august smartlock


There’s a lot more red tape with you’re smartening up an apartment that you don’t own. You usually can’t damage the apartment or do heavy installation unless you want to end up in hot water with the landlord. Fortunately, there are smart home devices that are small and relatively portable so that you can set them up in your new apartment (or house!) when you eventually move out.

We’ve rounded up our favorite apartment-ready smart devices, from smart speakers to smart door bells, smart lights to smart locks. Each is small, wireless and easily DIY installable. Before purchasing, just make sure it’ll work with your existing smart ecosystem, whether that be Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit

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Nest Audio

Nest Google


The Nest Audio is Google’s newest smart speaker that’s integrated with Google Assistant. It’s designed with a front-firing driver and sounds significantly better than previous Google Home speakers. For the best sound quality, buy two and pair them in a stereo pair. 

Works with: Google Assistant

HomePod mini



The HomePod mini is the smallest smart speaker that Apple has ever made and it works intimately with your iPhone — just like the HomePod. The cool thing is that you can buy two, set them as a stereo pair and use them as desktop speakers (if you have a Mac) or TV speakers (if you have an Apple TV). Apple allows you to set your default music streaming service as Apple Music or Pandora. 

Works with: Apple HomeKit

All-new Echo (4th Gen)



Amazon completely redesigned the Echo this year, giving it a spherical shape and a front-firing driver. At $100, it’s a no-brainer buy for anybody in Amazon’s smart ecosystem. For the best sound quality, buy two and pair them in a stereo pair. 

Works with: Amazon Alexa

Google Nest Protect



Google’s smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector is great addition to any apartment. It comes in a battery-powered version so there’s no hardwiring at all. The nice thing is that it’ll run automatic tests and then will send updates and warnings to your smartphone via push notifications. 

Works with: Google Assistant

Ring Peephole Cam



The Ring Peephole Cam was specifically designed for apartment dwellers and renters. It delivers all of the functionality of Ring’s video doorbells without needing a doorbell. And it fits right over your door’s peephole, so there’s no need to dissemble your door or break out the toolbox. 

Works with: Google Assistant

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock (Newest Model 4th Gen)

August Home


The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is our pick for the best smart lock of 2020. There’s barely any installation as it simply attaches to the existing deadbolt on your door. It also has Wi-Fi baked right into it so there’s no separate hub or bridge required.

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Pack

Philips Hue


Philips Hue is the biggest and most respected name in smart lights. They work with all the major smart home ecosystems and are incredibly customizable, allowing you to adjust and dim basically a zillion different shades and colors. You’ll want to also have the Philips Hue Bridge ($59) for the best reliability. 

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

Wemo WiFi Smart Plug



The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is essentially a smaller version of the Wemo mini. It still has a physical on/off button, which allows you to turn the plug on or off if you don’t want to use voice control or open the smartphone app. The big difference is this smart plug is small enough to fit into any electrical outlet without obstructing other sockets.

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

Philips Hue Wireless Dimmer Switch



If you already have Philip Hue smart lights in your house, you’ll love this simple dimmer switch. It’s a battery-powered remote that can be wall mounted or just used as a traditional remote control, and it can control up to 10 smart lights. There’s no installation at all. 

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

Wyze Cam v3



The Wyze Cam v3 is a new-and-improved version of the company’s hugely popular Wyze Cam v2. The updated smart home camera maintains the $20 price tag that made it so appealing in the first place, but adds a weather resistant design and better night vision thanks to a new color sensor.

Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

The Best Turntable and Speaker Combos That Make Vinyl Easy

While true that traditional turntable setups have a lot of moving parts, that’s the nature of the beast — if not vinyl’s main allure. There’s also an easy workaround. These days, a bunch of turntables and speaker systems come with integrated components (like a phono preamplifier or amplifier) and they make listening to vinyl as hassle-free.


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