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One of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is to make the homes of your loved ones smarter. Whether they’re loyal to Apple, Amazon or Google, these smart home gifts will be a welcome holiday surprise for your tech-savvy (or even not-so-tech-savvy) family and friends.
The best part? It’s relatively easy to simplify someone’s life and upgrade a home with smart devices without breaking the bank. You can find clever gadgets at a wide range of prices, including smart home security devices to keep a house or apartment secure and smart speakers and displays to keep the holiday music streaming. Here are all of our favorite smart home gifts for 2022.
Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo Dot is currently ranked as our favorite smart speaker. But if you’re considering adding an Alexa device to every room, you might as well hold out for the latest Echo Dot smart speaker, which will start shipping on Oct. 20. The updated Dot promises better sound than ever before and twice as much bass thanks to a redesigned audio architecture. It’s also capable of functioning as a Wi-Fi mesh extender for Eero routers. As usual, Alexa can control your smart home gadgets, play music, call other Echo owners and plenty more. Available for preorder now, it’s easily worth the $50 price tag, and chances are Amazon will cut the price even further for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It’s highly likely that most of the new Wi-Fi devices you or a loved one will be buying in the next year will support Wi-Fi 6. So if you want to take advantage of that faster, more efficient level of performance at home, you’ll need a router to match. The TP-Link Archer AX21 is an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router that has a list price of $100 or so, but you can typically find it for around $90, and we’ve seen it dip as low as $75 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Among all of the Wi-Fi 6 budget picks CNET has tested, this router performed the best, with fast, reliable speeds and an easy-to-use app that makes it a cinch to set the thing up and manage your home network settings. All of that made it an easy Editors’ Choice-winner here on CNET.
Read our TP-Link Archer AX21 review.
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We named the second-gen Google Nest Hub the best smart display for 2022 — and for good reason. It’s a super smart device that brings convenience to nearly every dimension of the Google Assistant-powered smart home. Whether you’re streaming music, checking who’s ringing your video doorbell or playing YouTube videos, the Nest Hub’s got you covered.
Read our review.
If your friend or family member prefers Alexa to Google Assistant, the Echo Show 5 — which got an update earlier this year — is a fantastic first smart display. It brings all the smarts of Amazon’s voice assistant, along with the ability to video chat, watch cooking videos and catch some cool kids programming with Amazon Kids Plus (especially if you get the kids edition). It’s also seeing some hefty discounts this holiday season, so check out those deals.
Read our review.
Apple hasn’t launched a smart display to compete with the Nest Hub or Echo Show devices, but it does have a great looking and sounding smart speaker for the Siri lover in your life. While the HomePod doesn’t have a screen, it does boast some solid sound design, and it works really well with other Apple devices, like iPhones, Apple TVs and Homekit-compatible smart home gadgets. What’s more, it comes in a handful of new colors.
Read our review.
This is kind of an odd pick, but it will be much appreciated during the winter months when germs are at an all-time high. This automatic soap dispenser from Amazon is not only one of our favorites, it’s designed with good hygiene in mind. It features a 20-second timer for proper hand washing. We found that this soap dispenser can last for a few months on just one charge. See our Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser review.
The Ring Alarm Pro is a DIY home security system, but you’ll get the most out of it if you’re looking to upgrade your whole home’s smarts. It comes with a built-in Eero router, so adding an extender can turn your network into a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. Plus, it brings cellular-supported backup Wi-Fi, so if you lose power or network connection, your internet stays intact. Finally, you get local video processing and storage — and cool integrations with Alexa, if you have an Amazon Echo device.
In short, it will turn a regular old home into a surprisingly robust smart home in no time flat.
Read our review.
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Smart plugs are an easy way to upgrade your existing devices and can be used for a number of things, including automating lights, small appliances and more. Leviton makes some of the best smart plugs on the market, and the D215P-2RW is our choice for the best smart plug you can buy. CNET’s David Anders likes that it plays nice with all three of the major smart home ecosystems, including Apple HomeKit, which is unique for a smart plug, as the majority of them work only with Alexa and Google.
Amazon’s Smart Thermostat sets a new standard for the category. It has a clean, modern touchscreen design, and it’s easy to use, whether you’re adjusting the temperature at the thermostat, through the Alexa app or with Alexa voice commands with a compatible Alexa-enabled speaker or display. It earned a CNET Editors’ Choice award for best value smart thermostat.
Read our Amazon Smart Thermostat review.
If you’re looking to improve your home internet, one of the best moves you can make is to upgrade from a traditional router to a mesh Wi-Fi system. TP-Link’s Deco W7200 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 system that costs just $233 for a two-pack. That might be the best mesh router value we’ve seen. And according to CNET’s Ry Crist, the best part is that “it performs like a champ, with fast, stable speeds, decent range and a setup process that’s about as easy as it gets.”
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