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Smart Home

These are the best smart home products of 2021

Reviewed's 2021 Best of Year awards

A Bose smart speaker sits next to a Nest thermostat against a bright yellow and blue background. Credit: Reviewed

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Smart home devices and voice assistants (like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri) are constantly evolving to help make life a little easier—something all of us can get behind these days. This year has brought us plenty of new voice-controlled gadgets that offer modern conveniences like battery-powered video doorbells, energy-saving smart thermostats, and motion-tracking smart displays to name a few. The latest devices are built with more versatility than ever before, proving that smart home tech is adapting to our new normal of living a more flexible and more connected lifestyle.

Our experts constantly test the latest smart home gadgets, installing them inside (and outside) real houses to find out exactly how they perform—and which ones are worth your money. Whether you’re building out the smart home of your dreams, looking to upgrade your old devices, or just getting started, we’ve waded through the good, the bad, and the ugly to help you buy the absolute best stuff.

Here are our favorite smart home products, or jump to all the 2021 Best of Year awards.

Reviewed's editor-in-chief Dave Kender announces the winners of Reviewed's 2021 Best of Year Awards.
Bose Home Speaker 300
Credit: Sarah Kovac / Reviewed
Best Smart Speaker
Bose Home Speaker 300

The Bose Home Speaker 300 brings rocking 360-degree sound throughout your home. Available in black or silver, the Home 300 offers multiple ways to connect (including both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), enticing features, an intuitive app, and extensive smart home integration with either Alexa or Google Assistant. It doesn’t matter which of the many music streaming services you use or whether you prefer Amazon or Google, this speaker can accommodate you seamlessly while giving you a lovely listening experience. Read the full review.

Nest Audio
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy
Best Smart Speaker Under $100
Google Nest Audio

Google's Nest Audio smart speaker packs in great, room-filling sound in a compact design, making it our favorite smart speaker you can buy for the money. Google Assistant is built-in and it’s freakishly fast at executing voice commands like turning off the lights, locking the front door, and setting the ceiling fan speed. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and can be paired with other Nest smart speakers for multi-room audio. We also love its space-saving, oval-shaped design, which is partially made from recycled plastic bottles. Read the full review.

Nest Learning Thermostat
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac
Best Smart Thermostat
Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is a favorite of both Reviewed staff and our readers because it takes the guesswork out of managing your HVAC system. It’s designed to intuitively make money-saving adjustments to the temperature in your home based on “learning” your habits. It also supports voice control from Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free adjustment and simple app integration so you can adjust the temperature from virtually anywhere, or simply let it work its magic. If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, consider this your sign to buy one. Read the full review.

Nest Doorbell (battery)
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy
Best Smart Doorbell
Nest Doorbell (battery)

The Nest Doorbell (battery) is the best video doorbell option for any front door. It offers wired or battery installation, and also comes with appealing free features like a three-hour event history and intelligent smart alerts that can tell you when a package gets delivered or a person crosses its path. Pair it with an optional Nest Aware subscription and you’ll unlock even more home security features like Google’s Familiar Faces, which can alert you when Uncle Herbert or Aunt Bettie shows up. Read the full review.

The Philips Hue White + Color bulbs offer the brightest and most vibrant colors of any smart bulb we've tested.
Credit: Reviewed / Nick Schmiedicker
Best Smart Bulb
Phillips Hue White and Color Ambiance (Gen 3)

Year after year, Philips Hue smart bulbs continue to impress us with a bright and vibrant array of 16 million colors and intuitive in-app features. The bulbs play nice with Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit, and the app is full of automation features like geo-fencing, scheduling, and lighting simulations (like a sunset) that create the perfect ambiance indoors or out. You'll need a Hue Bridge to manage the lights when you're away from home, but Bluetooth control is available when you're within range and they also work with a Zigbee hub. Read the full review.

Schlage Encode Smart Lock
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac
Best Smart Lock
Schlage Encode

With the Schlage Encode smart lock, you can ditch your keys and use the keyless touchpad instead. The lock is quick and easy to set up (even for novices), and supports voice control with Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can check in with the smart assistant of your choice to see if the door is locked. One of the coolest things about this device is that it supports up to 100 passcodes you can share with trusted friends and family members who may need access to your home when you’re away. It's responsive and reliable, giving you peace of mind whether you're upstairs or at the office. Read the full review.

Two white Wyze plugs sit on top of one another against a blue and white background.
Credit: Reviewed
Best Smart Plug
Wyze Plug

Smart plugs need to be reliable, secure, and full of useful features that make life easier. The 15-amp Wyze Plug checks all of these boxes, offering essential smart home security features like two-factor authentication and special automation features like scheduling, timers, and a Vacation Mode. The front-facing socket won’t block your second outlet, and offers your choice of a physical control or voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. The Wyze app also tracks the daily and weekly runtime for the plug to help give you a sense of your average usage and make adjustments for more sustainable living. Read the full review.

The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera hangs on a wall
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy
Best Smart Indoor Security Camera
Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera

Privacy can be hard to come by these days, but Arlo’s Essential Indoor Security Camera comes with an integrated physical sliding shutter to ensure that your private moments at home are for your eyeballs only. The camera offers features like 1080p resolution, real-time live stream, two-way talk, two-factor authentication, and voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. You can live stream the camera’s view from your phone, compatible smart displays like an Echo Show 5, or via the Arlo Web Portal. Not only is it quick to detect (and alert you to) motion events, but when it does, the object (such as an animal or person) is also outlined in green so you can quickly identify what’s going on from the preview alert. Read the full review.

The Nest Cam (battery) hangs on a wooden fence.
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy
Best Smart Outdoor Security Camera
Google Nest Cam (battery)

The Google Nest Cam (battery) supports multiple installation options (built-in rechargeable battery or plug-in) making it a great fit for any outdoor home security setup. The video and audio quality are both excellent and the camera is quick and accurate at detecting motion events (people, packages, vehicles, and animals). It includes free smart alerts without being tied to a paid plan and, since it works with Google Assistant, you can do things like pull up the live view on a Nest smart display to keep tabs on what's going on outside. Read the full review.

A white Lutron smart switch , showing two rectangular buttons sits against a golden and white background.
Credit: Reviewed
Best Smart In-Wall Switch
Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Switch

With support for voice control via Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa, Lutron’s smart switch can do it all. It’s wired for single-pole installation but can convert into a three-way switch (when paired with Lutron’s Pico remote). The 120-volt switch can be used with LED, incandescent, and halogen bulbs, and it’s even rated for use with ceiling and exhaust fans. The Lutron app offers convenient features like scheduling, scenes, and geofencing to turn on the lights when you get home. It also supports popular smart home platforms like Sonos, Samsung SmartThings, Ring, and IFTTT. Read the full review.

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