The best smart home gadgets 2020: upgrade your abode with top tech

From Hive to Nest, from Hue to Netatmo, here are the best smart home devices money can buy in 2020

Amazon Echo best smart home gadgets 2019

Yale Conexis L1 best smart home gadgets 2019

Yale Conexis L1

Best lock: Yale Conexis L1

Go keyless with this smart lock from Yale

Reasons to buy
+Looks just like a normal lock+One of the most trusted brands+Share keys with others
Reasons to avoid
-No keypad backup access

In today's super-connected smart homes, keys can feel very old-fashioned, but on the other hand, getting all your locks upgraded can seem like a chore that's not worth your time. The Yale Conexis L1 might just have enough to change your mind.

Access is simple and is handled via your phone – you just wave your handset close to the lock, and you're in. Of course, this being a smart lock, you can also easily share access with guests, family members, people who've booked out your place on Airbnb, and so on. Even better, it fits in with other smart home systems, including Z-Wave and SmartThings, and it should work with most PVC and composite doors – all you need is a screwdriver, though there is the option of a professional installation if you prefer.

Read more: Philips Hue review and guide: lighting the way towards our smart home future

Everything is battery-powered and you get an alert through the app well in advance if the batteries are running low. Yale was a little late in getting involved with the smart home scene but it's making up for lost time now, which is why it gets in on our best smart home gadgets 2019 list.

Hive Motion Sensors best smart home gadgets 2019

Hive Motion Sensors

Best window/door and motion sensors: Hive

Never accidentally leave a window open again

Reasons to buy
+Integration with Alexa+Reasonably attractive+Dead simple to operate
Reasons to avoid
-Limited number of integrations

Sensors aren't the most complicated of smart home gadgets and most of the products on the market will do a perfectly reasonable job at detecting when there is motion and when there isn't motion. You don't have to spend hours deliberating over which ones to buy like you might do with smart lights.

That said, the Hive sensors for windows and doors are as good as any that we've come across during our tests. They look the part, they work with other Hive kit as well (as you would expect), and you can even access them with Amazon Alexa voice control. When movement is detected, the sensors can trigger other devices (such as lights) in the Hive ecosystem, and send an alert straight to your phone at the same time.

These sensors are easy to set up, easy to configure, and are relatively affordable too, so they tick just about every box when it comes to sensors – just make sure they're going to work with the rest of your smart home kit before buying. Definitely worth a spot among the best smart home gadgets of 2019.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra 4K

(Image credit: Arlo)

Best security camera: Arlo Ultra 4K

A complete wireless security solution

Reasons to buy
+No wires required+4K HDR picture with night vision+Decent noise-cancelling tech

Arlo makes a range of devices, but our pick for the best security camera at the moment is the Arlo Ultra 4K – it offers the best picture, the best companion app, the most versatility in terms of indoor and outdoor use, and so on... it's just a great all-round package.

You do need a hub plugged into your router for the Arlo cameras to function, but you can then tap into the feeds live from wherever you are in the world. You don't have to be watching around the clock though, because the devices will alert you whenever motion is detected, and ping the app on your phone.

Unlike many similar cameras, you get access to a decent number of days' footage (a whole week) without paying any subscription. The outdoor cameras are waterproof, and all the models include night vision, so even in the dark they can keep an eye on what's going on.

Ring Door View Cam best smart home gadgets 2019

Ring Door View Cam

Best video doorbell: Ring Door View Cam

See who's calling even if you're on the other side of the world

Reasons to buy
+Fits into a standard peephole+Backed with a quality app+Works with Amazon Alexa
Reasons to avoid
-May need expert installation

The Ring Door View Cam is the perfect video doorbell whether you own your home or you're renting, because it's designed to fit inside a standard peephole slot, no wiring or power connections required (it runs from a removable, rechargeable battery power pack).

From the Ring app you can tune into the live feed of 1080p HD whenever you need to (if there's someone at the door, for example), and the smart motion detection feature will give you a heads up if someone is snooping around outside.

As with the other Ring cameras in the range, the hardware comes with a very decent app that you shouldn't have any trouble with, though keeping recordings archived in the cloud costs extra. As Ring is owned by Amazon, it's not surprising that the doorbell can respond to Alexa commands too.

Logi Circle best smart home gadgets 2019

Logi Circle

Best lifestyle camera: Logi Circle

Looks like an eyeball on a stalk

Reasons to buy
+Very cute design+Decent battery life+Reliable operation
Reasons to avoid
-Rivals have more features

The Logi Circle is a smart camera that shoots some decent footage and has proved highly reliable in the time we've been playing around with it. Although it looks disconcertingly like an eyeball from certain angles, we like its versatility – it can run off the mains or from an internal battery, getting "up to 12 hours" between charges (more like four or five if you're regularly checking in on the feed).

The camera starts filming when it detects motion or you connect to it via the app, and while the 720p resolution isn't the best out there, it's perfectly fine. Thanks to the built-in 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.

This is very much a fun, social camera rather than a serious security device, but it can do the latter job too: hand over some money and you can keep days or months or recordings up in the cloud. Even without subscribing though, it's a simple and foolproof way to monitor your home (or children, pets or elderly parents), and undoubtedly one of the best smart home devices of 2019.

Google Home Hub best smart home gadgets 2019

Google Home Hub

Best smart display: Google Home Hub

The best smart home gadget to control everything else

Reasons to buy
+Oozes class and style+Works with a ton of smart home stuff+Google Assistant keeps improving
Reasons to avoid
-Screen is a little on the small size

In the form of the Lenovo Smart Display, the Amazon Echo Show, and the Google Home Hub, we're seeing a new dimension added to the smart speaker market: namely, a display.

That means YouTube videos, visuals for a host of information from maps to the weather, and an easier way to control your other smart home gear (you can see exactly how bright your smart lights are, for instance). In terms of this new category we're picking the Google Home Hub as one of our best smart home gadgets of 2019.

Because it has the tremendous Google Assistant on board and works with a lot of different smart home kit, the Google Home Hub just about edges it as the best smart display right now, though the others are certainly worth a look.

Lightwave Lighting & Power Starter Kit best smart home gadgets 2019

Lightwave Lighting & Power Starter Kit

(Image credit: Lightwave)

Best smart lighting and power kit: Lightwave

Upgrade your existing sockets for the best smart home

Reasons to buy
+Works with digital assistants+Upgrade older homes+Control all your gadgets in one app
Reasons to avoid
-Needs another hub plugged into your router

The key trick behind this Lightwave Lighting & Power Starter Kit is that it lets you upgrade your existing power sockets and light switches. In other words, you don't need any extra smart plugs or smart lights to start enjoying all the benefits of an automated home that answers your every command.

What you do need is a Lightwave hub plugged into your router to manage all the communications, but this comes with the package. Once it's installed, you can buy extra switches and socket plates as needed.

You can use the supplied Lightwave app or hook everything up to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit and use those platforms instead. It's versatile and reliable, and definitely worth a spot on our list of the best smart home gadgets available in 2019.

Canary security system best smart home gadgets 2019

Canary security system

Best security system: Canary

Cover your whole home with one system

Reasons to buy
+Fantastic all-in-one hub+Expand it with cameras+Software is slick and easy
Reasons to avoid
-Needs more integrations

For a complete security solution, consider Canary. At the centre of everything is the all-in-one Canary device that acts as a sensor, monitor, video camera and warning siren. On top of that you can add extra cameras to the mix to detect what's happening at home and of course control everything with an app.

In other words you can check up on the humidity and the temperature in your house as well as scare off burglars and find out which of your pets is responsible for knocking over plants in the hall. The software that comes with Canary is straightforward to use even if you haven't installed a setup like this before.

We would like to see more integration with other smart home devices and platforms, and some of the best features (like two-way audio and video history beyond a day) require a monthly subscription. However, overall, Canary is an excellent home security system.

Y-Cam Protect best smart home gadgets 2019

Y-Cam Protect

Best standalone smart alarm: Y-Cam Protect

Home security without the camera

Reasons to buy
+Relatively easy setup+Can connect to cell networks+Not too expensive
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't work with much else

Maybe you don't want the whole home and all your family members under constant surveillance around the clock, and with that in mind we present to you the Y-Cam Protect, which doesn't have a camera but does have everything else you need to keep your house, flat or canal boat safe from harm.

Somewhere between a traditional burglar alarm and a smart home device, the system uses door and motion sensors to set off an alarm, and send a notification straight to your phone wherever you happen to be. The alarm isn't the loudest we've ever heard but it does the job well enough.

When it comes to value for money and the ease of installation, the Y-Cam Protect is a better option than getting a more traditional burglar alarm system up and running at home – it definitely borrows from the modern-day flood of smart home gadgets in the simple way you can operate it from your phone.