Smart home upgrades make the perfect gift for your parents this year. Whether it is a birthday gift or anniversary present, this can be a great gift that your parents love.
If your parents are anything like mine, they’ve seen smart home gadgets at your house and maybe even dipped their toes into it with a smart bulb and a smart speaker, but there are way more options and many of them are perfect for your parents.
All of these smart home upgrades are easy to install and setup, so your parents can handle most on their own if you need to ship direct, or you can set it up in a few minutes when you visit next.
- Hue Lights
- Lutron Caseta Smart Light Switch
- Smart Plugs
- MyQ Smart Garage Hub
- EcoBee or Nest Smart Thermostat
- Smart Lock
- Video Doorbell
- Wireless Cameras
- Echo Show 5
- Google Mini
- Smart Watch
- Verizon Hum+ Gen 2
While my parents and in-laws were skeptical at first, both are now very interested in select smart home features that can help them with small tasks around the house or remove friction from daily activities.
I don’t recommend buying everything on this list and doing a full upgrade at once, but if you start with something easy and meaningful or add to what they’ve already started this can be a great list to add to what they have.
As for smart speakers and assistants, you should stick with the same brand they have, or make sure the devices you buy will work with their assistant if they prefer to use Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa. Many devices work with all or several of these, but just be aware.
Philips Hue lights are an easy smart home upgrade that make a ton of sense as a gift for parents. The White Ambience Starter Kit is on sale for $99.99 right now with four bulbs and a bridge. This kit lets your parents replace four bulbs and then control them with their phone, tabler or voice using Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa. Since you are replacing bulbs, it is as easy as screwing in a new lightbulb and adding to your hub.
- Enhance your home with soft white lighting, controlled remotely wherever you are, Set timers and light schedules, automating your lights to make it seem like someone is home even when you are away
- With everything you need to get started, this easy-to-use kit comes with four A19 LED smart bulbs, able to fit standard table lamps and the Philips Hue Bridge that can control up to 50 lights
- To install, simply screw the smart bulbs into your desired light location, download the Hue mobile app and pair your Hue bridge, Control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead lights via the Philips Hue App
- Easily expand your lighting system with accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor
- Control your Philips Hue lights with your voice using Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. Pair it for home automation with your existing Nest or Samsung SmartThings system
Another cool option is a Hue Bluetooth bulb that starts as low as $14.99 and allows them to control lights by Bluetooth from their phone. These are affordable and can also connect to a hub if they decide they want more lights later.
Lutron Caséta Smart Light Switch
Another great option is the Lutron Caséta smart light switches. This is a hit for parents because you get the benefit of voice control or phone control and scheduling while still being able to use a physical switch when that makes the most sense.
Simply turn off the power, remove the old switch and put the Lutron switch in then connect it to the hub and you’re good to go. This even allows you to put a switch somewhere handy using one of the Lutron Pico remotes. With this option, you replace one switch, instead of multiple bulbs.
- Includes (1) Caseta smart bridge (1) Caseta dimmer switch (1) Pico 3-button dimming remote and (1) Pico wall plate bracket wallplate not included sold separately
- PEACE OF MIND: Set lights to automatically adjust with changing seasons so your family always comes back to a well-lit home you can also enable the smart away feature to randomly turn your lights on and off to look like you’re home even if you’re away
- MOST CONNECTED: Caseta connects with more leading smart home devices – including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant, Ring, Serena shades and Sonos – than any other smart lighting control brand
- CONTROL YOUR WAY: Caseta puts the smarts in the switch so you can control a variety of ways – via the free Lutron app, your voice or from the wall; Create personalized schedules to change lights at set times or activate scenes with the touch of a button
- RELIABLY SMART: The smart bridge doesn’t use Wi-Fi so you get super-fast ultra-reliable smart lighting that works right without slowing your Wi-Fi down with more devices
Lutron also offers dimmer plugs that work with lamps if you need an option that can handle lamps instead of overhead lights.
Another awesome smart home gift for parents are smart plugs. You can use these to control appliances, lamps, heaters and more.
Our parents love using them for lamps, and I love using them with space heaters. I just bought one for my wife to use with her straightener, so we know if it is off and can turn it off from anywhere.
MyQ Smart Garage Hub
Did you know that you can make almost any garage door into a smart garage door with the MyQ Smart Garage Hub. This is easy to install and it pairs up like a new remote to the garage door opener.
Once set up, your parents can open the garage door with their phone or simply check the status while they are away. It’s helpful to let someone into the garage when you are traveling or for opening the door before heading outside in the winter.
EcoBee or Nest
Another big upgrade is a smart thermostat. This replaces the thermostat on their wall, and then your parents can use their voice or phone to control the temperature. It can also follow a schedule and sense when someone is home.
another great smart home gift is a smart lock with a keypad. It’s a simple upgrade and it allows parents to unlock the door with their phone when they walk up with a phone and they can share access to you so that you can help if they ever get locked out.
- Lose your keys, for good: Hands full? Have your door unlock for you with Auto-Unlock. Or unlock using the keypad, or Yale Access app on your smartphone or Apple Watch. Enjoy key-free access and leave the bulky keychain behind.
- Expand your smart home: Connect your lock to your favorite voice assistant or smart home system. Works with Amazon Alexa, Hey Google, Airbnb, Philips Hue, Apple HomeKit, and more. Includes the Wi-Fi Connect Bridge so there’s no additional hub needed.
- Auto-Locks and Unlocks: Your Assure Lock will Auto-Unlock as you get home for totally hands-free unlocking. With Auto-Lock and DoorSense, your home automatically secures once your door is closed, or after a set amount of time.
- Easy to install on any door: Not so handy? Not a problem. Yale Assure locks are super easy to install and are guaranteed to fit standard doors (doors 1-3/8” to 2-¼” thick).
- Stop sharing keys: Digital keys are the new hide-a-key. Quickly and easily share permanent, temporary or scheduled access with friends, family, and people you trust, and never hide a key under the doormat again.
There are a ton of great options including Schlage and Kwikset, but the Yale Assure Lock SL caught our eye with the easy unlock when you approach.
Letting your parents know who is at the door, or look out on the front yard while they are gone is a great smart home upgrade. You can add a video doorbell very easily to most homes with or without an existing doorbell.
- 1080p HD video doorbell that lets you see, hear and speak to people from your phone, tablet, or select Echo device. Includes privacy features, such as customizable privacy zones and audio privacy, to focus only on what's relevant to you.
- Get notifications whenever motion is detected by adjusting your motion zones.
- With Live View, you can check in on your home any time through the Ring app.
- Easily setup your Ring Video Doorbell 2 by connecting to wifi via the Ring app and mounting in your desired location.
- Powered by a quick-release rechargeable battery pack or connects to existing doorbell wiring.
The Ring Video Doorbell is one of the most popular models and it works with Alexa so that you can see your front door on your Echo Show device.
Another excellent option is the Arlo Video Doorbell, which is a new option, but it is one that can show more of the front door with a square image like you see on Instagram so you can see faces and the packages that are on your step.
Buy the Arlo Video Doorbell at Best Buy for $149.
Another great option is to add wireless cameras to the mix, allowing your parents, and possibly you, to see what is happening outside. Ring offers a variety of options including the Floodlight camera that replaces an existing floodlight easily and Stick Up Cameras that you can plug into power at an outside outlet.
- 100 percent wire free: Free of power cords and wiring hassles
- 1080p HD high quality video with sharper and brighter details
- Flexible powering options use wire free, plugged in. Rechargeable battery
- Weatherproof Pro cameras are weatherproof so you can place them anywhere indoors and out
- 7 days of free cloud recordings pro comes with recurring 7 days free cloud recordings. Live stream or view recorded video and audio for up to 7 days
Arlo also offers an amazing selection of wireless security cameras that are battery powered so that you can install them almost anywhere you want. The mounting hardware is simple and the cameras connect to a base station. Arlo’s cameras can use AI to identify what the camera detects including packages, people, animals, and vehicles.
If they have a doorbell, or if you are buying them one, it’s a good idea to get the other cameras from the same company so that the recordings and alerts are all in the same app.
Echo Show 5
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is an affordable way to bring a personal assistant into their home and with a screen, it is often easier for many people to use. This is a really handy way to introduce someone to Alexa, if they are interested in a digital personal assistant. You can use Alexa to control lights, heat and much more. Here’s a look at what Alexa can do.
- Alexa can show you more – Compact 5.5” smart display ready to help manage your day, entertain at a glance, and connect you to friends and family.
- Made to fit your life – Cook along to step-by-step recipes. Easily update to-do lists and calendars. Choose the clock face that fits your style best and glance at weather and traffic on your way out.
- Big entertainment – Ask Alexa to show you movie trailers, TV shows, movies, or the news. Or listen to radio stations, podcasts, and audiobooks.
- Control your smart home – Voice control compatible devices or manage them on the easy-to-use display. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights, and adjust thermostats. Create morning routines to start your day.
- Connect with video calling and messaging – Call friends and family who have the Alexa app, an Echo device with a screen, or Skype. Make announcements to other devices in your home.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is another really nice option if your parents use Android and are already familiar with using the Google Assistant on their phone. These are very affordable for the holidays so you can set up a few different rooms at $25 a pop. These can control the smart home and to set reminders on their phone as well as many other tasks.
Instead of buying a HomePod, it’s better to give an Apple Watch 5 or Apple Watch 4. With this option, your parents always have Siri on their wrist so that they can control lights and other smart home gadgets. The Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5 both support Fall Detection, which is why we recommend this for parents. Once set up, if it detects a fall it can automatically call for help.
- Always-On Retina display
- 30% larger screen
- ECG app
Verizon Hum+ Gen 2 or Humx Gen 2
The Verizon Hum+ Gen 2 allows you to bring some of that smart home control into the car, and to help upgrade their in-car experience with roadside assistance, car diagnostics and connecting to mechanics. The Hum+ gen 2 can also notify someone by text if the car is going over a set speed or outside of a boundary. Using Google Home at the house, they can check in on car info.
With the Verizon Humx Gen 2 you can add a WiFi hotspot to their car and they get Google Assistant in the car.
Buy the Verizon Hum+ Gen 2 for $29.99 with a contract or $99.99 at Verizon
Last update on 2020-12-15. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.