Wondering where to start with smart-home technology? Here are three of the best smart home devices we've seen over the last year.


CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The good: Ecobee's $249 Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

The bad: The price is high, particularly if you don't care about the Alexa speaker or the Ecobee4's other capabilities.

The cost: $199 to $249

The bottom line: The Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat available today.

Amazon Echo (2017)

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: With a variety of new designs, the new Amazon Echo is better-looking than the original, just as smart and a lot less expensive. The addition of an aux-out jack lets you connect it with your existing audio setup.

The bad: Though fine for casual listening and strong enough to fill a room, the Echo still doesn't sound as good as premium, high-fidelity speakers. The volume ring of the original is gone, replaced with the cheaper volume buttons of the Echo Dot.

The cost: $99.99

The bottom line: Alexa is still the most compelling voice control platform, and the new and improved Echo should only boost its momentum. It's well worth $100.

iDevices Wall Outlet

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The iDevices Wall Outlet works well with both Siri and Alexa, letting you turn whatever's plugged into each outlet on and off using your voice. Installation is straightforward, and you don't need to connect it with a hub.

The bad: $100 per outlet is a lot to ask for integrated, plug-in smarts.

The cost: $99.95

The bottom line: This is the best smart outlet on the market right now, but unless you're committed to splurging on a seamless smart home, you're better off just going with a plug-in smart switch.