Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

Complete guide to the top gadgets to buy on a budget

Best cheap smart home tech
The Ambient is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Building a smart home on a budget requires a bit more research and effort than simply splurging on the best connected tech. If you're here, it's likely because you're interested in smart home automation, but have been put off by lofty prices.

Luckily, we're here to help. In this guide to the best cheap smart home tech, we'll be detailing speakers, bulbs, cameras, plugs and more - giving you a one-stop shop to discover all the top devices currently available for a fraction of rival price tags.

For any budget: The top smart home devices you can buy

Our team of smart home experts have tested everything listed below, letting us deliver comprehensive verdicts and allowing you to buy with confidence. We've also tried to only list the gadgets from reputable brands - so, none of the white-label knock-offs you can find through a quick Amazon search. Let's go shopping.

Jump to the information you need

Best cheap smart bulbs

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

Wyze Bulb

Buy now: Amazon, | $7.99

The latest kid on the block, Wyze's debut smart bulb only comes in white for now, but at just $7.99 it's hard to argue with. The price doesn't mean sacrificing too much either, with decent automations, support for Alexa/Google Assistant, and decent integration with other Wyze products. Best of all, it doesn't require a hub to use, which shaves off what could be a large chunk of change.

The downsides? No color option (yet), no HomeKit support, and the bulbs don't dim as low as some others. It also only comes in the single A19/E26 white option right now, but we're hoping for more variety in the future.

Read our full Wyze Bulb review.

Best budget smart home tech: Lights, cameras, doorbells and more

Ikea Trådfri

Buy now: Amazon, | Range from $7.99

Buy now: Amazon, | Gateway kit: $80

Ikea's smart lights still need polish, but at $7 a pop, they’re incredible value. Part of their beauty is the flexibility – you can buy the bulbs, wireless dimmer or remote switch and not even have open the smartphone app. If you do want the extra smarts, such as app control and Alexa controls, you’ll need to grab a Trådfri gateway ($25).

There’s a growing range of bulbs, which are compatible with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, ­and Google Assistant. Getting the full gamut of smart home platforms at this price isn’t to be sniffed at.

Read our full Ikea Tradfri review.

Best cheap smart speakers

The best budget smart home tech: Lights, cameras, doorbells for less

Amazon Echo Dot

Buy now: Amazon | $49.99

With its third-generation Echo Dot, Amazon has improved most of what we didn't like about previous editions. First, it looks much better. Amazon's new fabric design may make the new Dot look like a very bloated Google Nest Mini, but it's far less outdated looking than the previous editions.

It's also improved the sound considerably. It's not going to blow you away, but it does sound better than the Nest Mini and previous Echo Dot editions. Plus, you get all the same Alexa features that are present in other non-display Echos – things such as Whisper Mode, Alexa Calling, Shopping Lists, and Flash Briefings. You also have a 3.5mm aux jack to hook up to a better speaker, and there's also stereo pair mode for even better sound. Slap a digital clock on the front for an extra $10.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot review.

Best budget smart home tech: Lights, cameras, doorbells and more

Google Nest Mini

Buy now: | $49.99

The Google Assistant equivalent to the Echo Dot is the colorful Google Nest Mini, which was refreshed in 2019 with an improved speaker and the ability to mount to a wall.

Google Assistant is a great ecosystem, and the Chromecast tie-in works nicely, plus the Google Nest Mini will work as a Bluetooth speaker as well. Like the Echo Dot, Google also isn't shy about slashing the price even further on the regular. The one downside, considering the (still) not-great audio quality, is that there’s no audio out, which is a drawback for music listening, somewhat.

Read our full Google Nest Mini review.

Best cheap smart displays

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, plugs and that work

Lenovo Smart Clock

Buy now: | $79.99

With just a 4-inch display, there's less space to work with than the larger and more expensive displays, but Lenovo has adapted with fewer features on its Smart Clock. For example, there's no Google Photos and no Home View, two of our favorite features from other Assistant-compatible displays. And it's not ideal for music, either - matching the kind of levels you'll receive from the Google Home Mini.

On the other hand, it's a less intrusive device, which is especially important for something you'll put on your bedside table. For that same reason, there's no built-in camera, another reason this might be more appealing than the Echo Spot or the Echo Show 5. All in all, this is a great entry into Google Assistant for those who don't want to shell out for a Google Nest Hub and those who prefer a screened device over a Home Mini.

Read our full Lenovo Smart Clock review.

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

Echo Show 5

Buy now: Amazon | $90

If you're on Team Alexa, the Echo Show 5 is a very good little smart display that won't cost the Earth. With just a 5-inch display (clue's in the name) the Show 5 is working with little space, but still manages to do plenty with it. In fact, we think it looks much nicer on our bookshelf than the full-size Echo Show, but it does come with some disadvantages – chiefly that it's harder to read across a room.

But if discretion is the game, the Show 5 is a great little speaker with better sound quality than the Echo Spot and all the full range of control for your connected smart home devices.

Read our full Echo Show 5 review.

Best cheap smart plugs

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, plugs and that work

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

Buy now:Amazon | $17.99

The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini may be a mouthful, but it actually keeps things pretty simple in practice. And that's what you want in a smart plug, right?

It's cheap, does the job and doesn't take up too much space in the process. There's no HomeKit support and it lacks energy tracking, but the ability to set schedules and an 'Away' mode mean it's not short on features. It does make an oddly loud clicking noise when you turn it off - but maybe that'll bother you less than it did us.

Read our full TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini review.

Best cheap smart plug: Wyze Plug

Wyze Plug

Buy now: | $14.99

Per plug, Wyze actually has the cheapest smart plug by a long shot – just $7.50 a piece. The only problem is that you have to buy them as a pair for $15, which is a cunning plan by Wyze considering how many people buy multiple smart plugs for their homes.

The other good news is that the Wyze Plug does all the basic stuff you'd expect, from scheduling to Alexa/Google Assistant integration.

Read our full Wyze Plug review.

Best cheap smart home cameras

Best home security camera: Smart wireless and wired cameras tested

Best for indoors: TP-Link Kasa Spot

Buy now: Amazon | $49.99

The Kasa Spot gets top billing for being both cheap and reliable. Sure, it looks budget, but when you consider you're getting key features such as remote viewing, motion alerts, two-way audio, and Alexa/Google Assistant support, the cosmetics quickly fade into insignificance.

At 1080p, image quality is also good, with a generous 130-degree field of view. There is an optional subscription service, but you can keep up to two days of recordings (or up to 1GB of footage) for free, which will be plenty for a lot of people.

Read our full TP-Link Kasa Spot review.

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

Best for outdoors: Blink Camera XT2

Buy now: Amazon | $100

There are cheaper smart home cameras out there – but hear us. The Blink is a totally wire-free, smart camera that runs for a couple of years on two AA batteries. You get 1080p recording, motion alerts and, no monthly fees to access recorded clips and it’s Alexa and Google Assistant compatible. $100 gets you a starter kit with one camera and the Blink Home Security Module, which you’ll need for the system to work.

While $100 isn’t bad for a smart home camera system, each additional camera will set you back, $90 which offers one of the cheapest ways to get your entire home covered.

Best cheap smart doorbells

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

RemoBell S

Buy now: Amazon, | $99

The RemoBell S promises the world for $99 – and delivers a lot. You get a 180-degree field of view with 1080p video and night vision up to 7.5m. There's support for motion zones and two-way audio, though it lacks some higher-end features such as facial recognition and digital zoom.

But you do get three days free video storage, Alexa/Google Assistant integration, and nicely responsive performance all for less than $100, which is something.

Read our full RemoBell S review.

Best cheap smart home devices: Pay less for lights, cameras, plugs and more

Ring Video Doorbell 2nd-gen

Buy now: Amazon | $99.99

The smart doorbell that kick started the connected front door revolution was recently revamped for 2020. The second-gen Ring Video Doorbell boasts a budget price-tag and some pretty impressive specs.

It takes the original Ring Video Doorbell and adds Full HD 1080p video, improved motion detection, privacy zones, audio privacy and crisper night vision.

The good news is the price stays the same at $99.

Best cheap streaming sticks and boxes

The best streaming sticks and boxes to get a smart TV on a budget

Roku Stick+

Buy it now: Amazon | $59.99

Roku's Stick+ is a fantastic, affordable streaming stick that supports a vast range of apps – Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and everything in between – in 4K and HRD, all in a device the size of a thumb drive.

If you want to go even cheaper, Roku's line starts at just $29 for the Roku Express. You won't get the long-range 802.11AC WiFi support of the Stick+ and quality tops out at HD, but that might be enough for you.

Cheap smart home tech: Pay less for lights, plugs and that work

Fire TV Stick 4K

Buy now: Amazon | $49

Amazon's Fire Stick 4K is the best bargain in streaming sticks. Sure, you can't natively get YouTube, but there's the Silk Browser to fix that. You're getting a whole lot of stuff for not a lot of money. There's enough standard support here to make the biggest A/V nerd dance with glee: Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, 4K and HDR10+ support are all on board.

Plus, you get Alexa and the new Alexa Voice Remote with volume buttons. This is the best alternative to the Apple TV 4K.

Read our full Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review.

TAGGED    smart home

Related stories

amazon Amazon jumps into Wi-Fi 6 with new Eero Pro 6 mesh system
amazon The new Echo Show 10 has got moves
smart home Echo Dot is now a ball but with better sound and smarter smarts
smart home ​Zigbee explained: Hubs, devices and everything you need to know
smart home The best smart home buttons for automations, controls, routines and more
smart home Get started with the smart home - a beginner's guide