Smart Home

5 Smart Home Products Worth Every Penny

Dan Price 20-02-2018

If you’re looking to buy smart home technology, you’ll have to decide between purchasing top-end products or cheaper alternatives. Either way, you won’t be short of options.


Everything from Sonos to Philips Hue has a litany of less costly products vying for market share. Often, the cheaper product turns out to be better than the more expensive model. For instance, the ILIFE A6 robot vacuum is a worthy rival to Roomba at a fraction of the cost.

We don’t want you to waste your money, but we know you also want the best smart home products available. So, which gadgets are worth every penny? Which expensive devices are “must-haves” for any smart home fanatic? Keep reading to find out more.

1. Amazon Echo

smart home products - amazon echo

Echo (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa and Dolby processing - Heather Gray Fabric Echo (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa and Dolby processing - Heather Gray Fabric Buy Now On Amazon

The Amazon Echo is a voice-controlled speaker, but it can do a lot more than just play music. First launched in 2015, the Echo is an amalgamation of three key features: voice control, smart home control, and a personal assistant.


The personal assistant is powered by Amazon Alexa. She can relay live information such as news and traffic reports, but can also be used to add events to your calendar or add notes to your to-do list. You can also install third-party skills. We’ve covered some of the best elsewhere on the site.

Echo speakers are compatible with an ever-growing list of smart home devices. The list includes Samsung SmartThings hubs, Philips Hue lights, August smart locks, Nest thermostats, and many more products you use every day.

Given the second generation of Echo speakers are available on Amazon for less than $120, buying one is a no-brainer.

2. Nanoleaf Light Panels – Rhythm Edition

smart home products - nanoleaf light panels


Here at MakeUseOf, opinion is split on Philips Hue. Some of us think they are overpriced and pointless while others believe it’s the best smart lighting system around.

None of us, however, are divided on the Nanoleaf Light Panels. They were already some of the best smart lights you could buy, but the recent Rhythm Edition upgrade has taken them to a whole new level.

Nanoleaf Light Panels are triangular LED light panels that can change color. You can mount them on your wall in any configuration you want.


The Rhythm Edition turns the LED panels into music visualizers. The integrated sound sensor can detect beats, sounds, and melodies in real-time.

If you already own Nanoleaf Light Panels, don’t despair. The company is selling a plug-in rhythm module separately.

A Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition starter kit typically will set you back a few hundred dollars. It comes with the plug-in module and nine LED panels. The standalone module costs $49.99 from the company’s website.

3. Sonos

Sonos One (Gen 1) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in (Black) Sonos One (Gen 1) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in (Black) Buy Now On Amazon


Sonos has produced the best wireless speakers for many years. The company is still well clear of the chasing pack.

The speakers themselves are renowned for producing high-quality sound with no distortion, even at high volumes. They are perfect for both audiophiles and casual listeners. They’re also gorgeous; they will look great anywhere in your home.

The system allows you to group speakers if you want to play the same audio in multiple rooms. Alternatively, you can play a different output on each speaker.

Furthermore, the latest Sonos One model Sonos One Review: Is This the One Smart Speaker to Rule Them All? Sonos and Alexa, in One device. Thanks to the superior sound quality, it's the best Echo device yet – and with Google Assistant support promised soon, it's the One speaker to rule them all. Read More ships with Amazon Alexa, thus providing you with a ready-to-use smart assistant wherever you place your speaker.

Lastly, if you’re a competent programmer, you can pair your Sonos speakers with a Raspberry Pi and use them to play voice notifications.

There are many different components in the Sonos system. The music range includes the One, Play:1, Play:3 and Play:5. The TV range is made up of the Playbase, Playbar, and Sub. You can even add “dumb” Hi-Fi systems into your setup using the Connect and Amp.

4. Logitech Harmony Elite

Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control, Hub and App Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control, Hub and App Buy Now On Amazon $269.99

Universal remotes have enjoyed an explosion in popularity over recent years. The selection on offer is diverse; you’ll always be able to find one to suit your needs.

But there’s one universal remote that reigns supreme over all the others, in terms of both price and quality. It’s the Logitech Harmony Elite.

The device doesn’t come cheap. If you buy it through the Logitech website, you’ll need to shell out a few hundred dollars. For the money, you’ll get the remote handset, a hub, and a smartphone app. You can often find better deals on Amazon.

Some of the remote’s best features include:

  • Custom Activities: One button can simultaneously perform multiple actions. For example, you could dim the lights, draw the curtains, and open Netflix ready to watch a film. Or lock the doors, turn off the TV, and program the coffee machine before going to bed.
  • Alexa Integration: You can make use of Amazon’s personal assistant by talking into your handset.
  • Third-Party Support: Most prominent smart devices are compatible with the remote, including Ecobee, Insteon, Nest, Yale, SmartThings, Wink, and Philips Hue.

Remember, if you don’t want to invest in a universal remote, you can use your smartphone to perform many of the same tasks.

5. Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

Google, T3007ES, Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen, Smart Thermostat, Stainless Steel, Works With Alexa Google, T3007ES, Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen, Smart Thermostat, Stainless Steel, Works With Alexa Buy Now On Amazon $230.00

Nest thermostats have been at the forefront of the smart home revolution since the manufacturer introduced the first-generation model in 2011.

Now, three generations later, the thermostat is better than ever.

After you install one in your home, the device slowly learns what temperature you like at what time of day. It will automatically adjust itself based on those preferences. You can also control the temperature remotely, and it even knows when you’re away from home.

They’re all significant benefits. But the device really comes into its own when you consider how much money it can save you. Independent studies have shown Nest saves people an average of 11 percent on their heating bills and 15 percent on their cooling bills.

So, even though the device costs a couple hundred dollars for a single unit on the company’s website, it will pay for itself within two years. The company has produced a white paper explaining the financial benefits in more detail.

And remember, purchasing the device on Amazon rather than directly from Nest could save you money. The Nest Learning Thermostat will pay for itself even sooner.

These Smart Home Products Are Worth Every Penny

We’ve reviewed many smart home products on the site and on our YouTube channel, and these five high-end devices offer the best experience. None of the cheaper alternatives come close to replicating their features and usefulness.

Related topics: Amazon Echo, Home Automation, Nest, Smart Lighting.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. csm2
    February 20, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    And how long is it going to be before these devices get hacked?

    I hope you don't mind your smart speakers spying on you.

    "These Smart Home Products Are Worth Every Penny"
    To the manufacturer. So to paraphrase Chicago's ex-Mayor, Richard Daley, 'Buy early and buy often!'

    • Johng
      February 21, 2018 at 12:42 am

      I hope they spy on me so my other stuff can recommend things I want or need. My life isn't too exciting, so companies will be pretty disappointed.

      • dragonmouth
        February 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        Be careful what you wish for.

  2. Eileen
    February 20, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    The whole "smart" thing is just ridiculous. Marketing hype to get people to buy crap tech that they don't need & doesn't really do much. Just the latest flavor of the month. I mean really, is everyone that needy or just lazy & rich? If you are going to throw your money down the tech toy drain, then consider giving the tech cash to those who are really in need.

    The "smart" stuff is just so stupid to be buying into.

    • Johng
      February 21, 2018 at 12:40 am

      You don't need anything other than basic food and simple, cheap clothing, and a cheap roof over our heads but we all have different wants. Don't be so judgy.

  3. Jack Smith
    February 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Google home way easier to use. For most things can say it however it pops up in your head versus the rigid language or basically commands with the Echo which you have to memorize.