Best Alexa Smart Speaker
- Amazon Echo Dot
Best Google Assistant Smart Speaker
- Google Nest Mini
Best Smart Light Switch
- Lutron Aurora
A smart home device is (almost) never a necessity, but it can be a super fun addition to the house, making some things more convenient and others more interesting. For some people, it can just be a voice to talk to when they’re alone, or a quick way to turn music on while they’re elbow-deep in the dishes. Either way, they’re an incredibly sophisticated piece of technology, and despite that, quite affordable. While there are expensive models out there, there are just as many that offer all the functionality of their pricy counterparts, without the inflated price tag.
So, whether you’re looking to outfit your home on a budget, or you just want to try out a smart home device before committing to your dream model, our list has the best of the best when it comes to budget smart home devices!
- Alexa Assistant enabled
- Lots of Alexa smart home skills available
- Available in a range of designs including limited editions and models with a clock
- 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
- 1.6 inch speaker, 2.4/5 GHz, Bluetooth
- Ever expanding
The Echo Dot is Amazon’s smallest Echo device and provides the same functionality as many of its larger counterparts. While its range of smart home skills is limited, there is a great range of them available, extending the basic functionality. The Echo Dot is available in over a dozen different designs, including limited editions and special designs for kids, meaning it’s easy to customise different Dot’s according to the preferences of multiple users in a home.
While it’s technically more intended as a speaker than a smart home controller, you can absolutely use your Echo Dot to control other smart devices around your home. Similar to the Google Nest Mini, the Echo Dot is compatible with a huge variety of different other smart home devices. The Echo Dot is (especially for Prime subscribers) a great starting device to test out what having a smart home setup is like.
- Multiple colour options to fit into different environments
- LED indicators, physical control buttons on top of voice control
- Physical mute button
- 3.7 x 1.7 inches
- 40-millimeter driver speakers, 2.4/6GHz, Bluetooth connectivity
The Google Nest Mini is essentially ‘just’ a smart speaker, however, since it’s fully enabled with all of Google Assistant’s functionality, you can use one of them to control your entire smart home setup if you want. You can set up a network of them throughout your house and control the others in the home – for example by telling one in your kitchen to turn the music on in the bedroom.
While it lacks a screen and the sort of audio depth that larger Nest devices offer (as well as the camera functionality of the Nest cameras) it has a surprisingly loud and solid sound profile that makes it a better speaker than it looks like. The combination of physical controls (and mute button for privacy) and voice control make the Nest Mini a great addition or starting point to any smart home.
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Rolling cloud storage as well as hard drive storage option
- Compatible with the rest of the Wyze suite
- 110 degree FoV
- 1080p video resolution
- microSD card slot and free online cloud storage
The Wyze cam is part of the extremely cheap Wyze smart home suite. It can be combined with other elements such as their smart bulbs and motion sensors. The extremely affordable camera records video as well as audio. It captures in 1080p resolution, but only with a field of view of 110 degrees, which is a little narrower than we’d like. The camera isn’t suitable for outdoor use since it’s not waterproof, however, it can be used indoors and in well-sheltered porch areas.
For the price, it’s absolutely one of the best security cameras and smart home devices you can get your hands on – and it’s even compatible with the major smart home assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.
- 24/7 security monitoring and remote control function
- Controls cameras, locks, heating and more
- Compatible with Alexa and Google voice commands
- 4.6 x 1.5 x 1.3 inches
- 190° x 190° with 1:1 aspect ration on camera
- 1080p video resolution, 4k Ultra HD image sensor
The most expensive option on this list, the Vivint is still on the affordable side for what it is. With an up front cost of $300, and then a relatively affordable monthly fee of around $30, you get access to a fully connected smart home compatible with all the smart devices you might already have at home. It can connect to video doorbells, thermostats, and more – and the smart app available for free expands the services even further.
There are additional equipment pieces you can buy such as a car guard that lets you monitor stats like battery, fuel levels and more right on your phone, as well as location monitoring and so on. You can disarm your security system before you get to the door, you can get alerts about how many windows are open, and so on. If you are looking to make a start into a fully connected smart home, the Vivint is an affordable and effective option that offers all the functionality you could want.
- Compatible with all Philips Hue lights
- Fits over existing light switches
- Compatible with Philips Hue, Amazon Alexa, Google HomeKit, and Google Assistant
- 1,.5 x 0.7 inches
- No electrical installation required
- Voice control-enabled
The Lutron Aurora clips onto the toggle light switches you already have in your home in order to link them with the Philips Hue setup you have. It’s compatible with all Philips Hue bulbs and devices, and can connect to Wi-Fi via the Philips hue Bridge. You can control the lights by touching or turning the dial once you’ve slotted it onto your light switches.
While the dial isn’t compatible with all types of switches, it should fit onto most, and can be set up and ‘installed’ in just a few minutes. Anyone can install the switch onto their existing light setup without technical knowledge. It’s ideal for users who already have an existing Phillips Hue setup in their home, or use either the app or smart bulbs already.
That was our roundup of the best budget smart devices in 2022. Have you recently bought a budget smart device? What sold you on it and what has your experience been with it so far? Let us know down below.