The best gifts for the home
Ecobee may not be as much of a household name as Nest, but its products come with the sincere approval of at least one colleague, who replaced his Nest with this. The company's new, fourth-generation smart thermostat costs $250 and comes with voice control via Amazon Alexa. Even better, it has sensors thrown in that detect both the ambient temperature and how many people are at home. All told, Ecobee claims that shutting off the HVAC when people aren't around saves around 23 percent on heating and cooling costs. It also looks great, with a glass-fronted LCD touchscreen that displays the weather as well, making life a little bit easier. Plus, it comes with all the usual integrations to Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings and IFTTT. -- Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor
The season is guaranteed to generate a lot of mess, but your friends won't want to clean up after they've had a bellyful of food. That's why you should be nice to them and give the gift of a robotic vacuum cleaner that'll do some of the work. Eufy's RoboVac 11S has plenty of things to recommend it -- including its reasonable $240 asking price.
Standing at just 2.85 inches tall, it's short enough to get under most furniture and can run for up to 100 minutes on a charge. It's no wimp in the suction department either: It's more powerful than Roomba's low-end e5 with a triple filter system to help screen out particles. Because it's cheap, it lacks the fancy-pants navigation skills of its more expensive rivals, but it's smart enough to avoid falling down stairs. Best of all, it's about as noisy as a desk fan, which should prevent any anxious pets from getting too upset. -- D.C.
It can be difficult to assemble a travel coffee setup that's compact and includes everything you need to make your morning cup. Most of the time you have to either sacrifice space or a piece of gear that would otherwise make things easier. But the Pakt Coffee Kit contains everything the java lover on your list will need to make a fantastic pour over, all inside a case that's about the size of a pair of shoes. The kit nests together like a set of Russian dolls, with a grounds container and travel cup resting inside the water kettle for storage. There's also a collapsible dripper and scoop as well as space to store filters. And while there might be some strange looks from airport security, this thing is travel friendly. It's currently available for pre-order through Indiegogo for $149, and Pakt says the kits will ship in time for Christmas. -- Billy Steele, Senior News Editor
If package thieves are a problem for your loved ones, consider getting them a video doorbell. We particularly recommend the Ring Video Doorbell 2, which either uses a hardwired connection or battery power, making it great for homeowners and renters alike. Plus, the rechargeable battery is easily removed without having to take out the whole unit. It sends mobile alerts whenever it senses motion, and it also records and sends those events to the cloud.
The Ring camera is also compatible with Alexa-powered smart displays, letting your family members view who's at their front door that much more quickly. Video recording and storage does require a $30 annual subscription, but that includes 60-day unlimited video storage, which is a lot cheaper than with other security cameras. -- N.L.
Whether your loved one is a professional chef or a novice cook, they'd appreciate a good instant-read thermometer. The Thermoworks Thermapen is one of the best out there, and it's one that Engadget editors like myself and senior editor Billy Steele highly recommend. It can suss out the temperature of your food in mere seconds so you know whether to take the roast out of the oven now or wait for a few more minutes. Get this for the cook in your life and you may never have to eat under- or overcooked food again. -- N.L.