Thread is a promising way for all of your smart home devices to connect to one another. With a bit of foresight, you can build a network that’s extra-responsive and doesn’t require a dedicated hardware hub. As a widely-adopted standard, Thread is still picking up steam, but you can already get started supporting it with some of the best smart home devices available.
At a glance
- Apple HomePod mini
- Nanoleaf Essentials Bulb
- Eero Pro 6
- Google Nest Hub Max
- Eve Energy
- Apple TV 4k Gen 2
Apple’s entry into the Thread family of devices marked a big spike in interest with the feature. The HomePod mini is one of the few Thread border routers available, which is something of a lynchpin for the home network. Once set up, all of your other Thread devices can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, including the internet and other non-Thread devices.
As a smart speaker, the mini performs admirably when it comes to sound — and as well as you can expect from Siri. Seamless Airplay integration lets you send audio to the speaker from the rest of your Apple devices.
Read our review to get all of the details on the Apple HomePod mini.
The Nanoleaf Essentials Bulb is currently the only Thread-enabled smart bulb out there. Its lightstrip cousin also works on Thread. The Nanoleaf Essentials Bulb offers all the functions you could ask for from a smart bulb: A wide range of colors, control via Google Assistant and Siri, custom schedules, and even PC screen mirroring.
Integration with Google Home and Apple HomeKit provide a unified interface for managing the as well. This feature is quite handy for inclusion alongside all of your other non-Thread smart home products.
Eero has made a name for itself as a user-friendly mesh router system. On top of a slick app that lets you dig into the details of your Wi-Fi usage, it also supports some of the latest networking technologies — including Thread.
The is a natural pick for building the backbone of your home Thread network, since you’re building out coverage anyway. Eero Pro 6 devices are designated border routers, so you can start extending your Thread network right away. As an added bonus, the Eero Pro 6 also supports Zigbee, for any of those legacy devices you may still have around the house.
Read our Eero 6 review to learn more about how it fares in real-world performance.
As a physical centerpiece of the smart home, it’s hard to go wrong with the Google Nest Hub Max. The 10-inch display acts as your portal to controlling all connected home devices, watching videos, and enjoying video calls.
The camera is quite handy in a number of ways. Either enable facial recognition, so different household members get personalized options when approaching it, or set it up as a security camera to alert you to strangers passing the field of view. The device acts as a hands-free smart speaker too, so you can issue Google Assistant questions to the and get answers.
Eve Energy is a great way to bring your current home appliances kicking and screaming into the future. These smart plugs provide full control of scheduling, the ability to use voice control, and the ability to set up automations. HomeKit support is included, so you can manage your recently-upgraded devices alongside those that are already quite clever.
As the cherry on top, also monitor energy consumption of connected appliances and provide cost estimations through the companion app.
It’s hard to talk about the smart home without the TV getting into the mix. The latest Apple TV provides an AirPlay target for your TV to mirror whatever’s on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac. It also has its own ecosystem of apps — not to mention a fancy new remote with a built-in Siri microphone.
The Apple TV 4K Gen 2 is a border router, which is great news if you want to enable a wider Thread network and don’t have a border router yet. Heck, even if you do, extra border routers provide a lovely bit of redundancy so all your bases stay covered.
Read our Apple TV 4k review to get into the details.
Those are our top picks for Thread devices, but be sure to check back again soon. New Thread-enabled products are coming out all the time, and it’s worth benefiting from the standard while it’s gathering momentum.
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