HomeTechHacker’s Home Tech Buyer’s Guide

buyer's guide

Editor’s Note: Last Updated 4/30/2021

So many specs, terms, and opinions. When it comes to tech do you ever just want someone to tell you what to buy? You’ve come to the right place! In my buyer’s guide below, I give you my top picks for purchases of home tech. My picks are in four purchase classifications for each product category:

  • Money is no object. This pick packs the most features, many of which you probably don’t need. If there’s no limit to your budget, this is probably the pick for you.
  • For the masses. This is the best pick, all things considered, for most people. Choose this one for a relatively affordable, fully-featured option that will work for you.
  • Budget pick. If you are looking to save a little money and still get the important features, then this is for you.
  • Also consider. If any of the other options aren’t for you then consider some of these options.

This is a pretty long page. Take advantage of the Table of Contents and the scroll to the top button that appears at the bottom right of the page.

If you are just interested in the tech I own, check out my gear page. If you’d like to see more products that I use and recommend, be sure to visit my shop.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item using an affiliate link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Affiliates do not influence my recommendations. Read my disclosures for more information.

Wireless Routers

Routers are your first line of security and the backbone of your home network. You should choose wisely, and here is how to choose.

Preview
Money Is No Object
ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) - Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router, World's First 6Ghz Band for Wider Channels & Higher Capacity, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, 2.5G Port, AURA RGB
For The Masses
TP-Link AC2600 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A10) - MU-MIMO, Dual Band Wireless Router, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Long Range Coverage, VPN Server
Budget Pick
NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1200 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB ports
Product Name
ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) - Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router, World's First 6Ghz Band for Wider Channels & Higher Capacity, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, 2.5G Port, AURA RGB
TP-Link AC2600 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A10) - MU-MIMO, Dual Band Wireless Router, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Long Range Coverage, VPN Server
NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1200 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB ports
Prime Eligible
-
-
Current Price
$667.00
$89.00
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Stellar performance, great features, has Wi-Fi 6E support and the Asus AiMesh system for expandability.
Speed, stability, decent price, and the most important features.
Great price and performance. You can't really go wrong picking this one.
Money Is No Object
Preview
ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) - Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router, World's First 6Ghz Band for Wider Channels & Higher Capacity, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, 2.5G Port, AURA RGB
Product Name
ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) - Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router, World's First 6Ghz Band for Wider Channels & Higher Capacity, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, 2.5G Port, AURA RGB
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$667.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
Stellar performance, great features, has Wi-Fi 6E support and the Asus AiMesh system for expandability.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
TP-Link AC2600 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A10) - MU-MIMO, Dual Band Wireless Router, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Long Range Coverage, VPN Server
Product Name
TP-Link AC2600 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A10) - MU-MIMO, Dual Band Wireless Router, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Long Range Coverage, VPN Server
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$89.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
Speed, stability, decent price, and the most important features.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1200 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB ports
Product Name
NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1200 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB ports
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Great price and performance. You can't really go wrong picking this one.
Details

Additional wireless routers to consider:

There are so many choices of good Wi-Fi routers. The Netgear NightHawk AX8 is a futuristic looking router that supports the latest Wifi 6 standard, which not many devices use yet. But if you are looking to future proof…

Small (5-8 port) Gigabit Switches

Use these when you need more Ethernet connections for your office or near a different Internet port. For the most part, they should just work!

Preview
Money Is No Object
D-Link Ethernet PoE Switch, 8 Port Smart Managed w/ 64W PoE Budget Layer 2 Network Gigabit Wireless Internet (DGS-1100-08PV2)
For The Masses
TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch, Ethernet-Network Switch, 5 x Gigabit Ports, Fanless, 10 Gbps Switching Fabric, Lifetime Protection, Black, TEG-S50g
Budget Pick
TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Plug and Play | Desktop or Wall-Mount | Plastic Case Ethernet Splitter | Fanless | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG1005D)
Product Name
D-Link Ethernet PoE Switch, 8 Port Smart Managed w/ 64W PoE Budget Layer 2 Network Gigabit Wireless Internet (DGS-1100-08PV2)
TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch, Ethernet-Network Switch, 5 x Gigabit Ports, Fanless, 10 Gbps Switching Fabric, Lifetime Protection, Black, TEG-S50g
TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Plug and Play | Desktop or Wall-Mount | Plastic Case Ethernet Splitter | Fanless | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG1005D)
Prime Eligible
-
-
Current Price
$135.27
$15.99
$15.29
HomeTechHacker Comments
This a D-link 8 port switch. I have 2 similar D-link 16 port switches that have been rock solid for years. This is a smart switch, offering QOS, VLAN tagging, link aggregation, port mirroring. You can save yourself a fair chunk of change by not getting the POE version.
Sometimes this is less than our "budget pick" and has a nice metal housing. I have a few of these and they are rock solid.
Inexpensive, reliable, and saves money by requiring less power than other models. I have personally used this one as well.
Money Is No Object
Preview
D-Link Ethernet PoE Switch, 8 Port Smart Managed w/ 64W PoE Budget Layer 2 Network Gigabit Wireless Internet (DGS-1100-08PV2)
Product Name
D-Link Ethernet PoE Switch, 8 Port Smart Managed w/ 64W PoE Budget Layer 2 Network Gigabit Wireless Internet (DGS-1100-08PV2)
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$135.27
HomeTechHacker Comments
This a D-link 8 port switch. I have 2 similar D-link 16 port switches that have been rock solid for years. This is a smart switch, offering QOS, VLAN tagging, link aggregation, port mirroring. You can save yourself a fair chunk of change by not getting the POE version.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch, Ethernet-Network Switch, 5 x Gigabit Ports, Fanless, 10 Gbps Switching Fabric, Lifetime Protection, Black, TEG-S50g
Product Name
TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch, Ethernet-Network Switch, 5 x Gigabit Ports, Fanless, 10 Gbps Switching Fabric, Lifetime Protection, Black, TEG-S50g
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$15.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Sometimes this is less than our "budget pick" and has a nice metal housing. I have a few of these and they are rock solid.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Plug and Play | Desktop or Wall-Mount | Plastic Case Ethernet Splitter | Fanless | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG1005D)
Product Name
TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Plug and Play | Desktop or Wall-Mount | Plastic Case Ethernet Splitter | Fanless | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG1005D)
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$15.29
HomeTechHacker Comments
Inexpensive, reliable, and saves money by requiring less power than other models. I have personally used this one as well.
Details

Additional gigabit switches to consider:

The D-link switch below is the non-POE version of our “Money is no object” pick. The MikroTik and the Netgear switch are for those wanting to dip their toes into 10Gbps speeds

D-Link Ethernet Switch, 8 Port Easy Smart Managed Gigabit Desktop EEE Network Internet or Wall Mount (DGS-1100-08V2)
D-Link Ethernet Switch, 8 Port Easy Smart Managed Gigabit Desktop EEE Network Internet or Wall Mount (DGS-1100-08V2)
Eight (8) 10/100/1000BASE-T Ports; Compliant with Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) and D-Link Green technology
$42.99
MikroTik 5-Port Desktop Switch, 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port, 4 SFP+ 10Gbps Ports (CRS305-1G-4S+IN)
MikroTik 5-Port Desktop Switch, 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port, 4 SFP+ 10Gbps Ports (CRS305-1G-4S+IN)
5 Port PoE-Switch; 1 x 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet Port; 4 x SFP Port; 802.3af/at PoE/PoE+ and 12-57 V passives PoE
$136.00
NETGEAR 10-Port Gigabit/10G Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS110MX) - with 8 x 1G, 2 x 10G/Multi-gig, Desktop, Wall or Rackmount, and Limited Lifetime Protection
NETGEAR 10-Port Gigabit/10G Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS110MX) - with 8 x 1G, 2 x 10G/Multi-gig, Desktop, Wall or Rackmount, and Limited Lifetime Protection
8 x 1G and 2 x 1G/2.5G/5G/10G Multi-Gig Ethernet ports; Simple plug-and-play setup with no software to install or configuration needed
$197.99

Mesh Wi-Fi Systems

Good systems to use if you have a large home without wired connections throughout the house if you want solid Wi-Fi coverage throughout.

Preview
Money Is No Object
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK853) – Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, Coverage Up to 7,500 Square Feet, 100 Devices, AX6000 (Up to 6Gbps)
For The Masses
Google Nest Wifi -  AC2200 - Mesh WiFi System -  Wifi Router - 4400 Sq Ft Coverage - 2 pack
Budget Pick
Amazon eero mesh WiFi system – router replacement for whole-home coverage (3-pack)
Product Name
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK853) – Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, Coverage Up to 7,500 Square Feet, 100 Devices, AX6000 (Up to 6Gbps)
Google Nest Wifi -  AC2200 - Mesh WiFi System -  Wifi Router - 4400 Sq Ft Coverage - 2 pack
Amazon eero mesh WiFi system – router replacement for whole-home coverage (3-pack)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$991.02
$269.00
$199.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
The best combination of features and performance, including Wi-iFi 6
Doesn't have many advanced features, but works great and is easy to set up. Google keeps updating it to work against new security threats. It also works as a Google smart speaker!
Eero has good performance at a good price point.
Money Is No Object
Preview
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK853) – Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, Coverage Up to 7,500 Square Feet, 100 Devices, AX6000 (Up to 6Gbps)
Product Name
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK853) – Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, Coverage Up to 7,500 Square Feet, 100 Devices, AX6000 (Up to 6Gbps)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$991.02
HomeTechHacker Comments
The best combination of features and performance, including Wi-iFi 6
Details
For The Masses
Preview
Google Nest Wifi -  AC2200 - Mesh WiFi System -  Wifi Router - 4400 Sq Ft Coverage - 2 pack
Product Name
Google Nest Wifi -  AC2200 - Mesh WiFi System -  Wifi Router - 4400 Sq Ft Coverage - 2 pack
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$269.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
Doesn't have many advanced features, but works great and is easy to set up. Google keeps updating it to work against new security threats. It also works as a Google smart speaker!
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Amazon eero mesh WiFi system – router replacement for whole-home coverage (3-pack)
Product Name
Amazon eero mesh WiFi system – router replacement for whole-home coverage (3-pack)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$199.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
Eero has good performance at a good price point.
Details

Additional mesh Wi-Fi systems to consider:

All of these are solid picks. The Eero Pro 6 and Asus ZenWiFi are Wi-Fi 6 capable systems. The Linksys Velop is stylish, feature-packed, and easy to install. ASUS AiMesh is a technology worth looking into. It is a set of routers that you can buy standalone and combine into a mesh system.

Amazon eero Pro 6 tri-band mesh Wi-Fi 6 system with built-in Zigbee smart home hub (3-pack)
Amazon eero Pro 6 tri-band mesh Wi-Fi 6 system with built-in Zigbee smart home hub (3-pack)
Gets better over time - Automatic updates keep your network safe and secure.
$599.00
Linksys Velop Mesh Router (Tri-Band Home Mesh WiFi System for Whole-Home WiFi Mesh Network) 2-Pack, Black
Linksys Velop Mesh Router (Tri-Band Home Mesh WiFi System for Whole-Home WiFi Mesh Network) 2-Pack, Black
Coming Soon – Apple HomeKit Compatibility; Ideal for any ISP plan, ISP modem / modem-router
$296.09
Sale
ASUS AC2600 WiFi Router (Blue Cave) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, Featuring Intel WiFi Technology, Works with Alexa, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security , White
ASUS AC2600 WiFi Router (Blue Cave) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, Featuring Intel WiFi Technology, Works with Alexa, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security , White
Alexa & Echo integration allows you to control your home network using voice commands; Buy 2 or more to create your own whole home WiFi system for coverage up to 5000 sq ft.
$129.99 $117.01

Wireless Access Points

Use these to extend your wireless signal if you have wired connections throughout your home.

Preview
Money Is No Object
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO 802.11ac Scalable Enterprise Wi-Fi Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-E-US) PoE Adapter Sold Separately
For The Masses
TP-Link EAP245 V3 | Omada AC1750 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Budget Pick
TP-Link EAP225 V3 | Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Product Name
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO 802.11ac Scalable Enterprise Wi-Fi Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-E-US) PoE Adapter Sold Separately
TP-Link EAP245 V3 | Omada AC1750 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
TP-Link EAP225 V3 | Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$147.01
$99.49
$58.49
HomeTechHacker Comments
Dual band, 3x3 MIMO, indoor or outdoor, POE, great performance
I wrote a review of the EAP 225 and 245 here. Has many features which can even be extended with the free Omada controller software. The V3 version of this access point is even better.
Same features as EAP 245 just a little slower. But most home users won't notice making it a better buy.
Money Is No Object
Preview
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO 802.11ac Scalable Enterprise Wi-Fi Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-E-US) PoE Adapter Sold Separately
Product Name
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO 802.11ac Scalable Enterprise Wi-Fi Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-E-US) PoE Adapter Sold Separately
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$147.01
HomeTechHacker Comments
Dual band, 3x3 MIMO, indoor or outdoor, POE, great performance
Details
For The Masses
Preview
TP-Link EAP245 V3 | Omada AC1750 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Product Name
TP-Link EAP245 V3 | Omada AC1750 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$99.49
HomeTechHacker Comments
I wrote a review of the EAP 225 and 245 here. Has many features which can even be extended with the free Omada controller software. The V3 version of this access point is even better.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
TP-Link EAP225 V3 | Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Product Name
TP-Link EAP225 V3 | Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & Omada App | White
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$58.49
HomeTechHacker Comments
Same features as EAP 245 just a little slower. But most home users won't notice making it a better buy.
Details

Additional wireless access points to consider:

The TP-Link and Netgear access points are Wi-Fi 6 capable. Lots of good choices. Just look for ones with the features you want (wireless AC, good management software, guest Wi-Fi, MU-MIMO).

NETGEAR Wireless Access Point (WAX610) - WiFi 6 Dual-Band AX1800 Speed | Up to 250 Client Devices | 1 x 2.5G Ethernet LAN Port | 802.11ax | Insight Remote Management | PoE+ or Optional Power Adapter
NETGEAR Wireless Access Point (WAX610) - WiFi 6 Dual-Band AX1800 Speed | Up to 250 Client Devices | 1 x 2.5G Ethernet LAN Port | 802.11ax | Insight Remote Management | PoE+ or Optional Power Adapter
Connect up to a 2.5G Ethernet switch for maximum speed.; Easy to securely install on the wall or a suspended ceiling with included hardware.
$179.99
Zyxel Hybrid Cloud Wireless Access Point AC Wave 2 High Density, 1.6 Gbps (Standalone or Cloud Managed) [NWA1123-ACHD]
Zyxel Hybrid Cloud Wireless Access Point AC Wave 2 High Density, 1.6 Gbps (Standalone or Cloud Managed) [NWA1123-ACHD]
Central management anywhere, anytime through intuitive License Free Nebula Cloud platform; Excellent wireless coverage and performance with the latest 3x3 Wave 2 802.11ac technology
$149.99
EnGenius Technologies EAP1300 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac Wave 2) 2x2 Managed Indoor Wireless Access Point Features Quad-Core Processors, MU-MIMO, High Powered 23dBm, GigaE Port (Mounting Kit Included)
EnGenius Technologies EAP1300 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac Wave 2) 2x2 Managed Indoor Wireless Access Point Features Quad-Core Processors, MU-MIMO, High Powered 23dBm, GigaE Port (Mounting Kit Included)
Quad-core CPU, 4x arm Cortex A7 Processor, 717 MHz "Turbo engine"; 11AC Wave 2 Wireless speeds to 867 Mbps (5 GHz); to 400 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
$79.99
Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200 Wireless Access Point for Business (Cloud Management PoE WiFi Access Point),White
Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200 Wireless Access Point for Business (Cloud Management PoE WiFi Access Point),White
Manage your network’s wireless access points remotely through Cloud Manager; Easy to use, centralized, browser based dashboard
$199.90

Wireless Range Extenders

These are an alternative way to extend your Wi-Fi signal.

Preview
Money Is No Object
NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80 - Add up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 30+ devices with AX6000 Dual-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (up to 6Gbps speed), plus Smart Roaming
For The Masses
TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (RE450), PCMag Editor's Choice, Up to 1750Mbps, Dual Band WiFi Repeater, Internet Booster, Extend WiFi Range further
Budget Pick
TP-Link AC1200 Desktop Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ 5 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (RE380D)
Product Name
NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80 - Add up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 30+ devices with AX6000 Dual-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (up to 6Gbps speed), plus Smart Roaming
TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (RE450), PCMag Editor's Choice, Up to 1750Mbps, Dual Band WiFi Repeater, Internet Booster, Extend WiFi Range further
TP-Link AC1200 Desktop Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ 5 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (RE380D)
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$198.00
$59.99
Price not available
HomeTechHacker Comments
Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO, access point mode, fast!
Dual-band, quick setup, good speed
Pretty much the same features as the RE450, but slower speeds.
Money Is No Object
Preview
NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80 - Add up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 30+ devices with AX6000 Dual-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (up to 6Gbps speed), plus Smart Roaming
Product Name
NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80 - Add up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 30+ devices with AX6000 Dual-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (up to 6Gbps speed), plus Smart Roaming
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$198.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO, access point mode, fast!
Details
For The Masses
Preview
TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (RE450), PCMag Editor's Choice, Up to 1750Mbps, Dual Band WiFi Repeater, Internet Booster, Extend WiFi Range further
Product Name
TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (RE450), PCMag Editor's Choice, Up to 1750Mbps, Dual Band WiFi Repeater, Internet Booster, Extend WiFi Range further
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$59.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Dual-band, quick setup, good speed
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
TP-Link AC1200 Desktop Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ 5 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (RE380D)
Product Name
TP-Link AC1200 Desktop Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ 5 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (RE380D)
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
Price not available
HomeTechHacker Comments
Pretty much the same features as the RE450, but slower speeds.
Details

Additional wireless range extenders to consider:

Other viable dual-band and Triband (Nighthawk X6S) alternatives. The TP-Link is Wi-Fi 6 capable.

Google Assistant-powered Smart Speakers

Whether you go with Google Assistant- or Alexa-powered smart speakers depends on your ecosystem. I recommend Google Assistant-powered smart speakers for those who haven’t picked an ecosystem yet.

Money Is No ObjectFor The MassesBudget Pick
Preview:Google Nest AudioGoogle Nest MiniGoogle Nest Mini
Product Name:Google Nest AudioGoogle Nest MiniGoogle Nest Mini
Price:Usually around $99Usually around $49Usually around $49
HomeTechHacker Comments:With the retirement of the Google Max, this is the best Google Assistant Powered SpeakerThe smaller less expensive version is great
It’s nice when the budget options are the best options
Details:Buy at GoogleBuy at GoogleBuy at Google

Additional Google Assistant-powered speakers to consider:

If you are into smart displays check out the Google Assistant-powered smart displays like the Google Nest Hub (my review). You can also check out the Sonos One, but its Google Assistant integration isn’t as seamless as its Alexa integration. It still sounds great though!

Alexa-powered Smart Speakers

Whether you go with Google Assistant- or Alexa-powered smart speakers depends on your ecosystem. If you’re going with Alexa, here are my recommendations:

Preview
Money Is No Object
Echo Studio - High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
For The Masses
Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Budget Pick
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Twilight Blue
Product Name
Echo Studio - High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Twilight Blue
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$199.99
$49.99
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
The best speaker for sound.
The smaller less expensive version is great.
It's nice when the budget option is the best option for most people.
Money Is No Object
Preview
Echo Studio - High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Product Name
Echo Studio - High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$199.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
The best speaker for sound.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Product Name
Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
The smaller less expensive version is great.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Twilight Blue
Product Name
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Twilight Blue
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
It's nice when the budget option is the best option for most people.
Details

Additional Alexa-powered smart speakers to consider:

If you are into smart display, check out the Echo Show models. The Echo Sub is a 2.1 smarthome powering sound system or can be used for multi-room music.

Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
Sonos One - The powerful smart speaker with voice control built-in
$262.57
Stereo Pair Starter Kit | 2 Echo (4th Gen) + Echo Sub, Charcoal
Stereo Pair Starter Kit | 2 Echo (4th Gen) + Echo Sub, Charcoal
Echo Sub delivers down-firing, 100W deep bass sound through a 6" woofer.
$329.97

Streaming Sticks (Streaming Devices)

TV is shifting more and more to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV. Here are the devices to get these services on your TV. Not sure which one to pick? Here is a guide to finding out which streaming stick is right for you.

Money Is No ObjectFor The MassesBudget Pick
Preview:NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Pro 4K HDR Streaming Media Player; High Performance, Dolby Vision, 3GB RAM, 2x USB, Works with AlexaChromecast with Google TVChromecast with Google TV
Product Name:NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Pro 4K HDR Streaming Media Player; High Performance, Dolby Vision, 3GB RAM, 2x USB, Works with AlexaChromecast with Google TVChromecast with Google TV
Price:$199.99Usually around $49Usually around $49
HomeTechHacker Comments:Completely overkill for just streaming, but if you like gaming, the ability to cast, speed, 4K, Plex… This could be for you.This has unseated Roku as the best streamer for most people. Great UI, 4K, fast, and built-in Chromecast make this a tough act to beat.Budget same as the best for most!
Details:Buy on AmazonMy ReviewMy Review

Additional streaming sticks to consider:

The Apple TV devices are great, especially if you are in that ecosystem. The Fire TV sticks have a few different models and allow you to do some significant gaming. The Fire TV cube also has all the features of an Echo Dot and infrared blasters that allow it to function as a voice-controlled universal remote. The Nvidia Shield TV is the lower-powered version of the Pro edition. The Rokus have the simplest easy to use UI.

Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls) | Dolby Vision
Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls) | Dolby Vision
Our most powerful streaming media stick.; Enjoy brilliant picture with access to 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+.
$49.99
Fire TV Cube | Hands-free streaming device with Alexa | 4K Ultra HD | 2019 release
Fire TV Cube | Hands-free streaming device with Alexa | 4K Ultra HD | 2019 release
The fastest, most powerful Fire TV streaming device.; Access to 4K Ultra HD content, plus support for Dolby Vision and HDR, HDR10+.
$119.99
Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device with Long-range Wireless and Voice Remote with TV Controls (Renewed)
Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device with Long-range Wireless and Voice Remote with TV Controls (Renewed)
New 2017 model!; Powerful, portable, exceptional wireless; Advanced wireless receiver for 4x the range
$36.99

Smart Bulbs (Multicolor)

Smart bulbs are a great entry point into smart homes and home automation.

Preview
Money Is No Object
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit, 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button & 1 Hue Hub (Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit & Google Assistant)
For The Masses
LIFX 1100-Lumen, 11W Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb (LHA19E26UC10) Multi Colored - 75W - New
Budget Pick
Kasa Smart Bulb, Full Color Changing Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulb Compatible with Alexa and Google Home, A19, 9.5W 850 Lumens,2.4Ghz only, No Hub Required 1-Pack(KL130)
Product Name
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit, 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button & 1 Hue Hub (Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit & Google Assistant)
LIFX 1100-Lumen, 11W Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb (LHA19E26UC10) Multi Colored - 75W - New
Kasa Smart Bulb, Full Color Changing Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulb Compatible with Alexa and Google Home, A19, 9.5W 850 Lumens,2.4Ghz only, No Hub Required 1-Pack(KL130)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$179.99
$71.93
$11.98
HomeTechHacker Comments
Requires a hub, but doesn't rely on the quality of your WiFi. A nice starter kit with all the features and integrations.
Best light output and no hub needed.
The TP-Link (Kasa) bulbs are great as well, and I wrote a quick review of them.
Money Is No Object
Preview
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit, 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button & 1 Hue Hub (Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit & Google Assistant)
Product Name
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit, 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button & 1 Hue Hub (Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit & Google Assistant)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$179.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Requires a hub, but doesn't rely on the quality of your WiFi. A nice starter kit with all the features and integrations.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
LIFX 1100-Lumen, 11W Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb (LHA19E26UC10) Multi Colored - 75W - New
Product Name
LIFX 1100-Lumen, 11W Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb (LHA19E26UC10) Multi Colored - 75W - New
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$71.93
HomeTechHacker Comments
Best light output and no hub needed.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Kasa Smart Bulb, Full Color Changing Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulb Compatible with Alexa and Google Home, A19, 9.5W 850 Lumens,2.4Ghz only, No Hub Required 1-Pack(KL130)
Product Name
Kasa Smart Bulb, Full Color Changing Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulb Compatible with Alexa and Google Home, A19, 9.5W 850 Lumens,2.4Ghz only, No Hub Required 1-Pack(KL130)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$11.98
HomeTechHacker Comments
The TP-Link (Kasa) bulbs are great as well, and I wrote a quick review of them.
Details

Additional smart bulbs to consider:

The LIFX+ infrared smart bulb is one to consider if you have a home location with a camera without night vision. See my review of the Geeni Prisma 1050.

Smart Home Hubs

These are the brains behind your smart home. My site provides advice for picking the right smarthome hub. I personally use Home Assistant, which is free. Here is some advice about how to choose a smart home hub.

Preview
Money Is No Object
Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Works as a SmartThings Hub, Z-Wave Zigbee Gateway, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, WiFi
For The Masses
Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal
Budget Pick
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Glacier White
Product Name
Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Works as a SmartThings Hub, Z-Wave Zigbee Gateway, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, WiFi
Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Glacier White
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$129.99
$99.99
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
This is the Aeotec version of the Samsung SmartThings Hub V3 (same hardware/firmware).
Enough smart devices that integrate with Alexa Voice Control allow this to be a great smart home hub. It even directly supports Zigbee devices.
Voice Control works for a lot of devices for a lot of people. The Nest Mini is another good option.
Money Is No Object
Preview
Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Works as a SmartThings Hub, Z-Wave Zigbee Gateway, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, WiFi
Product Name
Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Works as a SmartThings Hub, Z-Wave Zigbee Gateway, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, WiFi
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$129.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
This is the Aeotec version of the Samsung SmartThings Hub V3 (same hardware/firmware).
Details
For The Masses
Preview
Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal
Product Name
Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$99.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Enough smart devices that integrate with Alexa Voice Control allow this to be a great smart home hub. It even directly supports Zigbee devices.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Glacier White
Product Name
Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Glacier White
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$49.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Voice Control works for a lot of devices for a lot of people. The Nest Mini is another good option.
Details

Additional smart home hubs to consider:

Almond combines a wifi router with a hub. The Harmony Hub is so much more than a universal remote, but it is being discontinued (but still supported and updated). The Brilliant Home Control is a completely different take on a smart home hub by using the convenience of your light switch. Here’s my review of it.

Smart Thermostats

These can help you save money by running efficiently, keep your house at the temperature you want when you want it, and allow you to monitor and control the temperature remotely. Make sure your HVAC system is compatible. 

Preview
Money Is No Object
ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control , Black
For The Masses
ecobee Lite SmartThermostat, Black
Budget Pick
Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat with 7 Day flexible programming and Geofencing Technology Black
Product Name
ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control , Black
ecobee Lite SmartThermostat, Black
Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat with 7 Day flexible programming and Geofencing Technology Black
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$247.46
$169.00
$116.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
The ecobee has it all, including Alexa built-in. Compatible with just about all major smart hubs. You can even add remote sensors to allow precision control over your heating/cooling.
I love this thermostat. All the main features of the ecobee but at a reduced price. Here's my detailed review of the ecobee 3 Lite.
Not quite as smart as our top picks, but much less expensive, allows for remote control and voice control from the major assistants (Google, Alexa, Siri).
Money Is No Object
Preview
ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control , Black
Product Name
ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control , Black
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$247.46
HomeTechHacker Comments
The ecobee has it all, including Alexa built-in. Compatible with just about all major smart hubs. You can even add remote sensors to allow precision control over your heating/cooling.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
ecobee Lite SmartThermostat, Black
Product Name
ecobee Lite SmartThermostat, Black
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$169.00
HomeTechHacker Comments
I love this thermostat. All the main features of the ecobee but at a reduced price. Here's my detailed review of the ecobee 3 Lite.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat with 7 Day flexible programming and Geofencing Technology Black
Product Name
Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat with 7 Day flexible programming and Geofencing Technology Black
Prime Eligible
-
Current Price
$116.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Not quite as smart as our top picks, but much less expensive, allows for remote control and voice control from the major assistants (Google, Alexa, Siri).
Details

Additional smart thermostats to consider:

The Nest Thermostat saves money over the Nest Learning Thermostat by using less expensive display materials. It also can’t control as many types of HVAC systems, but still controls most. I used to have a Radio Thermostat CT50. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done at a fraction of the price.

Sale
Google Nest Learning Thermostat - Programmable Smart Thermostat for Home - 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat - Works with Alexa - Stainless Steel
Google Nest Learning Thermostat - Programmable Smart Thermostat for Home - 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat - Works with Alexa - Stainless Steel
Remote control: Control your thermostat from anywhere using the Nest app.; Know more, save more Check your Energy History to see how much energy you use and why.
$249.00 $205.99
Sale
Kono KN-S-AMZ-004 Wifi Enabled Smart Thermostat, Works with Alexa and Apple Home Kit, Geofencing Capable, Black
Kono KN-S-AMZ-004 Wifi Enabled Smart Thermostat, Works with Alexa and Apple Home Kit, Geofencing Capable, Black
COST EFFECTIVE: Comes with a smart scheduling system to estimate utility costs
$149.00 $136.11
Radio Thermostat CT50 7-Day Programmable Thermostat (WiFi Enabled), iOS & Android App Controls
Radio Thermostat CT50 7-Day Programmable Thermostat (WiFi Enabled), iOS & Android App Controls
[IMPORTANT]This thermostat requires a ”C” wire to bring 24VAC power to WiFi module
$69.95

Chromebooks

If you are looking for a laptop you should consider buying a Chromebook. They are inexpensive, secure, and can do what most people want to do on a laptop. Here’s a detailed list of the best Chromebooks I recommend now.

Preview
Money Is No Object
Google Pixelbook Go 13.3" - Lightweight - Up to 12 Hours -Battery Life - Touch Screen Chromebook - Just Black
For The Masses
2021 HP X360 2 in 1 Laptop 14" Touch-Screen HD Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB Memory, 32GB eMMC Storage, USB Type C, WiFi, Webcam, Chrome OS, Ceramic White + 32GB TiTac Card
Budget Pick
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, 2-in-1, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 13MP Camera, Chrome OS, 12.2", 16:10 Aspect Ratio, Light Titan (XE520QAB-K01US)
Product Name
Google Pixelbook Go 13.3" - Lightweight - Up to 12 Hours -Battery Life - Touch Screen Chromebook - Just Black
2021 HP X360 2 in 1 Laptop 14" Touch-Screen HD Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB Memory, 32GB eMMC Storage, USB Type C, WiFi, Webcam, Chrome OS, Ceramic White + 32GB TiTac Card
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, 2-in-1, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 13MP Camera, Chrome OS, 12.2", 16:10 Aspect Ratio, Light Titan (XE520QAB-K01US)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$1,390.14
$419.99
$297.66
HomeTechHacker Comments
This isn't just the best Chromebook. This is one of the better laptops, period. But you'll pay for it, relative to other Chromebooks. It has an 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U processor that makes it even faster than the Google Pixelbook.
Good, premium hardware at a relatively affordable price. Decent looks. Check out my full review of a slightly older version.
Great performance and screen for a good price. See my review.
Money Is No Object
Preview
Google Pixelbook Go 13.3" - Lightweight - Up to 12 Hours -Battery Life - Touch Screen Chromebook - Just Black
Product Name
Google Pixelbook Go 13.3" - Lightweight - Up to 12 Hours -Battery Life - Touch Screen Chromebook - Just Black
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$1,390.14
HomeTechHacker Comments
This isn't just the best Chromebook. This is one of the better laptops, period. But you'll pay for it, relative to other Chromebooks. It has an 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U processor that makes it even faster than the Google Pixelbook.
Details
For The Masses
Preview
2021 HP X360 2 in 1 Laptop 14" Touch-Screen HD Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB Memory, 32GB eMMC Storage, USB Type C, WiFi, Webcam, Chrome OS, Ceramic White + 32GB TiTac Card
Product Name
2021 HP X360 2 in 1 Laptop 14" Touch-Screen HD Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB Memory, 32GB eMMC Storage, USB Type C, WiFi, Webcam, Chrome OS, Ceramic White + 32GB TiTac Card
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$419.99
HomeTechHacker Comments
Good, premium hardware at a relatively affordable price. Decent looks. Check out my full review of a slightly older version.
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, 2-in-1, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 13MP Camera, Chrome OS, 12.2", 16:10 Aspect Ratio, Light Titan (XE520QAB-K01US)
Product Name
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, 2-in-1, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 13MP Camera, Chrome OS, 12.2", 16:10 Aspect Ratio, Light Titan (XE520QAB-K01US)
Prime Eligible
Current Price
$297.66
HomeTechHacker Comments
Great performance and screen for a good price. See my review.
Details

Additional Chromebooks to consider:

The Google Pixel Slate is technically not a Chromebook, but it’s a great convertible tablet that functions similarly. My wife loves the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5.

Online Backup Services

Backup service is a critical part of securing your home network and preserving your data.

CategoryModelComments
Money is no objectAcronis Tru ImageThis service has it all, image backups, disk cloning, mobile backups, social media backups, syncing. It also has the price to match!
For the massesiDriveThey offer mobile device backups, are reasonably priced. You can even mail in a drive of data to back up to save you weeks of online upload time
Budget pickBackblazeThis is a basic but inexpensive service. You can set it and forget it to backup files from one computer (unlimited data).
Also considerSpiderOak
Carbonite
Zoolz
Elephant Drive
SpiderOak is the backup service I use. They implement a zero-knowledge security policy and have a Linux client. I was an early adopter so I have a great rate for unlimited size and machines. New users might find it expensive.
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