Time to Shop: Our 2023 Smart Home Holiday Gift Guide
Welcome to our tenth smart home holiday gift guide! We’ve been sharing our favorite home technology gift ideas every year since 2014. We used to wait until Black Friday, but it now seems shopping season started right after Halloween, so we apologize for being late.
Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains links that may earn us a commission from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Opinions and conclusions are our own.
While it may not be completely mainstream yet, the smart home market has definitely matured. There are plenty of home hubs in the market, there’s a new standard, Matter, that is starting to get some traction, and there are so many smart plugs and light bulbs available it feels like everyone must have one by now.
So when we put together our guide this year, we decided to focus on technology gifts that go beyond the basic smart home technology. We won’t be recommending smart plugs, cameras or Alexas this year, though we’d be happy to point you in the right direction if you still want to buy those. But we will be recommending fun and practical gifts at different price points 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.
For Coffee (or Tea) Lovers
Watch: Ember Mug Review
As coffee lovers, we can’t live without our Ember Mugs and we still think they are the perfect gift for anyone who loves coffee or tea. You won’t believe how much better hot drinks taste when they stay hot.
The Ember Mugs come in several sizes, from espresso to travel mugs, and multiple colors including a (RED) limited edition that triggers a donation to global health programs.
For New Parents
Ember Baby Bottle System Plus
Last year Ember announced the Ember Baby bottle system, a set of baby bottles and accessories designed to keep milk or formula at just the right temperature.
Perfect for home or travel, it includes a thermal dome that will keep milk cool until ready to use, as well as a warming pack that will last for about two feedings on one charge. The bottles and nipples are separate from the heating elements so they can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher.
For your Ball Players
Woowind Ball Inflators
For your Favorite Traveler (or Forgetful Person)
Watch: Apple AirTags Review
Airlines seem to do a lot better at tracking your bags these days, but I know that I feel much better when I’m on the plane and I can pull up my iPhone and see that my checked bag is on the plane with me, thanks to my Apple AirTag.
Even if your loved one is not a frequent flyer, they can use AirTags inside their backpacks, purses, or attached to their keys. The Apple Find My App makes it easy to locate them and will even remind you if you’ve left your bag behind.
If you want to keep track of a wallet, we also like the Eufy Security SmartTrack Card. It also works with Apple Find My (and only with Apple, sorry no Android users). It’s flat and not much thicker than a credit card and it has up to a 3-year battery life.
If your loved one uses an Android phone, don’t buy them AirTags. Tile is a good alternative and will work with both phone platforms.
For your Party Lovers (or for your own holiday party!)
Bev by Black & Decker Cocktail Machine
Watch: Bev Cocktail Maker Review (Cordless)
Buy Bev Cocktail Maker: Amazon
Buy Bev Cordless Cocktail Maker: Amazon
Buy Bartesian Capsules: Amazon
If you are looking for an easy way to make cocktails at home, for yourself or for a crowd, look no further than the bev by Black+Decker.
The bev uses Bartesian capsules with all the right mixers for up to 40 different cocktails. Attach your favorite liquors and a bottle of water and the bev pours out a perfectly mixed drink – with or without alcohol.
You can get the bev in a plug-in version for use indoors or in a cordless version you can set up on your patio or take on the road. It makes a great gift for your favorite party host(ess) or for yourself.
For your Aspiring Chefs
AeroGarden Harvest Hydroponic Indoor Garden
Buy AeroGarden Harvest: Amazon
We’ve often heard that what sets professional chefs apart from home cooks is using fresh herbs. If you have someone in your life that might appreciate that, consider getting them an AeroGarden Harvest so they can grow fresh herbs all year long.
The AeroGarden Harvest includes room for six different seed pods, so you can grow a variety of herbs, vegetables or other plants in water. It includes a grow light and plant food to give your herbs the best chance of success.
We like the Harvest with the Gourmet Seed Pod Kit, but AeroGarden also has lots of other shapes, sizes and packages to fit any home gardener on your list.
Breville Joule Sous Vide Turbo
Watch: Joule Review
Buy Joule Turbo: Amazon
Sous Vide cooking, using a water bath to bring food up to precise temperatures, is another technique often used by professional chefs. Meats cooked this way come out so tender and delicious.
We have had our original Joule Sous Vide for years and it’s made our gift guide every year since we got it. The new Turbo version uses the same Joule app and cooking experience but is supposed to cook faster. We are hoping Smart Home Santa brings us one so we can upgrade too.
Keep your Favorite Cyclist Safe
Garmin Varia Rearview Radar
Watch: Garmin Varia Short
Watch: Garmin Varia First Look
One of our favorite tech gifts from last Christmas was the Garmin Varia Bike Radar. We ride bikes a lot, both on the road and on our local bike trail, and it’s always been a challenge to stay safe from cars and other cyclists approaching from behind. Not everyone knows to say “On your left,” when passing.
Pair the Varia with your Garmin Edge Bike computer or a compatible smartphone, then mount it on the back of your bike. Then you’ll get an audio and visual alert that someone is approaching behind you.
The Varia comes in three options – just the radar, radar and tail light, and the radar tail light with a built-in camera. Pick the right one for your favorite rider based on their activities and your budget.
For Nostalgia Seekers
Kodak Dock Plus Instant Photo Printer
Watch: Kodak Dock Plus 4×6 Printer
We all have thousands of photos stored on our phones and computers, but there is nothing like a photo print you can hold in your own hand. The Kodak Dock Plus 4-pass printer prints high-quality 4×6 photos, both with and without a border, ready for giving, framing, or scrapbooking.
You can buy the printer by itself, but for giving, we recommend the accessory bundle that includes a nice case, extra cartridge and paper, and some cute stickers and mini-clothespins. Buy one for yourself and you can print out photos for your own gifts too.
For kids, we have two favorite tech gifts this year – for both younger and older kids.
Toniebox Screen-Free Audio Player
Watch: Toniebox and Tonies Review
Buy Toniebox Starter Kit: Amazon
The Toniebox is a colorful, screen free companion for kids three and up. The box works with smart little characters, called Tonies, who activate stories, songs and games when you put them on top. The child can listen through the included speaker or with headphones.
There are hundreds of different characters, or you can record your own voice and favorite content with the companion app.
If you’re gifting a Toniebox, we recommend a starter kit that includes at least one character. Parents will also appreciate the Tonies Sleepy Sheep, a night light that plays soothing melodies and dims gradually to help establish bedtime routines.
Kobotix Real Racer RC Car with Headset
Watch: Kobotix Real Racer Review
Buy Real Racer: Amazon
At the other end of the kid spectrum, for kids 14 and up, is the Robotix Real Racer.
The Real Racer is a remote-controlled car that works with its own controller and a smartphone. You can put the phone in the headset so you can get a first-person view where the car is driving, and you can also record what the car sees so you can watch it later. It’s a lot of fun, for kids and adults.
For your Strength Trainers
Read: Peloton Guide Review
Watch: Peloton Guide Review
Ok, full disclosure time. We bought a Peloton Guide last year and unboxed it, but it took us more than six months to actually start using it.
We also have the Peloton Bike Plus with a screen you can turn around to make strength workouts easier, so I didn’t really think I needed the Guide. Plus I was too lazy to set it up.
Finally I started using it for my strength workouts and now I’m hooked. Over the last few months, it’s gotten better and better and I use it almost every day.
The Peloton Guide goes under your TV and has a built-in camera that works with the Peloton App to give you an interactive strength training experience. You can compare yourself to the instructor using Self Mode so you can see if you are doing the exercises correctly, and the movement tracker makes sure you are on track and counts your reps for you.
Your loved one will need a membership from Peloton to get access to the thousands of classes available. If you or your loved one is interested in the Peloton experience at a lower price point and without all the extra room needed for a bike, treadmill or rower, the Guide is a great choice.
Festive Smart Lighting – for the Holidays and Beyond
For us, 2023 has been the year of fun smart home lighting. We have tested and recommended smart light strips in our holiday gift guide before, but this year we’re taking it to the next level with fun and interactive lighting.
For Next Level Decorating
Shop Twinkly Store: Amazon
Twinkly has a whole range of smart decorative lighting with a really powerful app. For gifts, we love the lightweight and easy to use, Twinkly Dots and the Candies, that come in cute shapes.
For holiday decorating, Twinkly has a whole line of beautiful multi-color Strings in different lengths and sizes as well as wreaths and garlands. You can bundle with Twinkly Music and create a festive light show that keeps everyone in the holiday spirit.
Integrating Lights with your Smart Home
CYNC Dynamic Effects by GE Lighting
Shop CYNC Store: Amazon
We have installed and tested all of the CYNC Dynamic Effects products from GE Lighting. Since we already have a lot of Cync smart switches and bulbs, they work together well in our home as well as Alexa.
For giving, we would recommend either the Dynamic Effects Smart Bulbs, or the Indoor or Outdoor Light Strips. They are all easy to set up and automate right out of box, and all of them react to sound and music.
Fun Interactive Gaming Light
Govee RGBIC Gaming Light Bars
If you have a gamer on your shopping list, we like the Govee Light Bars. They are really easy to set up and get going, much like a regular lamp.
Your favorite gamer will have cool interactive lighting in no time.
Smart Home Gifts and Stocking Stuffers
Ok, we said we weren’t going to do it, but it’s hard to resist adding just a few smart home gadgets to the shopping list.
SwitchBot Curtain 3
If your loved one has curtains at home, the Switchbot Curtain 3 is a simple way to automate window coverings on almost any kind of rod.
It is super easy to install, just clamp it on to the rod, connect it to the app, and you can start opening your shades from your phone, your smart speaker, or on a schedule. You can even get a solar panel so you never have to worry about charging it.
Amazon Echo Pop
Watch: Echo Pop Quick Look
Buy Echo Pop: Amazon
Buy Echo Pop Kids: Amazon
For years we have been recommending the Amazon Echo Dot as a good entry-level smart speaker, suitable for giving. This year, there is a new tiny echo in town, the Amazon Echo Pop.
The Echo Pop is priced a little cheaper than the Dot and comes in new colors, as well as two kids’ versions – Marvel Avengers and Disney Princesses. The Kids versions come with a six-month subscription to kid-friendly content and additional parental controls.
We expect some amazing deals and bundles on the Echo Pop throughout the gift giving season.
Apple HomePod and Home Pod Mini
Watch: HomePod Mini Review
Watch: Apple TV 4K Quick Look
There has been a lot of change in the smart home ecosystem this year with the introduction of the Matter standard.
Amazon, Samsung, Google and others are all in on the project but we think that the real winner right now is Apple. Apple HomeKit currently seems to have the easiest interface to work with Matter devices and opens up a lot of other things to work with their ecosystem.
If your loved one is an Apple fan, even if they’re not into smart home yet, the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini smart speakers make great gifts. Both have wonderful sound, work seamlessly with Apple gear and use Siri to control the smart home. In our experience, Siri doesn’t know as much as Alexa, but she sure listens well.
And if you get an Apple TV, that can work with Matter devices too. Plus it makes your TV smart, including letting you use the TV for Apple Face time from your iPhone.
Smart Plugs – Look for Matter
Speaking of the Matter smart home standard, if you’re buying smart plugs as stocking stuffers, look for ones that have the Matter logo. They may cost a few dollars more, but they should hopefully work well into the future, even if the company who makes them today goes out of business. That is the promise of the Matter standard, anyway.
Here are a couple Matter-compatible smart plugs we’ve tested that we think are good bets.
A Practical Gift
Roborock Dyad Pro Combo
Robot vacuums are cool and everyone seems to want one, but sometimes you get better results when you are in control of the process.
The Roborock Dyad Pro Combo is a powerful combination vacuum and mop with a lot of flexibility to clean all of your spaces. We especially love it since we have tile floors everywhere, and the mopping function uses water and cleaner to really get the floors clean. Plus it has the best results getting under cabinets than any other vacuum we’ve used.
If you are planning to buy a Dyad Pro combo (or any cleaning tool, for that matter) as a gift for your partner or spouse, make sure they really want it before you buy. You don’t want to send the wrong message.
Our Holiday Wish
Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell Hydrogen-Powered SUV
Every year we try to pick an extravagant home tech wish to put out there in the universe, in case Smart Home Santa is listening. Some of those wishes have actually come true, maybe not immediately, but still, we have a good track record.
This year we’re going big. We have been saying for a while that our next car will be an EV, and we considered getting a Tesla before we got our last car in 2019.
But electricity is expensive where we live so we’re more interested in a hydrogen car. There are a few models out there and we like the idea of the Hyundai Nexo. It has great range and zero emissions.
Only problem is, there are not a lot of hydrogen fueling stations in our area so we’re afraid to invest a lot in a car only to find out we can’t fill it up, or sell it in the future.
If you’re listening, Hyundai, we would be happy to get a new Nexo and make some videos about our experience, just like we did with our 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe.
I’ve always wanted to wake up on Christmas morning to a new car in the driveway with a big bow on top.
We hope you enjoyed our tenth 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? Hit us up on X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook or Threads.