The Black Friday sales season is here! The best deals are often not on Amazon. The prices shown below are the best available now, though you may need to buy quickly as some deals will sell out.
Smart home tech is getting bigger every year. What started out as just turning on your lights from an app has extended to smart heating, security, and even kitchens, while virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri try to work their way into every room in your home.
Still, replacing every appliance you own with a smart version could quickly get very expensive, so it makes sense to pick up smart tech at smart prices.
And to save you time, we've rounded up the best savings right here. Note that we also have a dedicated article for Amazon Echo deals if you're after an Alexa-enabled device specifically.
Best smart home deals right now
What is a smart home?
A smart house is a connected house. Its devices are on the same Wi-Fi network and can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or smart speaker with voice-command. Connected devices can range from TVs, thermostats, security cameras, to even kettles and toothbrushes. See our round-up of the best smart home devices here.
Amazon also offers services to help you install smart home devices. When you buy the smart home product, you can often choose a bundle that includes installation. We have seen discounts on these services before, so keep an eye out when major sale events hit.
Alexa vs. Google Assistant vs. Siri
With Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri vying for the top spot in the smart assistant market, choosing a smart home device might be all the more confusing for first-time buyers. We’ve compared the different smart home assistants previously to see which one is better.
In our Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini comparison, we found that Alexa needs questions to be phrased more carefully than the Google Assistant, but it performs better when it comes to shopping requests. In contrast, the Google Assistant is better at search-based questions. This split may seem obvious, but it’s useful to know when deciding which device best caters to your needs.
Amazon has broadened its Echo devices range with upgrades and new devices too (see the best Echo deals here). The Echo Dot 3 expands on the Dot 2’s capabilities and freshens the design with a fabric exterior, and the Echo 3 offers a huge improvement in terms of audio quality.
There's also the Echo Sub (£119.99), which is Amazon's deep bass subwoofer.
On the Google side of things, the Google Nest Mini offers similar functionality and pricing to the Echo Dot. It also has larger counterparts in the Google Home and Google Nest Max, while the Google Nest Hub also packs a touchscreen display. Look for prices below these at sales events, or bundle deals, which you can usually get from retailers like Currys PC World or Argos.
If you’re an iOS enthusiast, our colleagues over at Macworld UK also compared Siri’s performance on the Apple HomePod to the Echo and Google Nest. The HomePod is best if you primarily use Apple products and streaming services to start with.
The HomePod isn’t compatible with all smart devices though, so you’ll have to be careful which devices you buy. Apple does list products compatible with its HomeKit ecosystem, which you can see here.
Do I need Alexa or Google Assistant to run smart home devices?
You don’t necessarily need a smart assistant to have a connected smart home. Smart assistants allow you the freedom of voice-free control, but you can just as well control the smart device from your phone. Most smart devices have dedicated apps (or even remotes) that control settings and functions.
Smart home deals: What to expect
Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Nest Home are the easiest way to smarten up your home. These devices usually see price cuts, especially as Amazon and Google duke it out to provide your virtual assistant of choice. They're both keen to get as many smart devices into homes as possible.
Amazon Certified Refurbished deals
You can find certified refurbished Amazon smart home devices at a lower price than the original RRP. Amazon tests all refurbished devices rigorously to ensure it works just as new; the company also provides a 1-year warranty.
Third-Party speakers deals
Third-party speaker manufacturers with smart support are also sometimes discounted, though they're less aggressive. You can find portable smart speakers with Bluetooth connectivity too, such as the Ultimate Ears Megablast, which featured on our round-up of the best smart speakers.
Smart home - small gadgets
More expensive smart home products like thermostats and full lighting kits see big offers, but keep an eye on smaller products like smart plugs or single smart bulbs - the savings might be smaller, but if you're planning on picking up a few it can really add up.
Where to find smart home deals
Most major electronics retailers sell smart home stuff, along with just about anywhere else that sells tech.
But, rather unsurprisingly, Amazon often has some of the biggest bargains. If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we'd recommend signing up for Amazon's 30-day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you'll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more.
Sign up for Prime now.
Beyond Amazon, here are a few of the best places to check for bargains:
Best smart home deals of January 2020
1. Yale Smart Home Alarm Kit
Now: £247.95 (29% off)
Controllable from your phone and with no monthly fee, the Yale Smart Home Alarm currently has £102 off.
2. Netgear Arlo Smart HD Security Cameras (x2) with Night Vision
Now: £178.95 (42% off)
Save £178 on this two-camera security set from Netgear, complete with free cloud storage for your recordings.
When is Black Friday 2020 - should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 27 November, immediately followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November. Traditionally the biggest sales event of the year, it may yet throw up some even greater tech deals - but with so much uncertainty around finance and retail, and no guarantees regarding what discounts we will see, we advise you not to wait: if you see a deal you like, on a product you need, and you can afford the outlay, buy it today.