Readers’ Choice 2021: Smart Home Devices – PCMag.com
Do you have a robot vacuum buzzing around your living room? A voice-controlled smart display that turns on smart lights? A thermostat you control from your phone? You’re not alone. It’s hard to find a device that doesn’t include an internet hookup these days, and in this month’s Readers’ Choice survey, we asked PCMag readers to rate the smart home device brands they use most to see if they deliver as promised.
(Stay tuned for a deep dive on security-related smart home devices. We’ll ask about surveillance cameras, smart locks, and security system brands in a future survey.)
The Best Smart Plug/Power Brands for 2021
Smart plugs and power strips let you set intricate schedules for when devices should be turned on and off, as well as let you use your voice to control devices, turning whatever’s plugged into it into a smart device. Kasa Smart has been the PCMag Readers’ Choice Award winner in this category every year since we first started surveying the category in 2019.
As with its smart lighting products, readers are very satisfied with Kasa Smart’s value but also its array of features and ease of use. Kasa Smart had the highest overall satisfaction rating (8.9), half a point higher than its closest competitor, Amazon. (As it does in so many categories, Amazon offers products under its own brand in addition to selling competing devices.)
Kasa Smart also earned 9.0s for satisfaction with value, reliability, and ease of use—three important categories. Respondents were happy with how both Kasa Smart and Amazon let you use your voice to control electrical devices, giving both companies a rating of 9.1. The companies also tied in satisfaction with mobile apps at 8.8. Belkin’s WeMo, the other qualifying brand in our survey, was far behind most measures, but slightly ahead of Amazon for value.
For more, read our roundup of The Best Smart Plugs and Power Strips for 2021.
The Best Smart Bulb/Lighting Brands for 2021
Kasa Smart wins our PCMag Readers’ Choice Award in the smart lighting category for the second time in the last three years. When it won in 2019, we listed it under its parent company’s name, TP-Link, and it shared the award with Philips Hue, an early entrant in the smart lighting arena. Last year, Wyze edged out both brands, but this year, Kasa Smart is back on top with its best overall satisfaction rating ever. (Wyze did not receive the minimum number of responses needed to be included in our analysis.)
Kasa Smart received an overall satisfaction rating of 8.8 on a scale from 0 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied), a nice improvement over the 8.5 it received the prior two years. The company had a better rating than Philips Hue on every measure of satisfaction for which both companies received enough responses.
The most notable rating was value, where Kasa Smart received an 8.8 compared to Philips Hue’s 7.6, which was the lowest rating Philips received on any measure. However, it wasn’t just about money. Kasa Smart rated higher on setup, reliability, ease of use, voice control, mobile app access, and likelihood to be recommended.
Aside from the value rating, Philips Hue’s ratings were solid and its excellent score of 9.1 for satisfaction with color choice tied for the highest rating either company received on any question from our readers. Kasa Smart received a 9.1 for satisfaction with reliability.
For more, read our roundup of The …….