It is that time again and for this holiday season, we have a few picks and some companies that we previously might have now recommended before. But as some of our needs have changed now that many of us have been working from home for the better part of a year now, our opinions have changed some, as we have tried out new products this year. Below are our top 5 picks for this holiday season in the smart home arena!

Philips Hue Play Light Bars

For a long time, we advocated that the Philips Hue system was too expensive and there were alternatives with better prices for smart lighting in your home. And while we do still feel this is true, it is nice to mix in some mood lighting into space here and there. We don’t suggest changing all your lighting to Philips Hue as this would become crazy expensive, but little touches throughout the home or in a specific space would be a nice touch and easier on the wallet. One of the items we suggest for this is the Philips Hue Play Light Bar device. If you have a small space, or pair of these provide enough lighting to really change the mood of a room. Or if you have a large space, this can become a nice accent if strategically place in that space. The Play Light Bar can be brought as a single device or sold in a pack of two. So you can buy as many as you need to design out the mood lighting in your area. Going for $69.99 or $129.99 for the two-pack and it comes in white or black.

Philips Hue Play Light Bar – $129.99 (Amazon) or (Best Buy)

Nanoleaf Shapes

In keeping with the lighting, if you want to add some mood lighting to your space and make a nice design of it, Nanoleaf has been a product we have used this year to decorate our spaces and it is a great edition for mood-lighting. Nanoleaf recently came out with a new line they call shapes and now have added hexagons and mini triangles to the lineup. What is also cool about these, if you can now come hexagon and mini triangles to make new and interesting designs. Once you create your design, the many colors you can do with it are almost endless. A base kit will run you about on average from $119.99 to $199.99, with expansion packs starting around $69.99 depending on the shapes and how many in the pack.

Nanoleaf Shapes (Hexagons) – $199.99 (Amazon – Canvas Starter Kit) or (Best Buy)

Nest Thermostat

Nest has really had a new thermostat in a little while, but they have recently released a new simple one. Coming in a price point lower than their 3rd generation more premium model, at $129.99. While the price may be lower and it won’t have all the learning bells and whistles, this is probably the best looking thermostat that has now in their lineup. And with all the core functionality you need to control your heating and cool source at home and away via their mobile app, we have to recommend you looking at getting this one for your home. Come in 3 colors, Sand, Snow, and Charcoal! Now while $129.99 is a decent price, we also suggest you looking into your energy supplier’s rebate marketplace where you can get it for even cheaper!

Nest Thermostat – $129.99 (Amazon) or (Best Buy)

Nest Hello Doorbell

This one I can finally talk about personally as I was finally able to install this on my home. I’ve been a long time user of the Ring Doorbell, which still gets kudos from me, except for one glaring issue. My home is deeply rooted in the Google eco-system. Because of this, I can never look at the doorbell video on my Google Home and Google Next Hubs if someone rang the bell or if the motion was detected. Well after some electrical work needed to be done at my home, I decided to have them install the wiring I need for a hard-wired smart doorbell. Once that was done the Next Hello Doorbell was the first thing I picked up (technically I pick it before they did the wiring as I know that was what I was going to use!). The Nest Hello Doorbell is an amazing smart doorbell in both it’s video quality and how it doesn’t just alert you on your phone, but shows a snapshot of what it has seen. Plus with Nest aware it can learn faces and let you know exactly who is at your door if it is a repeat person.

Add that to the fact that I can now finally see and answer my doorbell from a Nest/Google Hub device, I can finally put the phone down when I’m home and use the other devices in the house. The Hello Doorbell will cost you about $229.99 and if you use Nest Hub devices, you’ll want this for your home!

Nest Hello Doorbell – $229.99 (Best Buy)

Ring Floodlight Cam

Now if your home is in the Amazon camp or you are just looking for a good Smart floodlight cam for your house, we’d still recommend the Ring Floodlight Cam. Going for normally $249.99, this is a device we still use and will continue to use. Having the traditional floodlight look with the addition of a camera, make for a great replacement for your current non-smart floodlights. You’ll have the best experience if you are an Amazon Alexa user and have Amazon’s brands of smart displays in your home, but even without this is a good device to get so you can monitor what is going on the outside of your home.

Ring Floodlight Cam – $249.99 (Amazon) or (Best Buy)

So these are our top picks for the smart home this year, but there are definitely some other devices to keep an eye out for. Some of them aren’t on sale yet so we couldn’t list them. For example, the new Amazon Echo Show 10, which looks to be quite an interesting device. Or the Arlo Wire Free doorbell, which looks like finally a doorbell that isn’t from the Nest or Ring camp that will have great features and won’t need to be wired. Keep an eye out for these and more.

What smart home devices are look looking to pick up for your loved ones this year, or maybe for yourself? Be sure to let us know in the comments!