Smart-home devices enable you to control a range of gadgets, appliances, and important tasks, whether from home or remotely. Google is a major player in the smart-home sphere. The tech giant’s collection of Google Home (also known as Google Nest) devices includes some of the most popular smart tech, such as smart speakers, thermostats, cameras, doorbells, and locks.
Whether you’re just dipping your toes into smart-home tech or adding to an existing smart system, read on for the best Google Home devices for creating a connected home.
- BEST OVERALL: Google Nest Smart Speaker
- RUNNER-UP: Google Nest Hub 7” Smart Display (2nd Gen)
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
- BEST VIDEO DOORBELL: Google Nest Hello Smart Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
- BEST INDOOR CAMERA: Google Nest Cam Indoor
- BEST STREAMING STICK: Google Chromecast with Google TV
- BEST WIFI SYSTEM: Google Nest Wifi – AC2200 – Mesh WiFi System
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Google Home Devices
While a single smart device, or multiple independent devices, can enhance daily life, an interconnected system offers the most smart capabilities. A major benefit of sticking with one brand is the guaranteed compatibility: pairing Google Home and Google Nest devices creates the most seamless integration. On the other hand, if you’ve already got other smart devices by another brand, thousands of these devices are compatible with Google systems. Regardless of the device brand, before you buy a new smart-home device, consider ease of setup, remote and voice control capabilities, facial recognition features, and device design.
Easy to Install and Set Up
Similar to many other Google products, the best Google Home devices have a reputation for easy installation and setup. Setup is often as easy as “plug and play.” Simply plug in the device and follow the directions on the corresponding app. Many Google Home devices detect and connect with other smart devices via Wi-Fi, which makes the setup process even easier.
Depending on your existing home setup, some devices may require professional assistance. For example, if a new thermostat or doorbell calls for updated wiring, it’s best to call in professional help.
A wide range of smart-home devices allow for remote control through a smartphone app. Some remote control features enable detailed controls far beyond just switching devices on and off. Users may adjust temperature, control volume, dim lights, play back recorded video, and more.
Some devices offer remote monitoring through their corresponding smartphone apps. With security and safety devices, the apps can push important notifications when you’re not at home. For example, the app notifies you when someone rings a smart doorbell or when motion triggers a security camera.
The Google Home and the Nest apps provide numerous remote control features. They also allow users to control thousands of other connected Google-compatible home products for full system control in one convenient app.
Facial recognition can enhance a variety of smart devices. Sometimes facial detection, rather than a thumbprint or PIN, will unlock a device. This technology also helps bolster the potential of security devices. For example, through facial recognition, smart doorbells or cameras can keep you aware of who comes and goes.
Of course, not everyone wants gadgets that can identify faces in their home. If that’s the case for you, plenty of devices, such as smart speakers, locks, alarms and streaming sticks, serve their function without facial recognition. You can easily build a smart-home system without this technology.
A voice control hub maximizes smart-home capabilities. Keep in mind that most individual smart devices do not have built-in voice control capabilities. A voice control hub can enable voice controls on smart devices and tie the entire system together.
The most popular options for voice control of your entire smart home system are a smart speaker or a smart display with a built-in voice assistant. These devices enable users to control individual devices or an interconnected system with a simple voice command.
With voice controls, users simply state a command, such as “Hey Google, turn on the lights,” and the device will carry it out. Common voice commands include setting a timer, turning up volume, or adjusting the settings on a range of connected devices. Many voice-controlled home assistants, such as Google Assistant, respond to requests for information, such as “When is my next meeting?” or “What’s the weather forecast for today?”
A modern invention, smart-home devices tend to come in sleek, modern designs with clean looks and neutral colors pervading the market. Many Google Home devices come in appealing neutral-toned finishes that blend in with the decor of many homes.
When looking at a device’s design, consider its size and shape and how it will fit in your space. Many devices come in various sizes, but smaller or “mini” versions may not include as many features.
Don’t forget to consider the device’s interface, a critical design aspect many people overlook. The best Google home devices should include a well-designed app interface that not only looks good but also makes the app easy to use.
Our Top Picks
With years of technology and product innovation under its belt, Google Home has created some standout smart-home devices. Regardless of the device type, the products all have one goal: to make your home run more smoothly. The devices below are compatible with Google Nest Smart Speaker and Smart Display devices to create an interconnected smart-home system. Read on for the best Google Home devices for practical and seamless management of your smart home.
In many smart homes, a smart speaker forms the backbone of a smart system. The Google Nest Smart Speaker makes a smart pick for smart home newbies or to tie an existing system together.
This gadget enables users to chat with Google Assistant, Google’s virtual voice assistant, in order to control the speaker itself as well as any other connected Google-compatible device. Google Nest’s smart device also functions as a conventional speaker. It puts out crisp audio and powerful bass for music, podcasts, and more.
This smart speaker responds to thousands of voice commands, including requests to play music, play back video or audio, power connected devices on or off, and adjust settings on connected devices. The speaker verbalizes information, such as weather forecasts, news, and notifications. In order to respond to the whole family, Google Nest’s smart speaker can learn up to six individual voices and tailor its responses to each speaker.
The second-generation Google Nest Hub Smart Display offers both visual touch controls and voice control. This nifty device combines all the voice control functions of Google Nest Smart Speakers with a convenient touch screen tablet.
Adding a visual element to smart home control, monitoring, and assistance, the touch screen brings a whole new realm of capabilities to the smart-home system. It displays far more information than a smart speaker can provide, such as detailed weather conditions or multiple results of a Google search. With a range of included apps, the smart display also functions like a tablet, able to show YouTube videos, Netflix content, recipes, photos, and more.
Though the model doesn’t include a camera, it does include Google’s Quick Gestures feature. Through motion sensing capabilities, this technology allows users to give certain commands with just the wave of a hand.
Through energy monitoring and automated settings, a smart thermostat saves energy, which benefits the environment and the home budget. Google Nest’s Learning Thermostat has excellent monitoring capabilities. The programmable thermostat learns the household schedule and temperature preferences and adjusts the temperature accordingly to save energy and maintain a comfortable climate.
This smart thermostat also uses sensors and the GPS location of connected smartphones to detect when users are at home or away. When no one is at home, the thermostat adjusts itself to an Eco Temperature mode to prevent energy waste and cut costs.
Monitoring options enable users to keep tabs on energy usage and track daily habits. Remote control features allow users to adjust the temperature of the home from anywhere.
With a smart video doorbell, users can see who’s at the door from anywhere. Google Nest’s Hello doorbell replaces an existing wired doorbell to bring the convenience and added security of smart-home tech to your front door.
Using the Nest mobile app, users receive alerts that someone’s at the door, view live video, and communicate with visitors using a prerecorded message or two-way talk. Features like HD video, night vision, 24/7 streaming, motion detection, history snapshots, and a wide 160-degree field of vision make this smart home device more than just a doorbell; it’s a front door security camera.
For added security, a Nest Aware subscription enables more video history settings, continuous recording, facial recognition, and personalized alert options.
Indoor video monitoring provides peace of mind. With the Google Nest Cam Indoor, users can keep an eye on their home and family at any time and from anywhere.
This camera features a 130-degree viewing angle and crisp 1080p HD footage. Night Vision mode provides clear monitoring through the night. When the camera detects motion or sound, it pushes an alert to connected smart phones. Users have access to 24/7 live streaming and a 3-hour snapshot history of triggered events from the smartphone app.
A built-in mic and speaker allow remote users to communicate with whoever is at home, and a Nest Aware subscription adds video history features and more personalized alerts.
Bring smart features to your entertainment system with a Google Chromecast with Google TV streaming stick. The smart features place a cherry on top of a high-quality streaming stick, which offers excellent video quality up to 4K HDR.
Google Chromecast’s streaming stick features the Google TV interface, which organizes all available streaming content into one simple and searchable screen. That means no switching between apps to find your favorite show. Available apps include popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Crave, YouTube, and more.
Best of all, the Google Chromecast communicates with Google Assistant. Use the included voice remote or a separate Google Assistant–enabled speaker to take advantage of voice commands. Users can open an app, play a show, and control playback settings with a simple speech command.
A smart-home system can’t function without reliable Wi-Fi, so a mesh system extends Wi-Fi coverage to every corner of a home. If your regular old router doesn’t cut it, consider upgrading to a Google Nest Mesh Wi-Fi system.
This basic starter set includes two router units to cover up to 4,400 square feet. The Google Home app makes setup easy. One unit plugs into the modem and the second goes wherever the Wi-Fi needs a boost, such as dead zones or areas in the home with a weak signal.
Google’s mesh system essentially expands the reach of the home Wi-Fi network, without compromising Wi-Fi speed. Nest routers can handle up to 200 connected devices (more than enough to handle a large lineup of smart home devices) and can stream multiple 4K videos at a time. Plus, Nest Mesh Wi-Fi is scalable and flexible, which means users can add units later on for more coverage.
FAQs About Google Home Devices
With the right smart-home devices, you can simplify everyday tasks and take full advantage of the latest home technology. Still deciding on the best Google Home devices for your smart system? Read on for some frequently asked questions and their answers.
Q. What devices can I control with Google Home?
Google Home can control all Google Nest–compatible devices, which includes all Google devices plus thousands of compatible products from other brands. Just look for Google device compatibility in the product specifications.
Q. How do you play music on all Google Home devices?
To play music on multiple Google Home speakers and compatible Chromecast devices, you can create an audio group in the Google Home app, which will enable you to operate those devices simultaneously.
Q. How do you connect all Google Home devices?
The easiest way to connect all Google Home devices is to link them to a Google Home or Google Nest smart speaker or smart display. First, ensure that the device is compatible with the Google system. Set up the device using the included instructions, and then use the Google Home app to connect the smart device to your speaker or display and integrate it into your smart ecosystem.
Q. How do you reset all Google Home devices?
Each Google Home device has a factory reset option. Just press and hold the reset button for the designated amount of time and it will reset the device back to factory settings.
Q. Do all Google Home devices need to be on the same Wi-Fi network?
Yes, for a seamless system, the Google Home devices should be on the same Wi-Fi network.
Smart-home devices allow you to control various devices within your home using your smartphone or just your voice. Google offers a wide range of smart devices to help automate your daily life. Be sure to consider the ease of installation and if the product offers remote control or voice control capabilities when choosing the right Google smart device for your home.