When you’re not home, nagging little doubts can start to crowd your mind. Did I turn the coffee maker off? Did I set the security alarm? Are the kids doing their homework or watching television?

With a smart home, you could quiet all of these worries with a quick glance at your smartphone or tablet. You could connect the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you.

While still in its infancy, the number of smart home products—devices that let you control your lightingthermostat, or even your crock pot from your smartphone—is rapidly growing. From GE to Belkin to Home Depot, tons of products and whole ecosystems want to help you control your home via a single iOS or Android app. You can pick and choose your favorite gadgets to assemble an affordable intelligent abode on your own terms, or opt for an entire smart home system that does all the work for you. Here are some of our favorite smart home systems and individual gadgets.

A ton of new smart home devices are coming out this year, and include new connected appliancescameraslightbulbs— even robots and trashcans. One common thread, though, is that many of these new devices will be compatible with Amazon Alexa, further integrating this voice assistant into your home. Plus, Amazon itself is launching several new Alexa-enabled devices, so you can use it in even more places.

Amazon Alexa vs. Google Home vs. Apple HomeKit

Amazon, Apple, and Google all have voice assistants that can be used to control your smart home devices, but which one is best for you? We did a head-to-head-to-head comparison between the three, and while Google came out (slightly) on top, that shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision. Currently, Alexa is compatible with the most smart home devices, with Google a fairly close second. However, Google Assistant can also be used to control Chromecast devices, which could be a useful feature if you have an Android-enabled smart TV. Apple’s HomeKit lags pretty far behind, but support is growing.

MORE: The Best Smart Home Devices That Work with Google Home



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