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Smart home products are trending this year, and you probably have someone on your list who's interested in adding some to their arsenal.
Smart home products are trending this year, and you probably have someone on your list who's interested in adding some to their arsenal. (BestReviews)

Going smart has never been more in style. And because it is so popular, there is an overwhelming variety of options designed to get you there.

Since each smart home product function is unique, however, the hardest part is knowing how to determine which is best for the different people in your life. For instance, is there a product that is better suited for grandma's needs? Do your kids have a device on their wishlist that doesn't even make your top 10?

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The top three digital assistant options on the market are Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. If you, like so many others, find yourself wondering what's the difference between these services and the multitude of devices that connect with each, we've got you covered.

No matter who you're shopping for, get them a smart device that's appropriate for them with this comprehensive breakdown.

Digital assistants

Apple's Siri

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Siri is the elder member of the digital assistants, developed in 2010. Siri is witty and can engage and entertain you in a more natural way than the other digital assistants. To use Siri, you’ll need to purchase an Apple product, such as an iPhone 11, an Apple Watch Series 5, or an iPad. Virtually anything you want to do, from browsing the Internet to texting a friend to getting directions, if it’s Apple-related, Siri is the best choice. Since Siri lives mostly on handheld devices, that makes the digital assistant a little better suited for teens and young adults who are not yet homeowners because their needs are likely more mobile-oriented.

Amazon's Alexa

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Alexa hasn't been around quite as long as Siri -- only since 2014. The biggest difference between Siri and Alexa is that Siri lives on your iPhone (and/or other Apple devices) and is better equipped for mobility while Alexa lives in your home or apartment, usually in an Echo product, and is typically more fully integrated into your home. Compared to Siri, however, Alexa is lacking in personality to an extent. She shines at being a no-nonsense type of digital assistant compatible with far more devices than Siri or Google Assistant. If you're a homeowner with a hodgepodge of gadgets, Alexa is likely going to be your best bet for communicating with them as there are currently over 60,000 home devices that work with Alexa.

Google Assistant

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Google Assistant is the youngest digital assistant of the top three, launched in 2016. Because of this late start, Google Assistant had the advantage of learning a great deal from its predecessors. Like Alexa, Google Assistant is compatible with a wide range of products, yet, like Siri, it offers a more personal touch. For example, a product such as the Google Nest Hub can access the information you keep on your Google Calendar as well as other Google apps and services, so it has a better reference point for correctly interpreting context. Additionally, Google Assistant can recognize different voice profiles and you can choose to continue the conversation without saying "Hey, Google" before each question, making interaction a bit more natural. Because Google Assistant does "know" you and your schedule better than Siri or Alexa, it's usually the first choice for a senior who would benefit from a digital assistant that is better attuned to their individual needs and routines.

Bixby

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

If you are a fan of Samsung and are interested in something like the Samsung Galaxy S10, you’re lucky because Bixby would come with your smartphone. Bixby is an extremely powerful digital assistant that’s designed to respond to natural language, understand context, book rides, make appointments, and learn your routines so it can better anticipate your needs. This is an excellent digital assistant for the busy career-minded adult who constantly has a great deal on their plate.

Smart speakers

One of the most common places you can find a built-in digital assistant is a smart speaker. This can serve as a standalone device that streams music and answers questions or it can be the hub that serves as the command center for every other smart device that you own. Following are some of the top smart speakers on the market.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

HomePod: For the student

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With its focus on sound quality and the ability to recognize the size and shape of the room it's in, Apple's HomePod is best suited for the music aficionado who owns other Apple devices and may not have an ideal listening space, e.g., a college student living in a dorm or a high school student with an iPhone.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Amazon Echo: For the homeowner

This 3rd generation model of the popular smart home speaker offers incredible compatibility and control. It is ideal for the homeowner who is looking to maintain control over the ever-expanding assortment of smart home devices they're amassing.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Echo Dot Kids Edition: For the young ones

If you have younger kids, this is what you want. Besides its colorful design, the Echo Dot Kids Edition offers kid-friendly content, daily time limits, and multiple layers of privacy protection.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Google Home Mini: For the mature adult

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Between the unit's ability to recognize individuals by voice so it can better keep track of their personal needs and the wonderful array of compatible safety devices available, a Google Home Mini would make a great gift for grandma, grandpa, or an older aunt or uncle.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Sonos Move: For the person on the go

Considering its portability, compatibility with both Google Assistant and Alexa, and weather-resistance, the highly transportable Sonos Move is the perfect smart speaker for someone who's always on the go.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Bose Home Speaker 300: For the music lover

For the audiophile who craves a rich 360-degree sound and compatibility with their favorite music server, the Bose Home Speaker 300 with built-in Alexa is guaranteed to please.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

JBL Link 500: For the serious audiophile

With its ease of use, built-in Google Assistant, and built-in Chromecast, this smart speaker can deliver everything from cherished music to your favorite podcasts in high-resolution sound. Because of the price, this might be best for the audio connoisseur.

Noteworthy devices

Now that you know more about the different digital assistants that are available and who would benefit the most from a particular assistant or smart speaker, following are four noteworthy smart devices to give you an idea of what can happen when smart devices work together.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Fire TV Stick: The Fire TV Stick is the top-selling media streaming device. It’s affordable, easy to use, offers a plethora of streaming options, and has built-in Alexa Voice Remote. The Fire TV Stick can function on its own without the need for a smart speaker, making it the perfect entry to smart home devices.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Ring Video Doorbell: You can use your Fire TV with the Ring video doorbell to call up the camera feed to see exactly who is at your front door without the need to even get up. While this is a wonderful feature for the elderly, who may have weary bones that make it difficult to rise from the couch, nearly anyone can benefit from integrating this device into their smart home.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen): This smart thermostat is compatible with Google Assistant and is perfect for anyone who may be sensitive to even minute temperature fluctuations in the home. The device learns living patterns and strives to provide comfort.

Which smart home product you should get your grandma, child, and everyone in between

Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm: Nest Protect monitors your home and sends you alerts when anything is amiss with smoke or carbon monoxide. For the ultimate in safety, pairing this device with the Nest Learning Thermostat will allow it to shut off the furnace if it detects any CO leaks, making it a must-have combination for any safety-oriented homeowner.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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