I have always been resistant to the idea of installing complicated “smart” gadgetry all around my home and being forced to operate a lot of apps in order to control each one. It just seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.

After speaking with a few home automation experts who have mastered the art of tech, I realized that I could be missing out all of the benefits that smart home devices have to offer.

“Having a simple-to-use, well-designed smart home is like having your smartphone. You would not want to give them up or live without them,” said Wil Vitela, owner of Home Technology Expert, a California-based business that specializes in smart home installation.

Vitela explained that having a smart home, or elements of a smart home, can help out with simple things. A smart lock can allow friends and family safe access to your home without having to leave a key under the mat, or a smart security system can allow you to monitor your home or close your garage door remotely.

“[Additionally], as you get older or have had surgeries over time affecting your mobility, being able to adjust the smart thermostat or turn on the lights using your voice from where you are is so helpful,” Vitela added.

Aside from peace of mind, Joel Portillo, a home automation expert at the Los Angeles-based Joel & Co. Construction, said that utilizing devices such as smart thermostats or bulbs can help reduce energy costs and track energy consumption as well.

“The Nest smart thermostat, for instance, has an easy-to-use interface that can track things like your peak times of energy consumption, offers recommendations on when you should be using energy and when you shouldn’t, as well as giving you thermostat control even when you’re not at home,” he said.

Even if all these benefits sound good, being able to convince a technophobe to implement them is a whole other thing.

Portillo also explained that contrary to my and many fellow skeptics’ estimation that installing and operating smart devices is overly complicated, most of them are actually not. In fact, many don’t require any kind of hardwiring and are compatible with multiple home umbrella systems, like Alexa or Google Home. This means that all connected devices can be easily controlled in one place, rather than over a number of different apps or platforms.

“Google Home is a favorite of ours for that reason,” Portillo said. “It’s very user-friendly and straightforward, even for people who aren’t tech-savvy. [You can] just navigate and control all your devices on the one app.”

Vitela agreed, saying that whenever he works on designing smart home systems for customers, he likes to look at the system in holistic way based on their lifestyles and how they currently interact with technology.

“Many of the older parents and grandparents are self-proclaimed technophobes, however all of them enjoy the technology when not only the right brands but also models are chosen, are set up properly, and most importantly are explained … in a clear, common-sense way, ” Vitela said.

Hiring a professional to install smart devices is always an option. However, if you just want to gift a technophobe something that doesn’t require the help of the pros, then keep reading to see the following list of simple gadgets, smart devices and entertainment tools, including customer-favorite highly-rated options along with recommendations from our experts.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.


A Nest-compatible smart lock

According to Vitela, a smart lock is a great way to get your feet wet in the tech pool. This Nest lock offers a tamper-proof and keyless entry that can be locked and unlocked remotely. It also works with a Nest security system so users can receive instant notifications in case of forced entry.


A Ring doorbell video camera

Ring is possibly one of the most highly rated and well known doorbell video systems around for the fool-proof way it monitors your front door and sends notifications directly to your phone. It’s also very easy to set up and is Alexa-compatible or can be controlled via its own app.


A Google Nest smart thermostat

As Portillo explained above, the Nest Thermostat allows you to track your energy consumption, offers recommendations for when it’s best to use in-house heating or cooling systems, as well as gives complete control of a home’s temperature even when users aren’t at home. The thermostat is designed to work without a C wire in most homes, and doesn’t require professional help to install.


A smart security system

This 9-piece non-wiring security system, which includes motion detectors and an indoor HD camera, allows users to professionally monitor their home using an existing smart home app like Alexa, Google and more. The system features two-way audio and an optional 24/7 monitoring package that dispatches authorities automatically when a problem is detected. Everything is battery powered and can be used straight out of the package.


A Google Nest smart smoke alarm

Portillo recommended this smoke and carbon monoxide detector from Nest that is designed to warn homeowners of danger, even when there’s very little smoke, and even away from home. The alarm connects via Bluetooth, rather than with existing wiring, to send alerts to your phone as well as a loud siren like with traditional detectors.


A speaker that controls smart home devices with your voice

A Google Home hub of sorts, this second-generation Nest Mini smart speaker doesn’t just play and stream music, it also works with hundreds of other compatible smart devices like lights, thermostats, televisions and more, all with voice commands –– and without the need for wired connection ports.


A plug-in streaming stick

The Google Nest streaming stick only requires a television’s HDMI port and a Wi-Fi connection to quickly stream countless movies, shows, music and live TV. It’s available in both HD and 4K picture quality options.


A pair of Kasa Wi-Fi-connective smart plugs

The Kasa smart plugs, which are also compatible with Alexa and Google, transform plugged-in home electronics into devices that can be controlled remotely or with voice. Users can also set schedules for certain electronics that they want to automatically turn off and on.


A pack of four smart light bulbs

Have complete control over the lights in your home with these dimmable smart lights that also have multiple color changing functions. The lights are compatible with Google, Alexa and SmartThings home systems so that they can be controlled either on the corresponding app of your choice, or voice commands.