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 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. Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
BEST ALEXA DEVICE OVERALL
If you want the Alexa speaker that strikes the best balance between features, performance and price, the new fourth-generation Amazon Echo can do it all. Like all Alexa speakers before it, the new Amazon Echo comes with Alexa integrated, which means that you can use your voice to add items to control smart home devices and accessories that are connected via WiFi. But Amazon has also added a new AI-powered NZ1 CPU to make interacting with Alexa more natural.
This speaker also has integrated Zigbee hardware, which expands the number of smart home devices that can connect to the Echo without the need for additional hubs, bridges or routers. Add to that a completely redesigned speaker that promises vastly improved audio quality and you’ve got yourself a winner, especially since you can pair it with a second Echo speaker for stereo sound.
2. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
The Echo Dot is regularly Amazon’s most popular smart speaker option and with over 30,000 five-star reviews on past models, it’s easy to see why. Where the bigger Amazon Echo is great as a main speaker in the living room or bedroom, the fourth-generation Amazon Echo Dot is perfect as a speaker to place in your kitchen, entryway, or home office. While this smaller Echo lacks an integrated Zigbee hub, you can still control any WiFi-connected devices, and if you have it placed in the kitchen, you easily add items to your Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh shopping cart as you take inventory of your pantry.
And even if this smaller speaker can’t offer the same audio quality as the flagship Echo, the redesigned speaker drivers still offer a sound that is great for a secondary speaker and is more than suitable for loading up a playlist or a podcast on Spotify. Plus it’s also possible to connect the Dot to other (better) speakers using Bluetooth or the 3.5mm jack.
3. Amazon Echo Show 8 Smart Hub
BEST ALEXA SMART HUB
If you already have the Dot and you want to take Alexa to the next level, the Echo Show 8 is one step up from Amazon’s entry device. This Alexa-enabled smart hub boasts a compact, 8-inch screen, which is designed to show you weather 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 8 with your voice, along with 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.
4. TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug
BEST SMART PLUG
Adding one of these TP-Link Kasa Smart Plugs into your home environment will make your life a little bit easier, but changing every plug will give you complete Alexa control over all of your devices. The Kasa app allows you to control the plugs from anywhere using your smartphone. 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.
5. 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 connect night lights, motion sensors or charge your phone or tablet, and the microphone and speaker can also be muted when you don’t need to communicate with Alexa.
6. 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.
7. Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
BEST ALEXA SPEAKER FOR BEDROOMS
If audio quality isn’t a huge priority and you don’t have a bunch of smart home devices around your house that only connect via Zigbee, then the Echo Dot with Clock is the best Alexa Accessory you can place in your bedroom. This Echo Dot with Clock does everything the standard Echo Dot can do, but can also display the time thanks to LEDs under the speaker fabric. So once you’ve used this speaker to lock the doors, set an alarm, and check your calendar before bed, you can still sneak a peek at the clock without having your Echo yell at you at 5 a.m.
8. 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.
9. Fire TV Cube
BEST FIRE TV SMART 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.
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 help 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 WiFi Smart Lock
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock 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 your Alexa-enabled speaker without needing any additional hardware. 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 WiFi Smart Lock.
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.