2021 Smart Home Holiday Gift Guide
Welcome to our eighth annual smart home holiday gift guide. We started recommending smart home gifts to our readers back in 2014, when Siri was restricted to phones and tablets and Alexa was a slightly uncommon girls’ name.
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In 2021, smart home devices are more popular than ever and it seems almost everyone has had a conversation with a voice assistant. We love using technology at home, not just for automation but to keep us safe and healthy, make meal time easier, and keep us entertained.
If you’re planning to buy tech gifts this year, order early! Global supply chain issues continue to affect product availability in almost every sector, not just technology. Your loved one may have to wait a little bit longer than usual to get the perfect gift.
These are some of our very favorite home technology products that we would consider for our own friends and family. We hope you can find something for everyone on your list.
If we’ve done a story or a video on these products, we’ve included a link so you can learn more, as well as links to buy. For the easiest way to shop this year’s guide, visit our Holiday Gift Guide on our Amazon store.
Smart Home for Everyone
Whether your loved one is just getting started or already has a number of devices, we think these gadgets are safe bets for this holiday season.
Almost everyone has something they might want to keep an eye on with an indoor camera. Both of these cameras are reasonably priced, easy to set up, have high-quality resolution, and do not require an additional subscription to use. Make sure you include a MicroSD storage card with your gift so your loved one can get started as soon as it’s unwrapped.
Wyze Cam v3 – $35.98 (List)
Watch: Wyze Cam v3 Review
This is the third edition of the original Wyze smart camera we’ve been recommending for years. The camera has clear, 1080p resolution with color night vision, and your loved one can use it safely indoors and outdoors. It detects motion and sound and records to the cloud or to an optional MicroSD storage card.
eufy Solo Indoor Cam C24 – $39.99 (List)
We got a chance to try the eufy smart doorbell and cameras for the first time this year and we really like the app and the resolution of this Solo Cam. This is an indoor-only smart camera with crystal-clear 2K resolution that also includes human and pet detection. If your loved one loves their Apple products they’ll also appreciate that the eufy Solo Cam works with Apple HomeKit.
Smart Plugs – Indoor and Outdoor
Smart plugs are the easiest way to get started controlling devices in the home. Just plug it into an outlet, pair it with an app on your phone, plug in whatever you want to control, and you’re in business. These make great stocking stuffers too. There are hundreds of these available, but these are our two favorites.
Wyze Smart Plug
Buy Indoor Plug: Amazon
Buy Outdoor Plug: Amazon
The Wyze Smart Plug comes in 1, 2 or 4-packs and indoor and outdoor versions. Amazon calls these “Certified for Humans” and we agree. These are simple to install and use with the Wyze App. The outdoor plug includes two separate controllable outlets.
Cync Indoor and Outdoor Smart Plugs
Watch: GE Lighting Cync Review
Buy Indoor Plug: Amazon
Buy Outdoor Plug: Amazon
We really like the Cync line of smart home products from GE Lighting and these two are the simplest way to get started. The indoor smart plug is nice and compact and the outdoor version also has two outlets and a heavy-duty outlet cover.
Smart Light Strips – Useful and Fun
Cync by GE Lighting – $59.99 (List)
Watch: C by GE Unboxing
Watch: C by GE Lighting Review
Light strips make a fun and colorful gift for kids of all ages on your list. They are also surprisingly useful for lighting up different areas around the home – under the counter, around the television, under the bed. We like these heavy-duty, full color LED light strips from GE Lighting. They also work with the Cync app.
Smart Switch for Everyone
Third Reality Smart Switch (Gen 3) – $24.99 List
Buy Zigbee Version: Amazon
Buy BLE Version: Amazon
If your loved one wants to control switches in their home, apartment or dorm room, the Third Reality Smart Switch is one of the easiest ways to get started.
Just snap the Smart Switch Gen3 on top of a regular switch, pair it with a compatible Amazon Echo, and the battery-powered device moves the switch on and off on command.
The switch comes in both Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy versions that are compatible with different Amazon Echos. Pair it with an Echo for a mini smart home starter kit!
Amazon Echos – one for everyone on your list
For us, the Amazon Echo really transformed the smart home and we’ve been gifting them for years. If your loved one is already an Alexa enthusiast they may want an upgrade to one of the latest Echo Shows or an extra Echo Dot to add Alexa to another room.
Echo Dot – 4th and 3rd Generation
Buy 4th Gen Echo Dot: Amazon
Buy 3rd Gen Echo Dot: Amazon
These small Amazon Echo devices are perfect for using Alexa in one room or spreading her to multiple rooms around the house. You can go for the latest ball-shaped 4th generation Echo Dot from 2020, or if you are on a budget, the smaller 3rd generation Dots work just fine and will save you a few dollars.
4th Gen Echo Dot – Kids Edition – $59.99 (List)
The kids version of the Echo Dot comes in either a Panda or Tiger edition and includes specialized content and parental controls.
Echo Show – All New for 2021
We waited a long time before we put Alexa with a screen in our house but now we can’t live without it. We love using the screen to see our cameras and/or the video doorbell, watch quick videos or use them for video conferencing with friends and family.
The Echo Show devices are great for the kitchen, the living room, or as a replacement for a bedroom clock radio. If your loved one has privacy concerns, they can always close the camera shutter so no one can see them. For these devices, we recommend you don’t skimp and buy your loved one the latest 2021 editions.
If you’re buying these as upgrades for your own family, make sure you check out Amazon’s trade-in program.
Echo Show 5 – $84.99 (List)
This small Alexa device makes a great bedroom Echo. When you’re not using the display for Alexa, it shows the time and has icons for the weather and temperature.
Echo Show 5 Kids Edition – $94.99 (List)
This Kids version of the Echo Show is wrapped in a fun chameleon pattern and includes kid content and parental controls.
Echo Show 8 – $129.99 (List)
This middle of the road Show device has a slightly bigger screen that makes it a nice upgrade for pictures and video conferencing without the steeper price jump to the Echo Show 10.
Echo Show 10 – $249.99 (List)
The 2021 Echo Show 10 is great for the kitchen and/or main part of the house. It has a much larger speaker and it swivels to “follow” your voice around the room.
Plus, it includes a built-in Zigbee smart home hub that greatly expands its compatibility with smart home devices.
Get the Echo Show 10 as a gift for your whole family or for that special someone who already loves their Alexa and wants it to do more.
Home Entertainment Devices from Apple
While we love Alexa to control our home, when it comes to entertainment, we are an Apple house all the way.
2021 Apple TV
Watch: First Look: 2021 Apple TV 4K
We were really happy to see Apple upgrade Apple TV this year, our favorite streaming device. This powerful little box has a slick interface to watch all your streaming networks with a sweet little intuitive remote control. You can get a new Apple TV for yourself or for your loved ones with 32 or 64 GB of storage and in both HD and 4K models.
Even if your loved one doesn’t have a 4K TV yet, we’d suggest you buy them the 4K model, since it’s probably only a matter of time before they upgrade. The Apple TV also functions as a home hub for HomeKit compatible smart devices.
Apple HomePod Mini – $99 (List)
Apple’s tiny smart speakers have amazing sound and work with Siri to do lots of things your iPhone does as well as control HomeKit compatible smart home devices. This year Apple has the HomePod mini in five different fun colors.
Keeping Track of Stuff
Two options for gifts to help your loved ones keep track of their things, and maybe get them back if they lose them.
Apple AirTags $29 for one, $99 for 4-pack (List)
Watch: Apple AirTags Review
If your loved one is an Apple user and has stuff, they’ll love one or more AirTags. These tiny little discs hang out with your stuff so you can find it anywhere, with the extra help of millions of Apple devices around the world.
You can get them individually, in packs of four, and with some cool accessories like keychains and luggage tags to dress them up for your special someone.
Tile – Mate starts at $24.99 (List) – many options available
If your loved one uses an Android phone, we’d recommend you buy them the Tile rather than AirTags. The Tile also helps you track and find your stuff, with some really neat form factors, different sizes and fun colors.
Wyze Tech Gifts for Everyone on your List
While Wyze began as a smart camera company, they’ve expanded over the last couple of years into many high-quality, low-cost consumer devices. These are some of our favorites that we’ve tested that are ready for gifting this year.
Wyze Night Lights – $19.99 (List)
Watch: Wyze Night Lights Review
These tiny battery-powered night lights let you pair up to 10 together to light up whenever they detect motion.
These don’t need an app or phone to work, making them a great stocking stuffer for anyone on your list who goes bump in the night.
Wyze Robot Vacuum – $249 (List)
We named ours Sebastian, and he does a great job on both carpets and our tile floors and avoids furniture and objects well.
The Wyze Robot Vacuum would be a great gift for anyone needing a little more help with their housekeeping.
Wyze Scale – $19.99 (List)
Watch: Wyze Scale Unboxing
Great for anyone on your list looking to keep better track of their health, the Wyze smart scale measures weight as well as 11 other essential body metrics and can recognize up to 8 users in a household.
Your loved one can track their progress over time and see their stats using the simple Wyze App.
Wyze Headphones – $59.99 (List)
These are high-quality, noise-cancelling headphones that work great for video conferencing, listening to music and phone calls. They even work with Alexa.
Great for anyone on your list that works at home or just appreciates their quiet time.
Wyze Watch – $39.99 (List)
Watch: First Look: Wyze Watch
This is a great smart watch with plenty of sophisticated features at a price that makes it a sure bet for anyone on your list, even as a stocking stuffer.
It includes fitness tracking, changeable watch faces, and the battery lasts for up to nine days
Smart Food and Kitchen Devices and Services
Blue Apron e-Gift Cards
Blue Apron Gift Cards always make our holiday gift guide. Blue Apron offers fresh and interesting ingredients and clear instructions, making it easy for your loved ones to prepare delicious dinners and learn new cooking techniques along the way.
You can buy Blue Apron E-Gift Cards in any amount, for either meal kit delivery or Blue Apron Wine, which ships pairing-size bottles every month of award winning wine for $10 per bottle. We recommend the $130 gift card to give your loved one a nice break from worrying about what’s for dinner.
Meater Plus – $99.95 (List); Meater Block – $299.95 (List)
When you are cooking meat it’s always best to cook it to the right temperature as grills, ovens, smokers all vary. We can’t live without our wireless Meater Plus.
The Meater Plus uses Bluetooth to connect the temperature probe to your phone, so you can measure your meat’s temperature wirelessly from up to 165 feet away. Buy a single, a pair, or the Meater Block with four probes and built-in Wi Fi, to cook four proteins to perfection. It’s a great gift for any meat eater in your life.
Ember Mug – $129.95 (List)
Do you have a coffee or tea lover on your list? Chances are they like to drink their beverage hot – but sometimes life gets in the way.
With the Ember mug, they’ll be able to keep their beverages at just the right temperature until they’re ready to drink. You can get it in home or travel versions.
This was something on our list and we can’t wait to try it out. Stay tuned for a video coming soon.
FoodMarble AIRE – $219 for 6-week Discovery Bundle (List)
Does someone on your list have food sensitivities? Lots of people do and it can take a long time to figure out what’s causing their digestion issues, and a lot of time and money working with a doctor to diagnose problems.
You can help them with the gift of the FoodMarble AIRE. This device measures the hydrogen levels in your breath, and together with a companion app, can help figure out which foods and ingredients trigger problems.
In 2021 FoodMarble further enhanced their app and added a six week discovery program to help new users get started understanding their digestive systems.
Joule Sous Vide by Breville – $244.95 (List)
Watch: Joule Review
We’ve been recommending this smart sous vide machine for several years, and we’ve never heard a bad review. The Joule makes the sophisticated sous vide cooking technique accessible to almost any home cook with its easy to use app.
You can take a pork chop out of the freezer and cook it to perfection without having to babysit. It’s great for both experienced and new home cooks.
The Joule comes in white and stainless steel versions.
For New Parents
Nanit Baby Monitor
Watch: Nanit Baby Monitor Unboxing
If someone in your life is expecting or just had a new baby, the Nanit may be a great gift. We’ve seen a lot of baby monitors over the years, but we like the Nanit because it tracks sleep and can use artificial intelligence to alert you to problems when the baby wears Nanit Breathing Wear.
This year, Nanit has introduced Smart Sheets that work with the camera to measure a baby, so parents can see and share how they grow up over time.
You can buy the Nanit camera separately or in a complete monitoring bundle that includes the breathing wear and smart sheet.
Practical Smart Home Gifts
SimpleSENCE Water Leak Detector – $69.95 (List)
Watch: SimpleSENCE Review
Water damage can be devastating and expensive and many leaks can go undetected for months or years.
We love this easy-to-use little device that you can place in multiple areas around the home to detect leaks. If it senses water or frozen temps, it immediately sends a text message/email and sounds an alarm.
This is a great gift for anyone concerned about their home, vacation home, rental property or office.
B-hyve XD Smart Hose Watering Timer
Watch: First Look B-hyve XD
We’ve been using our B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler for more than a year and we recommended it in last year’s guide for homeowners who want to automate their full sprinkler system.
If you have loved ones on your list who water with just their regular garden hose, this is a great option. Add this timer in between your hose and the hose bib and you can set timers, schedules, and even adjust for drought conditions and watering restrictions.
The XD comes in 1, 2 and 4-zone versions to allow your loved ones to really optimize their lawn and garden without installing a full sprinkler system. Great for any plant lovers on your list.
SmartMi Air Purifier
Watch: SmartMi Air Purifier Review
We’ve all been more concerned about our air quality lately. This quiet and compact smart air purifier will make a great gift for anyone on your list. It’s light and portable enough to be carried around the house and would be great for a bedroom, nursery or dorm room.
While the SmartMi works with Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit, it also works just fine without the app, sensing particulates in the air and turning itself on and off automatically. We’ve been using it in our kitchen and have been surprised how well it detects and attacks cooking fumes.
Home Tech Holiday Splurge
Toto Washlet S550e Electronic Bidet Seat
This was our holiday gift for ourselves last year, and we haven’t regretted it.
There are plenty of bidets on the market these days, but we went for the top of the line Toto Washlet, with the heated seat and nightlight.
Toto released their first Washlet in 1980 and they’ve continued to innovate ever since. If you’ve been thinking about getting this for yourself or your family, don’t wait another year.
Our Holiday Wish
Vaonis Vespera Telescope
Watch: CES 2021 Best Home Tech
We’ve long been fans of stargazing smartphone apps that let you point at the sky and identify planets and constellations. But we would love to take our casual skygazing to the next level with the Vespera, one of our favorite products from this year’s virtual CES.
The Vespera is a combination personal telescope and camera that you can use in your backyard or take with you to the wilderness. It works with a companion app that lets you dig into what you see and can take stunning images to remember.
The Vespera won’t make it under our tree this year since it’s on pre-order, but we’re happy to wait until 2022 for smart home Santa if he wants to bring us one.
We hope you enjoyed the 2021 smart home holiday gift guide. As always, we’d love your feedback. Did we miss anything? Are you looking for something special that’s not listed? Please start a conversation on Facebook or Twitter.