Owning gadgets in the digital age isn't always easy -- sometimes it can be overwhelming to keep track of which devices need to be charged, which ones require their own smartphone apps, or how to keep them all working properly together.
But there's good news: The best gadgets out there are built to make your life more convenient, and many do a great job at simplifying the tasks that eat up too much of your time.
Whether you're looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the techie in your life, or you're in the market for gear to streamline your day-to-day life, we've hand-picked the best gadgets to get.
Amazon's Echo Show 5 is our favorite Alexa-based device. It's a nightstand speaker with Amazon's ubiquitous digital assistant built-in, so you can do anything from asking for the weather forecast to getting step-by-step recipes. The included camera and microphone make it easy to make video calls with other compatible devices -- but our favorite feature is the alarm clock, which can be coordinated with smart bulbs so you're naturally woken up with light.
You may be familiar with Ring's video doorbells, which are quickly becoming a standard in home security, but Ring also has a full suite of security products. Our favorite in the catalog is the Ring Indoor Cam. It's a tiny camera that plugs into any standard outlet and gives you a real-time video feed on your device. You can set up motion-activated alerts or even use it as a baby monitor (with a two-way-talk built-in intercom).
Because Chromebooks are built on Chrome OS's cloud-based model, they're easily the most secure laptops available -- Google always keeps them up-to-date, and all of your work is auto-saved to the web. The ASUS Chromebook Flip is one of our favorite models because it's an ideal mix of high-end hardware and ultra-light portability. It's fast enough for work or school and flexible enough for anywhere you want to take it.
Smart thermostats are great for making sure the temperature in your home is always perfect, and they're useful for saving money on heating and cooling bills, too. Whether you're looking for the best thermostat on the market or you just need a simple way to set temperature schedules, our favorite is the ecobee3 Lite. Pick one up ASAP--your heating bill will thank you.
If you know someone with a lot of tech in their house, chances are they've got at least one power strip with a spaghetti of wires overlapping one another and some plugs that are so bulky they cover other outlets. That's where outlet extenders come in handy: one-foot extension cords make it easy to keep track of what's plugged in where and ensures that any bulky plugs won't block any ports.
If you've got a laptop with a USB-C port (and few others), you'll need a hub or a port replicator -- and it's important to get a good one, because there are a lot of cheap, barely usable models out there. Belkin's USB-C hubs are reliable and worry-free, plus they're as plug-and-play as they come. It takes one USB-C port and adds traditional USB ports, an SD card reader, a 4K-capable HDMI port, and a gigabit ethernet port for getting an ultra-fast data connection.
Having a lot of technology in your house means having a lot of remote controls, and keeping track of them can be a headache, so consider a remote control organizer. This one from Londo comes in multiple colors and includes a suede lining to keep your remotes clean and free from scratches. Never dig through your couch cushions again -- keep your controllers all in one place!
What's better than getting a bunch of smart plugs? An entire smart power strip. TP-Link's Kasa brand is one of the most popular around, and you can add any device you want and control its power individually from the super-simple Kasa app. Whether you want to plug in lamps, Christmas lights, or your coffee maker, you can do it all simultaneously with the Kasa smart power strip.
Jamie Vazquez 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.
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