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It doesn't matter who you're shopping for: smart home devices are designed specifically to make life easier for anyone. Yes, even your Nana and Auntie. No matter the age, preferences, budget, or level of tech knowledge, there is something for everyone.
You don't have to be a tech wiz or even a fan of gadgets to enjoy the convenience of having smart home devices around your home. Right now, anyone can start a smart home journey with less than $10 by buying something as simple as a smart plug. The simplicity of controlling it with an app makes it accessible to almost everyone with a smartphone.
These are the top 12 gift ideas for smart home devices for anyone, from your significant other to a neighbor. Read on to find something for whoever you're shopping for, as well as the best deals on smart home gifts below.
This smart bird feeder can take your birdwatching to the next level. The Bird Buddy is ideal for anyone who enjoys watching feathered friends. It comes with a perfectly placed camera that sends notifications to your smartphone when a bird has stopped by, complete with photo and video evidence.
If you know someone who loves birdwatching, this is the gift for them. The Bird Buddy's camera captures images when a bird stops by for a bite to eat, and sends users a notification with photos and video footage. The app can even identify the bird species for you.
This device, which is available for pre-order right now, can help your friends or relatives feed birds and watch them up close. It also helps track bird migration and population data, to find better ways to protect them. All you have to do is charge the camera and connect it to Wi-Fi via the Bird Buddy app. After that, it's the same as a normal bird feeder: simply fill the feeder with food and place it outside.
If you live with someone who always loses their keys, the August Smart Lock and Connect Wi-Fi Bridge is the best gift for them.
It's one of the best keyless entry options for upgrading your existing door lock. It only replaces the thumb-turn on the inside of your door, so you can keep your existing lock (and extra deadbolt), too.
Even though they can keep their existing key, they definitely won't need it. You can schedule the device to automatically unlock when you get home and lock behind you when the door is closed.
The August app allows you to set up different options, where you can share different key codes with whoever needs access to your home, like a housecleaner or dog-walker, and edit how long the lock waits to lock for you.
It's also compatible with Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, and Philips Hue.
This is a perfect gift for those that don't have a lot of smart devices (or any) at home but wouldn't mind adding a little automation to their lives. This pack includes four Kasa Smart Plugs that don't require a separate hub to work, simply download the Kasa app on iPhone or Android phone and control them from anywhere.
They can be set to schedules, like plugging in your Nana's coffeemaker to one so it comes on automatically every day at 7 a.m. Or be controlled from your phone no matter where you are, perfect for that sister that always forgets if she unplugged the curling iron before she left the house.
These smart plugs also support automation with other compatible devices. If you wanted to get fancier, you could add a motion sensor outside Nana's bedroom door, so the smart plug only turns the coffeemaker on in the mornings when motion is detected from Nana leaving her room.
If the gift recipient already has a Google Nest or an Amazon Echo device, these plugs are compatible with Alexa and Google Home Assistant for voice control, so they can ask Alexa to turn on or off the plug for added convenience.
Review: I got the $3.49 smart plug on Prime Day. Here's how it went
Many of us have been sitting at a restaurant waiting for that one friend that missed the reservation time because they can't find their keys or wallet, again. It'd be awesome if they could simply grab their iPhones and trigger a sound to play right from the missing item. Cue the AirTag.
This tiny, coin-shaped device can help you remotely track just about anything it can be attached to, even your bike. You can keep track of it via the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad, or ask Siri to play a sound on your AirTag so you can easily find it nearby.
If you lose whatever your AirTag has attached to away from home, you can put it in Lost Mode, so you'll get tracking notifications when it's detected in the Find My app. AirTags are IP67 certified, making them water and weatherproof for versatility of use.
If your forgetful partner, friend, coworker, or family member has an iPhone 11 or newer, this is the best gift for them.
Also: How to securely attach your Apple AirTag to things -- without breaking the bank
Think about the best party host you know. Whether it's your brother, sister, cousin, or friend, these Govee Smart LED strip lights are the perfect present for any avid party host.
Sure to set the mood for any occasion, these strip lights are built with 150 LED beads that you can control via the Govee Home mobile app. The self-stick adhesive backing is reinforced with five clips for an easy and secure installation.
The app lets you choose from over 64 scene effects or create your own, letting you have a thoroughly customizable experience with over 16 million colors. Plus, the device will synchronize to music for the ultimate party-hosting experience.
These light strips are the perfect addition to your little brother's parties that he always says he's going to invite you to but never does. But it's okay because you still love him, even if he doesn't think you're cool anymore.
I'm not sure how it was in your house, but when I was growing up way back in the day, the single window A/C unit we had was only used on special occasions: Christmas, birthdays, or if one of us kids was sick. Granted, I grew up in a third-world country, but those memories have made me greatly appreciate my current HVAC system.
That appreciation comes with care -- or what others around me like to call "control," for some reason. I take great care of my home's temperature so as not to overwork the HVAC system and not end up paying too much in energy bills. The answer to this is a smart thermostat.
This Ecobee smart thermostat comes with a separate temperature sensor that you can place in another room, and it has a built-in air quality monitor and smoke detector. It's also Energy Star-certified, claiming to save you up to 26% a year in heating and cooling costs with temperature optimization and occupancy sensing. It will even alert you when you need to change your air filters.
If you have a partner or parent that is always hogging the thermostat and replying "get a blanket" when you complain it's too cold, this is the gift for them.
The Dreametech D10 Plus robot vacuum and mop is a self-emptying dream for $350. This is a powerful 4000Pa suction vacuum that connects to Wi-Fi and is controlled via the Mi Home app.
Whether you have a clean freak in your life or you are the clean freak, you'll be glad to learn that this robot vacuum also has a mopping feature. Plus, it fully maps its route in your home and comes equipped with strong battery life. However, the powerful suction and self-emptying features take the cake.
The vacuum cleans your floors and empties its bin into a 2.5-liter dust bag that can hold up to 45 days of dirt and dust from your floors. I don't even want to see what 45 days of dust looks like but, also, I kind of do.
Review: Dreametech D10 review
Is your teenager into technology and robots? This SwitchBot Bot is a compact little robot that presses buttons for you. There are plenty of uses for it, too.
This little robot connects to your phone via the Bluetooth SwitchBot app. It can turn on lights and press buttons for almost anything, like a coffeemaker, fan, computer, or printer.
If you add a SwitchBot Hub, you can control it from your phone via Wi-Fi no matter where you are. Plus, it's compatible with Alexa and Google Home for voice control capabilities.
This bot is small enough to be placed almost anywhere. You can let your teenager decide what to use it for -- even if it's simply to turn off a light or fan without having to get out of bed.
Also: SwitchBot Blind Tilt: The simplest way to automate existing blinds
If your partner, aunt, or uncle loves to go all out on holiday decorations, the GE Cync Outdoor Floodlights are an excellent gift for them. These outdoor smart lights are a perfect replacement for almost any existing outdoor light fixture. After screwing in these bulbs, just set them up with the Cync app to control them from your phone, no matter where you go. They're also compatible with Alexa and Google Home for voice control, no extra hub required.
The smart bulbs enable you to choose between millions of bright colors to set the party mood. They complement holiday decorations nicely, and there's no need to buy special color light bulbs for every special occasion. Simply schedule the color you want: Orange or purple for Halloween and Red or green for Christmas, for example.
The millions of bright colors to choose from are sure to set the party mood and work as a complement to any holiday decoration. No need to buy color light bulbs, just set this up and easily set them to turn on with a schedule on the color you want; orange or purple for Halloween, or red or green for Christmas, for example.
The white tones ranging from 2000K to 7000K make these dimmable 1300 lumens bulbs the perfect outdoor light for the rest of the year. If your gift recipient is a huge fan of holiday decorating, you could also throw a smart outdoor plug into the gift.
Also: What are the best outdoor security floodlights and are solar ones any good?
Most couples, families, or groups of friends have a fixer; a husband, dad, cousin, uncle or wife, aunt, or mom who is always tinkering with something and loves to show off all their new gadgets. The one you text when your water heater breaks down.
This includes the Caseta smart dimmer switch and Pico remote kit, as well as the Lutron Smart Bridge to connect it all to the internet. This dimmer and remote make it so users can keep their existing light bulbs and fixtures and make them smarter from the source: the light switch on the wall.
The dimmer replaces an existing light switch with no neutral wire required, making it easy to install in almost any home.
This is a highly compatible smart switch, easily controlled through Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit, SmartThings, and Ring, with the included hub. The hub supports up to 75 Lutron switches, so this is the perfect starter kit for a high-quality smart home.
It's also not going to overload your Wi-Fi network. If someone ends up adding these smart switches all over their house, each one will connect to the hub, which can simply use an ethernet cable to get online. This is a major difference from individually Wi-Fi-connected smart switches.
If you have kids and an Amazon Echo device in your home, then you probably already appreciate having a smart voice assistant with children.
My kids love asking Alexa and Siri questions and jokes -- especially asking them to turn on "party mode," which triggers our living room's lights to change colors and start playing the Trolls soundtrack. This new Echo Dot Kids with parental controls is perfect for that.
The 5th-generation Echo Dot Kids is a visually attractive speaker, with an Owl or Dragon character on the speaker, and it's the perfect addition to a playroom. Visuals aside, kids will also love Alexa's capabilities.
The Echo Dot Kits come with a one-year subscription to Amazon+ Kids, which offers access to kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational Alexa skills. Plus, the voice assistant can even help them with homework.
You'll love The Echo Dot Kids for its parental controls, too. Alexa can intelligently filter explicit songs and ensure kid-friendly responses. The Parent Dashboard can also control daily time limits, see recent activity, and lock emergency contacts for the kids to call in an emergency.
This device works as a smart voice assistant, an Eero Wi-Fi extender, and as an electronic educator for children. Your kids can ask Alexa questions and jokes, buying you 20 minutes to read this article, among other ZDNET gift guides.
This Eufy Security kit is a perfect starter kit for anyone looking to start a home alarm system. It includes a motion sensor, keypad, two entry sensors, and the HomeBase 2.
This kit doesn't require a monthly subscription and the HomeBase 2 stores video locally in the hub. Plus, users can choose to add more Eufy Security cameras to the system down the line.
Your gift recipient will sleep soundly with this all-connected system protecting them. The HomeBase 2 plays a 100dB alarm when the system is armed and a sensor is triggered.
It's the perfect gift to get your paranoid, safety-concerned neighbor, so they can stop texting you at 3 in the morning wondering if you also heard that noise in the backyard.
Also: Eufy Edge Security System hands-on: The most advanced security cameras yet?
Here are some of the best deals on smart home devices happening right now. We'll keep this updated with the latest deals as they come up:
This is a subjective question since everyone has different automation preferences. However, here are some essential devices to get started on your smart home journey:
I tried to find a balance between what your loved ones would like to receive as a gift and what works as a standalone item. No one wants to receive a bike helmet for a present if they don't have a bike, so we focused on items that can be useful on their own.
It's also important to consider that not everyone has the same skills and knowledge to operate the latest technologies, so we wanted to gather a variety of gifts that can work for most users.
Price and affordability also played a role in helping us select these gift ideas. We know every dollar saved is appreciated during these times.
Whether you choose a smart lock or a video doorbell for a loved one, always consider three main things:
The first step to protecting you and your smart home from hackers is to secure your Wi-Fi network. To do this, change both your Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password from the factory settings the router has. Choose a strong password that's not easy to guess by others, especially those around your home.
Also ensure you're using WPA2 or WPA3 security protocol standards, as this will add another layer of security.
Anything connected to the internet is at risk of being hacked, to be honest. But there are steps you can take to protect your information, like strong passwords, keeping the firmware on your devices up-to-date, and taking advantage of two-factor authentication when possible.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular smart devices are smartphones, followed by tablets and wearables. But around the home, the most popular smart home devices are smart speakers and hubs with screens, smart TVs, smart thermostats, video doorbells, and smart garage door openers.
ZDNET experts rounded up the overall best tech gifts of 2023.
But gifts can come in all shapes and sizes, so we also rounded up the best gifts by category, price, and retailer -- plus, the hottest tech toys for kids in 2023.
Gifts by category
Gifts by price
Gifts by retailer
Gifts for kids