Whether you rent an apartment or live in a small space, you can still have the smart home of your dreams, so long as you select the best smart devices to fit your needs (and the size of your living quarters). One of the best smart devices for apartments is a smart plug like the Wyze Plug(available on Amazon), which is compact, full of features, and works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
We've selected these smart home products specifically with apartment-dwellers in mind, looking for compact size and easy installation. Note that in a few cases these are not our favorite overall products for their respective categories, but they're still great picks and work especially well for people living in apartments or tight quarters.
These are the best smart home devices for apartments:
Smart Bulb: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (Gen 3)
Streaming Device: Roku Ultra
Smart Thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat
Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo (4th-gen)
Water Leak Detector: Flo by Moen Smart Water Leak Detector
LED Strip Light: Govee Wi-Fi RGB LED Strip Lights
Indoor Security Camera: Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera
Smart Plug: Wyze Plug
Outdoor Smart Plug: Wyze Outdoor Plug
DIY Home Security System: SimpliSafe Home Security System
Smart Light Bulbs
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (Gen 3, Bluetooth)
One of the quickest ways to deck your apartment out with smart home technology is to replace your standard light bulbs with smart bulbs. They can dramatically change the ambiance of a room, enhance your movie nights, and even keep your home safe while you’re on vacation with smart schedules. Across the board, the Philips Hue smart bulbs topped all of our tests thanks to easy setup, a robust suite of features, and an intuitive app.
Additional support with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri add tremendous benefit to an already impressive portfolio. Once you throw in the additional rainbow of possible light colors, these are without a doubt the best smart bulbs you can buy.
For movie nights and catching up on your favorite shows, you need the best streaming device for your apartment: the Roku Ultra. The streaming device offers built-in voice search for multiple tasks, and also works with smart assistants Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use voice control to search for shows and control your Roku on select streaming services.
Additionally, it supports 4K/HDR (including Dolby Vision), Dolby Atmos sound on select services, and popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, and Prime Video.
The Ultra’s remote is one of the best out there because it is easy to use and comes with a headphone jack, allowing you to plug in headphones for wireless audio so you don’t bother your roommate. Factor that in with all of the value that the Roku Ultra offers and the Ultra is a no brainer to buy for your apartment.
Don’t want to spend that much? The Roku Streaming Stick+ is even smaller and easier to pack away, and comes with most of the same features as its powerful sibling.
You might have to run this one by your landlord, but if they’ll give you permission to install a smart thermostat, the one you want is the Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s simple to install, easy to use, and can save you energy by adjusting the temperature when you aren't home, as determined by your phone's location and the Nest's built-in motion sensors.
The temperature can be adjusted with your voice using Alexa or Google Home or rotating the thermostat’s dial. Additionally, you can use the Nest app to adjust the temperature from virtually anywhere or set a traditional time-of-day schedule—far simpler than most non-smart thermostats. And if you’d rather let Google take the wheel, you can simply let the Nest learn your daily habits and the device will adjust the temperature automatically.
The 4th-gen Echo is a small but powerful smart speaker that’s the perfect size for apartments and small spaces. It looks nothing like previous generations of Echo speakers, taking on an even more modern and minimal aesthetic as a fabric-covered orb. Additionally, it features a new processor that speeds up Alexa's response time over its predecessors.
Whether you’re using it solo, as a stereo pair, or for multi-room music when connected with other Echo speakers, the sound on the 4th-gen Echo is respectable—especially for smaller spaces. It also has unique features like a built-in temperature sensor so you can open the Alexa app and see what the temperature is in the room where the Echo resides, and compatibility with Amazon Sidewalk so that it can potentially work even when your internet goes out.
It also doubles as a Zigbee for easy connection to other smart home devices like Hue Bulbs and Kwikset smart locks.
Water leaks are headaches for renters and landlords alike, which is why a device like a smart water leak detector is a wise idea. The Flo by Moen Smart Water Leak Detector can alert you of a leak right away. When a leak is detected, the sensor begins playing an alarm sound and flashes red, in addition to sending alerts to your device in a matter of seconds.
The leak detector isn't compatible with any smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. However, what it lacks in voice-control capabilities, it makes up for with a beautifully designed app full of useful data insights. It also keeps track of the temperature and humidity within your home, which can help with moisture control. The detector works over Wi-Fi for an easy setup, it doesn't need a hub, and it should last up to two years. Just leave it in a leak-prone spot and forget about it.
Smart strip lights are an easy way to brighten up your apartment and you don't have to spend a fortune doing it when you use Govee's Wi-Fi RGB LED Strip Lights. The lights offer the most value of any light strip we tested thanks to a slew of fun and useful lighting features and a quick and simple setup with their adhesive backing.
In the Govee app are options to adjust the brightness, create schedules, choose between warm and cool color tones from over 16 million colors, and pick from pre-made mood-lighting scenes. But our favorite feature of these (and other) strips is the ability to use your device’s microphone to sync to the beat with whatever sound is playing—be it from a speaker, TV, or your own voice.
If you’re looking to add an affordable splash of color to your apartment, Govee’s RGB LED Strip Lights offer fantastic value.
One helpful way to secure your apartment is with a smart indoor security camera like the Arlo Essential Wire-Free Camera. It's the best indoor security camera we’ve tested thanks to its lengthy list of smart features, reliability, and attractive design that features an integrated privacy shutter.
The shutter can be toggled on/off directly from the Arlo app and offers added peace of mind that your camera isn’t recording when the shutter is enabled. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can pull up the live view on a compatible smart display such as the Amazon Echo Show 10 and Google’s Nest Hub (second-gen).
The camera offers four modes (armed, disarmed, schedule, and geofencing), all of which performed well during our testing, alongside excellent security features. If there’s one downside to this camera, it’s that it’s fairly lightweight and can easily be knocked over if you don’t opt to mount it with the included hardware. But its small footprint and discreet design make this camera easy to incorporate into any home without the constant feeling that you’re being watched.
The Wyze Plug is a compact, front-facing 15 amp smart plug that works with Google Assistant and Alexa. It doesn’t block the second outlet in any position, making it a wise choice for apartments and other small living spaces.
The setup process is a cinch, and it’s one of the only smart plugs we've tested that offers two-factor authentication, a security feature that alerts you when someone tries to gain access to your account, as well as a shared device user list to help you keep tabs on who has access to your plug.
With the Wyze Plug, you get helpful features like scheduling, timers, automations, and a special setting called Vacation Mode, which can turn your devices on and off at random times to give the appearance that someone is there. The app also logs the daily and weekly runtime for the plug to help give you a sense of your average usage.
Overall, the Wyze Plug is a well-priced, feature-filled smart plug that can give you remote control over your apartment’s lamps, dehumidifiers, TVs, and more.
Got a balcony or other outdoor space? Jazz it up with a set of outdoor string lights and plug them into the Wyze Outdoor Smart Plug for remote access via the Wyze app or hands-free voice control using Alexa or Google Assistant. A smart outdoor plug works just like an indoor plug except it’s rated for outdoor use.
The plug offers two independently controlled outlets, which can be set to a schedule and incorporated into home automations. The app also offers helpful insights like daily, weekly, and monthly breakdowns of the plug’s energy usage.
On the front of the plug is a sensor that can detect ambient brightness which, when enabled, overrides manual controls so you can set your patio string lights to turn on when it’s dark and turn off when it’s bright outside instead of at specific times, which is a really intuitive and useful feature for an outdoor smart plug. Overall, the Wyze’s outdoor plug is the best option for your outdoor needs thanks to its mix of convenient features, usability, and value.
SimpliSafe is the best DIY home security system you can buy for your apartment thanks to its blend of serious smarts and impressive performance. The security kits come in a variety of sizes depending on the number of bedrooms in your apartment.
The installation process is quick thanks to the simple peel-and-stick installation of entry sensors, motion detectors, and a keypad. It doesn’t require any tools, so you don’t have to worry about causing any damage to your rental. The system supports up to 100 sensors and SimpliSafe offers plenty of options to pick from including water leak detectors, temperature/freeze sensors, glass break sensors, and more.
The alarm system supports Alexa and Google Assistant. While it doesn’t fully support Apple HomeKit, you can control some aspects of the system on an Apple Watch like arming and disarming the system and receiving alerts.
A paid plan isn't required to use SimpliSafe, but it's the best way to get the most out of your alarm system. Self-monitoring is available at no cost. Overall, this is an apartment-friendly alarm system that offers the right amount of flexibility, security, and smarts.
What makes a product great for apartment dwellers?
There are lots of great smart home products out there, but why did we recommend these picks for those who live in apartments?
Installation—Living in an apartment means that you can't always permanently mount or install your new favorite gadgets. All of our picks in this list can be easily uninstalled without leaving a mess.
Portability—Housing situations can change on a dime, so it's best if all of your favorite tech devices are easily portable from your old home to your new home. Our selections can all be stowed away relatively easily.
Small Footprint—In a rental, space is at a premium. These products can help you to get the most out of your smart home environment without taking up valuable real estate on your TV stand or on your living room table.
There’s always a potential privacy risk involved when you use internet-connected devices at home. To help safeguard your smart home, there are some steps you can take. First, look for devices that offer two-factor authentication, which sends a code to your mobile device to verify it’s really you. That way, if someone tries to hack into your account, you will receive an alert and can quickly take care of the problem. Many devices also allow you to activate email or other push notifications in the settings to alert you if someone has logged on.
Additionally, make sure to use a unique, strong password composed of multiple characters, numbers, and letters for each of your smart home accounts. Data breaches feel like the norm as of late, making it all the more important to use different passwords across multiple websites and apps.
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