Ah the smart home, more and more, our homes have become more functional and more connected than ever before. But right along with that, it has become more divided as well as many companies have dropped into the fray to be your one-stop shop for all smart home needs. Even still you have more who just want to offer you their version of the best product in their niche. So if you want to gift your friends and family, how do you choose? Well for this year, let’s show you some top picks based on if you are helping someone start their smart home build-out or assisting with someone who already has one going.
The Google Lover
If the person you are looking to gift is just starting out and an Android or general fan of Google, then these few products would be a good kick-off point for them.
Google Nest WiFi
Previously known as Google WiFi, Google has seen fit to rebrand their smart home efforts under the Nest brand name and has introduced a second-generation now called Nest WiFi. They switch up the look and kind of combined a Google Home Mini (Now actually called Nest Mini) and Google WiFi router into one. Nest Mini is sold in 3 configurations. Just the router for about $169, one router an a point (wifi access point) that spreads the reach of the system for $269, and a router with two points for $349. These configurations provide from 2200 square feet of WiFi coverage all the way up to 5400 square feet.
Super simple to set up and you can control/monitor it right from your smartphone. If you’re a parent you can set online time limits for your kids or block content you might not want them to see. Share connection easily with your friends and have the system always updated on the backend by Google. Available now you can purchase from the Google store or at various retailers.
Website – https://store.google.com/product/nest_wifi
Price – $169 and up
Google Nest Hub and Hub Max
Now once you have taken care of this the internet, let’s get to some good devices. You may be familiar with Google Home and Google Home Mini which were everywhere last year, but for this year it is time to upgrade those folks and get them the Nest Hub and Hub Max. Clocking in at 7 inches and 10 inches respectively, these bring the visual appeal to the world of smart speakers. All the Google Assistance goodness, but not adding in that visual element as well. The Nests Hubs are great for the bedroom bringing both speaker and digital picture frame functions for those spaces. When it comes to the Next Hub Max, great for the kitchen area where you can maybe watch a show while cooking or getting receipts, to taking a video call via Google Duo. The Hub Max can also sudo act as a security cam for the area as well.
If you’re picking one up this season, you’ll want to start off with this as new to the collection or an upgrade from the Google Home. Available pretty much everywhere.
Website – https://store.google.com/
Price – Hub $129 / Hub Max $229
Time To Add-On
SmartThings Smart Bulb
Maybe you have already started working on your smart home but you some add on pieces. If you are gifting someone, the most basic add on or stocking stuff you can pick up is smart bulbs. Smart bulbs are the easiest item to add to your smart home, but depending on who you chose can be pretty expensive per bulb. This is why we suggest the SmartThings Smart Bulb. LED energy-efficient works with SmartThings (a favorite of mine), ZigBee3 protocol, and can work with Alexa or Google Assistant. My favorite part, they go for about $9.99 so it won’t break the bank if you need to pick up more than a couple. These are you basic soft white 60W comparable lights for those that just want to ability to turn lights on and off. You can purchase them online or just stop at your local electronics store (I found some at Best Buy myself)!
Website – https://www.smartthings.com/products/smartthings-smart-bulb
Price – $9.99
Ring Spotlight Cam
I’ll round out this year’s list continuing with this section of time to add on. The Ring Spotlight Cam is a very flexible addition to your outside lighting and security setup. I personally have one where I’m powering it by the solar panel you can use to externally use and I have another on my shed which gives me a view of my driveway and a little bit of light in an otherwise dark entrance to the home. Since it runs on a battery you can really set it up in a variety of places. It must be noted if you decide to pick up one without the solar panel, do yourself a favor and pick up an additional battery for it as well. It has the ability to hold two, and adding this would be worth it! You can pick this up directly from Ring.com or in pretty much any retailer!
Website – https://shop.ring.com/products/spotlight-cam-battery
Price – $199.00
Well, that rounds out this year’s tops picks on the smart home side. When it comes to smart home stuff, I love seeing what is the latest and greatest out and can’t wait to see what 2020 might bring. I’m always looking for more ways (where it makes sense of course) to connect my home and do really cool and convenient things. As long as it is “smart” to do!