It’s smart home speaker season and Google is matching (almost) everything Amazon is doing with its new devices the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. Google is still Amazon’s biggest threat and that will remain the case at least until the Apple HomePod is released this December. The newcomer Sonos One seems to be playing things relatively neutral for now.
Since Google Home launched, it has added a lot of smart home devices to its crew so we’ve broken down some of the best kit and most popular options.
Essential reading: The best Google Home tips and tricks
If you’re a Google power user who wants to put a smart home together, you’ll want to know what works with your Home and what doesn’t, so below is our pick of the best devices currently working with Google Home.
A tip to keep in mind: you can also spot a “works with the Google Assistant” badge to determine which products work with Google Home.
It feels like you can’t talk about the smart home without talking about Philips Hue, and for good reason. The Hue ecosystem is continually growing with many different kits and lights to make your place all fancy. From bowl lights to light strips to bulbs and lamps, the extensive number of options you have make it a worthy consideration.
Once you have a colourful ensemble of bulbs lighting your way, you can switch on, dim, brighten and change colour all through Google Home.
The only drawback to the luminous paradise, of course, is the necessity to splash out on a Philips Hue Bridge to connect all the colour.
From $69, meethue.com | Amazon
While Philips Hue is the big name in smart lights, LIFX has become a beloved second option. Its claim to fame is how simple it can be to set up. These bulbs allow you to skip the hub and get right to its 16 million colors and 1,000 shades of warm to cool whites. LIFX now has a modular lighting panel option too, the Tile, which costs $249.99 for five.
$59.99, lifx.com | Amazon
A firm favourite in the office, Nanoleaf’s futuristic, modular lighting wall panels can be arranged however you like to suit your pad. Plus each triangular LED panel can be customised via the app. This year, the smart lights were treated to Google Assistant compatibility for Google Home and Android users – Nanoleaf works with Alexa too.
Starter Kit: $199.99, nanoleaf.com | Amazon
Hive Active Lights
Hive has added Google Assistant support for its Hive Active Lights and Hive Active Plugs, but not its Active Heating thermostats yet – Alexa works with the whole range. You can turn lights on, dim them, increase brightness or change the colour with voice commands via your Google Home.
From £19.99/ £99.99 for starter kit, hivehome.com | Amazon
Of course Nest would show up on this list – it would be a shame if Google’s sister company didn’t have a product that worked well with its smart home speaker. The thing that separates the Nest Thermostat from the competition is that it can learn your habits after a week of training it.
Google Home compatibility allows you to scream your temperature demands and never fiddle with the dial again. Nest also offers smoke detectors, alarm systems and security cameras for your smart home needs and while Google Home is yet to shake hands with all the company’s other offerings, Google Assistant controls are coming to the Nest Cam IQ’s via a software update later in 2017.
$249, nest.com | Amazon
Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostats
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, or you just don’t want to turn your home over to two Alphabet products, there’s the Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat.
There’s seven-day programming and smart scheduling, but it’s also compatible with Google Assistant via Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort platform. Previously, those rocking the likes of Honeywell’s Lyric had to go through an IFTTT workaround in order to pair the two. Oh the humanity! Unfortunately this one is US-only.
From $149, honeywell.com | Amazon
Tado Thermostats and Smart AC Controls
Tado’s Google Assistant integration with Google Home went live this summer. Its range of smart thermostats and Smart AC Controls units can be controlled by voice commands to set, increase or decrease the temperature or air conditioning. Plus the compatibility extends to its smart radiator thermostats for control across more than one room of the house. You can say things like “OK Google, set living room to 22 degrees” or “OK Google, increase bedroom temperature by 3 degrees.”
$199, tado.com | Amazon
TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug
TP-Link’s Wi-Fi smart plug will do exactly what you’d expect. You’ll get energy monitoring and remote access to turn on and off devices, scheduling, and away mode, which turns off all your devices when you leave. And of course, you’ll have Google Assistant support to turn devices on and off with the power of your voice. Plus, you’ll get all of that at an affordable price.
$29.90, tp-link.com | Amazon
Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug
Belkin’s Wemo Insight does what other smart plugs do. It’ll get you remote access and energy monitoring, sure. But it also comes with a nice sweetener for those of you embedded in Alphabet’s smart home products: it can talk to Nest thermostats. So your Nest can tell your Insight Smart Plug whether you’re home or away, and then the smart plug will turn off your devices.
The new Mini smart plus won’t block adjacent outlets either. With a simple command, turning off your regular lamp has never been easier.
From $39, belkin.com | Amazon
Insignia Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Insignia’s smart plug can be used to control kitchen appliances, lights and air conditioners – you can pick one up at Best Buy in the US. The little plug talks to both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so you can power regular home gear on and off with your voice. In the Connect app you can also set up to 10 timers and daily/weekly schedules. Very nice.
The streaming devices
Makes sense that Google Home pairs nicely with the company’s own Chromecast devices, right?
Unlike its Nexus Player cousin, which provides a full interface to smarten your TV, Chromecast is a device more in line with Amazon’s Fire Stick. Google’s dongle, though, allows you to sync things up between your phone, tablet or laptop and your TV.
But this process is streamlined further with the help of Google Home, which lets you to fire up video using just the power of your voice. With YouTube and Netflix both supported, unwinding in front of the TV has seldom been simpler.
From $35, google.com
Google Chromecast Ultra
If you’re looking to throw 4K video onto your TV, you can always hand over a little more cash and pick up a Chromecast Ultra. As with the cheaper option, you can use Google Assistant on your Google Home to control what you watch on your TV, which gives you access to all of those Chromecast-supported apps, like Netflix and Hulu, plus the treasure trove of content on YouTube.
Google Chromecast Audio
Chromecast not only helps you weave between what’s on your TV, but its audio spin-off also takes care of what’s going on in the speakers.
Even better, Chromecast Audio essentially takes on the same format to empower your regular speaker with smart capabilities. Simply plug it into the AUX port on your speakers and play DJ with your voice through the power of your device.
With Google Home also allowing you to stream through the likes of Spotify, TuneIn and Pandora, you’ll be dancing around to your playlist without lifting a finger.
From $35, google.com
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A6
Don’t want to rely on your Home’s speakers for some sound, or think they’re not good enough? Google Home will allow you to stream your music from your Home to an external Wi-Fi speaker via Google Assistant. One of those speakers is Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A6, which has wide-staged sound so that it can fill your room with only two speakers.
$799, beoplay.com | Amazon
The hubs and services
Samsung’s smart home system comprises a handful of sensors and outlets, all centered around the SmartThings hub. It makes the smart home incredibly easy to set up, and best of all it’s compatible with a vast range of other smart devices – Google Home included.
Home integration will allow you to control connected lights, outlets and thermostats with the power of voice. A simple “Ok Google, turn on the bedroom fan” is all you need. The future’s pretty great, huh?
$249, samsung.com | Amazon
If Google Home’s support is leaving you a bit disappointed, then there’s something else you can do to boost your smart home. You can tap into the power of IFTTT, connect it with Google Assistant and allow it to control a whole host of other appliances, like refrigerators and vacuums and more. All you have to do is connect the two apps on your smartphone.
Logitech Harmony was one of a handful of new names that Google announced as newly compatible in spring 2017. It’s a series of nice universal remotes that can already talk to all your different bits of smart home tech including Sky, Sonos, Roku, IFTTT, Philips Hue, Apple TV and SmartThings. Check out the Logitech Harmony Elite, the latest badass remote to rule them all.
$349, logitech.com | Amazon
Wink Connected Hub
Wink’s hub connects up all your smart home kit and lets you control everything from one app – handy if you want both app and voice controls – as well as getting products from different companies to work together e.g. turning smart lights on automatically when the smart lock locks the door. It also works with all those smart home standards you don’t really want to think about – Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave.
$69, wink.com | Amazon
The rest of your smart home
August Smart Lock
This popular smart lock will allow you to not worry about your keys again by activating when your phone’s Bluetooth signal is close. With Google Home and Google Assistant support, however, you’ll simple be able to tell Google to lock or unlock your doors. And if you forget, you can ask Google, too. No need to walk back and check for yourself.
$229, august.com | Amazon
iRobot Roomba robot vacuums
Since earlier this year, all connected iRobot Roomba robot vacs – the Roomba 980, 960, 690 and 890 that is – can be controlled via Google Home and Assistant.
iRobot has compiled a handy list of which commands will work – if you have more than one you’ll need to say the name of the device as part of your request. You can start, pause, stop and resume cleaning, locate the Roomba, ask it to return to home base and get its status.
From $375, irobot.com | Amazon
Watering your lawn with automated sprinklers can be both expensive and frustrating. That’s where Rachio comes in. It’ll let you connect your sprinkler system to Wi-Fi so that it can use weather reports to know not to water the lawn in the rain. It’s also got smart scheduling so that you can customize your watering for your budget. With Google Assistant support, you can tell it when to stop, start or which zones in your yard to water.
$199.99, rachio.com | Amazon
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