Buyer's Guide 2020: Smart Home

Make your space work for you.

If you're in the market to buy your first smart home device or adding to your collection of smart home accessories, our 2020 Buyer's Guide has lots of excellent options for you to look at. Whether you are searching for a smart doorbell, a full smart home starter pack, or a laundry sensor, we've evaluated the best protection, safety, and energy-saving accessories for your home. 

Related: Buyer's Guide 2020: Mac Gear

Homekit Compatible?

HomeKit is Apple’s smart home device management framework. It lets you control compatible smart home products in concert through the Home app, which comes preinstalled on your iPhone. Of the products listed, only the Ecobee is HomeKit-compatible, but others such as the Eufy Doorbell could support HomeKit soon.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Eufy Video Doorbell 2K ($159.99)

Secure and convenient, the Eufy Video Doorbell takes the stress out of unannounced visitors. Your phone alerts you when someone is at the door and provides both a live stream and video playback of your doorstep. Whether you’re happily accepting delivery or trying to avoid canvassers, you’ll be able to see who is at your door in real-time. The chime is loud enough to get your attention but not intrusive. The setup is involved and you’ll need to make sure your existing doorbell wiring can provide enough power, but once installed it’s easy to use.

Wyze Smart Home Starter Pack ($99)

If you’re new to home automation and looking for an affordable start, this is the way to go. A camera detects motion, sound, and alarms so it can alert you when something is amiss. The bulbs allow
you to customize brightness levels, colors, and the schedule of any lamp in your home. Plugs allow you to turn any small appliance into a smart one by timing when it turns off and on and providing remote control. A sensor detects open doors or windows. Setup is easy and, best of all, one app manages all the devices.

SmartDry Wireless Laundry Sensor ($49.99)

Dryers are one of the most energy-consuming appliances a home can have. Fortunately, this sensor can help you cut down on drying time by sending alerts to your phone when your clothes are dry, often well before your machine automatically turns off. The sensor also monitors the temperature of your clothes to keep delicates from overheating. Thanks to this sensor, I often save a full half-hour of drying time!

Ecobee SmartThermostat (Starting at $149)

A favorite from last year, the Ecobee SmartThermo- stat is still one of the best smart home options out there. With the ability to control your home temperature from your phone, you don’t have to worry about if you left the AC on and you can start warming your house before you arrive home. Additional sensors allow you to customize temperatures by room (the pack comes with one extra but you can purchase more), and Alexa capabilities offer voice control and other fun features like music playing, web searches, and even witty rapport.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Switch/Dimmer ($17.99)

The Kasa Smart Switch offers lighting control and customization at one of the lowest prices points out there. Replace any switch in your house
and enjoy the atmosphere, scheduling, and remote access. Fade outlets you leave a room without stumbling in the dark, and the different levels of light let you customize the look and feel of any room. Voice control is available with Alexa or Google Assistant, and installation is easy and quick. For a seamless entry into the world of home automation, this switch is the way to go.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.