The best smart home devices of 2021

Editors' note, Aug.

5, 2021: Google has announced a new Nest Doorbell set to go on sale Aug.

24. The Nest Hello is not being discontinued and will continue to offer a wired-only option. We will update our recommendations accordingly once we've reviewed the new model. 

If you're already connecting your lightbulbs, speakers, doorbells, security cameras and more to the internet -- or perhaps you've paid more attention to smart home gadgets since many of us are still working from home -- you'll know the process can be complicated.

You might just need one device to address a particular issue, like a smart plug to put a lamp on a schedule. Or you may be thinking about how to build on what you already own, like an Amazon Alexa- or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker, or even Siri and Apple's HomeKit smart home service. We tend to think of the voice assistants as the starting point for building a do-it-yourself smart home.

They offer a convenient way for family members or roommates to interact with the various devices without having to manage basic access within each app. Many, but not all, of the products on our list of the best smart home products will work with multiple voice assistants. Before you dive into our picks for the best smart home devices, keep in mind that Amazon, Google and Apple have each released a new set of smart home speakers in the past year.

Our reviews of Apple's new HomePod Mini, Google's Nest Audio and Amazon's fourth-gen Echo speaker and the fourth-generation Echo Dot are live. We update this list periodically. Now that you have more choice than ever before for your smart home hardware, here are the best of the best in smart home devices you can buy today. 

Read more: 6 coolest smart home devices you didn't know existed

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Our list focuses narrowly on the best product in each smart home subcategory. If you want to know the best smart thermostat or the best smart lighting kit, regardless of which voice platforms support them, we have you covered. What this list is not is a road map for a single, coherent smart home installation (you won't get far trying to pair an Amazon smart speaker with a Google smart display).

For that, please refer to our platform-based lists linked below: In each subcategory section, I've also added a link to the best list for that particular product type. If you're looking for more options for lighting or locks, you'll find a list of our favorite products if you'd like to see a broader selection.

We regularly update this list as we review new products.