The best smart home tech for your house

Upgrade your home this autumn with some of our favourite home gadgets from smart doorbells to cameras and even thermostats

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Every room in your home can be made smarter, thanks to ever evolving technology. We've guided you through the bedroom, kitchen and living room, but now TechRadar's James Peckham talks you through the technology that can make your whole place smarter. 

Best robot vacuum cleaner: iRobot Roomba 980

Want to have a tidy home but don’t want to spend all of your spare time vacuuming to keep your floors clean? A robot vacuum cleaner is the perfect way to automate the cleaning regime in your home.

If you currently use a manual vacuum cleaner, the iRobot Roomba 980 will change the way you spruce up your home. It’s an expensive piece of kit – you can buy cheaper robot vacuum cleaners, mind you – but this is one of the top products on the market that will give you some of the best quality cleaning as well as working efficiently.

The cleaner works well on floorboards, tiles and other flat flooring, but the Roomba 980 is particularly impressive when it comes to carpets. The vacuum cleaner automatically senses the type of flooring it’s cleaning and it switches to its high gear mode to give a more powerful clean on carpets and rugs.

The iRobot Room 980 will also map your home to ensure it cleans in an efficient way to make the most of the battery. You can even schedule it to clean when you’re out of the house so you won’t even need to remember to turn the cleaner on.

iRobot Roomba 980

(Image: © iRobot)

Best smart doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 2

Why would you ever need a video doorbell? Once you’ve got one, you won’t know how you had things delivered to your house without one. It essentially acts as a way to see who arrives at your front door, whether it’s friends, family, complete strangers or the postman.

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 features a 1080p camera and two-way audio, so once the visitor has rung your bell you’ll have a notification through to your phone and you can speak through to the app to see what they want.

If it’s a delivery driver, you can then have a chat to make sure they put it in a safe spot or you can ask questions about the delivery. It’s a great idea to keep an eye on who’s visiting your house, and while the Ring Video Doorbell 2 may not have the top audio or video quality you can buy, it is affordable. 

Plus, you won’t need to wire this into your home. Some video doorbells need to be wired into your front door, but this one runs on a battery so you can connect it to your phone and internet, set it up at your front door and use it with ease.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

(Image: © Ring)

Best smart smoke alarm: Nest Protect

It’s well worth investing in a smart smoke detector so you can be sure your home is safe while you’re away. We’ve chosen one of the most expensive devices, which is a top-quality product and gives you some real peace of mind.

The Nest Protect will keep an eye on smoke in your home as well as carbon monoxide. Unlike your normal smoke detector, it will connect to the internet and give you a notification if there’s an issue as well as sounding an alarm in your home. That means you can know if there’s an issue even when you’re on the other side of the world.

There’s an LED ring around the bottom of the alarm which will also give you a visual sign it has been triggered, especially useful for those who are hard of hearing. If you’ve got smart lighting, you can also set this up so the lights in your room turn on if you’re worried an alarm won’t wake you up.

Nest Protect Smoke Alarm

(Image: © Nest)

Best smart security camera: Netgear Arlo Q

Much like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Netgear Arlo Q will allow you to monitor who is coming and going from your home but rather than on your front door, you can place this wherever you want inside to give you peace of mind that your property is secure. This is especially useful when you’re away from the home for long periods of time.

It won’t work outside – you can buy smart security cameras that are designed to survive storms – but it will record at 1080p and give you notifications through to your smartphone, so you’ll know when the motion detector has been triggered.

There’s also two-way audio, so you can have a conversation when you spot someone has just got home. You’ll especially find this useful if you have children coming home from school so you can make sure they got back safely without having to pester them every day.

Netgear Arlo 2

(Image: © Arlo)

Best smart thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat

There’s nothing worse than returning to a freezing cold home during winter, and the Nest Learning Thermostat is perfectly suited to fix that problem. You’ll have to have this installed in your home by an engineer, which can mean it’ll take a while, but it’s well worth it if you want to have smart heating and save money on your bills.

The Nest Learning Thermostat will learn how your home is heated at different times of day and year so you won’t be needlessly heating up the house during times of day when you’re not home, but it’ll also be nicely warmed up for your return home.

If you set up the mobile app, you’ll be able to change the temperature yourself but our favourite feature is it can track your GPS location. It means if you often have the thermostat on from 6pm on a Thursday night, but you decide to head out for dinner instead of heading home, it’ll know you’re not on your way back so it won’t turn on the heating.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is fiddly to set up, but it should help you save money on your heating bill and make warming up your home easier than ever.

Nest learning thermostat

(Image: © Nest)

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