9to5Toys Gift Guide: Blair’s favorite smart home must-haves

It’s that time of year again; Christmas is quickly approaching and many are being filled with festive cheer as the winter holiday season is now in full swing. But if you’re bogged down by the chore of hunting down the perfect gift, we’ve got your back. At the top of the list, Alexa-enabled and HomeKit devices are an easy choice for tech enthusiasts. So you’ll want to head below to check out our top recommendations for must-have smart home gifts.

LIFX Z Lightstrip |

One of the corner stones of smart home tech is lighting. While typical voice-controlled, dimmable lighting accessories bring a whole range of utility to the table, there’s nothing quite like multicolor lights to pique one’s interest. That’s where the LIFX Z Lightstrip comes in.

At $80 it’s a standalone lighting device that can be used for tons of different scenarios. So whether you think your gift recipient needs to add some flair to their desk setup, could benefit from bias lighting on their TV or would just enjoy some ambient mood lighting, it’s a notable option. Best of all, not only does it work with Alexa and Assistant, but it features HomeKit support as well. And because it doesn’t need an extra hub, the LIFX Z Lightstrip is an ideal device to get someone started without any annoying overhead.

Logitech Circle 2 Camera |

Not all smart home gadgets have to just be for show though. Some, like the Logitech Circle 2 Camera, bring security and peace of mind to your home while still sporting notable smart features. Here the camera’s $150 price tag nets you 1080p video, free 24-hour cloud storage, motion detection alerts and more.

Unlike many of the other smart home cameras on the market, Logitech’s Circle 2 works with just about any device you can imagine. It natively supports the notable inclusion of HomeKit functionality, alongside working with your Echo, Google Home, smartphone and more. This wide range of compatibility puts it over the top as an easy recommendation for the security-conscious smart home owner in your life.

August Smart Lock |

And speaking of smart home security, it’s hard not to mention August’s third generation Smart Lock. At $117, it’s on the more affordable side as far as smart locks go without sacrificing too much on functionality. It automatically locks and unlocks based on your location, removing the need to fumble for your keys. And plus, it can be upgraded down the line with August’s Connect Wi-Fi Bridge to add HomeKit support into the mix. 

HomePod & Google Home Max |

Voice assistants have dramatically increased the appeal of smart homes. On top of that, the smart speakers they reside in being great options to get the ball rolling. If there’s someone in your life who’s been relying on an Echo Dot or Home Mini, give them the first of Hi-Fi audio with the HomePod. Or if they’re deep in the Assistant ecosystem, the Home Max delivers much of the same premium sound experience.

At $349 for Apple’s HomePod and $399 for the Google Home Max, they’re certainly some of the more high-end devices to expand a smart home with. But both flagship speakers offer voice-control of their respective smart home platforms. And if impeccable sound is a must, that premium will be worth the smile on the recipient’s face.

Additional Accessories 

Aside from the big ticket items that one is likely to center their smart homes around, there are plenty of add-ons which enter at lower price points. Smart plugs are one of the most notable, and the hands-down best option you’ll find is the Wemo Mini Smart Plug. I’m not the first to recommend the device, as it made an appearance in Trevor’s favorite low-cost tech essentials. With a seal of approval from not one, but two of us here at Toys, it’s a must-have at $25.

There are also a variety of sensors which put the ‘smart’ in one’s smart home. Two of my personal favorites are the Eve Degree Weather Station and Eve Door & Window Sensor. At $70 and $40 respectively, both work with HomeKit and expand the capabilities of what one’s devices can accomplish. They can be used to automatically turn on a heater when it gets too cold or turn the lights on when a door is opened and more. 

Other 9to5Toys Gift Guides:

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