How to Find the Best Black Friday Smart-Home Deals for 2018
As Black Friday 2018 draws closer, smart-home deal hunters will be scanning the ad circulars and watching their email inboxes for deals on the latest home-automation gear. Retailers are likely to have more deals than ever this year on smart locks, smart light bulbs, voice-controlled speakers with Alexa or Google Assistant, and more—but before you buy those gifts, whether they’re for loved ones or for yourself, make sure they work with the smart-home platforms your giftees use. Wirecutter is here again this year to help you find the deals on smart things that’ll actually work for you.
When you’re shopping for smart-home devices, it’s important to consider what kinds of tasks you want to simplify and then find the things best suited for those tasks. Also, don’t be swayed by untested brands just because the price seems right or the customer reviews are glowing—you can find a lot of junk out there. We’ve thoroughly tested all our smart-home picks and pored over customer reviews of the more suspicious ones, so you can have confidence that the Black Friday deals we post are worth your money.
Smart light bulbs, such as the Philips Hue and LIFX lines, are a great way to start or expand a smart-home system and were favorites among smart-home shoppers during last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Week. This summer we saw similar deals on smart bulbs for Amazon’s Prime Day, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see those deals come back. I’m selfishly hoping for some good deals on smart strip lights and outdoor lighting.
A smart speaker offers another easy way to start a home-automation system because you can link it to popular devices and control them with your voice. We’ll be looking for deals on the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home, and Google Home Hub. The Consumer Technology Association, which does research every year into holiday shopping trends, expects sales of smart speakers to increase 44 percent this year over 2017. Now that both Amazon and Google have expanded their respective families of products, we expect the competition to be fierce, so keep an eye on the Wirecutter Deals page. In addition to special prices on individual smart speakers, we’ll be looking for bundled deals that combine a smart speaker with compatible devices such as smart plugs and LED light bulbs.
Because some popular smart-home categories—smart plugs, smart locks, and Wi-Fi security cameras, for starters—are pretty saturated, with competition from both familiar names and upstart manufacturers, it’s important to make sure the deal you spot is something worth paying for. When Wirecutter scans for deals, we look specifically for products we’ve used, tested, and recommended, and we compare the deal price against the historical price, so you can be sure you’re getting a real Black Friday deal and not just an everyday price disguised as a deal.