The best smart home systems

Start your journey to the ultimate connected home with this top tech
The best smart home systems

The smart home age is here. With major companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and Philips truly embracing the idea of a truly connected living space, it's easier than ever to begin to set up your smart home.

Whether that's the best smart thermostats to smart bulbs to brighten to up your home or top smart wireless home security systems, the choice of tech hitting the shelves are finally worth serious consideration.

Essential reading: Building the ultimate smart home

If you're looking to update your home, going connected is increasingly the smart choice.

Before you buy anything, check out our round up of the best smart home tech.

The heating

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is the poster child for connected home systems, and its ability to adapt to your needs makes it a leader. It monitors your heating/cooling habits and matches them up to the weather outside.

Now into its 3rd generation, the smart home device now also adds the ability to control your hot water tank and uses OpenTherm technology to help create a more efficient heating setup.

$249 (with installation), nest.com | Amazon

Smart home showdown: Nest v Hive

British Gas Hive

The best smart home systems

The pick of smart heating systems for UK users and reportedly set to land in the US as well, Hive's simplicity is its biggest advantage. Made by Blighty's favourite doormat botherers British Gas, it's a solid and robust system that works with 99% of boilers, enabling you to create schedules, turn your heating on/off remotely. It will also smartly switch off should it detect your smartphone is taking a holiday.

Yves Behar (Jambox and August Smart Lock) designed the latest model as well so it'll look the part in your home too.

£249 (with installation), hivehome.com | Amazon

Read more: The best smart thermostat and heating systems for your home

The lights

Philips Hue

Philips Hue smart light bulbs hook up to an app that enables you to change the colour and brightness of individual lights, for the ultimate in mood settings. They can also be hooked up to a host of IFTTT 'recipes' via slick apps for iPhone, and Android. A starter pack comes with three 600 lumens LED bulbs.

If you have an Apple Watch or a Pebble smartwatch, you can also control the Hue lighting without picking up your phone and there's Apple HomeKit support to give it a little more connected appeal.

Starter kit: $199.95, meethue.com | Amazon

LIFX

best smart home systems

LIFX's bulb is a worthy rival to Philips Hue with 16 million colours, 1,000 shades of white alone and Wi-Fi bulbs with maximum brightness of 1,000 lumens. Set up is simple, and there's no need for a hub or router, and LIFX can even connect to your Nest smart home system if you have one.

The app itself is easy to use, and aside from controlling colours and setting themes, you can also split your home up into zones and then create timings for them, which is a great way to secure your home when you're away.

From $59.99, lifx.com | Amazon

Read more: The best smart bulbs (Belkin, LIFX, Sony and more)

The door

August Smart lock

This smartphone and smartwatch compatible door lock means you can ditch your house key forever – in theory. The unit is compatible with most North American style cylindrical lock types, and uses a Bluetooth connection with your device to open up as you approach. It also works with a key, if your phone runs out of battery.

An extra $30 will get you a HomeKit-enabled lock so you can use Siri to open sesame.

$199, august.com | Amazon

Yale Keyless Connected

The best smart home systems

The key-free Yale smart lock can also be made to be smartphone-free as well to make things even safer.

You can open sesame with either a key fob/card or alternatively with a pin code. That code can be changed at any time and you can even hand out one for temporary access. If someone does try to crack the code, the alarm will be sounded to help scare them off.

$200, yale.co.uk | Amazon

Read more: The best smart locks

The security

Canary

Canary is another learning smart home system that aims to add a touch of smartness to dull incumbent home tech.

Housing an HD camera and packed full of sensors, it aims to smartly detect security threats in your home, from a person who shouldn't be there to an open window – and delivers the bad news to your smartphone via a cheery push notification.

$199, store.canay.is | Amazon

Netatmo Welcome

Netatmo Welcome cam recognises faces

The big draw here is the lack of a subscription - this Full HD security camera is about the same price as rivals like Nest Cam but gives you access to your videos for no extra monthly payment.

It also boasts face recognition and motion sensor accessories for doors and windows.

$199, netatmo.com | Amazon

Read more: The best smart home security systems

The smoke alarm

Nest Protect

The smoke alarm is the dumbest device in your home. It sits around for months, when you're never quite sure if it's working, before screaming the house down over some burned toast.

Nest's offering enables you to wave away false alarms, alerts you to problems via smartphone when you're away from your home and even works as a motion activated night light.

$99, nest.com | Amazon

First Alert ONELINK Wi-Fi

Nest kind of has the smart smoke and CO detecting market sewn-up but don't discard First Alert if you're looking for some automated Apple HomeKit compatibility.

The alarm, which replaces your current wired device will alert you with notifications in the event of a smoke or carbon monoxide emergency and the HomeKit integration means you can run tests and alter mood lighting directly from your iPhone.

$119.95, firstalert.com | Amazon

The assistant

Amazon Echo

The best smart home systems

We know the Echo isn't technically a smart system, but the voice-powered personal assistant housed within a Wi-Fi speaker can act as a pretty useful smart home hub and was named our Smart Home Product of the Year.

With support for Amazon's Alexa assistant growing on an almost weekly basis, you can now do things like control your Hive or manage Philips Hue lights just by talking to your Echo or Echo Dot.

Wareable verdict: Amazon Echo review | Amazon Echo Dot review

$179.99 | Amazon

Google Home

The best smart home systems

Google's Amazon Echo rival might not be as feature packed just yet, but the smart speaker taps into the company's search engine alongside a unique contextual question/response system.

It'll let you control your lights, thermostats and switches if connected to Philips Hue, Nest, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT with more integrations coming soon. It's also more of a looker than the Echo speakers with a customisable base to help it blend in with your living room or kitchen decor.

Wareable verdict: Google Home review

$129, google.com


Shop for recommended smart home tech on Amazon

Nest thermostat
Nest thermostat
$249
Philips Hue starter kit
Philips Hue starter kit
$199.99
Canary smart cam
Canary smart cam
$166.94
Withings smart scales
Withings smart scales
$146.58

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4 Comments

  • JimM says:

    What do I think? I think "why are you putting unreleased products in your 'best of' list".  That's what I think. 

    Have they been reviewed?  

    • Pw1 says:

      Which product has not been released yet?

  • arijaycomet says:

    Although I'm a huge fan of the Nest, I think this post is missing the Ecobee3 which is quickly becoming a huge seller.  I have one in my home, and love the easier-to-use touch screen compared to the Nest, and the multi-location sensors.  Those two features alone, plus Apple's HomeKit, make it a top pick for me.

    I've not checked out a Canary yet, but my experience with the Netatmo Welcome was less than stellar.  I had one a few months ago and it failed to work properly.  Underwhelmed, to say the least.  I think the Nest Cam is the best 1080 option right now, but the new Arlo Q coming in January might change that.

    Light-wise I agree with the Philips Hue, though I think it can very pricey to change bulbs.  People should really consider going with Lutron Caseta switches or similar.  Or get a smart hub and switches that work there.  Assuming your average room has 2-3 bulbs, the cost to do just a switch is a more than 50% savings, though of course you don't have cool color changing options.

    Another aspect about all of these fun tech bits is the platform.  Most of the products you listed here do work with Nest, but not all of them will work with the same smart home hub.  Once a user wants their lights, smoke alarms, cameras, and other devices to work together, it becomes a more difficult process.  I'm a huge fan of the Wink hub, and recently tested it against various devices, like you have listed here.  Full article:

    http://arijaycomet.com/2015/11/16/tested-smart-hom...

    Overall I love your list here... and while your post is a month old now, it is still very good shopping advice for those heading into the 2015/2016 holiday season :)

  • Pw1 says:

    It's a shame lifx don't make gu10 light bulbs like the philips hue does as the lifx app is far far superior & easier to use. 

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