If you’re shopping with the intent to expand a friend’s suite of smart home devices or bring a relative’s home into the 21st century, you can’t beat these freebies.
A word on gifting smart home products
Most of our gift guides don’t require a lengthy introduction, but smart home products are slightly different from other tech products, like Bluetooth speakers or a pair of touchscreen gloves.
First, you need to consider how the recipient will use the devices. Giving your brother a smart security camera package that you know he’ll jump at the chance to set up is a lot different than giving your grandmother a video doorbell that requires her to use additional equipment like a smartphone or smart display. She might love it if you give her both together and set them up, but it’s something to consider.
Second, and related to Grandma’s dilemma, it’s helpful to know what (if any) smart home equipment the gift recipient already has. If you know your friend is all-in on the Alexa platform or the Google Home platform, it helps her choose gifts that will go with her outfit.
The same goes for other sub-platforms within smart lighting. If you’ve heard them rave about how much they like your Nanoleaf or Philips Hue lights, buying something from those companies is a piece of cake.
If you know they have smart home stuff but you’re not sure what platform they use or what equipment they have, it’s easy to find out. Start a conversation with them about smart homes and ask if they recommend the equipment they have.
We can’t speak for everyone, but around here, we love to talk about our smart home gear and we’ll be happy to rattle off everything under the sun in our homes and what we think about it.
RELATED: Geek’s Best Smart Home Gifts for the Holidays of 2021
smart home speakers
Smart home speakers are a hit when gifting smart home gear. They have been, and continue to be, the most popular category of smart home products, and for good reason.
They’re affordable, fun to use, and who doesn’t love on-demand music and voice-based smart home integration parked anywhere they want in their home?
Sonos One (2nd generation) smart speaker
Whether using Alexa or the Google Assistant, the Sonos One line of smart speakers deliver premium sound in a smart speaker package. If great audio quality is your ultimate goal, you can’t go wrong with adding some Sonos speakers to your smart home.
Amazon Echo (4th generation)
The newest Echo not only has a sleek form factor with enhanced bass, but also a Matter smart home hub tucked inside. The Echo line is the best-selling line of smart speakers on the market, and for good reason. It’s a polished ecosystem that’s pretty easy to use.
Echo Dot (5th generation)
The Echo Dot offers a smaller form factor with the same spherical look. One of the coolest new developments in the world of Echo is that the new fifth-generation points include eero mesh network extenders. Pair one with a smart home powered by an eero mesh network and you get an instant coverage boost.
For folks in the Google Home ecosystem, Google Audio is a substantial 30W speaker with room-filling sound. Smaller speakers like the Nest Mini might be great for just giving commands or getting a weather update, but for music playback you want something bigger like the Audio.
Smart displays are almost as popular as smart speakers, and for good reason. Combine the interface of a small tablet with a smart speaker and you have an all-in-one station for everything from listening to music to watching cooking videos in the kitchen.
Echo Show 8 (2nd generation)
The Echo Show 8 offers an 8-inch touchscreen, easy integration with Ring cameras and accessories, and a built-in camera for video calls. It’s bigger than the really small screens and speakers, but not too big.
Echo Show 5 (2nd generation)
The smaller Echo Show 5 is not only a bargain, but it’s the perfect size for nightstands or adding a smart display to just about anywhere. You probably won’t want to watch any serious video on it, but it’s useful for getting visual feedback.
echo show 10
If you want to buy your gift a smart display, a smart speaker, and you don’t want to skimp on either, then you should consider the Echo Show 10. screen, a substantial speaker, and it could be the perfect smart gadget for the kitchen. They can use it for video calls, showing recipes, watching YouTube, and more.
While smart speakers and smart displays may be the most common smart devices, they are closely followed by smart lights. And when it comes to flashy fun, there’s nothing better than smart lights. From mood lighting to syncing colors to music to changing lights for parties, you really can’t beat the wow factor of smart lighting.
Philips Hue Starter Kit
This kit includes three white and colored ambient bulbs, a Hue smart hub, and a wireless physical control switch to add real-world touch controls to your Hue system. It’s a great introduction to the robust Hue lighting platform.
Philips Hue Go
The Go is like the Hue Iris, but it’s battery-powered, so you can easily move it around. Perfect to use as a sunrise alarm and mood lighting at night. At the lowest brightness and candle settings, it can go through the night without recharging.
Govee Smart Bulbs
For inexpensive yet reliable color changing light bulbs, it’s hard to beat Govee. The bulbs are bright and colorful, and the Govee app has tons of fun patterns for every mood and season.
Govee 65ft Smart LED Strip
LED strips are a fun way to add lots of color to a space on the cheap. This Govee kit gives you all the benefits of the Govee lighting rig, including localized music sync with a built-in microphone and enough LED strip to light up a large room.
Nanoleaf Element Lighting Kit
This Nanoleaf Dim Light Panel Kit is not only a really attractive accent piece, but can also serve as a matter edge router for smart home integration.
smart security cameras
Installing security cameras used to be a huge hassle, and you wouldn’t give someone something to force them to hire a professional to drill holes in your house and run the wire. But now you can get smart cameras that run for months on a single charge, without the need to pull cables.
Ring Stick Up Camera with Battery
Indoors, outdoors, you can place these cameras anywhere to keep an eye on everything from your yard to your pets. If your gift already has one of the popular Ring doorbells, this is a perfect gift.
Blink Wireless Outdoor Cameras
A three-pack offers enough cameras to keep an eye on your front yard, backyard, and driveway. Or every bird feeder and squirrel nest if that’s more interesting.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera
Sleek, minimalist, and with a powerful 2K camera, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is a great security camera no matter where you put it. Day or night, you can see everything bright and clear.
Wyze Camera v3
If you know your gift would love a security camera but you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with a Wyze Cam. The company has made a name for itself by making compact and affordable smart security cameras.
RELATED: How to mount your smart cameras without drilling
Smart Plugs and Energy Monitors
Smart plugs might seem like, well, not a very exciting gift compared to a fancy smart speaker or a cool set of smart light panels. But it’s all about knowing your recipient, and smart plugs and related accessories can be a perfect gift for someone who’d like to make something existing in their home (like a table lamp or window fan) intelligent.
They also make a great gift for the curious people on your list who love to know how much a certain thing was used or how much energy it used in a certain month. And they’re great to have around the holiday season!
Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug
Indoors and out, this rugged IP64-rated weatherproof smart plug is great everywhere. It has two independent 15A outputs that can be separately programmed to control just about anything.
Kasa Smart Mini Plugs
The compact form factor of these smart plugs makes it easy to sneak one almost anywhere without blocking adjacent outlets. A pack of four means the gift recipient will have plenty of opportunities to use them around the house.
Kasa smart mini plug with energy monitoring
This four-pack offers a welcome upgrade for the curious people on your list, power monitoring. Not only do you get all the great features of Kasa smart plugs, but now they can track and monitor how much power connected devices use.
Kasa HS300 Smart Power Outlet
This large power strip is ideal for use with a media center or home office setup. If you’re shopping for someone who’s always unplugging devices to save money, the environment, or both, help them automate the process.
Smart Strip with automatic shutdown detection
Want to help a friend or family member who doesn’t want to worry about smart home apps? This smart power strip is old-fashioned smart. It can detect when the main device is turned off, such as a computer, and will automatically turn off connected devices, such as printers or monitors.
Looking for more gift ideas? Take a look at our other gift guides: