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How to give smart home gifts

As we're making our lists and checking them twice, no doubt many gift givers are considering the wisdom of gifting smart home devices. While smart home gadgets like smart speakers, smart light bulbs, and the like are quite popular and certainly fun to receive, this buying decision is fraught with complexities: Which gadgets make the best gifts, and how do you choose which smart home system would be a welcome present?

How to gift smart home products

Generally speaking, if you're choosing a smart home gift, you want it to be something that's not only easy to set up but easy to use as well. Otherwise, your recipient will be constantly coming to you with tech-support questions throughout the year.

For that reason, we recommend choosing a gift from a trusted major brand. While you can certainly save some cash on ultra-discounted smart lightbulbs, for example, the potential aggravation of using an unfamiliar or widely unsupported app or interface may frustrate the recipient. Brands that are known for making gadgets that “just work” or ones that offer reliable customer support will mean that if anything does go wrong, you won’t be on the hook.

What type of smart home devices make the best gifts? Ideally you want to choose something that will work with a wide variety of smart home systems. When it comes to the battle of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and more, the last thing you want is to pick up an Apple HomeKit-only device and discover the person you’ve gifted can’t use it.

Still not sure what to get? We've picked some smart gifts that are sure to delight.

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
Give the gift of light
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Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Give a welcoming gift
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Amazon Smart Plug
Amazon Smart Plug
Turn an everyday device into a smart product
Jump to details
Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub
A good gift for smart home newbies
Jump to details
All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue
All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue
Give an Alexa smart speaker
Jump to details
Apple HomePod mini
Apple HomePod mini
Perfect for the people in your life who love Apple products
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Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels
Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels
An unexpected smart home gift
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philips hue white and color ambience starter kit review 3587
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit

Give the gift of light

Pros
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Bright output with 16 million colors
  • App packed with features and smart home integrations
  • Improved color accuracy and saturation
Cons
  • Pricier than competitors
  • Requires standalone network hub

Consider bestowing the Philips Hue starter kit on someone who is itching to dip their toe in the smart home game. This handy kit includes the mandatory hue lighting bridge, which act as a Wi-Fi controller to bridge the gap between phones and light bulbs. There's also several light bulbs included in the package, and these color-changing, fully schedulable, and easy-to-operate light bulbs can go a long way to dynamically change any room. Plus, the app is is easy to use, and the system works extremely well.

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
Give the gift of light
ring video doorbell 4 review 001
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Ring Video Doorbell 4

Give a welcoming gift

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Durable build quality
  • Excellent night vision
  • Accurate motion alerts
  • Feature-rich
Cons
  • Need subscription for full features
  • Only minor changes over previous model
  • No Alexa Greetings feature

Everyone should have a video doorbell. Not only are they wildly convenient for watching for Amazon deliveries or potential porch pirates, but they provide an added layer of home security. It's also great to be able to answer the door from not just anywhere in your home but from anywhere in the world, providing the illusion that someone is always home. There's also no downside to being able to shoo away a salesperson without getting mired in conversation.

Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Give a welcoming gift

Amazon Smart Plug

Turn an everyday device into a smart product

Pros
  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Won't break the bank
Cons
  • Might not be ideal for all applications

A smart plug can turn almost any everyday appliance, gadget, or device into a smart device instantly. The Amazon smart plug is one of the simplest and easiest-to-operate options we've ever come across. Once it's connected to the Alexa app, you can plug in anything from a fan to a coffee maker, a space heater, and more, and then control it with the Alexa app.

Amazon Smart Plug
Amazon Smart Plug
Turn an everyday device into a smart product
google nest hub 2nd gen review on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Google Nest Hub

A good gift for smart home newbies

Pros
  • Accurate sleep tracking
  • Tons of data about your sleep
  • $100 starting price
Cons
  • Few new features over previous model

If you're helping someone get started creating a smart home with your gift, it's a good idea to begin with a product that acts as a central smart home hub and can interact with and control other smart home devices. From here, they can easily add gadgets and grow with what you’ve sown for them.

The smaller version of Google's smart speaker with a screen also has sleep tracking and sensing built-in, making it a great bedside device or home hub with a smaller footprint and price tag.

Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub
A good gift for smart home newbies
2022 amazon echo dot with clock review 5th gen digitaltrends 2022img 0535

All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue

Give an Alexa smart speaker

Pros
  • Compact footprint
  • Vastly improved sound quality
  • Clock shows more useful info
  • New temperature sensor
  • Added Wi-Fi features
Cons
  • Only works as Wi-Fi booster if you're already on Amazon eero network

This pint-sized version of Amazon's wildly popular Echo speaker uses an LED interface on the front to share simple information. The newest version sports improved speaker quality and is ideally suited to any small space where you'd like to add some smarts.

All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue
All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue
Give an Alexa smart speaker
apple homepod mini review 12 of
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Apple HomePod mini

Perfect for the people in your life who love Apple products

Pros
  • Computational audio optimizes the experience
  • Clean-sounding highs and mids
  • Compact size makes it discrete
  • It's the most affordable HomeKit home hub
Cons
  • Siri lacks the advanced intelligence of its competitors
  • Short power cord

Apple's HomePod is pricey, but the HomePod Mini is a bit more affordable. Best of all, it places you squarely into the Apple ecosystem where not all devices play nicely. But it sounds great, and for an Apple enthusiast, this might be the ideal home hub.

Apple HomePod mini
Apple HomePod mini
Perfect for the people in your life who love Apple products
govee glide hexa pro review hero hexapro
Simon Sage / Digital Trends

Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels

An unexpected smart home gift

Pros
  • Easy set-up
  • Robust animation options
  • Great style
Cons
  • Janky PC sync
  • Iffy color accuracy

There's a practical case for smart light bulbs, sure. But having some lights that are purely decorative or just for fun is the ultimate reason to give these as a gift. These flat LED wall panel lights go up with an ingenious stick-up mount that's easy to remove. They're controlled with a companion app where you can create dynamic color-changing scenes that resemble everything from the Northern Lights to a firelight glow. They also interact with either Google or Alexa.

Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels
Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels
An unexpected smart home gift

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