Ten years ago, smart homes were expensive, with the original Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon) costing $180 and the original Nest Learning Thermostat ($200 at Amazon) clocking in at $250. So the idea of setting up a voice assistant-driven home -- filled with connected cameras, lights, doorbells and various sensors -- was untenable for many consumers.
But it's 2020, and smart homes are more affordable than ever. It's incredibly easy to snap up cheap Alexa devices to power your home. Not only can you get an Alexa voice device for $20, but you can get all the things Alexa controls for super-cheap prices, too. In fact, you can make an Amazon Alexa-powered smart home for less than the original Amazon Echo cost. Here are the cheapest and best products to do it.
The best, cheapest smart speaker Amazon offers is the ever-solid Echo Dot. Their newest generation Echo speaker has impressive sound quality if you want to play music (Spotify Premium, Amazon Music, Sonos and more), along with voice control and all the smarts of the higher-end speakers. Place Echo devices in different rooms of your house for multi-room audio. Not only is the Amazon Echo Dot a reasonable $50, but you can also catch it on sale for $25 often. Read our Echo Dot (3rd Gen) review.
The $90 Echo Show 5 brings all the visual smarts of Amazon's other smart displays on a compact screen that fits on your bedside table. You can find it on sale for $50 fairly often, and it gives you a screen to display the feeds of smart cams -- not to mention controlling smart devices with the tap of a finger, rather than voice commands. Read our Echo Show 5 review.
Amazon offers a number of other devices that add Amazon Alexa to you cars, home and other spaces, and one of the best of these is the Echo Flex, a $25 plug that brings Alexa integration to any place with an outlet. Setup is easy through the Amazon Alexa app. Once you do that, the smart speaker brings all the smarts of the Alexa voice assistant, plus a modular design that allows the use of motion-sensing and night light attachments. Read our Amazon Echo Flex review.
The Wyze Cam is one of the best super-cheap devices out there, with a tiny $20 price tag and an impressive set of features. With the second version of the camera, you can check your live feed on Amazon smart displays. Read our Wyze Cam review.
Another surprisingly affordable smart home gadget from Wyze is the $8 Bulb, which you can control with Amazon Alexa. It connects directly to a Wi-Fi network, so no smart home hub is necessary. These smart bulbs give you many of the smarts of a Philips Hue or Lifx bulb (thought the features are a little more spare than Philips Hue), and they work nicely with Amazon's smart home ecosystem. Read our Wyze Bulb review.
Two categories where prices still hover over $100 are smart locks and doorbells. Wyze has a $100 smart lock that we haven't reviewed yet, and Ring sells a $100 early model of its smart doorbell, but the best products in the categories (from August's Smart Lock to Arlo's Video Doorbell) tend to hang around $150. Read our August Smart Lock (2017) review.
Originally published earlier.