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Amazon Echo Dot, Ring Video Doorbell, more smart-home gadgets

No doubt you’ve heard the term “smart home.” You’re just not sure what it means.

As it turns out, there’s no definitive answer. Home automation has been around for a while. But like all things technological, it’s changing all the time. A light that you could turn on via remote control from your couch gave way to an app that allowed you to dim the room from your smartphone. In turn, that evolved into using voice commands to bring up the lights or a setup that turned them on automatically as soon as you walked into the room.

It’s not what a smart home means. It’s what it means to you.

Amazon Echo Dot

CNET has picked Amazon Echo Dot as one
Photo Credit: CBS Interactive

The Dot is small, cheaper versions of Amazon's Echo, with bare-bones sound quality and the ability to control smart devices using voice commands. $50.

Google Home Mini

Google Home Mini: Small, This provides bare-bones sound
Photo Credit: Google

The Google Home Mini is a small, cheaper versions of Google Home, with bare-bones sound quality and the ability to control smart devices using voice commands. $49.

Ring Video Doorbell

Ring Video Doorbell: A doorbell with a camera
Photo Credit: Ring

This doorbell has a camera and speaker, so you can see who’s at the door via your cell phone, even if you’re not home. From $179 (depending on model).

Nest thermostat

The Nest thermostat controls your HVAC system via
Photo Credit: NEST

The Nest controls your HVAC system via your phone, a set schedules or through connection to motion sensors to save energy while you’re away. From $169 (depending on model).

Ecobee thermostat

Nest/Ecobee thermostats: Control your HVAC system via your
Photo Credit: Ecobee

The Ecobee controls your HVAC system via your phone, a set schedules or through connection to motion sensors to save energy while you’re away. From $169 (depending on model).

Lutron Caseta Starter Kit

Lutron Caseta Starter Kit: Comes with one smart
Photo Credit: Lutron

This starter kit comes with one smart dimmer switch, one remote control and the wireless bridge. Works with Amazon, Google and Apple. $100.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Philips Hue Starter Kit: Comes with two standard
Photo Credit: Phillips

The Philips starter kit comes with two standard smart bulbs and the wireless bridge. Works with Amazon, Google and Apple. $70.

Samsung SmartThings Hub

Samsung SmartThings Hub: If you mix and match
Photo Credit: Samsung

If you mix and match smart devices from different companies, this hub will allow you to control everything from one app. $80.

TP-Link Smart Plug

TP-Link Smart Plug: Control your devices via an

The Smart Plug allows you to control your devices via an app or an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, no hub required. $30.

GE Smart Motion Sensor

GE Smart Motion Sensor: Place these in rooms
Photo Credit: GE

GE Smart Motion Sensors can be placed in rooms or hallways to trigger devices when someone is present. $45.

Chamberlain MyQ

Chamberlain MyQ: Connects to your garage-door opener and

The Chamberlain MyQ connects to your garage-door opener and wi-fi network to allow you to open your garage remotely or check to see whether it’s open while you're away, via the app. $100.

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