Forget about scouring the Earth to find that perfect home tech gift. They’re widely available and at places you probably already frequent. You can buy the perfect sweater, perfume, and socks at Kohl’s … then visit their new “Smart Home Experience” zone, where you’ll find lot of Amazon Echo devices. Head to Target for a board game, decorations for the tree, and something techie like a smart thermostat or surveillance camera from its “Connected Living” area. Last but not least, swing by Walmart for all of your baking supplies … and browse the Google Home voice control devices.
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Of course, you can do all of your shopping from the comfort of your own home, thanks to online retailers like amazon.com, bestbuy.com and others. Their virtual storefronts are packed with a huge variety of smart home products—from app-controlled color-changing light bulbs to complete home automation systems that can be installed in an afternoon.
Here are other convenient spots where you can buy the latest smart home devices, and you’ll likely get them for less than any other time of the year. Deals on everything from smart TVs and smart speakers to Internet-connected doorbells and DIY security systems are expected to pervade the shopping season.
Arguably the most prolific off all retailers of smart home gear is Amazon. It has an entire section of its website dedicated to smart home stuff. Naturally, the mega-huge online retailer is pushing its Amazon Echo devices, but you’ll find all kinds of interesting items to put under the tree, and if you need help setting up any of the smart home gifts you buy, you can book an appointment for an Amazon smart home technician to visit your home. If you’re buying smart tech to spruce up your house before the holidays—maybe as a gift to yourself or the whole family–these pros can even come to your home before you buy anything to gauge your needs and recommend products.
Best Buy and Vivint Smart Home have teamed up to create interactive displays of home technology in more than 400 of the chain’s large-format stores. There, you can consult with a smart home expert, design a comprehensive system, and receive professional installation and monitoring, often within 24 hours. Some of the items offered include smart locks, lights switches, cameras, and thermostats. Naturally, many of these products are from Vivint. Accompanying service plans include 24/7 professional monitoring with emergency response, always-on cellular connection, 30-day video storage, online and phone support, in-home service and equipment protection.
At select Lowe’s stores you can explore a curated collection of innovative smart home products in a section called “SmartSpot powered by b8ta.” Digital displays and on-site experts can help you sort through the various smart home options, including Lowe’s exclusive Iris home control products.
Home Depot offers all of the usual smart home suspects—lights, thermostats, cameras, smart speakers, motion detectors—and they combine some of these nicely together to create “Smart Home Bundles.” After all, choosing products that work well together is half the battle when making your house smarter. Home Depot has done some of that legwork. Its Conserve Bundle, for example, includes a Wink home control hub and an Ecobee3 thermostat.
Target intersperses its smart home products throughout the stores, making them a bit harder to find. Nor will you find preconfigured kits of individual products. In addition to core smart home devices, like home control hubs, thermostats, and lighting, you’ll also be able to pick up things like smart baby monitors, bathroom scales, crockpots, and device trackers.
Sure, you can visit Walmart to buy smart home products—most likely in the home improvement section—but the retailer is capitalizing instead on consumers’ growing use of voice assistant technology as a method of shopping. According to a statement from Walmart: “We want to make it even easier for customers to experience the convenience of voice shopping. Starting today, any customer who buys a Google Homeor Google Home Mini from Walmart will receive up to $25 off a Walmart order when they link their Walmart account to Google Express. By linking their accounts, customers save time and money by receiving recommendations based on their previous purchases made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
If you live in Los Angeles or Chicago, select Kohl’s in these areas have rolled out an “Amazon Smart Home Experience.” The new 1,000-square-foot zone lets you try out Amazon devices like Echo, Dot, and Fire TV, and purchase them directly from Amazon. The zones will have Amazon staff members on hand.
Meijer carries just about everything, including Google Home voice assistant devices.
Home Automation Focused Online Stores
Smart Home Showroom
If you’re the type of person who needs to see, touch, feel, and test drive items before you buy them, go to a home electronics boutique store. Most larger towns have at least one—which often includes displays and demonstrations of home theater equipment, home automation systems, and other gear in realistic home settings.
Best Black Friday Deals
According to DealNews, a leading shopping comparison website, here are a few of the deals on smart home devices that you might see on Black Friday:
- Amazon Echo Plus Speaker / Smart Home Device with Philips Hue Bulb for $119.99
This is the first discount we’ve seen for this new Amazon Echo hub.Amazon’s brand new, top-of-the-line home automation hub was just released at the end of October, so this Black Friday deal will be the first discount we’ve seen. At only $120 after the $30 discount, the price is hard to beat. Plus, it comes with a Philips Hue Bulb, which typically costs at least $15.
- Google Home Mini + $10 Gift Card for $29
It’s a super affordable home assistant.Google just released the Home Mini last month, so we weren’t expecting to see any discounts. Even without the gift card, this is a surprising drop for a piece of the latest tech.
- Samsung 55″ 4K Smart TV + $150 Kohl’s Cash for $499.99
It comes with a hefty credit.Without the credit, this offer matches our predictions. Factor in the Kohl’s Cash, and it’s even better. We’ve seen a Samsung set of this size drop to $475, but that was way back in January.