This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which devices to make your home a smart home are best?

Nine out of 10 adults in the U.S. are connected to the internet and more than half own a tablet computer. All you need to get started with making your home a smart home is to add a few devices that work with your smartphone, tablet and Wi-Fi connection.

A smart home is a place where internet-enabled appliances and electronic devices can be controlled automatically and remotely. If you are looking for smart home security lighting, take a look at the Ring Smart Lighting System Bundle.

What to know before you buy devices to make your home a smart home

A smart home has networked thermostats, lighting, cameras, doorbells, locks, appliances and voice assistants. The goals of smart home devices are to keep your family safe and to make everyone’s life easier, more efficient and more enjoyable.

Smart devices vs. smart systems

  • Smart devices are all the different gadgets you have around the house: thermostats, doorbells, locks, lights and cameras.
  • Smart systems are the command centers that control all your gadgets and the communication between them.


Smart thermostats learn from how you use them and then apply that learning to deliver the temperatures you want. Smart thermostats learn when you leave, when you return and the temperatures you prefer, then program themselves accordingly. In cold weather, a smart thermostat will save money by keeping the house cooler when no one is there and warming it up just before when you arrive. The same holds true for the A/C in hot weather.


Smart doorbells are very popular devices. Smart doorbells provide you with live, remote video when someone rings your doorbell or approaches your home. If the person you see belongs there, you can talk to them and grant them access. If the person you see is an intruder, you can take the appropriate actions.


With smart locks, you can digitally control who has access to your house and when.  


An important element of a smart home is exterior lighting. You can add motion-based security lighting like floodlights up high and pathway, step lights down low and floodlights in the middle ranges. With a smart home, you can rig your cameras to come on and start recording whenever motion triggers your security lights.


You can place as many cameras as you want, wherever you want them. You might use exterior cameras to cover the yard around your home and garage. Interior cameras can also be placed anywhere you wish to keep an eye on kids, pets, housekeepers and the like. You can view images from simple cameras in real time and with better cameras, you can record what is and what is not going on.

What to look for in quality devices to make your home a smart home

Voice assistants

With smartphones, tablets and virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Home, you can control all your smart devices from the same command center by using simple voice commands. The best choice for you is the one compatible with your networked and Wi-Fi devices. 

Smart hub

A smart hub is the heart of a smart home system. The advantage to having a smart hub is that it operates outside your Wi-Fi network. If you have a smart home, you are likely to have smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets and printers using your Wi-Fi signal. A smart hub connects to your Wi-Fi and creates a mesh network that allows all your devices to communicate with each other.

How much you can expect to spend on devices to make your home a smart home

Smart lights run from $50-$200. You can buy individual smart thermostats for anywhere from $50-$250. Most smart home cameras cost between $20-$40. Smart door locks cost from $100-$200. 

Devices to make your home a smart home FAQ

Why do I need a smart home?

A. When your electronic devices are connected to a smart home network, your family and home are safer and your electric bills go down. When your home has smart security, your insurance bills go down.

Will my alarm system tie into my smart home?

A. You might be able to tie your alarm system into your smart-equipped home. Check for product compatibility beforehand.

What are the best devices to buy to make your home a smart home?

Top devices to make your home a smart home 

Ring Smart Lighting System Bundle

Ring Smart Lighting System Bundle

What you need to know: This motion-activated floodlight provides 2,000 lumens of brightness.

What you’ll love: This starter kit includes a Ring Bridge, so you can customize settings and get notifications through the Ring app. Connect to the Ring family of doorbells and cameras to create a fully connected smart home security system.

What you should consider: This is a hardwired installation, so no batteries are involved.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top devices to make your home a smart home for the money

Blink Mini Smart Indoor Security Camera 2 Pack

Blink Mini Smart Indoor Security Camera 2 Pack

What you need to know: Blink Mini is a 1080P HD indoor, plug-in security camera that lets you monitor your home from afar, day or night.

What you’ll love: Get alerts on your smartphone whenever motion is detected within camera range. See, hear and speak to people and pets in your home with this smart device’s live view and two-way audio feature. Set this device up in minutes by plugging it in, connecting to Wi-Fi and opening your Blink app. This project pairs nicely with any Alexa device.

What you should consider: To get the most from this product, you will need to extend the free 30-day trial of the Blink Subscription Plan.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Smart Home Wi-Fi Smart Outlet 4 Pack

Smart Home Wi-Fi Smart Outlet 4 Pack

What you need to know: This set of smart outlets needs no hub and can be controlled remotely via your mobile devices.

What you’ll love: These smart plugs work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You plug any electronic device into these outlets and set them to operate on a timer or countdown schedule. Controls lamps, fans, humidifiers, Christmas lights and more from your smartphone. Plug them in, open the app and follow the simple instructions for an easy setup.

What you should consider: This smart pack requires a Wi-Fi connection.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.