The best smart home gadgets 2018

From Hue to Hive, Nest to Netatmo, this is the cream of the Internet of Things crop

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Best lock - Yale Conexis L1

Go keyless with this smart lock fro Yale

Reasons to buy
+Looks like normal lock+Trusted brand+Sharable keys

Keys are so old-fashioned, aren't they? In the ultimate smart home you'll open everything with your smartphone, if it has battery (and with a keyfob if not).

You can send keys via the app to anyone - useful for AirBnb guests, friends who've arrived early, or your children.

It's also compatible with Z-Wave and Samsung SmartThings, which is great for your home automation recipes. The fact it's made by Yale gives us more reassurance than if it were made by, say, Maplin's.

(Image: © British Gas)

Best window/door and motion sensors - Hive

Never accidentally leave a window open again

Reasons to buy
+Alexa integration+Reasonably attractive

Window/door and motion sensors are all much of a muchness. We like the ones from Hive as they're quite attractive as such things go, and compatible with Alexa, although not yet with IFTTT, which might be more useful.

They tell you when someone opens your door or creeps around your house, perhaps carrying an axe. They can then trigger Hive lights, or send you a notification. If they had IFTTT they could turn on the smart kettle, lock the smart doors and sound a smart alarm. But you'll have to wait for that.

Best security camera - Netgear Arlo

A completely wireless Wi-Fi security camera

Reasons to buy
+Completely wireless+Long battery life+Good image quality

The key USP of Netgear Arlo is that it's completely wireless - the Arlo runs on battery power (which lasts around 4-6 months) - so there's no need for a power cable. That means you can place it in the most useful and inaccessible location, not just where you can run a cable to.

That does require a low-powered Wi-Fi hub to be plugged into your router, but this allows you to access your video feeds from anywhere you have an internet connection.

If the Arlo detects motion, it'll record a clip and send you a smartphone notification. As it's battery powered, Arlo is more suited to checking in rather than constant streaming.

There are several mount options, the standard being a magnetic dome, allowing you to quickly and easily switch location of the cameras. It's even waterproof, so can be placed outside. There's also night vision, and 1GB of free cloud storage for clips.

Runner up: Nest Outdoor

Best lifestyle camera - Logi Circle

Looks like an eyeball on a stalk

Reasons to buy
+Cute design+12 battery life+Reliable

This smart camera shoots decent footage and has proved highly reliable. 

A neat little electronic eye - it really does look disconcertingly like an eyeball from certain angles - it can run off the mains or on its battery, for "up to 12 hours", although more like 4-5 if you're checking in on its video surveillance regularly.

Circle starts shooting when it detects motion or you dial in via the app, filming in perfectly adequate 720p. Thanks to its mic and speaker, you can also communicate over it, which is great if the idea of talking to someone via a disembodied robot eyeball appeals to you.

It was launched as very much a 'social' camera rather than a security device, but various paid-for ways to store and access footage days and months after it was shot make it more useful as a security device.

Circle is also an entirely foolproof, simple way to monitor your children, pets, flatmates or disgustingly promiscuous, cheating spouse. 

Runner up: Nest Cam

Best security system - Panasonic Home Monitoring and Safety Kit

Complete home security from Panasonic

Reasons to buy
+Whole security kit+Optional extras+Trusted brand

Panasonic offers a whole range of smart products aimed at keeping your home safe.

The starter kit includes a hub, window/door sensor, and motion sensor. 

Not enough? The Home Monitoring Twin Camera Kit includes a hub, motion sensor, two window/door sensors, smart plug, 4GB microSD card, indoor camera, outdoor camera, and a DECT handset. That's peace of mind.

Panasonic also offers a few optional accessories, including additional cameras, sirens, water leak sensor, keychain remote and access keypad. 

Best standalone smart alarm - Y-Cam Protect

Home security without the camera

Reasons to buy
+No camera+SIM connectivity+Inexpensive

Somewhere between a traditional burglar alarm and a smart home device, Y-Cam Protect uses door and motion sensors to set off an alarm, and send a notification to your home, with connectivity via both your router and a SIM.

The alarm is both too quiet and too easy to destroy, in our opinion, to act as a totally effective deterrent, but when paired with a camera, it does offer some peace of mind, especially for those who like running home to confront burglars. 

Value for money and ease of installation are far better than on your olde worlde, non-smart alarm systems.

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