Consumer Reports: Best smart devices for your home

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Consumer Reports: Best smart devices for your home - Rick Williams reports during Action News at 5pm on December 11, 2018.

From doorbells to thermostats to security cameras, if you're thinking of making your home smarter this holiday season, but need a lesson on the new technology - you're in luck.

Consumer Reports' Home Editor, Dan Wroclawski, doesn't just write about smart home products - he uses them in his home, too. His one must-have smart device? A smart speaker.

"Smart speakers make it very easy to connect all of these different products," said Wroclawski.

To use a smart speaker as a hub, or control center of sorts, you'll find three main options - Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri - available on the Apple Homepod.

As for those other smart products, CR puts them through its rigorous testing. For example, smart locks still have to pass the same break in tests as traditional door locks.

"You want to get a lock that is smart but also strong," said Wroclawski.

They recommend the $230 dollar Schlage Sense Smart Lock, which stood up to kick in, picking and drilling tests and connects with any of the three smart speaker assistants.

Another option for your doors - video doorbells. You can see who is at your door, and some models even work with smart locks to remotely open the door through an app.

Need even more smarts? You might want to add smart cameras inside and out. They can record a break in, or this little guy breaking the rules when Dan isn't home.

One thing to keep in mind: You'll need to pay a fee for video storage for most smart security cameras which can be as much as 2-hundred dollars a year.

"When these cameras take video, they store it on their company's server. By doing this it makes it really easy for you to access that footage but it can also cost you over the long term," said Wroclawski.

The $120 dollar Amazon Cloud Cam is a CR best buy. And if you want surveillance both inside and outside your home, consider the Netgear Arlo Pro 2 Smart Camera for about $220 dollars.

One smart home product Consumer Reports says could be smarter is smoke detectors.

That's because smart smoke detectors currently only detect one type of fire. Experts recommend dual sensor smoke alarms, which can detect both smoldering and flash fires, like First Alert or Kidde.

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