Best home remote control system
Our current Editors' Choice for home automation hubs, the Wink Hub 2 works with devices that use Z-Wave, ZigBee, Lutron Clear Connect, Kidde, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It is also Thread enabled for the future. That includes just about everything in the smart home spectrum, from Philips Hue lighting and the Netgear Arlo camera, to Google Home. It's the most reliable, widely supported hub we've tested.
Logitech Harmony Elite
Don't like talking and prefer controlling things the old fashioned way: by pushing buttons? The Logitech Harmony Elite is the ultimate universal remote for a reason: it controls a lot more than just TV and stereo. The pricey unit connects with the included Harmony Home Hub to control other Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, or infrared devices in your house.
Read The Best Smart Home Automation Hubs for more options.
Icontrol Networks Piper nv
The Piper nv is an indoor-only surveillance camera you can watch remotely from an Android or iOS device, perfect for keeping an eye on the house, the pets, or even the baby. But it's a lot more than that. It's also a Z-Wave controller, capable of giving you household control over household gadgets no matter where you are. And the camera itself is excellent, with digital pan, tilt, and zoom functions, plus sharp night vision and two-way audio so you can speak to whoever is under your watch.
Nest Cam Outdoor
The Nest Cam Outdoor is essentially the same camera as its popular Indoor model, but with a weatherproof enclosure and power cord. Otherwise it's pretty much identical in features—it uses Wi-Fi to send a full-time video signal (up to 1080p) you can monitor via the Web or mobile apps. It also provides alerts for motion (in zones you set) or audio. Pay for the Nest Aware subscription and you'll get days of video stored online that turn into clips you can watch whenever you like.
Check out The Best Home Security Cameras for more.
Locks and Home Security Systems
August Smart Lock HomeKit Enabled
The big names in door locks have smart home options, but they haven't pulled it off as well as upstart August. Its easy-to-install, Apple HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock mounts over your existing deadbolt switch to provide connectivity for your door. It speaks via Bluetooth to your smartphone, granting quick access to you or guests. The latest version integrates tightly with Apple devices, but still has support from other services like IFTTT.
Vivint used to be APX Alarm Security Solutions, but now has a cool name to go along with expanding beyond security into home automation. We gave four stars to the Vivint Sky , which includes subscription-based remote monitoring by pros that costs for $50 to $70 per month. If you want pro installation and an extra set of eyes, Vivint is an excellent choice. It can even be controlled with the Amazon Echo.
SimpliSafe Home Security System
If you prefer a DIY approach to smartening up your home security, check out the SimpliSafe system. While it lacks a camera, it makes up for it with reasonable prices and monthly monitoring of a wide range of sensors. It comes in multiple different packages, or you can customize your own so you can get exactly what's right for your home.
Heating and Cooling
Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
The Nest Learning Thermostat has built-in Wi-Fi so you can remotely control the temperature from phone, tablet, or PC. This latest generation also has a larger display and a few more sensors than its predecessors, in addition to geofencing support and a furnace monitor.
For more, see Nest Tips to Help You Take Control of Your Smart Home.
Ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat
As nice as the Nest is, it's not our only top pick. The Ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat is another stylish device you can control remotely. It's not dependent on just monitoring home temperature from one spot—it checks multiple sensors in multiple rooms.
Philips Hue BulbsWant complete wireless supremacy over the lights in your home? The Philips Hue line delivers with bulbs that let you control not only the intensity of the light, but also the color. It can get pricey, to be sure, but the Hue ecosystem has been around long enough that it works with just about every other system out there, from Alexa, to IFTTT, to Siri (using the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0). Not interested in colorful lights but still want that incredible granular control over an all-white bulb? Philips has the coming in at an almost bargain price, at least for smart bulbs.
Check out The Best Smart Light Bulbs for more connected lighting options.
Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Wi-Fi
If you're interested in sous vide cooking—where food sealed in plastic is immersed in a hot bath to cook to perfection—you need an immersion circulator to get started. The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker uses Wi-Fi connectivity so you control it from anywhere, even when you're not home. A big dial lets you set the desired temperature to within a tenth of a degree, an LED display shows the set and current water temperature, and an app keeps you notified of the cooking process every step of the way. It makes cooking sous vide as simple as can be.
Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology
When it comes to smoking ribs or other meats in the backyard, you've typically got two choices, charcoal or gas, and neither is perfect. It's possible that the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker is, since you control the temp remotely, using apps for iOS or Android. You just wait for the app to tell you when the food is ready. Inside there is 725 square inches of cooking space on four chrome racks that are easy to clean. Fill the smoker box with wood chips and it will work for nearly seven hours without a refill.