December 8, 2023
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$170 at Amazon

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Brighten your home with smart lighting

$50 at Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot (fifth gen)

Alexa smarts for beginners

$75 at Amazon

The TP Link Archer AX21 wi-fi 6 router

TP-Link Archer AX21 router

A strong Wi-Fi 6 router for a fantastic price

$100 at Amazon

Amazon Echo Show 5

A smart display for Alexa enthusiasts

$80 at Amazon


Amazon Smart Thermostat

An affordable smart thermostat

$300 at Dell

Ring Alarm Pro

A system that will fully revolutionize your home’s smarts

$42 at Amazon

Leviton D215P-2RW smart plug

Smarten up your appliances

$35 at Amazon


Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser

A hygienic accessory for family gatherings

The holiday season is almost here, and one of the best gifts you can give is to make your home — or the homes of your loved ones — smarter. The best smart home gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and these gifts will be a welcome surprise for your tech-savvy (or even not-so-tech-savvy) family and friends. We’ve got something to suit everyone, whether they’re loyal to Apple, Amazon or Google. 

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

The best part? It’s relatively easy to upgrade a home and simplify someone’s life with smart devices without breaking the bank. You can find clever gadgets at a wide range of prices, including smart speakers and displays to keep the music streaming and smart home security devices to keep your house or apartment secure. Here are all of our favorite smart home gifts for 2023.

Philips Hue/CNET

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your living space is to invest in some smart lighting. Philips Hue is one of the more expensive smart lighting brands on the market, but it’s the most dependable. While individual Philips Hue bulbs are compatible with any Amazon Echo or Google Home device, we recommend investing in the Philips Hue Starter Kit and going from there. That way, it’s easier to expand into various zones and you can take advantage of the full functionality of the system. 


Setup Hardwired, outdoor/indoorResolution 1536 x 1536 (2K)Storage Cloud storageGoogle/Alexa Compatibility BothField of View 180 degrees

Amazon’s Echo Dot is a great entry point into getting your smart home started. The fifth-gen Dot offers better sound than its predecessor and has a built-in motion detector and temperature sensor. It can even function as a Wi-Fi mesh extender for Eero routers. As with other Alexa devices, this smart speaker can check the weather, stream music, set alarms and more, all just using your voice.

Read our Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) review.


This is one of my all-time favorite smart-home purchases. iRobot’s Roomba i4 robot vac works like a champ and saves me hours of vacuuming time. Several other Roomba vacs are on CNET’s list for the best robot vacuums of 2023. This model doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the higher-priced models (you have to empty the i4’s bin after each cleaning), but I was drawn to the wallet-friendly price. I’ve been through several bot vacs over the years, and this one sucks up pet hair and dander like nobody’s business.

The TP Link Archer AX21 wi-fi 6 router
Ry Crist/CNET

It’s highly likely that most of the new Wi-Fi devices you or a loved one will be buying in the next year will support Wi-Fi 6. So if you want to take advantage of that faster, more efficient level of performance at home, you’ll need a router to match. The TP-Link Archer AX21 is an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router that has a list price of $100 or so, but you can typically find it for much less. Among all of the Wi-Fi 6 budget picks CNET has tested, this router performed the best, with fast, reliable speeds and an easy-to-use app that makes it a cinch to set the thing up and manage your home network settings. All of that made it an easy Editors’ Choice-winner here on CNET. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The second-gen Google Nest Hub is one of the best smart displays we’ve tested. It’s a super smart device that brings convenience to nearly every dimension of the Google Assistant-powered smart home. Whether you’re streaming music, checking who’s ringing your video doorbell, or playing YouTube videos, the Nest Hub’s got you covered. 

Read our review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

If your friend or family member prefers Alexa to Google Assistant, the Echo Show 5 — which got an update earlier this year — is a fantastic first smart display. It brings all the smarts of Amazon’s voice assistant, along with the ability to video chat, watch cooking videos and catch some cool kids programming with Amazon Kids Plus (especially if you get the kids edition).

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon’s Smart Thermostat sets a new standard for the category. It has a clean, modern touchscreen design, and it’s easy to use, whether you’re adjusting the temperature at the thermostat, through the Alexa app or with Alexa voice commands with a compatible Alexa-enabled speaker or display. It earned a CNET Editors’ Choice award for best value smart thermostat.

Read our Amazon Smart Thermostat review.


Apple hasn’t launched a smart display to compete with the Nest Hub or Echo Show devices, but it does have a great looking and sounding smart speaker for the Siri lover in your life. While the HomePod doesn’t have a screen, it does boast some solid sound design, and it works really well with other Apple devices, like iPhones, Apple TVs and Homekit-compatible smart home gadgets. What’s more, it comes in a handful of new colors.

Read our review.

Hobie Crase/CNET

Installation DIY installationContract Required NoVoice Assistant Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantAdditional Fees 24/7 professional monitoring fee, recording feesService Bundles N/A

The Ring Alarm Pro is a DIY home security system, but you’ll get the most out of it if you’re looking to upgrade your whole home’s smarts. It comes with a built-in Eero router, so adding an extender can turn your network into a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. Plus, it brings cellular-supported backup Wi-Fi, so if you lose power or network connection, your internet stays intact. Finally, you get local video processing and storage — and cool integrations with Alexa, if you have an Amazon Echo device.

In short, it will turn a regular old home into a surprisingly robust smart home in no time flat.

Read our review.


Smart plugs are an easy way to upgrade your existing devices and can be used for a number of things, including automating lights, small appliances and more. Leviton makes some of the best smart plugs on the market, and the D215P-2RW is our choice for the best smart plug you can buy. CNET’s David Anders likes that it plays nice with all three of the major smart home ecosystems, including Apple HomeKit, which is unique for a smart plug, as the majority of them work only with Alexa and Google.


This is kind of an odd pick, but it will be much appreciated during the winter months when germs are at an all-time high. This automatic soap dispenser from Amazon is not only one of our favorites, it’s designed with good hygiene in mind. It features a 20-second timer for proper hand washing, which is especially helpful if you have young guests over. We found that this soap dispenser can last for a few months on just one charge. See our Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser review.

Ry Crist/CNET

Wi-Fi Standard Wi-Fi 6Speed Rating AX3600Range Up to 5,500 sq. ft. (two devices)Wireless Networking Security WPA2, WPA3Bands Tri-Band (2.4 and two 5GHz)

If you’re looking to improve your home internet, one of the best moves you can make is to upgrade from a traditional router to a mesh Wi-Fi system. TP-Link’s Deco W7200 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 system that costs less than $200 for a two-pack. That might be the best mesh router value we’ve seen. And according to CNET’s Ry Crist, the best part is that “it performs like a champ, with fast, stable speeds, decent range and a setup process that’s about as easy as it gets.”

Read our TP-Link Deco W7200 review.

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