Best smart home products of the year – TechHive
We’re heading into the home stretch of 2021, and that’s our cue to round up the very best smart home products that are available this year, from smart speakers and home security systems to smart thermostats and robot vacuums. Whether you’re shopping for a new smart display or an air purifier that plays nice with voice assistants, there’s something on our list that should fit the bill.
We have more than one product in some categories, differentiated by price or feature set. And since smart speakers are as important for entertainment as they are for smart home control, you’ll find them on our best home entertainment product list, too. Finally, keep in mind that not every product on this list was introduced this year. We’re not going to avoid recommending a great product just because it hit the market earlier than January 1, 2021.
Presenting our picks:
Best DIY smart home system: Aeotec Smart Home Hub
Jared Newman / IDG
Aeotec Smart Home Hub
Simple, straightforward, and easy to navigate, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub can control your castle.
SmartThings is our long-time favorite DIY smart home platform, and Samsung’s decision to stop building its own smart home hardware hasn’t changed our minds. The Aeotec Smart Home Hub now fills the hub role, and it works with the same extremely wide universe of SmartThings compatible devices, including Lutron, Philips Hue, Z-Wave, and Lutron smart lighting; Sonos and Bose loudspeakers; Kwikset and Yale smart locks; Ring home security devices; and—of course—smart speakers powered by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. If you’re going the DIY route to build your smart home, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub should be at its foundation.
Best smart speaker with Alexa: Sonos One
Jared Newman / IDG
Sonos One (Gen 1)
Sonos has even better-sounding speakers in its lineup, but this one sounds great and it lets you control any Sonos speaker with voice commands (and the rest of your smart home, too).
Voice commands are the ultimate solution for controlling your smart home, and there is no better Alexa-powered smart speaker for the money than the Sonos One. (And if you’re more of a Google Assistant household, you can configure it accordingly.) The speaker’s onboard microphone array will almost magically respond to the Alexa wake word no matter how loudly you’re blasting the tunes Sonos supports virtually every music-streaming service in existence—the company’s own Sonos Radio is pretty great, too—and the Sonos One sounds fantastic with all of them. What’s more, absolutely no one does multi-room audio better. We didn’t reviewed the Sonos One (Gen 2) because Sonos says it’s functionally identical to the original. Looking for the best smart speaker for music-listening? Check our recommendation in the home entertainment category.
Best smart speaker with Google Assistant: Nest Audio
Google Nest Audio
Improving on the original Google Home in every way, the Google Nest Audio is the new $100 smart speaker to beat.
With the demise of the Google Home Max, the Nest Audio is now Google’s flagship smart speaker, but while the superb Max was something of a behemoth, the smaller …….