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Top household gadgets: Best-rated smart devices

The Breville Barista Express has been rated one

The Breville Barista Express has been rated one of the best smart home gadgets by CNET. Credit: CBS Interactive

There are so many smart gadgets on the market that bring good things to life, but which ones are the smartest ones for your needs? Here are four of the top devices that would come in handy in any household.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: senior editors Brian Bennett and Laura K. Cucullu, and associate editors Ry Crist, David Priest and Megan Wollerton. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit

Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The device boasts killer design, reliable performance and a reasonable price.

THE BAD The Roost isn’t waterproof, and it doesn’t include a probe range extender like some competitors. It would be good to see more integrations in the future to fit it in with larger smart-home setups.

THE COST $49.99

BOTTOM LINE This is one of the best products of its kind available. It features the design and features of pricier devices.

Nest Learning Thermostat

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD This next-generation Nest has a larger display, a better resolution and a far-field sensor for viewing time and temperature information from a distance. It works with Amazon’s Alexa, too.

THE BAD Nest is behind in the accessories department; remote temperature sensors would add a lot to this smart thermostat’s functionality.

THE COST $244.29 to $249.99

BOTTOM LINE It’s still the best overall smart thermostat, but it isn’t massively different from the second-generation model.

Breville Barista Express

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The semi-automatic machine brews better espresso than more expensive models. It’s relatively easy to use and keep clean, plus it has an attractive stainless-steel design. It also has a built-in burr grinder for hassle-free coffee ground dosing.

THE BAD The espresso maker requires some effort to operate compared with fancy super-automatic machines.


BOTTOM LINE It makes delicious espresso, with outstanding value in a pricey category.

Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD This is the best-performing robot vacuum out there. The new Neato app is well-designed and easy to use, and finally brings remote-control functionality to the Botvac line.

THE BAD At $700, it’s the most expensive Neato yet — $200 more than the previous generation. There were also a few usability quirks during testing.

THE COST $584.99 to $699

BOTTOM LINE The Neato is better at cleaning floors than any other robot vacuum on the market.

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