The Best smart home devices of 2020

Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Now in its third generation, Amazon’s flagship smart speaker delivers outstanding sound in an attractive package for less than $100.

Size: 4.8 x 3.9 inches (dia) | Speakers: 3-inch woofer, 0.8-inch tweeter | Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5GHz), Bluetooth

The third-generation Echo looks nothing like past iterations. Rather, it adopts the modern, fabric-swathed look of the Echo Plus. The new Echo takes advantage of everything Alexa does: control smart home gadgets, connect to other smart home hubs, read you audiobooks, check the weather, and even let you purchase things online just by using your voice.

Arlo Q

Excellent video coupled with a generous free storage plan, and lots of features.

Size: 6 x 4.9 x 4.5 inches | Resolution: 1080p | Field of View: 130 degrees | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT | Cloud storage: 7 days free; longer plans start at $10/month.

Simple, trouble-free setup
Intuitive, flexible scheduling
Excellent video quality
Generous free cloud plan
Single-user mobile app
Difficult Custom Mode setup
Activity Zones not part of motion-detection controls

The Arlo Q’s 1080p camera boasts excellent quality video, both day and night, has great motion detection, and a flexible scheduling feature

Ecobee (5th Gen)

Our favorite smart thermostat has Alexa built in, but its real power lies in its remote sensors.

Size: 4.3 x 4.3 x 1 inch | Wireless: 802.11 Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, SmartThings, IFTTT

Better speaker
Full Alexa support
Improved remote sensors
Works with Spotify
Large
Big bezel

The Fifth-generation Ecobee smart thermostat has everything we liked about its predecessor, the Ecobee4, such as Alexa built in, a slick touchscreen interface and a remote sensor that helps ensure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. But the newest version has a better speaker so you can actually use it to play music, all of Alexa’s features (including Drop-In and messaging), and Spotify integration.

Nest Hello

Excellent video quality and facial recognition make this our favorite video doorbell.

Video Resolution: 1600 x 1200 | Field of View: 160 degrees | Works with: Google Assistant | Size: 4.6 x 1.7 x 1 inch | Wired/Battery: wired | Starting Storage Fee: $50/year for 5 days video

Nest’s device has the best video we’ve yet seen from a video doorbell cam; its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. Nest’s camera can recognize faces, and even announce them when they come to your door.

WeMo Mini

This smart plug is simple to use and works with all of the major smart assistants.

Size: 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches | Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, IFTTT | Electrical rating: 120V~/15A/60Hz/1800W

Physical on/off switch
Works with lots of smart home systems
Slim profile
No energy monitoring
Wider than other plugs

Belkin’s WeMo Mini smart plug is our favorite smart plug. It’s wide, but thin enough so that you can fit two of them per outlet. While it doesn’t have energy monitoring, the Mini does work with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant. A simple on/off switch also lets you control any appliance connected to it, no smartphone needed.

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