Holiday 2020: The Best Gifts for New Smart Home Owners

Amazon Echo Show 8 smart display on the kitchen counterAmazon

There are tons of smart home products on the market today, and converting your home to a smart home is a project that never really gets completed. There is always something more than could be done, and if you have friends who are just starting this conversion, there are plenty of goodies you can give them to help them out.

There are two things you need to be aware of though: ecosystems and the facility. There are several smart home ecosystems, and while there are many products designed to be compatible with all of them, there are also a number that only work (or perform better) with a specific platform. You will need to know which ecosystem your friends have already invested in to make the best choice when it comes to buying gifts. For the categories where you’ll need to choose a product based on the ecosystem, we’ve made sure to include multiple options.

Another important factor to consider is the installation. Some smart products require home modifications in one form or another, and that’s not something you can surprise anyone with. The last three categories on this list all include products with more complex installation processes, and you’ll want to make sure that the person you’re looking for is actually up to the hassle.

A security camera: Wyze Cam V3

Wyze Cam V3 camera on a tableCameron Summerson

When it comes to monitoring your home, the Wyze Cam V3 is a great choice. Classified with an IP65 protection rating, it is designed for indoor and outdoor use. The improved night vision and wider field of view of previous Wyze cameras let you see everything that’s going on. And two-way audio lets you hear anything outside or speak through the camera.

The V3 also features motion detection, the ability to store three days of continuous recordings on a MicroSD card (not included), and it can detect when smoke and carbon monoxide alarms go off. And of course everything can be managed through the Wyze app (ios/Android) or with voice commands via voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

If you want a more robust camera, the Wyze Cam outdoors is specially designed to be used, you guessed it, outdoors. The mount can be attached anywhere, it is wireless with a battery life of three to six months and it also has a night vision mode. You can view the time intervals of the recordings and the included base station connects up to four of your cameras together and sends the images directly to the Wyze app.

More smart speakers: Nest Mini, Echo Dot, and Apple HomePod Mini

HomePod Mini, Amazon Alexa (Gen-4) and Google Nest MiniApple, Amazon, Google

It never hurts to have more places to listen to music or use a voice assistant at home, and the Nest Mini, Echo point, and HomePod Mini all of them provide compact speakers that let you do just that. The main thing you need to decide here is the voice assistant: do you want Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant?

If the people you’re looking for aren’t already invested in a specific voice assistant, it’s worth noting that many products support Alexa, and the same goes for Google Assistant with the Nest family of products. . Siri works through Apple HomeKit, which is also widely supported, but overall it’s probably the most limited of the three. Of course, if the person you’re looking for uses a lot of Apple products, Siri will be better.

The voice assistant is really the main thing to choose when it comes to these speakers, so once you have decided which assistant to buy you know which speaker to buy.

A smart screen: Google Nest Hub and Echo Show 8

Google Nest Hub and Echo Show 8Google, Amazon

A smart speaker will allow you to interact with your voice assistant, but that’s about all it does. A smart display, on the other hand, lets you see a lot more data and can do other interesting things as well.

Google Nest Hub: The Nest Hub can serve as a central location for controlling smart devices, a portal for using Google Assistant, and even a way to watch media. This smart display has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, and whether it’s displaying your personal photos, showing recipes, or showing the weather, it will definitely be a great addition to any smart home, especially those who are heavily invested in the Nest ecosystem. There is also the “Max” version of the hub which features a 10 inch screen as opposed to the 7 inch screen here and the ability to make voice calls – it is much more expensive, however.
Echo Show 8: The Show 8 is ideal for video calling, finding recipes, and managing smart devices. The main difference is that the Show 8 uses Amazon Alexa instead of Google Assistant. With a slew of Alexa-enabled devices, the Show 8 offers plenty of devices, and if the person you’re looking for has a lot, this is the screen you’re going to want.

Some smart sockets: Wyze sockets

Wyze SheetsWyze

Wyze Plugs provide a greater level of control over the devices in your home. These Wi-Fi enabled outlets can be controlled through the Wyze app (ios/Android) or voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can turn them off / on whenever you want, schedule times when certain outlets should be on or off, and even see exactly how long a certain outlet has been on. You can group Wyze connector sets together to represent specific parts, and they are also compatible with Wyze sense be activated by movement.

The only thing you really need to be aware of with these is that they are not meant to be used outdoors, so keep them connected indoors at all times.

Some smart plugs

A smarter dryer: the SmartDry laundry sensor

SmartDry laundry sensorSmartDry

It may seem like a strange product at first, but it manages to impress with its functionality. This sensor will alert via notifications when your dryer has finished running, meaning you won’t have to check it repeatedly throughout the afternoon. You can even configure the app (Android/ios) to alert you when there is a certain amount of time left on the cycle or to set it to delicate mode to alert you when the clothes are too hot. It is also compatible with Amazon Alexa because you can ask your voice assistant if the clothes are still dry or not.

There’s an installation process involved, but it’s pretty straightforward (there’s a step-by-step guide included) and doesn’t require any home or dryer alternatives.

A smarter dryer

Some smart bulbs: Wyze and Phillips Hue bulbs

Wyze and Phillips Hue bulbsWyze, Phillips

With their ease of installation, smart bulbs are a safe gift for any smart home owner. And when it comes to those, there are two brands that definitely come out on top.

Wyze bulbs: These bulbs are fairly simple white LED lights, but you can manage them through the Wyze app (ios/Android). This means you can set them to turn on / off at a certain time, adjust their strength, and control them with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These bulbs simply connect over Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to set up a hub for them.
Phillips hue: Hue includes a wide range of products, including lamps, light strips, and a variety of bulbs. The main thing Hue does best are colors: you can set the color-activated Hue bulbs to any color you want and manage them through the Hue app (Android/ios) or voice assistants. This means that Hue bulbs are considerably more expensive than Wyze bulbs, but the added functionality makes up for that.

A smart lock: Schlage Encode

Schlage encodingSchalge

Taking care of your keys every day can certainly be boring, but a smart lock means you never have to start over again. This keypad is guaranteed to fit on any standard door and the installation process is fairly straightforward, but requires modifications to the door. You can set a code to unlock the door, use your fingerprint, and you’ll even receive a log of how many people leave and enter your home each day. If there is a security breach, this lock also makes sure that you are aware of it.

You can manage Schlage Encode remotely through the app (Android/ios) as well as voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

If the person you are looking for lives in an apartment or homeowners association and cannot make major changes to their door, August Smart Lock is what you want to get them. the installation process is simpler, it is not visible from the outside, and it still offers a lot of smart features to make the installation worthwhile.

A smart lock

A video doorbell: Nest Hello and Eufy Doorbell

Nest Hello and Eufy doorbellGoogle, Eufy

A video doorbell is an extremely useful smart device, even if the installation process is involved. And as long as there is lots of quality options there, we’ve narrowed it down to those two for this list.

NOTis hello: This feature-rich doorbell does virtually everything you could possibly need. It’ll alert you to movement, it records sound and has a speakerphone so you can communicate with someone at the door, and it can even recognize specific people to give you personalized alerts. The camera provides excellent night vision and records in Full HD to give you a clear picture. It also offers 24/7 streaming via the Nest Aware Plus subscription ($ 12 per month) which saves 60 days of recordings. But if it’s a little too much, then a standard Nest Aware subscription will save 30 days of recordings for $ 6 per month (no 24/7 recording). Hello integrates much better with other Nest devices such as the one mentioned above Nest Hub which will allow you to view the camera’s POV from the Hub.
Eufy doorbell: For a doorbell without subscription, the Eufy is a great option. You will need to configure the “HomeBase” to work properly, allowing it to ring inside the house and store 16 GB of footage. Face recognition and motion detection are still here and are designed to work with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. You can also manage everything via the Eufy Security app (Android/ios).

A smart thermostat: Ecobee Smart and Nest Thermostat

Ecobee Smart and Nest thermostatEcobee, Google

Manage your heating and cooling like never before with one of these great smart thermostats.

Ecobee Smart: The Ecobee Smart does everything you could want a smart thermostat to do. You can manage and program the temperature of your home from the app (Android/ios), use the included remote sensors to improve the comfort of your most visited rooms, and it’s significantly more efficient than standard heating and cooling. The installation process is not straightforward, but there is a comprehensive video tutorial that you can take in the Ecobee app. The Ecobee is compatible with Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Nest Thermostat: For homes with Nest, you’re definitely going to want to gift the Nest Thermostat. Like the Ecobee, the Nest Thermostat lets you schedule your heating and cooling, use energy-saving features, and manage everything from the Google Home app (Android/ios) or via voice commands. There are video instructions for installing the Nest Thermostat in the app, and devices like the Nest Hub work great with it. If you want an even smarter thermostat, then the Nest Learning Thermostat Actively learns your schedule and preferences and will automatically manage your heating and cooling for you based on it.

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