Best smart home gifts of 2020

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, HDOT’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift to smarten up your home or someone else’s, you’ve come to the right place. At HDOT, we’ve tested all the major home devices — from Wi-Fi routers to smart speakers — and these are the best of the year. With the holiday shopping season upon us, you might even be able to find some of these at big discounts. While some of our most anticipated smart home devices have yet to be fully reviewed — like the new Apple HomePod Mini, Eero 6, Nest Thermostat and soon-to-release Echo Show 10 — there are still plenty of smart options ready to buy now. We’ll keep this list updated if any new favorites emerge.

Want to finally take the plunge, transforming your house or the house of a family member’s into a truly smart home? These are the gadgets for you.

Chris Monroe/HDOT

Amazon’s signature smart speaker saw a serious update this year. Between its new sphere-like design, top-notch sound and a smarter-than-ever Alexa voice assistant, the new Echo is easily worth the $100 price tag. As usual, Alexa can control your smart home gadgets, play music, listen for break-ins, call other Echo owners and plenty more. If you get a pair, you can also make them work together in stereo to make music sound even better, and if you get an Amazon streaming device, like a Fire TV Stick, you can use the Echo speakers for surround sound when you’re streaming the latest shows.

The new Echo brings other small-but-smart updates to the midrange speaker: a Zigbee receiver and Amazon Sidewalk Bridge. The Zigbee receiver means you can connect your voice assistant to more smart devices, such as light bulbs, without the assistance of an additional bridge device. And the Sidewalk Bridge will basically help extend the range of smart devices on your network. Read our Amazon Echo (2020) review.

Tyler Lizenby/HDOT

The Asus ZenWiFi AX brings full support for Wi-Fi 6, the fastest version of Wi-Fi, stable mesh performance and more, all for hundreds of dollars less than the competition. For $450, you get excellent performance throughout your house, and in our real-world testing, we saw it finish with a whole-home average download speed of 271Mbps, or about 90% of the test house’s capabilities. Read our Asus ZenWiFi AX review.

Chris Monroe/HDOT

August has long been one of the most compelling smart lock developers in the industry because of its clever retrofit design and solid engineering. But the newest version of August’s lock is smaller and smarter than ever before: It has Wi-Fi built into it rather than relying on a bridge device, its mechanics are smoother than ever before and it works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Although at $250 it’s a little pricier than some competitors, the new August Smart Lock won’t leave you disappointed. Read our August Smart Lock review.


Arlo brings its best-in-class performance and feature set to an outdoor camera with super simple setup and a well-designed app. Although at $250 it’s a little pricier than some of the competition — especially our other favorite, the Wyze Cam — Arlo’s Floodlight Camera performs impressively. If you’re looking for a high quality security device for a reasonable price, you can’t do much better than Arlo. Read our Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera review.


Wyze raised eyebrows when its first $20 smart cam dropped a few years ago, and its third-gen version — which can be used outdoors or indoors — should frankly still raise eyebrows. This is an incredible deal for the smarts you get: free 14-day video storage, integration with Amazon and Google voice assistants, so you can throw video streams onto your smart displays and much more. And yes, that $20 price tag is still the same — but as before, you need to account for the $6 shipping cost, for a total landed pretax cost of $26. Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.

Julie Snyder

Oxo’s 8-Cup Coffee Maker is a great countertop appliance that’ll brew quick, hot coffee without scorching your grounds. What’s more, it costs only $170, which is less than its closest competition. The whole device is compact and sturdy, and the carafe won’t drip when you pour it. If you or a loved one is crazy about high-quality coffee, this is the gift to get. Read our Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker review.


Google’s Nest Hub, even two years after its initial release, is a fantastic smart hub that brings all the smarts of Google Assistant to a screen. That means you can stream YouTube video, play music, control your smart home gadgets and display security camera feeds, all with a simple voice command or swipe of a finger. The Nest Hub also displays photos nicely, so it will fit right in with your other countertop decor. Read our Google Nest Hub review.

Chris Monroe/HDOT

The Echo Show 8 (meaning it has an 8-inch screen) is the best Amazon smart display for the price, especially given its current half-off discount, which has left it at a measly $65. It can do most of what the Nest Hub can, though it doesn’t have easy YouTube streaming and it won’t cooperate well with Google services like Gmail and Calendar. But the Echo Show 8 tracks Amazon orders, and it has a camera and shutter, for video chatting and privacy, respectively. Read our Amazon Echo Show 8 review.

Megan Wollerton/HDOT

Two years ago, our SimpliSafe review said the system was “one of the most affordable monitored security services you can buy, and it’s also one of the easiest to set up and use.” That is still true today. SimpliSafe isn’t the best system to use if you want to integrate with your other smart home platforms, like HomeKit or Works with Google Assistant, but on its own, it’s a fantastic system. While it starts at $197, you can get packages with more pieces that work for your particular needs. Read our SimpliSafe Home Security review.

Tyler Lizenby/HDOT

The floodlight camera isn’t the only device worth checking out from Arlo: The Video Doorbell is also one of the best on the market, recently dethroning the Nest as our favorite connected doorbell. Between its solid price tag, 180-degree viewing angle and built-in siren, the Arlo doubles as a security device and doorbell. Read our Arlo Video Doorbell review.

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