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Smart devices have become part of our everyday lives. But knowing where to begin can seem overwhelming if you’re relatively new to this technology.
Whether you’re just beginning to transition to smart home technology or looking to take your smart living room to the next level, here are 11 products you need to optimize your living space.
1. A Smart TV
Smart TVs have come a long way in the last few years. Most modern households, even non-smart homes, have at least one smart TV.
These are usually the first smart devices people purchase. Here are some of the best smart TV models from various manufacturers.
|Smart TV Model||Available Screen Sizes||Screen Technology||Operating System||Smart Assistant Compatibility|
|Samsung QN85C||55”, 65”, 75”, 85”||QLED||Tizen OS||Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings|
|LG UR9000||43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, 75”||LED||WebOS||Alexa|
|Amazon Fire TV 4-Series||43”, 50”, 55”||LED||Fire OS||Alexa|
2. A Streaming Stick or Streaming Box
Not ready to commit to a new TV? You can upgrade your existing TV to support smart home technology with a streaming stick or streaming box.
There are a ton of options available, including:
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. Compatible with Alexa, uses Fire OS.
- Roku Express 4K+. Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Uses Roku OS.
- Apple TV 4K. Compatible with Siri, uses tvOS.
You can use a streaming stick or box with any TV, smart or non-smart, as long as it has at least one HDMI port. Once it’s set up, you can download all your favorite streaming apps.
3. Smart Speakers
Like hosting game night from your living room? Want to play some music during your next dinner party without fiddling with all the different connections? Make things easy with a couple of smart speakers.
Smart speakers connect to your favorite music streaming services, letting you play a song, album, or playlist through a single voice command. Some smart speakers can even double as a hub for your smart home devices.
|Smart Speaker||Voice Assistant Compatibility||Supported Music Services||Works as a Bluetooth Speaker?||Doubles as a Smart Hub?|
|Amazon Echo Studio||Alexa||Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and more.||Yes||Yes|
|Google Nest Audio||Google Assistant||Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and more.||Yes||Yes|
|Apple HomePod||Siri||Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and more. Spotify and Amazon Music not supported through Siri commands.||No||Yes|
|Sonos One||Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit||Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, and more.||No||No|
4. Smart Light Switches
Always forgetting to turn the light off before you go to bed? Hate coming home to a dark house? Switch your living room light switches to smart switches!
There are a lot of smart switches on the market, but our two favorite brands are TP-Link Kasa and Lutron.
|Smart Switch||Smart Assistant Compatibility||Dimmer Switches Available?||Hub Required?|
|TP-Link Kasa||Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit||Yes||No|
|Lutron Caseta||Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit||Yes, also compatible with SmartThings||Yes|
5. Smart Bulbs
If changing all the light switches in your living room seems like too much work, smart bulbs are a great alternative to smarten up your living room lighting.
You can place a smart bulb in any socket, then use a voice assistant or a smartphone app to:
- Turn the lights on or off
- Set lighting schedules
- Change the light’s color
Our favorite smart bulbs are made by Philips Hue. The starter kit includes everything you need, including the Hue Bridge. They can connect to:
- Google Home
- Apple HomeKit
6. Smart Plugs
Looking to save some money on electricity after adding all these smart devices to your living room? Smart plugs are the way to go.
Smart plugs attach to any outlet and allow you to turn any device plugged into them on or off from your phone. Depending on the brand you go with, you might also be able to:
- Set on/off schedules
- Monitor your energy usage
- Automatically “unplug” fully-charged devices
7. Smart Cleaning Devices
Once you’ve automated a few other devices in your living room, you might decide to start automating your living room cleaning!
There are smart devices to automate almost any household task, including:
- Window cleaning
Here’s what we recommend for each task.
|Household Chore||Best Smart Device||Smart Assistant Compatibility||Notable Features|
|Vacuuming||iRobot Roomba j5||Alexa, Google Assistant||Optional mopping, obstacle avoidance, designed with pet owners in mind.|
|Mopping||iRobot Roomba Combo j7+||Alexa, Google Assistant||Automatically switches between vacuuming and mopping, obstacle avoidance, designed with pet owners in mind.|
|Window cleaning||ECOVACS Winbot W1 Pro||None||Path planning, dual cross pray, app control|
8. Smart Displays
Smart displays can be anything from a piece of art in your living to an all-in-one scheduling tool for your family.
With a smart display in your living room, you can:
- Display a photo to create a focal point in the room
- Use a calendar widget to see the whole family’s schedule at a glance
- Set and view reminders using your voice
- Place a video call without picking up your phone
Smart displays have become very popular over the past few years, and it seems like every major manufacturer now has one available! But, these are our two favorites.
|Smart Display||Screen Size||Display Type||Voice Assistant Compatibility||Best Widgets||Built-in Camera?|
|Echo Show 15||15.6”||Mounted||Amazon Alexa||Calendar, Reminders, Lists, Photo display||Yes|
|Google Nest Hub Max||10”||Countertop||Google Assistant||Photo display, Calendar, Reminders, Shopping Lists||Yes|
9. Smart Ceiling Fans
You may not have even known there was such a thing as a smart fan — I didn’t until recently.
Smart ceiling fans are something you would expect to see in a science fiction movie. And now, you can have your very own!
The top-of-the-line ceiling fan right now is the Haiku L Series Smart Ceiling Fan. You can control it with:
- Google Home
- A mobile app
- A remote control
The included light has 16 dimmable settings.
10. Smart Thermostats
If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat and dreading the day the electric bill comes in the mail, you probably need a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats can help you lower your energy usage by:
- Learning your heating/cooling routines
- Monitoring the weather outside
- Sending you regular energy usage reports
Two of the most well-known (and our favorite) smart thermostats are ecobee and Nest.
|Smart Thermostat||Voice Assistant Compatibility||Compatibility||C-Wire Required?||Notable Features|
|ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium||Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit||Not compatible with electric baseboard heating||No||Built-in air quality monitor and smoke alarm detection, Energy Star certified, weather monitoring|
|Nest Learning Thermostat||Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings||Not compatible with proprietary systems, Millivolt heaters, high-voltage systems, or solid fuel systems. Only compatible with 1-2 stage cooling systems.||No||Energy Star certified, “Learns” when you’re home or away, energy usage reports, HVAC monitoring|
11. Smart Indoor Cameras
Want to keep an eye on your living room when you’re not home? Need to make sure your new puppy isn’t tearing up all your throw pillows? You need a smart indoor camera in your living room.
Our favorite indoor cameras are the Ring Indoor Cam and Ring Stick Up Cam. The two devices are very similar — the main difference is that the Indoor Cam must be plugged in, while the Stick Up Cam is battery-powered.
Both offer features including:
- Built-in siren
- Two-way audio
- Live View through the Ring app
- Video recording (with a Ring Protect Plan)
The Ring Indoor Camera is only compatible with Alexa, and the Ring Stick Up Cam is only compatible with Alexa and SmartThings.
If you use Google Home or Apple HomeKit, you might prefer one of these options:
|Indoor Camera||Voice Assistant Compatibility||Power Source||Two-Way Audio?||Video Recording?|
|Nest Indoor Cam||Google Home, Alexa, SmartThings||AC power||Yes||Yes, up to three hours without a Nest Aware subscription|
|Nest Indoor & Outdoor Cam||Google Home, Alexa, SmartThings||Battery||Yes||Yes, up to three hours without a Nest Aware subscription|
|eufySecurity 2K Indoor Cam||Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit||AC power||Yes||Yes|
Bonus for Pet Owners: Furbo Pet Camera
If you have an anxious pet who tends to tear up the house when you’re not around, a Furbo camera could be the miracle product you’ve been waiting for.
The Furbo 360° Pet Camera rotates for a full view of your living room, meaning you can see your pet anywhere they wander.
With a built-in speaker and microphone, you can talk your dog down from a barking fit — or bribe them to calm down by throwing a treat directly from the camera housing!
Optimize Your Living Space Today!
Whether you’re a smart home aficionado or just getting into the new technology, there are smart devices to automate nearly any aspect of your home.
We’ve just scratched the surface here, and technology is advancing all the time. Jump on board and bring your home into the modern smart age!
How Much Does it Cost to Use Smart Home Devices?
Other than the initial cost of purchase, there are very few costs associated with using smart home technology.
Some devices require a monthly subscription to access premium features, but the right smart products will save you money — not cost you more.
Do You Need Professional Installation for Smart Home Devices?
For the most part, smart home devices are designed for the DIY-er. However, if you don’t have the right technical experience, you may need a professional to install things like:
- Smart thermostats
- Smart light switches
- Smart ceiling fans