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The biggest trends we saw in the smart home in 2020

The smart home grew in such a dynamic way in 2020, fueled by the rush of adapting to a new normal of more people working from home, students learning remotely, and the challenges of figuring out how to have fun while quarantining. Companies from all corners of the smart home market adapted fairly quickly, so it’s really tough to pinpoint the single biggest trends we saw in the smart home in 2020. Instead, we saw a collection of things that were spurred by the changing times.

A cleaner home everywhere

Everyone knows a clean home helps to mitigate the spread of germs, but this year we saw that focus profoundly present in the smart home. Air purifiers were a highly sought out necessity that helped to keep the air in the home clean. Many touted their air filtration systems, which featured UVC light that claimed to kill germs and bacteria in the air and in the water with humidifiers.


The cleanliness didn’t stop there, as UVC light was ever-present in abundance throughout the smart home. Consider smart lighting company Lifx, which announced its Lifx Clean smart light bulb: Tests showed that it could kill 70% of bacteria within about two hours of use. While most of these smart home gadgets were practical, we did also see a fair share of over-the-top devices — all good to ease concerns regarding cleanliness at home.

Over in the bathroom, shortages of toilet paper fueled interest in bidets earlier this year. For the majority of consumers, bidets were an odd investment, but one that maintained the year’s trend of a cleaner home intact by making the experience as touchless as possible.

– by John Velasco

Rise of connect home gyms

We saw a booming interest in both home gym and smart gym equipment in 2020. Instead of going to the local health club, people opted to workout in the safety of their homes. Home gym manufacturers responded with live online classes, virtual trainers, interactive challenges, and online leaderboards integrated into their equipment.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

With a smart gym, owners maintained their fitness while still receiving critical motivation from fellow at-home athletes. This push towards a connected gym experience will continue to pick up steam and evolve in 2021.

– by Kelly Hodgkins

Reliance on robot vacuums

This has been a year of change for many people. For most, that meant staying at home, with an increased focus on cleanliness. This year saw an increase in the number of people investing in Roombas and robot vacuums, as well as an overall growth in the market. iRobot released a lower-cost Roomba with high-end capabilities, while Wyze launched a budget-friendly robot vacuum. Shark also released competitively-priced robot vacuums with many of the same features as the highest-end Roombas.

iRobot Roomba E5 (5150) Robot Vacuum
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The ability to keep your home clean without lifting a finger holds a lot of appeal, especially if the robot vacuum is paired with a robot mop. While it won’t keep germs away, a robot vacuum can cut down on allergens in the home and just make it a nicer space to be. After all, everyone loves a clean home, but not everyone loves cleaning.

– by Patrick Hearn

Live workout classes at home

People were forced to be at home this year and that had ripple effects in myriad ways. It forced people to discover how smart home products can be legitimate tools to improve how you work and live from your home, rather than more passive devices that make certain tasks more fun. One way this manifested was a boom in smart home gym equipment. The obvious big winner in that category was Peloton, at least from a brand awareness/cultural phenomenon perspective, but smart gym equipment didn’t stop with spinning.


Smart home gym equipment diversified into dumbbells and free weights, boxing equipment, smart mirrors that let users follow along with workouts, and more. All of that came on top of the existing wearables market to help us stay fit while at home this year. Maybe even better, the rise of workout routines, like Peloton and iFit, helped people stuck at home find a community to be a part of, which is not just great for personal sanity but can be a boon for keeping consistent with working out.

The only real downside to this trend is it can be a significant monetary investment to pick up some of this equipment, so here’s hoping that the trend for 2021 is more affordable smart home gym equipment.

– by Michael Heller

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John Velasco
John is the Smart Home editor at Digital Trends covering all of the latest tech in this emerging market. From uncovering some…
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