Our rating

    Our take

    Amazon’s Echo Dot serves as a smart home hub for countless home automation devices ranging from thermostats to security systems conveniently. Use this smart hub to connect devices and make voice commands to control your home.

    Stand-out features include

    • Connect other Bluetooth speakers for true home surround sound
    • Use voice commands to control music from streaming services
    • Conveniently ask Amazon’s smart assistant for help with over 50,000 skills
  • Kasa Smart Plug

    Our rating

    Our take

    Save money on your electric bill by remotely controlling your outlet’s power using the Kasa smart plug. Control the smart plugs in each room by assigning each a name during set-up using the Kasa mobile app or smart assistant commands.

    Stand-out features include

    • Sleek, condensed design to plug-in 2 smart plugs in the same power outlet
    • Pairs with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa’s voice commands to switch plugs on and off
    • Automatically schedule the Kasa Smart Plug to turn on and off using voice commands or the Kasa mobile app
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The Best Smart Home Device Features to Look For

The best smart home devices allow you to easily control your home hands-free. With voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Siri, you’ll be able to cook dinner while checking the weather without lifting a finger. When you’re away from home, you should also be able to control your smart home devices with ease. Most smart home devices allow users to control the home gadgets such as the thermostat or door lock using a mobile app. For example, with a Nest thermostat, you’ll be able to set your home’s temperature while away using the Nest mobile app.

Interconnectivity is another plus. Smart electronics should connect to other home automation devices with ease. Look for devices that are compatible with others to make the most of your smart home gadgets. For example, many smart locks pair with doorbells and security cameras for your ease and convenience.

Remember, the best smart home devices won’t send your electric bill spiking. Instead, they’ll save money while you’re away. Look for smart home gadgets that enter power-saving mode when you’re away from home or the device isn’t being used.

Benefits of Home Automation Systems

  • Convenience

    With time of the essence, cutting seconds can make a big difference in the day. Allowing a smart vacuum to clean your floors while you handle other chores can save you time and energy for the moments you’re needed most.

  • Control

    Smart home devices give control you wouldn’t have otherwise when you’re away from home. Home automation devices allow you to connect to a mobile app to quickly unlock your door, see who’s at your home or start dinner. You’ll always have peace of mind at home, even when you’re away.

  • Cost

    While some smart home devices may seem costly upfront, you’ll reap the rewards of the investment over time. Most smart electronics are energy-efficient to lessen bill totals. Some smart home devices also qualify for home tax credits, as well.

Smart Home Device FAQs


Contributing Writer

Lena Borrelli

Lena Borrelli is a freelance journalist who has covered home security, safety, and other topics for, TIME, Microsoft News, ADT, and Home Advisor.

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