Smart homes are hardly a new phenomenon for most people, thanks to the plethora of smart home devices that are used daily. However, they have evolved considerably since first appearing nearly two decades ago. These gadgets are now smarter, more data-hungry, and more reliable when entertaining and making households run smoothly.
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This means a new generation of smart household devices built around user needs and requirements has cropped up. The best smart home devices include smart TVs, routers, home security, speakers, and lighting, all of which can be configured to work together. Game Rant has hand-picked the best gadgets for any smart home to enable buyers to make the right decision.
How To Choose a Smart Home Gadget
As the smart home world expands, deciding what gadget can best modernize a home becomes more challenging. To make the process less of an ordeal, remember to focus on these considerations:
Compatibility: With smart gadgets from many different manufacturers invading households, it’s frustrating when they fail to communicate with each other. A high-speed mesh smart router can ensure that wireless range is not an issue by removing dead spots. Still, unless the devices are compatible with the same smart home platforms like Google Home or Alexa, there will be issues keeping lights in sync or controlling speakers.
Price: Thinking about the future is always wise when purchasing cutting-edge smart home devices. Some smart speakers are affordable but are constantly being updated with new versions. Buyers that must always have the latest technology should factor in the cost of regularly updating these products. Also, buyers may start their smart home journey by renovating one room, but inevitably, the temptation to install the same technology throughout a house becomes overwhelming. The cost of decking out every room with smart lights or smart speakers can quickly add up.
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Application: Smart home gadgets can serve many purposes, with Smart TVs producing stunning 4K picture quality with ample streaming capabilities. However, not all of these devices are for entertainment purposes. Security camera systems can constantly watch what happens outside and inside a household and send alerts through Alexa or Google Home at the first sign of danger.
Reliability: Reliability with smart home products takes on special importance with security solutions like the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight. Buyers should look for gadgets with a proven track record rather than random brands regularly appearing and disappearing from the marketplace. Even with heating and cooling, relying on a faulty thermostat that fails to keep basement temperatures above freezing can be disastrous. Whether a buyer’s goal is to sync a home full of smart lights or make listening to music more enjoyable, there are more innovative gadgets than ever to consider.
Game Rant’s Best Devices For a Smart Home in 2024
NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Mesh WiFi 6 System RBK852
Best Overall Smart Home Gadget
Great Coverage, Fast Internet
Featuring Wi-Fi 6 technology, the Orbi Tri-Band System supports up to 100 devices. While it offers coverage of up to 5,000 sq. ft., buyers can get more range by acquiring a satellite extender. Streaming, videoconferencing, gaming, and more are possible with this device. This mesh also comes with added layers of protection through Armor and Smart Parental Parental Controls.
- up to 5,000 sq. ft.
- Quad-Core 2.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM
- 11.5 x 9.6 x 8.3 inches
- 4 LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports each
- Wi-Fi Bands
- AX6000 Tri-Band WiFi
- Ability to connect up to 100 devices with zero buffering
- Wi-Fi 6 technology allows for higher streaming speeds
Smart home gadgets can’t live up to their potential without an adequate Wi-Fi network. A high-speed router can help homeowners eliminate dead spots in a wireless network powered by stable broadband internet. The Orbi Tri-Band System aims to provide a flawless smart home experience for everyone, and it does so with fast Wi-Fi coverage. Packing the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, the Orbi Tri-Band System is a competent mesh router for smart homes.
With fast Wi-Fi coverage, the device can connect up to 100 devices, allowing users to perform various tasks, including gaming and streaming, without buffering. Speaking of streaming, the Orbi router allows users to watch multiple videos at 4K/8K resolutions simultaneously. The Orbi app helps users remotely manage their mesh system through data usage monitoring, speed tests, and more.
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While it supports Wi-Fi coverage of up to 5,000 square feet, buyers can extend coverage further by purchasing a satellite extender. Netgear’s security platform guards the Wi-Fi network across an unlimited number of connected devices, thus reducing the chances of data theft and other cybersecurity risks. The router also allows users to build healthy online habits for their kids through parental controls, making it a true family-friendly purchase. Since so much of a smart home’s operation depends on reliable Wi-Fi, GameRant has selected the Orbi Tri-Band Mesh System as the most essential smart home device.
Sonos One (Gen 2) Smart Speaker
Best Overall Smart Speaker
Great Sound Got Smarter
$175 $220 Save $45
The Sonos One (Gen 2) is an excellent speaker that doubles as one of the best smart speakers in the business, supporting both Alexa-based voice commands and Google Assistant. For anyone keen on experiencing more hands-on control, it directly works with multiple music streaming apps such as Tidal and Spotify while also coming with a dedicated Sonos App to maximize the user experience.
- 162 mm x 120 mm x 120 mm
- 1.85 KG
- Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
- Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Airplay
- Black, White
- 4 physical buttons, Voice Commands
- Extremely high-quality sound
- Easy syncing of multiple speakers
- Like all smart speakers, there are privacy concerns
Today’s top-rated speakers must do far more than just stream music and podcasts. The Sonos One Gen 2 Smart Speaker is excellent and commands attention as a versatile smart home device. It supports both Google Assistant and Alexa natively, and it comes bundled with the Sonos App. Buyers should like that the Sonos App gets regular updates and the ability to add more Sonos devices to the mix seamlessly.
While it does have serious competition from the Amazon Echo Studio, the Sonos is the superior speaker. It’s also more future-proof in terms of design and the ability to use Google Assistant in tandem with Alexa, tilting the scales considerably in its favor. However, it skips on a 3.5mm audio jack, a feature the Echo Studio comes with. So, unless an analog audio jack is a must-have, the Sonos is the better option for buying the best smart speaker in 2024.
Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
Best Budget Smart Speaker
Decent Sound For An Affordable Price
The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a budget-friendly smart speaker that packs some decent features. The Echo’s built-in smart hub allows users to seamlessly pair with and control compatible Zigibe and Matter devices. It can also serve as a command center for select Ring Smart Lighting solar lights and bulbs. Play songs and podcasts on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music using voice commands.
- Smart Speaker
- Charcoal, Glacier White, Twilight Blue
- Comes with
- Echo (4th Gen), glacier white power adapter (30W), and Quick Start Guide.
- Outputs better audio than other editions
- Design looks great
- Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
- Doesn’t come with powerful bass
- Lacks support for some music-streaming services
There are budget-friendly speakers to consider for buyers who find the Sonos One too expensive. The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) not only sports a different look from previous editions but packs a bit more power that deserves attention. It comes in multiple colors, giving potential owners various looks to choose from. The Echo delivers a decent soundscape for a smart home. It also works well as a temperature sensor, which is another reason it’s a fine addition to an automated household. Although YouTube Music is not natively supported, the Echo is compatible with Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify to play songs or podcasts using voice commands. Pairing this speaker with select Fire TV devices translates into premium home theater audio for movies, podcasts, or music.
The Echo’s built-in smart hub controls Zigbee and Matter-compatible smart devices like the Nanoleaf Essentials Lightstrip and Bulb. Listeners can enjoy a greater hands-free experience by asking Alexa to do tasks ranging from weather checks to calendar event creation. Owners can also explore more functions, like contacting friends who own Echo speakers or the Alexa app hands-free. With the increased adoption of smart devices come privacy concerns. However, the Echo speaker is bundled with many security layers to reassure potential buyers, including a mic-off button.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb
Best Overall Smart Lights
Premium Multipurpose Lighting
The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb continues to be the industry’s most popular and trusted smart light bulb. Using Bluetooth connectivity, the Hue Smart Bulb no longer requires a Hue Bridge, but the Bridge enables more functionality like whole-home control. The estimated lifetime of the Hue A19 LED Smart Bulb is 22 years or 25,000 hours, so these bulbs are not just for occasional use.
- Homekit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
- Bluetooth, Zigbee
- Hub Required
- Music Reactive
- Multicolor Capable
- Service Life
- 25,000 hours
- A19 Bulb
- Very bright with tremendous range of colors
- Easy to install and follows the standard A19 bulb form factor
- Hue App supports voice control and advanced customization
- Somewhat expensive compared to the competition
- Requires a hub for some features
Lighting is an essential component of any smart home and possibly one of the most crucial choices a buyer has to make for a smart home setup. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulbs reward buyers with excellent customizability out of the box. Users can personalize their lighting needs with various moods, like Relax and Energize. Buyers can also configure as many as ten lights using the Hue app. However, anything above ten lights will require a dedicated Hue hub.
Best Smart Wall Panel Lights
The Most Fun Way to Brighten Up a Room
$180 $200 Save $20
Nanoleaf offers a flexible solution to RGB home decor lighting with its Shapes wall lights. Using Connect+ technology, shapes can be interconnected using triangles, mini triangles, and hexagon panels for a completely customizable design. Shapes can sync with moving images on PC monitors, using the Nanoleaf app. Host a concert at home with Shapes lights reacting to pulsating music. Nanoleaf lights are easily mounted on smooth surfaces with included double-sided mounting tape.
- Google Home, Alexa, Razer Chroma, HomeKit
- Hub Required
- Music Reactive
- Multicolor Capable
- Number of Panels
- Service Life
- 25,000 hours
- 110VAC – 240VAC
- 560 lumens
- Many different scenes available
- Several installation options
- Can work as a Thread border router
- Still expensive despite being out for several years
- No easy way to hide power cord and adapter
Buyers can also utilize this smart home device’s voice control feature, with Alexa and Google Assistant capable of controlling the lights. While price is an understandable concern, they offer excellent service life. The bulbs tout a 25,000-hour lifespan and an easy installation process. There is more competition than ever among smart light bulbs from manufacturers like Nanoleaf and Govee. Still, many buyers consider Hue bulbs the best smart lights, with a wider range of colors and greater compatibility with other smart home brands.
Smart light bulbs are often the first target for buyers trying to modernize a home’s lighting. Still, wall panel lights enhance a gaming room’s ambiance. They are especially popular among streamers. Nanoleaf Shapes remain one of the most widely used panels because of their versatility, performance, and integration with smart home ecosystems.
Nanoleaf Shapes come in many forms, including triangles, mini-triangles, and hexagons. Each of these different panels can connect with plastic linkers to create some complex patterns. Even with seven of the same-shaped panels, buyers will find that the lights impress with their brightness and dynamic illumination. Nanoleaf Shapes can respond to voice commands from nearly every smart home assistant and even integrate with game lighting protocols like Razer Chroma.
Considering they must be installed individually, preferably in a distinguishable pattern, some buyers may dread installing wall panel lights. Nanoleaf tries to eliminate those fears by providing installers with double-sided tape strips with tabs for removal without damaging walls. Regardless, rougher surfaces may require purchasing screw mount kits since the tape has a more difficult time sticking on these walls. One problem smart light manufacturers have yet to overcome is how to hide the dangling cord and power adapter connected to wall panels.
Part of Nanoleaf’s success is due to its acceptance of the latest smart home technologies. Nanoleaf Shapes aren’t Matter devices but can function as a Thread border router. As a result, the Shapes lights coordinate a low-latency mesh network of smart home gadgets that overcomes the limitations of brand and app-specific functionality. Not surprisingly, even without a Matter hub or Thread border router, Nanoleaf Shapes are accessible in Google Home, Alexa, and HomeKit apps.
Build quality and a proven history of Nanoleaf supporting its older products are also reasons Shapes are among the best smart home devices.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera – 3 Pack
Best Smart Home Security Cameras
Professional Grade Cloud-Backed Security
$300 $600 Save $300
The Arlo Pro 4 is the latest iteration of home security cameras by Arlo. It delivers steady 2K video streams in a small, rechargeable package bundled with a spotlight to identify people coming in and ward off unwanted intruders from the property. With clear 2-way audio and sharp video quality to boot, the Arlo Pro is designed to help owners make informed decisions about their security and get assistance at the tap of a button if needed.
- Sensor Size
- Video Resolution
- 2560×1440 (2K resolution)
- Photo Resolution
- 4 Megapixels
- 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm
- Water Resistance
- Yes, weather-resistant
- 160 degree diagonal FOV
- Excellent build quality
- Wire-free design makes adding and moving cameras simple
- Weather-proof and UV-proof
- Some features require a subscription
- Somewhat pricier than the competition
The Arlo Pro 4 is an excellent but pricey choice when it comes to smart home security. However, it does have numerous perks that less expensive security cameras lack. The Arlo Pro 4 provides an excellent 2K stream with smart options such as intruder detection, two-way audio, and adequate night vision. It’s a truly wireless solution with rechargeable batteries rated to last as much as six months. Also, instead of investing in a multi-thousand dollar setup, buyers can build a security system in stages thanks to the lack of a central hub.
Its Arlo Secure plans are comprehensive for those willing to go that cloud-enabled route but add to the ultimate cost of a product that is already pricier than most of its competition. Overall, the modular design of an Arlo Pro 4 installation, solid uptime, and excellent build quality weigh heavily into GameRant’s decision to consider it the best smart home security solution.
Google Nest Thermostat
Best Smart Thermostat
Intelligently Save on Heating and Cooling
The Google Nest Thermostat introduces a smarter way to regulate temperatures in households, saving money in the process. Intelligent enough to manage heating and cooling when homeowners are away, the Nest avoids wasting costly energy. Taking advantage of smart home ecosystems like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, users can control the Nest Thermostat with voice commands or set up custom schedules.
- Nest, Google Assistant, Alexa, Homekit
- 139 grams
- Hub Required
- C-Wire Required
- Allows for adjusting household temps remotely
- Design blends in well on most walls
- Can install without a C-wire in many instances
- Lacks the AI learning of more expensive thermostats
- Doesn’t include separate temperature sensors
Some smart home gadgets can enhance entertainment, while others, like the Google Nest Thermostat, have more practical applications. This smart thermostat can attach to the same wiring as traditional thermostats but allows homeowners to adjust temperatures remotely. The Nest Thermostat is a more affordable alternative to the Nest Learning Thermostat and provides users with many of the same essential functions.
Although the Nest Thermostat cannot learn a user’s heating and cooling preferences, it can adjust temperatures when a family member leaves home. Buyers can consider adding external temperature sensors around a home to monitor household conditions more effectively. Scheduling is a feature in the Google Home app, but it’s also possible to operate this smart home gadget with Alexa voice commands. Compatibility with smart home ecosystems was initially somewhat of a sore spot for the Nest Thermostat, but it has improved since embracing Apple HomeKit.
Buyers often have some trepidation about installing smart thermostats, but the Nest Learning Thermostat makes the process as painless as possible. Homeowners will want to check on Google’s website before purchasing, but in most cases, a power-carrying C-wire, which some older homes may lack, is not required. Also, the Nest Thermostat’s display is streamlined enough to blend into walls without attracting attention.
The Google Nest Thermostat is the best smart home device for buyers hoping to modernize their heating and cooling. Installation is reasonably quick, and homeowners can save money by avoiding needlessly wasting energy.
Sony BRAVIA XR A80L
Best Smart TV
A Premium OLED Performer
$1700 $2300 Save $600
The Sony Bravia XR A80L is one of the best smart TVs money can buy. Available in four screen sizes, the A80L delivers great contrast and immersive sound. It comes with impressive streaming and gaming features, making it a multipurpose TV. It also packs environmentally-conscious features like dynamic backlight control, power saving mode, and display off mode.
- 13″D x 57.13″W x 34″H
- Display Technology
- What’s Included
- Power Cable, Remote Control, AAA batteries, Stand
- Refresh Rate
- 120 Hz
- Yes (HDR10)
- ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
- Dolby Vision HDR
- Exclusive PlayStation 5 features
- HDR performance is inferior to other alternatives
The Sony OLED A80L is one of the best smart TVs, with features that other OLED TVs in its price bracket can’t match. Powered by Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR, buyers get wide dynamic contrast with each picture. Using OLED display technology, the A80L delivers rich black and lucid brightness for the best viewing experience. Sony’s XR OLED Contrast Pro optimizes the picture the way the human eye would for immersive depth. Buyers can also catch up on the premium streaming entertainment with enhanced sound that comes directly from the screen thanks to Acoustic Surface Audio+ and Dolby Atmos technology. The TV also supports premium entertainment offerings like Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced, and Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode.
Beyond streaming in 4K resolution, the A80L packs exclusive features like Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode for lovers of Sony’s PS5 console. A 120 Hz refresh rate along with HDMI 2.1 features like VRR and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) make this TV an ideal option for anyone in the market for high-end gaming. Compatibility with Alexa and Google Home also ensures that viewers can also enjoy a hands-free experience.
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro
Best Smart Streaming Player
Taking Streaming to the Next Level
The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro is an Android-based Streaming device powered by Nvidia’s own Tegra X1+ SoC that offers significantly enhanced connectivity, Plex Server support, and enhanced gaming support thanks to its beefy hardware offerings.
- 1.02 x 6.26 x 3.86 inches
- What’s Included
- Shield TV Pro, Remote, Power Adapter, Documentation
- Connective Technology
- Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- More power and connectivity than cheaper devices
- Native support for Google Assistant and Chromecast
- Excellent option for game streaming
- Doesn’t include a controller
- One of the most expensive streaming media players
Smart TVs are a popular way to reduce extra wiring, but their software sometimes struggles to match the performance of standalone devices. The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro may seem overkill for buyers looking for a basic streaming gadget to watch movies and shows in 4K. However, it’s often the preferred choice for gamers or viewers looking for more horsepower and connectivity. The Shield TV Pro can match the capabilities of cheaper alternatives like the Fire Stick 4K with support for all the major streaming services. Unlike these other products, NVIDIA’s compact box also boasts a much beefier processor and more USB ports for storage.
One way the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro separates itself from the competition is its gaming features. While it won’t match the power of an NVIDIA graphics card, the CPU and memory inside the Shield TV Pro allow it to stream games from cloud services more smoothly. Unfortunately, while previous versions of the Shield TV included a controller, buyers will now need to connect a controller via Bluetooth. This streaming device also has some advantages when boosting the resolution of older content, since it employs the same AI upscaling seen with the top 4K TVs.
The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro can also function as a smart home hub since it has native support for Google Assistant. Users can control smart lights around homes or ask for the weather forecast with visual responses to voice commands. Amazon Alexa fans don’t have to panic as the Shield TV Pro can also communicate with their devices using Alexa skills.
Price is the ultimate obstacle for prospective buyers of the Shield TV Pro. Even so, the Shield TV Pro is among the best smart home devices, considering it can perform like a mini PC rather than just a streaming stick or box.
Govee AI Gaming Sync Box
Best Gaming Enhancement Lights
$150 $200 Save $50
The Govee AI Gaming Sync Box offers the most intelligent way yet to fill gaming rooms with RGBIC lighting. Govee uses its CogniGLow algorithm on select PC titles to generate customized lighting effects based on in-game content and events. The sync box connects to 3 HDMI 2.0 sources to eliminate the delayed reactive lighting of camera-based lighting systems. DreamView 360 syncing coordinates lighting across many existing Govee light strips, panels, and bulbs. The Govee AI Gaming Sync Box includes 2 smart tower lights and LED lights for monitors 27 to 34 inches.
- Alexa, Google Assistant
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- Music Reactive
- Lag-free reactive lighting
- Reacts to in-game events for supported titles
- No camera needed
- Best for 24 to 32-inch monitors only
- Doesn’t fully sync with all games
Any buyer keen on sprucing up a gaming setup with some reactive lights should consider grabbing the Govee AI Gaming Sync Box, one of the best Govee smart light innovations. It supports popular titles like League of Legends, Apex Legends, and Valorant. Even when a game isn’t directly supported, users can create a personalized lighting scheme or represent what is onscreen with mirrored effects. Built with high-FPS gaming in mind, users can game up to 240Hz at 1080p, with support for 4K gaming at up to 60Hz also offered.
Connections from graphics cards or consoles are made via HDMI, and as the system reads what is going on directly, there is essentially no lag between action and response. This adds to what’s already an immersive experience. Unfortunately, due to the size of the light bars, the Govee AI Gaming Sync Box is only recommended for monitors in the 24 to 32-inch range. Fortunately, Govee also has an AI Sync Box kit for larger TVs.
For more on how the Govee AI Sync Box can improve a gaming experience, make sure to read GameRant’s full review.
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Q: What is a smart home gadget?
A smart device are electronic devices connected to your smart home system. Typically, they can interact with other devices, and make some decisions on their own. Televisions, alarm systems, and doorbells are examples of smart devices.
Q: What is the difference between a smart device and a smart home?
A smart device is a single piece of internet connected hardware that can connect to the entire smart home system.
Q: What is the most used smart device?
Smart speakers are often what buyers purchase first to start their home journey. Not only do these speakers play music from popular streaming services, but they also can act as hubs to sync devices compatible with Google Home, Alexa, and HomeKit.