It’s 2020. If you haven’t already, it’s time to upgrade your “normal home” into a “smart home.” Smart home devices allow you to control devices like your coffee maker, doorbell and more through a central speaker using a digital assistant and your voice or an app on your phone. Of course, creating a smart home has numerous benefits other than creating a futuristic space. With a digital assistant, you’ll enjoy:
- A more energy-efficient home
- Less time doing chores
- Easier communication with others in your home
- The ability to remotely control appliances and other smart devices
- A home that’s better prepared for future technological advances
If you’ve decided now is the best time to create your smart home, you’ll have to decide on which digital assistant you’ll use. Although you could go with Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, we recommend Amazon’s Alexa for ease of use and compatibility across the most appliances.
In fact, these are the best Alexa devices out there. From smart plugs to lightbulbs that are controlled by the sound of your voice, you’ll feel like you’re living in The Jetsons. Get one or all of these Alexa devices and start making your home as smart as possible.
It is important to note that many of the products below are available in a variety of bundles, giving you more Alexa-enabled devices for a better price and bringing your home into the future as quickly as possible.
1. Echo Show 5
If you already have the Dot and you want to take Alexa to the next level, the Echo Show 5 is one step up from Amazon’s entry device. This Alexa-enabled device boasts a compact, 5.5-inch screen, which is designed to show you information at a glance, give you a visual representation of your calendar and even connect you to friends and family via video chat. Just like other Echo devices, you can control the Echo Show 5 with the sound of your voice. In addition, the Echo Show can control all your Alexa-enabled devices from your TV to your smart plugs. And, because it has a screen, the Show is especially useful for showing you security camera footage and a real-time picture of what your smart doorbell is seeing.
2. TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Plug
BEST SMART PLUG
Adding one of these TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Plugs into your home environment will make your life a little bit easier, but changing every plug will give you complete wireless control over all of your devices. The Kasa app allows you to control the plugs from anywhere using your smartphone. The plugs are also Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana compatible, meaning you can also choose to use your voice to turn your plugs on and off should you prefer to. Plus, the accompanying app provides scheduling options for routine changes to the power in your devices throughout your home, so you’ll never have to come home to a dark house ever again.
3. Echo Flex
BEST BUDGET ALEXA
Sometimes you need to control your smart home devices with the sound of your voice but you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full Echo device. That’s where the Echo Flex comes in. This budget-friendly, Amazon Alexa device plugs into any outlet and boasts a mini speaker to help you get vital information, control your smart home appliances and get messages to other members of your household through your series of Echo speakers. In addition, it features a USB outlet where you can charge your phone or tablet, and the microphone and speaker can also be muted when you don’t need to communicate with Alexa.
4. Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulb
Forget lights that clap on and clap off. Join the 21st century by investing in a few smart bulbs, like these from Philips. The Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulbs can be controlled using the Philips Hue app or with your voice using Amazon Alexa. This means that you can constantly adjust the brightness of the bulbs, set timers for your lights and create triggers for your lighting system at the touch of the button. You’ll also be able to turn lights on and off while you’re away from home or whenever you just don’t want to get out of bed. Smart bulbs really are one of the best ways to take advantage of the power of a digital assistant.
5. Echo Dot (3rd Generation)
The Echo Dot is Amazon’s most popular smart speaker option and with over 30,000 five-star reviews, it’s easy to see why. The latest update of the Dot sports a more attractive fabric design and offers richer and louder sound. After connecting the Dot to your local network, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to perform a whole host of tasks, including controlling your music system, answering queries about the weather and transport or even playing games, setting alarms and turning your devices on and off (see above). It’s also possible to connect the Dot to other (better) speakers using Bluetooth or the 3.5mm jack. Plus, we love that the new Dot shows the time.
6. Ring Video Doorbell
The Ring Video Doorbell is a smart device that allows you to monitor who comes to your front door. The doorbell includes a small camera with a motion detector and infrared night vision, so that any time someone is on your doorstep, you can see them through any phone, tablet or PC connected to your doorbell. You can also hear and speak to visitors using the included app. Of course, the Ring Video Doorbell also connects to Alexa. Anytime the doorbell is pressed or motion is detected, you can program Alexa to provide an announcement. You can also see, hear and talk to visitors through any Echo Show or Echo Spot device.
7. Echo (3rd Generation)
BEST SMART SPEAKER
The granddaddy of all smart speakers, Amazon’s Echo is the ultimate Alexa speaker. Like the other speakers on this list, it connects to Alexa to play music, read the news and set times. The Echo can also control all your Alexa-enabled devices. But what sets the Echo apart from the Dot and the Show is its speaker and microphone quality. The Echo boasts powerful Dolby technology to play 360-degree audio. You’ll get clear vocals and dynamic bass with every song. Pair two or more Echo speakers together for incredible stereo sound. In addition, this smart speaker has seven microphones as well as beamforming and noise-cancellation technology, meaning you can talk to the speaker from any direction and in super noisy conditions.
8. Fire TV Cube
BEST FIRE DEVICE
You might already be familiar with the Amazon Fire TV Stick that turns a non-smart TV into one that can stream from a variety of services. The Fire TV Cube improves upon those abilities by adding Alexa directly into your TV, meaning you can switch between services and channels (including cable channels) using the sound of your voice. The cube also comes with the Alexa-enabled remote, giving you the ability to use your TV and any additional devices connected to your TV with one device instead of multiple remotes. And, because the Fire TV Cube has Alexa built-in, it can also control all your smart home appliances, too.
9. Echo Spot
BEST ALEXA WITH A SCREEN
Like the Echo Show but smaller, the Echo Spot is the video-enabled Echo to buy if you want one for every room. This small, bubble-like device is Alexa-enabled and can control all your other smart appliances. In addition, it has a screen to show you information at a glance, including today’s weather, the recipe you’re baking or the time. It can even connect you with friends and family via video chat. This powerful little Echo boasts far-field technology, meaning it has four microphones, beamforming abilities and noise cancellation. This all adds up to a well-rounded speaker system and a digital assistant that can hear you from the other side of the room even when the TV is blaring.
10. Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat
One of the best upgrades you can make to your home is to install a smart thermostat. These devices make the average house much more energy-efficient and helps to uncomplicate your life, too. The Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat works with Amazon Alexa to regulate the temperature in each room of your house. Through a series of room sensors and knowledge of the outside temperature, the thermostat can determine how warm a room is and adjust the heat or air-conditioner output accordingly. The sensors can also tell if you aren’t home, triggering a series of events for your departure or arrival. The Ecobee3 Lite Thermostat can be controlled using voice commands with Alexa or through the Ecobee app on any smartphone.
11. Nest Security Camera
BEST SECURITY CAMERA
You have a smart home, now protect it with a smart security camera. The Nest Security Camera works indoors so that you can keep track of what’s happening around your house from anywhere and at any time. Whenever the camera detects motion, it will send you an alert through the Nest App. The camera also boasts a built-in speaker so you can hear what’s going on and talk to whoever you see in the live footage. And if you have an Echo Spot or an Echo Show, you’ll be able to monitor your home from the screen on those devices. As an added bonus, Nest cameras (both indoors and outdoors) can be linked together to provide you with a broader picture of your house, and Nest cameras can even be paired with smart lights and smart washers and dryers to maximize energy use or to trigger a sequence in case of break-ins.
12. Echo Studio
MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED SPEAKER
The Echo Studio contains the most technologically advanced speaker of any Alexa Echo device. Inside this bulky digital assistant live five individual speakers boasting Dolby Atmos technology, resulting in powerful bass, dynamic midrange sounds and crisp high notes. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Echo Studio is that it can adapt to the acoustics of any room, straight out of the box, and will continue to adapt every time you use it. In addition to being great for a dance party, the Echo Studio can do the same thing every other Alexa-enabled Echo device can, including controlling your smart home devices, playing games and answering all your burning questions.
13. August Home Smart Lock Pro
The August Home Smart Lock Pro is the best smart lock deadbolt on the market and one of the most useful things you can buy to pair with your Amazon Alexa. The deadbolt simply attaches to your existing lock and can be controlled through the August Home app or by voice command through Alexa. Thanks to these features, you’re able to lock and unlock your door from anywhere after you have this deadbolt installed. You can also set your door to unlock any time you’re nearby or to lock when you walk away from your house. Rest easy that your home is secure wherever you are by investing in the August Home Smart Lock Pro.
14. Sonos Beam
Although not produced by Amazon, the Sonos Beam has Alexa built-in. And with four full-range subwoofers, this smart speaker/soundbar produces impressive sound when paired with your TV via the HDMI ARC port. You’ll wonder how you ever survived with just your TV speakers after watching your first show using the Sonos Beam. The beam is only 25.6 inches long, so it will fit on most TV stands quite easily. It can also stream music from several different services through the Sonos app when you aren’t watching TV.