Smart home technology promises to make your living space more comfortable, more convenient and more secure — and they seem to be getting smarter all the time.

These four devices are our top picks to keep you comfortable, safe and entertained.


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding).

The good: Ecobee’s $249 Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

The bad: The price is high, particularly if you don’t care about the Alexa speaker or the Ecobee4’s other smart capabilities.

The cost: $239 to $249.

The bottom line: There’s no comparison — the Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat available today.

August Smart Lock (HomeKit-enabled)

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding).

The good: From its improved design and easy install, to its simple software interface and top-notch performance, the second-generation August Smart Lock does everything a little bit better. Oh, and it integrates with Siri via Apple’s HomeKit software, as well as the Works with Nest platform.

The bad: The lock isn’t compatible with every deadbolt, HomeKit can be challenging to get up and running, and the Siri integration won’t matter to August’s non-Apple users.

The cost: $139.99 to $199.99.

The bottom line: August’s HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock 2.0 improves on an already awesome product and is worth strong consideration — even if you don’t have an iPhone.

Amazon Echo (2017)

Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (excellent).

The good: With a variety of new designs, the new Amazon Echo is better-looking than the original, just as smart and a lot less expensive. The addition of an aux-out jack lets you connect it with your existing audio setup. It’s also a slightly better listener than before.

The bad: Though fine for casual listening and strong enough to fill a room with music, the Echo doesn’t sound as good as premium, high-fidelity speakers. The volume ring of the original is gone, replaced with the cheaper volume buttons of the Echo Dot.

The cost: $99.99.

The bottom line: Alexa is the most compelling voice-control platform, and the new and improved Echo should only boost her momentum. It’s well worth $100.

Amazon Cloud Cam

Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (excellent).

The good: The $120 Amazon Cloud Cam’s crisp 1080p HD live feed, prompt motion notifications and free 24-hour clip storage set a new value standard for indoor home security cameras.

The bad: Only Amazon cloud subscribers can set motion zones and receive person alerts. Continuous recording is not available (even for subscribers), and there’s no local microSD card storage.

The cost: $119.99.

The bottom line: Amazon’s Cloud Cam is affordable, reliable and easy to use, but it’s the free storage that ultimately makes it more appealing than Nest security cameras and many other home security competitors.

Recommended for you