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Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa lets you control a multitude of smart home devices simply by talking to it. Say “Goodnight” and Alexa can turn down the heat, lock your front door, and launch your robotic vacuum.
To get this kind of integrated experience, you need devices that work with Alexa, but with more than 145,000 Alexa-compatible devices out there, which should you choose?
“Just because a device has a ‘Works with Alexa’ badge doesn’t mean it’s a quality product,” says Bernie Deitrick, one of CR's multiple test engineers for smart home products.
In CR’s labs, our test engineers spend hundreds of hours testing all kinds of devices. We rate smart speakers for their sound quality and ease of use, security cameras for video quality and data privacy, smart locks for their features and whether they resist being picked, and much, much more.
Below are top-performing Alexa-compatible smart home devices from our ratings of smart speakers, security cameras, video doorbells, DIY security systems, smart thermostats, smart locks, robotic vacuums, smart sprinkler controllers, and more.
If you’re considering purchasing other smart home devices that you don’t see here, check our ratings to see if they work with Alexa and how well they perform in our tests. For step-by-step instructions on hooking up your device to Alexa, see our guide on using Alexa to control your smart home. And if you're looking for ideas about how to put these devices to work, check out our exhaustive smart home toolkit.
Arlo Pro 2 Smart Camera VMC4030P
Free video storage: 7 days
Optional subscription costs: 30 days of cloud video storage for $3 per month for one camera or $10 per month for five cameras; 24/7 continuous video recording costs $10 per month per camera for 14 days and $20 per month per camera for 30 days
CR’s take: The Arlo Pro 2 offers superb video quality, and Arlo cameras are the only models in our ratings with Excellent Smart IQ ratings, which means they offer a wide array of smart features compared to the competition, including a siren, voice control via Amazon Alexa (as well as Apple HomeKit/Siri and Google Assistant), a rechargeable battery, and a rolling seven days of free storage for motion- and audio-triggered video clips (a perk that the other Arlo cameras in our ratings lack). The Pro 2 also receives a great data security score, but its data privacy could be better. With an Arlo Smart plan, you can get more video storage as well as monitoring zones; person, package, vehicle, and animal detection; and e911, which allows you to contact your home’s local 911 dispatcher from the Arlo app. If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee for video storage, you can connect a USB drive to the base station and store footage there instead.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Free video storage: None
Optional subscription: $3 per month (or $30 per year) for one camera for 60 days, $10 per month (or $100 per year) for unlimited cameras for 60 days
CR’s take: For a battery-powered video doorbell with terrific video quality, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It receives an Excellent rating for video quality, though it could offer faster response times for alerts and loading live feeds, as well as more smart features. The features it does have include a removable rechargeable battery, voice control via Amazon Alexa, monitoring zones, alert schedules, privacy zones that let you black out areas you don’t want to film (such as a neighbor’s house), and pre-roll video that gives you a four-second clip of what happened before the doorbell detected motion.
Our tests also show that this Ring doorbell does a good job of keeping your data secure. It falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to keeping your data private, though, when compared with competing doorbells.
With an optional subscription to a Ring Protect Plan, you’ll get a rolling 60 days of motion-triggered video clips and photo snapshots between recordings. If you’d like this doorbell for $30 less, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3. It receives the same ratings in our tests and lacks only the 4-second pre-roll clips.
Abode Essentials Starter Kit
Professional monitoring: Optional
Monitoring cost: $20 per month or $200 per year
What’s in the box: A base station, motion sensor, contact sensor, and key fob
CR’s take: The Abode Essentials Starter Kit is a superb home security system, with strong scores in all our tests. And it’s one of few systems to rate Very Good for its breadth of security add-ons, such as its acoustic glass break sensor, $59, and smoke alarm monitor, $58. It works with digital assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, and functions as a smart home hub for lights, thermostats, and more. It also works with Apple HomeKit, as well as the Abode Cam security camera, $150, which will automatically record when the alarm goes off.
Abode offers two plans that add more features and professional monitoring. The Standard plan costs $6 per month or $60 per year and adds seven days of cloud video storage for cameras, the ability to automate connected smart home devices, and geofencing, a feature that arms and disarms your alarm by sensing when your phone is within the perimeter that you set around your home. The Standard plan does not include professional monitoring. The Pro plan costs $20 per month or $200 per year and offers the same features, and adds 30 days of cloud video storage, professional monitoring, cellular backup, and video alarm verification. Additional contact sensors and motion sensors cost $38 and $55, respectively.
Nest Learning Thermostat
CR’s take: The Google Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best smart thermostats in our ratings. While this thermostat is made by Google, it works well with Amazon Alexa.
It rates Excellent for automating your heating/cooling and offers a wealth of smart features to enhance its functionality, including an occupancy sensor (so it can adjust the temperature based on whether people are present in the room) and geofencing (which allows it to use your smartphone’s location data to turn the temperature up or down when you leave and return home).
One caveat: Our testers find that the manual controls aren’t the easiest to use.
Yale Assure YRD256-CBA-619
CR’s take: The Yale Assure Lock SL uses its sister company August's smart lock platform, complete with an almost identical smartphone app that simply uses Yale branding instead. That means it offers many of the same features as August smart locks, including remote control, an access log, voice control via Amazon Alexa (as well as Apple HomeKit/Siri and Google Assistant), electronic keys, and a door open/close sensor. This lock also comes with Yale's version of the August Connect WiFi adapter, $79, which is needed to use all those features, at no extra charge. In our tests, the Yale Assure Lock SL receives a Very Good rating for its resistance to drilling. It's also impossible to pick because it's keyless, and it's very resistant to kick-ins as sold.
iRobot Roomba S9+
CR’s take: One of the latest iRobot models to hit the market, the Roomba S9+ is pricey, but it delivers. This vacuum earns top scores down the line in our performance tests, and it’s the best of the best where edges and bare floors are concerned. This is also a self-emptying model that empties its dustbin into a dirt bag, no hands required. This Roomba offers voice control via Amazon Alexa (as well as Google Assistant) so you can ask your digital assistant to start cleaning for you. The S9+ earns a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security.
Orbit B-Hyve 57950
CR’s take: The Orbit B-Hyve 57950 looks like a traditional sprinkler controller but it’s plenty smart. It earns an Excellent rating in our tests for convenience due to its easy-to-use controls and weatherproof casing, plus it’s a cinch to connect to the internet. Its weather responsiveness isn’t quite as good as the competition’s because it uses more limited weather data, though it still beat out many other models in our tests. It features manual controls with an LED screen and voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This model works with up to 12 sprinkler zones; a six-zone version is also available.
First Alert Onelink Smart 1042135
CR’s take: For a smart smoke/CO detector that connects directly to WiFi, check out the First Alert Onelink Smart 1042135. This model receives strong scores in our tests for how well it detects high CO levels, low CO levels, and smoldering fires. However, it performs poorly in our flaming fires test because it lacks an ionization sensor. If you go with this detector, you may want to also consider purchasing a battery-powered ionization smoke detector, such as the Kidde RF-SM-DC. This First Alert comes in both battery-powered and hardwired versions, can interconnect with other compatible detectors, and works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit/Siri for voice control.
Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff System 900-001
CR's take: The Flo by Moen system is not only the best professionally installed system we test but also the least expensive. The system consists only of the small shutoff unit that gets spliced into your water line; you can buy optional wireless leak sensors for $50 each, or $130 for three.
We tested the system with the optional detectors and, like the other professionally installed models, it was able to detect both small and large leaks. It receives an Excellent rating for leak detection because it comes with a flow sensor built into the shutoff valve unit, wireless leak sensors, and wire probes that can plug into the sensors and be run under a washer or water heater.
The Flo by Moen shutoff valve is weatherproof for homes in warmer climates where the water line might be located outdoors and above ground, but it lacks a built-in battery backup (you can buy one for $250). In addition to alerts for leaks, the Flo by Moen app can also track your water usage by fixture so that you can see the usage difference between, say, a long shower and your washer’s deep fill cycle. If you opt for the wireless leak detectors, you can also get temperature and humidity readings. Last but not least, the Flo by Moen system works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, allowing you to ask about your home's water consumption.
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)
CR’s take: If you want to add another Alexa smart speaker to your home, say for a bedroom or home office, consider the second generation Amazon Echo Show. It’s one of the best-sounding devices Amazon has ever brought to market, and the large, 10-inch touch screen makes it very easy to set up and use.
The Echo Show is great for reading a recipe or watching a quick how-to video, tasks that might otherwise require you to pull out your smartphone or tablet.