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
Give the gift of light
- Quick and easy installation
- Bright output with 16 million colors
- App packed with features and smart home integrations
- Improved color accuracy and saturation
- 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.
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Give a welcoming gift
- Easy to install
- Durable build quality
- Excellent night vision
- Accurate motion alerts
- 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.
Amazon Smart Plug
Turn an everyday device into a smart product
- Easy to use
- Won't break the bank
- 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.
Google Nest Hub
A good gift for smart home newbies
- Accurate sleep tracking
- Tons of data about your sleep
- $100 starting price
- 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.
All-New Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release) with clock | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Cloud Blue
Give an Alexa smart speaker
- Compact footprint
- Vastly improved sound quality
- Clock shows more useful info
- New temperature sensor
- Added Wi-Fi features
- 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.
Apple HomePod mini
Perfect for the people in your life who love Apple products
- Computational audio optimizes the experience
- Clean-sounding highs and mids
- Compact size makes it discrete
- It's the most affordable HomeKit home hub
- 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.
Govee Glide Hexa Pro Light Panels
An unexpected smart home gift
- Easy set-up
- Robust animation options
- Great style
- 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.
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