• Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (Gen 3)

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (2019)

  • What makes a product great for apartment dwellers?

  • Privacy

  • Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen

  • Amazon Echo Show 5

  • Flo by Moen Smart Water Leak Detector

  • Govee WiFi RGB LED Strip Lights

  • SimCam 1S

  • Related articles

Philips Hue White + Color
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
Smart Light Bulbs
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (Gen 3)

One of the quickest ways to deck your apartment out with smart home technology is to replace its standard light bulbs with smart light 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.

Check out more of The Best Smart Bulbs

Pros

  • Easy setup

  • Intuitive app

  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit

Cons

  • Requires hub for remote use

Amazon Fire TV Interface
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan

The Amazon Fire TV interface is a bit busier, with more promos for Amazon Prime and its content partners, or movie rentals if you don't have Amazon Prime.

Streaming Device
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (2019)

If you don’t have much room for a streaming box next to your TV, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is just about perfect. It sticks out of your TV’s HDMI port and offers access to all your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The Fire TV’s biggest advantage is its inclusion of the Alexa voice assistant for voice searching.

Though we think the new Roku Ultra and Apple TV are better all-around streaming options, the Fire TV Stick is a much better option if your main goal is creating a smart home. Alexa can just do so, so much more like set reminders, find shows with voice search, control smart gadgets, or re-order you popcorn. You can even use the Fire TV app to control your Fire TV if you misplace the remote or want to type in a password without much effort.

Check out more of The Best Media Streaming Devices

Pros

  • Alexa-enabled

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not as fast as other Fire Sticks

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.

Related content

Privacy

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.

When using any devices with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, you can further protect your privacy by regularly deleting your voice recordings and muting the speaker’s mic when it’s not in use. You’ll also want to be sure any video devices offer end-to-end data encryption, while additional privacy methods such as camera shutters can further keep your privacy secure.

Looking for more privacy tips? Read our guide to securing your smart home.


Nest Learning Thermostat
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

The Nest Learning Thermostat is the best smart thermostat you can buy.

Smart Thermostat
Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen

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 set a traditional time-of-day schedule—far simpler than most non-smart thermostats—or let the Nest learn your daily habits and adjust the temperature automatically.

Check out more of The Best Smart Thermostats

Pros

  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

  • Straightforward setup

Cons

  • Does not support Apple HomeKit

Echo Show 5
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The Echo Show 5 fits into small spaces while still bringing all Alexa has to offer.

Smart Speaker with a display
Amazon Echo Show 5

The Amazon Echo Show 5 offers Alexa’s visual cues and video functionality without taking up much room, which makes it perfect for small apartments where space is at a premium. The combination of the small but easy-to-see screen with a sleek, modern design makes this little smart display look just as at home on a bedside table as it does on a home office desk, a living room shelf, or a kitchen counter.

The screen displays a customizable clock but also cycles through useful information at intervals you can customize. It also gives you the ability to make video calls, which are surprisingly decent even on the 5-inch screen. You can also check in on video feeds from smart cameras, video baby monitors, and video doorbells. It can stream TV and movie content, though it's not really designed as a media streaming device.

Check out more of The Best Amazon Echo Smart Speakers

Pros

  • Full Alexa capabilities

  • Minimal footprint

  • Integrated camera cover

Cons

  • None that we could find

Flo by Moen Water Leak
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The Flo by Moen Smart Water Leak Detector is a reliable gadget to help protect your apartment from water damage.

Water Leak Detector
Flo by Moen Smart Water Leak Detector

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 right away if there’s something leaking. When a leak is detected, the sensor begins playing an alarm sound and flashes red, in addition to sending alerts in a matter of seconds.

The leak detector isn't compatible with any smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri. However, what it lacks in voice-control capabilities, it makes up for with a beautifully designed app full of useful data insights. The sensor also keeps track of the temperature and humidity within your home, which can help with moisture control. The detector works over WiFi for easy setup, doesn't need a hub, and should last up to two years. Just leave it in a leak-prone spot and forget about it.

Check out more of The Best Smart Water Leak Detectors

Pros

  • Easy-to-use app

  • Instant alerts

  • Compact design

Cons

  • None we could find

Govee WiFi RGB LED Strip Lights
Credit: Govee

Govee's smart light strip is the perfect blend of affordability and smarts.

Smart Strip Light
Govee WiFi RGB LED Strip Lights

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 WiFi RGB LED Strip Lights. The lights, which feature an adhesive backing, offer the most value out of any light strip we tested thanks to a slew of fun and useful lighting features and a quick and simple set up.

Within 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 seven premade mood-lighting scenes. Each strip can be cut to your preferred length and comes in two sizing options: 16.4 feet and 32.8 feet. The one downside here is that you can’t extend these with more strip lights like you can with the Lifx Z LED Strip Kit, but these lights still offer an all-around pleasant user experience at a very affordable price.

Check out more of The Best Smart Strip Lights

Pros

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

  • Affordable

  • Feature-packed

Cons

  • Strip is thinner than others we tested

SimCam 1S
Credit: Reviewed / Brittany Vincent

The SimCam 1S offers many features for free other cameras only offer through a paid subscription.

Smart Indoor Security Camera
SimCam 1S

One way to help secure your apartment is with a smart indoor security camera like the SimCam 1S, which is the best security camera we’ve tested. It's a fantastic alternative to the often pricier, subscription-based cameras on the market thanks to its lengthy list of features, reliability, and attractive design. The home security camera features a pod-shaped aesthetic with the ability to rotate 360 degrees manually or automatically, depending on your preference.

It records in crisp 1080p HD, which should help offer peace of mind that, if a crisis occurs, this watchful eye in the room is keeping track of it all. It can also record in total darkness, thanks to its active infrared option, and utilizes powerful AI to detect faces, pets, cars, and more. Best of all, the SimCam 1S can be controlled solely through its companion app for both iOS and Android users, and it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Check out more of The Best Smart Indoor Security Cameras

Pros

  • Full-featued without subscription

  • Local storage

  • Alexa and Google Home compatible

Cons

  • No HomeKit compatibility

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Reviewed Staff

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The Reviewed staff is based in the heart of Cambridge, MA. Backed by our knowledgeable writers and rigorous test labs, we're working hard to make sure you can make the right decisions about what to buy.

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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