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2018 has been a stellar year for smart home devices.
This is the year that we’ve seen some of the biggest names in smart gadgets truly hitting it out of the park with second and third generations of their products.
Here we’ve compiled the best of the best for your pleasure.
Some of them are already well known, some you’ll already have in your home and others will be on your (virtual) shopping list by the time you’ve finished reading. We’ve also included a couple of brand new products that we think are going to be making a splash in 2018 and beyond.
Let’s get right into it…
- 1 Amazon Echo Show
- 2 Netgear Arlo Pro Security System
- 3 Anova Culinary Bluetooth Sous Vide Precision Cooker
- 4 Philips Hue
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- 6 Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge
- 7 TP-Link Smart Plus Mini
- 8 Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
- 9 Canary All-In-One Home Security Device
- 10 Yunmai Premium Smart Scale
- 11 ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat
- 12 Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt
- 13 Eufy RoboVac 11
- 14 Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- 15 June Intelligent Oven
- 16 Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
- 17 Wemo Light Switch
- 18 August Smart Lock HomeKit
- 19 LIFX + WiFi Smart LED Light Bulb
- 20 Netatmo Welcome
- 21 SmartPlate
- 22 Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
The Echo Show is the latest Alexa product from Amazon, building on the popularity and strength of the Echo and Echo Dot with an added screen.
We think it’s a much more complete virtual assistant, and love that we can make video calls with the device, watch our live security camera footage with it, and browse on YouTube (and much more)!
Just like the standard Echo, it can connect to all your smart home devices and apps, including WeMo, Nest, ecobee, Philips Hue and Spotify. And, of course, it’s always learning new skills and getting better at helping you.
Plus, with a whopping eight microphones installed in its compact frame, it can hear you from wherever you are in the room — even if you’ve got music blaring at the same time.
The Echo Show is truly a game changer and undoubtedly one of the best smart home devices of 2018.
We’re certainly not alone in loving the Arlo Pro Security System from Netgear, that promises to have every angle covered for your peace of mind.
Here’s what you can expect from the device:
- Comes with a 100+ decibel siren
- Standard kit includes 1 rechargeable HD camera with audio and night vision
- 130 degree angle lens for wide angles
- 100% wire free — you can place the cameras wherever you want around your home
- 2 way audio with push-to-talk capability
- 7 days of free Cloud recordings
- Live streaming
But if you think smart gadgets are just for the boring stuff, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The Anova sous vide precision cooker is the latest device that’s lighting up smart kitchens across the US. This tiny, compact tool promises to take your standard home cooked meals to restaurant quality with its technology that promises the following:
- Food cooked evenly edge to edge
- No overcooking, ever
- Cooks food to a precise temperature
- Cooks everything — even dessert!
It’s also incredibly easy to use — you simply add it to a pot of water, placing your ingredients in a sealed bag into the pot — and voila!
You can set the time and temperature yourself on the device, or use the accompanying app to search for the most appropriate settings for your meal. And it doesn’t require babysitting — the Bluetooth connectivity allows you to monitor, start and stop your cook using the smartphone app.
The Philips Hue smart lighting system is one of our favorite products in this market, and generally regarded as the product to beat by its competitors.
In this starter kit, you receive two A19 LED smart bulbs and the Philips Hue Bridge — a small device that can be linked to up to 50 of the bulbs and allows you to control them all remotely via the Philips Hue app.
Also in the Hue family are dimmer switches, motion sensors, lighting strips and even colored bulbs that allow you to select from literally millions of colors. The world is your oyster! You can assemble a whole house lighting system easily with Philips Hue, for a very reasonable price.
The system can be controlled with Amazon Alexa and also paired with your Nest thermostat too — talk about the complete smart home!
Essentially, when a visitor to your home rings the doorbell, you’ll be able to view the live video footage of them at your door via the app, and receive a smartphone alert too. Useful when you’re both at home and out of town — it’s a remarkable security device.
Here’s what’s on offer:
- 2-way audio so you can speak with visitors, regardless of your location
- Automatically records footage when motion is detected at your front door
- Advanced motion detection
- Optional cloud recording so you can view said footage later
- Wide angle, high definition video
- Night vision mode with infrared LED lights
- Works with Amazon Alexa
- Weather resistant
Our one bug-bear? It requires wiring. Hopefully later iterations of the product will make it wireless.
We like to think of the Samsung Smart Fridge as essentially a great fridge with a huge smartphone screen on the front of it — this is the Family Hub.
On the Family Hub, you’re able to create shopping lists, order more groceries, organize your schedule, send messages to other smart phones and even stream music or mirror your Samsung TV on it.
This is a really revolutionary product and definitely stays true to its name as the Family Hub.
This small and low cost device is one of the easiest ways to make your home a smart home.
By using the free Kasa app, you’ll be able to automatically control all your devices that are plugged into the TP-Link — even if those devices aren’t ‘smart’ themselves.
The app also allows you to set schedules for turning on and off the plug, as well as employing an ‘away mode’ for when you want to give the impression that someone is home.
The device also pairs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can control it through them with your voice if you want as well.
It plugs into any standard wall outlet. Easy peasy!
If you’ve got the budget for just one mid-level gadget, we recommend that you go for this.
Here’s what it’s got going on:
- Can be controlled by voice with Amazon Alexa
- Will automatically turn itself down when nobody’s home
- You can control it remotely using the WiFi app
- Auto scheduling — it learns your preferences and programs itself in around a week
- Allows you to check your energy history to better understand your bill
- Guides you to use less energy with the Nest Leaf
- Lights up to show you the time/temperature/weather when it sees you come into the room
- Available in copper, stainless steel or white
Plus, it’s the only thermostat to earn an Energy Star. If you’re concerned about reducing your energy consumption and electricity bill, you should really look into buying a Nest.
It advertises itself as more than just a camera — although the camera on it is excellent, at 1080p HD with a 147 degree wide lens, automatic night vision and ability to be streamed in real time. It also offers the following:
- High quality audio
- 90+ decibel siren
- Motion activated recording
- Sends instant video alerts to your smartphone
- Automatic arm/disarm and one-touch access to local authorities
- Monitors the air quality, temperature and humidity in your home
- Easy activation
- Always learning, understands what is usual and unusual activity for your home
- High level data encryption and privacy mode
Scales that can measure your body composition are no longer just for athletes. These intelligent scales can help you track your weight and body fat percentage with ease and precision, to help you become more in touch with your body.
The Yunmai Premium Smart Scale is one of the most popular of these products, and regularly receives more favorable reviews that those of the competitive Fitbit product.
Here’s a look at one man’s experience with it:
One of the reasons for this is that it measures so much with its bio-impedance sensors and analysis:
- Body fat
- Muscle rate
- Bone mass
- Visceral fat
- Body Age
You can keep a track of all your measurements and progress via the app, which connects to the scale via Bluetooth.
It comes already equipped with Alexa Voice Service, so you’re not only able to control it with your voice, but it will also set a timer, read you the news and more. It has far-field voice technology so it will be able to hear you wherever you are in the room.
One of the best things about the ecobee4 is the fact that the room sensors can help you manage any hot or cold spots, customizing your heating to best suit you and your homes. You can buy additional room sensors for more complete home coverage as you please.
As well as using Alexa, you can also control the thermostat using your smartphone if you want to adjust temperature and comfort settings.
This Schlage Connect is one of the most favored products in the market, thanks to a number of awesome features:
- Can be voice controlled with Amazon Alexa
- Stores up to 30 personalized user codes
- Z wave technology connects to home automation system, allowing you to lock and unlock the door remotely
- ANSI Grade 1 Highest Residential Security
- Durable resistive touchscreen
- Built-in alarm with 3 alert settings
It’s also pretty hard to overstate how beautiful this lock is — not something we ever thought we’d say… — with it satin nickel color scheme and camelot trim.
Plus, thanks to the innovative touchscreen, you’re well on your way to never needing to find where you last left your keys again…
Not only is this a great smart product, it’s also just generally a terrific vacuum — even if you’ve got pets.
Plus the low price is much easier to stomach than many of the other robovacs on the market.
Here’s what we love about it:
- High suction power and 3 point cleaning system for a thorough clean
- HEPA style filter for picking up pet hair, dander and allergens
- 1.5 hours of constant fade-free power
- Infrared sensor to avoid obstacles
- Drop sensors to avoid falling
- Can be controlled by the click of a button
- Automatic self charging
- Works on both hard floors and thin carpets
SMOKE & CO ALARM
Here we’ve got another Nest product, that’s just as good as their 3rd generation thermostat we reviewed above.
The Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that’s designed for peace of mind. It connects to your home WiFi, alerting you — regardless of where you are — when the alarm goes off and when the batteries are low on power. The carbon monoxide sensor should actually last for a massive 10 years.
You can also silence the device direct from the app when you go over to investigate. And it’ll give you a polite heads up when that toast you forgot about starts to burn.
Plus, the alarm itself is one of the best on the market. It benefits from a split spectrum sensor that uses 2 wavelengths of light to find both fast and slow burning fires.
Chances are, you’ve seen the June Intelligent Oven before. When it was first released on to the market, it made headlines for its eye watering high price.
Consumers couldn’t believe that what essentially looks like a microwave could be so expensive.
But that’s not to say that the June Oven doesn’t have merit. In fact it has plenty of features designed to allow you to do the best possible cooking at home, which is why it’s made its way into our best smart home devices list.
Take a look at this introductory video:
Here’s what to expect if your budget will stretch that far:
- High precision food thermometer for incredibly even cooking
- Uses sensors and AI to monitor and cook food to your preferences
- 6 carbon fiber heating elements paired with dual adaptive convection fans
- Can fit an entire chicken
- Fits on your counter easily
- Holds over 50 cooking programs and has a HD camera to identify your food
- Preheats 3 x faster than normal ovens
- Can be controlled remotely from your smartphone — you can even watch live videos of the food as it cooks!
Not so with the Rachio Sprinkler Controller — this allows you to water your grass remotely using your smartphone, and you can even control it with your voice using Amazon Alexa too.
Unlike normal sprinkler system control which simply adheres to a set schedule, the Rachio is smart. It adapts to your local weather, skipping scheduled sprinkling cycles when rain is predicted and adjusting the times of cycles as the seasons change.
With this type of intelligent technology, you’ll find it increasingly easy to save money on your water bill and cut down on any wastage. Plus the ability to completely tailor your sprinkler schedule means a healthy, thriving and beautiful lawn all year round.
All it does is replace your old wall light switch and allows you to control your lights and small appliances from anywhere in the world from your smartphone.
You can also set customized on/off schedules for your appliances and lights, and control the switch with Amazon Alexa.
To really take things to the next level, you can connect it to your Nest Thermostat — this will teach the light switch to know if you’re in or out of the house and so will be able to turn the lights on and off as necessary.
The August Smart Lock is a brand new smart home device on the market in 2018. While we haven’t had the chance to test it out yet, it’s sporting some very exciting technology that we think people will be chattering about in 2018.
Essentially, the kit converts your smartphone into a smart key, allowing you to control who has access to the door lock and at what times. This level of control over door access will likely be very appealing to people concerned about security who spend a lot of time out of town.
Interesting, to say the least.
This LIFX smart light is a great alternative to the Philips Hue — particularly as it doesn’t require a ‘hub’ station to control. It’s not quite as well known or entrenched in the market as Philips, but we can see this product really going places in 2018.
Here’s what we love about this smart light:
- You can select from 16 million colors, including infrared night vision
- Can be controlled by voice through an Amazon Alexa device
- WiFi is built-in with no hub required
- Easy to install — just replace current light bulb
- A19 LED bulb is bright and equivalent to 75w bulb
- Can be paired with Nest and Samsung Smart Things
- Lasts up to 22.8 years
Home security cameras are a mainstay of the smarthome, offering an extra level of peace of mind for people worried about home invasion or just people wanting to check on their kids, pets and other family members when they’re at home.
The Netatmo Welcome is most often placed in the entry way, as you can probably guess from the name.
One of it’s biggest selling points is the fact that it offers face recognition — so it can notify you immediately who it sees in the home and whether it’s a stranger or not.
Chances are, if you want a home security camera, you also want to be reassured that the data on the camera is secure to hacking. Thankfully, data is kept private and safe locally on a micro-SD card, while you can access video footage via your smartphone and computer.
The camera itself offers full HD 1080p videos and 130 degree wide angle, as well as night vision.
FOOD MONITORING DEVICE
For something a little different now — and something that we think has plenty of potential in the weight loss market — we introduce the SmartPlate.
This plate and intelligent app together combine to be an intelligent nutrition platform, helping you reach your defined goals in a number of health related areas.
Using advanced photo recognition and AI, the smart plate tracks and analyses up to three different foods on the plate, logging and analyzing it within the TopView nutrition app for you to track and monitor.
The app allows you to set your own custom health goals, as well as follow as a number of doctor approved dietary programs focusing on the following health goals:
- Weight management
- Strength and power
- Energy and endurance
- Portion control
- Blood glucose and carbs
It’s available to buy at the moment on IndieGoGo, but we see this going mainstream sometime soon.
OUTDOOR SECURITY CAMERA
Our final product in the best smart home devices of 2018 review, is yet another Nest product — the outdoor security camera.
It’s definitely one of the most complete and sophisticated cameras on the market, offering 24/7 live video, automatic alerts and snapshots when it senses activity and an option for you to both talk through and listen to the device.
The camera itself is weatherproof, with a 130° wide angle view and all glass lens, for clear and crisp 1080p HD video. It’s also super easy to set up and install with no drilling required.
Customers’ main bugbear with the product is the high subscription fees if you want to record and store your footage in the cloud. It’s worth checking if you need this and whether you’re happy paying for this before you buy.
And there you have it — the best smart home devices of 2018!
Which is your favorite?