'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Update: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 are done and dusted, so the deals below are no longer valid. Check out our ZDNet Recommends hub for a better look at the latest deals available or ZDNet's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide hub for recommendations on gifts for all.
If you've been thinking about upgrading your home with smart speakers, lights, and cameras, you're not alone. Whether you work in a remote, hybrid, or in-person environment, there's no harm in turning your house into one that is more secure, controllable, and in many cases, energy-saving.
Speaking of saving, this year, you won't have to wait until November 26 to reap the best savings on smart home products. Retailers across the country, including Amazon and Best Buy, have been marking Black Friday-low prices on everyday smart home gadgets since...today! Don't fret if you're late to the early Black Friday extravaganza, we've rounded up the very best deals below so you can spend less time searching and more time shopping.
In time for the holiday season, retailers across the board have expanded their return policies, giving eligible purchases made between November to December 31 a return window until the end of January 2022. See each stores' return page for more details.
The Google Nest Mini makes for the perfect smart hub on your bedside or kitchen countertop. Best Buy currently has the gadget listing at half off, or $24.99. For the price, you get built-in Google Assistant, controls to accommodate Nest products, and a reliable smart speaker that blends into any piece of furniture.
At a time when most are home -- especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Nest Hub smart display makes for an excellent video-calling device or party-starting speaker. It currently sells for just $49.99 ($50 off) at Google and comes with all the AI smarts that we've come to expect from the brand. I'm personally a fan of tech that blends with its surroundings, and the Nest Hub does just that.
If you prefer Amazon's smart assistant -- Alexa, then the Echo may be the better smart speaker for you. The 4th-gen Echo is discounted to $59.99 right now and Amazon will throw in a free smart color light bulb. Why the pairing? When connected to the smart hub, you'll be able to control the color and brightness of the light bulb with a simple voice command.
If you're like me and planning to order shopping carts of items this Black Friday, then having a smart delivery box can be of great use when the packages begin to arrive at your doorstep. Yale currently has its offering at a holiday discount of $196 ($83.99 off) when you enter the code, 'BF30', at checkout. The premise of the smart box is simple; when deliveries are dropped off in the storage, you'll be notified through the Yale Access app. Afterwards, the box will lock itself to prevent the package(s) from being stolen, until you unlock it yourself through the app.
The August Smart Lock Pro is a fantastic option for anyone wanting to keep their houses safe and secure, especially with the dark winter nights on the way. It sits at the top of ZDNet's best smart locks of 2021 and for good reason. When paired to the August mobile app, you'll be able to lock or unlock the gadget with a tap and be notified when your door is opened. The Smart Lock Pro also supports voice unlocking via Google Assistant and Alexa. For Black Friday, you can pick up the August Smart Lock Pro and a Connect hub for only $139.99 ($90 off) with discount code, 'BF90', at checkout.
The Arlo Pro series takes the cake when it comes to high-end security cameras and Best Buy is offering the latest 12-piece Pro 4 bundle for only $399. That's a $200 discount from its typical price.
The Nanoleaf Rhythm makes for the perfect starter kit for music-lovers and those looking to spruce up their entertainment room. Unlike typical wall-sticking light panels, the Rhythm changes colors based on the beat and tune of any song, making for a personal light concert on any surface. It's currently discounted to $209 ($21 off) on Amazon.