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Outfitting Your Smart Home: Google Assistant Devices

Written by | Updated May 13, 2020

What Smart Home Devices Work with Google Assistant?

Google Assistant voice controls work with hundreds of products, so it can be overwhelming to find the best ones for your smart home. To help narrow down your choices, we put together a list of our favorite Google Assistant devices (though many also work with Amazon Alexa). This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will start the gears turning as you build out your smart home.

If you want to learn more about how Google Assistant works, we recommend reading our Ultimate Guide to Google Assistant and Google Nest Products.

Philips Hue: Best Smart Light Bulb

Philips Hue White Starter Kit

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Few smart lighting brands stand out like Philips Hue (about $100). The company sells lights in many shapes and sizes. So you can customize your home with simple smartbulbs, lightstrips, and lamps, like adding color-changing bulbs to your TV room for more ambiance during movie night.

Philips Hue is more expensive than other smartbulbs because you need to buy a starter kit that includes a hub. The hub connects your bulbs to Wi-Fi so you can use them with a mobile app or Google Assistant voice controls.

There’s also a huge selection of accessories like motion detectors and light switches. We especially like the Lutron Aurora (around $41) dimmer switch for Hue lights.

Smart Lights without a Hub

If you don’t want to pay a premium for Philips Hue bulbs and their required hub, go with a hub-free smartbulb like Sengled (about $15 each). These no-frills bulbs connect directly to your Wi-Fi and are cheaper overall.

Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch: Best Smart Light Switch

Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch

Instead of replacing every light bulb, try swapping out the switch with a Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch (about $26). This is more affordable than buying smartbulbs and allows you to keep using your existing LED or CFL light bulbs.

Whether or not you use the dimming feature, it’s still very convenient to control the lights with your voice or a mobile app. Of course, you’ll need light bulbs that specifically support dimming (the package or product description on the bulbs should say as much).

Smart light switches are also great for rooms where you want hands-free controls but don’t need dimmable lights like the laundry room, stairway, or hallways. Kasa even sells a switch without a dimmer if you want to save a few bucks.

Upgrade with Lutron Caseta

Lutron Caseta (about $100) makes one of the best smart dimmers you can buy, but it’s a lot more expensive than Kasa. Lutron invented the dimmer switch in the 1950s1 and has decades of experience, resulting in a product that’s easy to use and works with a ton of smart home devices. That extra cash also nets you a wireless remote control in addition to a wall switch.

Wemo Mini: Best Smart Plug

WeMo Mini Outlet

Wemo Mini

The Wemo Mini (about $18) is an excellent smart plug because its compact size doesn’t block the other outlet on your wall plug. This is just a simple on/off switch, but you can set schedules and control it with a mobile app.

It’s particularly great for controlling lamps and fans in bedrooms, so you don’t have to climb out of bed to turn off the lights. One feature we like is Wemo’s Away Mode, which turns lights and plugs on and off at random while you’re out of the house. This makes it look like the family’s at home, even when you’re on vacation.

A smart plug like the Wemo Mini can help save energy on your electric bill by cutting off the power to energy-hungry devices you’re not using like cable boxes, air conditioners, and laptop chargers. Sadly, there isn’t any kind of energy monitoring to track exact electricity consumption, but that’s a niche feature anyway.

This is great for most people because it’s easy to install, especially if you’re not comfortable turning off the power to replace an in-wall outlet or if you live in an apartment.

In-Wall Smart Outlets

Install an in-wall outlet for a cleaner look if you want to hide your smart outlets. The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet (about $25) is a great option for this but requires light electrical work to install.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat: Best Smart Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Few devices embody the smart home as well as the Nest Learning Thermostat (about $250). This sleek thermostat isn’t just about smartphone apps and voice control. It learns your habits and makes minor tweaks over time to save energy.

You can also get remote sensors (about $35 each) that help the thermostat gauge the temperature throughout your home. These allow the thermostat to adapt your heating and cooling accordingly, so upstairs rooms get enough AC to stay pleasant during the summer. The Nest thermostat also tracks your smartphone’s location. This allows it to save even more energy by turning down the heater or air conditioner when nobody’s at home.

Nest also makes a cheaper thermostat that doesn’t work with as many HVAC systems: the Nest Thermostat E (about $169). But it still has the core learning features and remote sensor compatibility that make the original so great.

Check out our smart thermostat review to learn more.

A Cheaper Thermostat for Google Home

The Emerson Sensi (around $130) doesn’t have the same stunning looks and learning features as Nest thermostats, but it’s much more affordable to add to your Google smart home.

Google Nest Secure: Best Security System

nest secure system with hub, nest tags, and nest detect sensors

Google Nest Secure

The Google Nest Secure (starting around $399) security system’s keypad is also a smart speaker with built-in Google Assistant voice controls. So you get a two-for-one: safety and convenience. Along the same lines, the motion detector and door sensor are a single device, which makes the system easier to expand later on.

You can subscribe to Brinks professional monitoring for Google Nest Secure. Whether you sign a three-year contract ($19 a month) or get a contract-free plan ($29 a month), this is more affordable than traditional security systems from Frontpoint, Vivint, and ADT. The system also works without a monitoring subscription, which requires more vigilance on your part.

Google Nest Secure’s equipment is more expensive than that of rival systems like SimpliSafe and Ring, but these rivals don’t have a built-in Google Assistant virtual assistant.

Read our Google Nest Secure review to learn more.

Google Assistant Works with Most Security Systems

Nearly all of the best home security systems work with Google Assistant, so you probably don’t have to buy a new security system if you already have one.

Nest x Yale: Best Smart Lock

Nest-x-Yale-Lock

Nest x Yale

The Nest x Yale (about $250) combines the attractive aesthetic of Nest with one of the best smart locks on the market. One of our favorite features is that the lock won’t let you use no-brainer pin codes—like 1234 and 0000—that are easy for uninvited guests to figure out.

You can assign custom pin codes for up to 20 people so everyone from your kids to your parents can get in the house. You can even schedule when certain codes work, so the dog walker gets in only when they’re on the job.

It also works with the Google Nest Hello video doorbell and Google Nest Secure security system so you can unlock the door for guests or lock down the house when you head off to work.

Learn more about the Nest x Yale in our Yale smart locks review.

A Cheaper Smart Lock for Google Home

The Wyze Lock (about $98) is the most affordable smart lock that works with Google Assistant. It attaches to your existing deadbolt, which is great for renters that can’t swap out an entire lock.

Google Nest Hello: Best Video Doorbell

Nest Hello Video Doorbell

Google Nest Hello

Even though there are plenty of video doorbells that work with Google Assistant, we think the best option is the Google Nest Hello (about $230). It’s a bit more expensive than other brands but has more advanced features that make a world of difference.

Our favorite feature is probably the Nest Hello’s facial recognition, which is part of the paid Nest Aware subscription. It’s so cool because it learns to recognize frequent visitors like family and friends. This is great for knowing when each of your kids gets home or spotting suspicious lurkers by the front door.

Other notable features are package detection and pre-recorded messages. The package detection gives you a heads up when there’s a package on your porch, which is great when the delivery driver leaves it without knocking. Likewise, the pre-recorded messages make it easy to give guests instructions at your door like shooing away solicitors or asking someone to wait for you.

For more information, read our Nest Hello review.

A Cheaper Video Doorbell for Google Home

If you can’t stomach the high price of the Google Nest Hello, consider a cheaper option like the Eufy Video Doorbell (around $136). It doesn’t require a subscription either, which eliminates long-term cloud storage costs.

Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor: Best Security Camera

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor

The Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor (about $300) is one of the most expensive security cameras. But it has some of the best features like facial recognition, 4K still images, and Supersight intelligent zooming. Supersight stands out because it can automatically zoom in on the action in front of the camera. This allows the camera to track people with enhanced visual clarity.

We also like that this security camera has excellent two-way audio and built-in Google Assistant voice controls so you don’t need an extra smart speaker. We like this trend of Google putting Assistant in devices that aren’t just speakers because it adds value to already excellent products.

Most of these features require a Nest Aware cloud storage subscription, which requires a monthly fee, but it’s a fair trade-off for such excellent functionality (plus Nest Aware is getting better perks soon).

Learn more about the Nest Cam IQ Indoor in our full review.

A Cheaper Security Camera for Google Home

The Wyze Cam Pan (about $38) is the best cheap security camera you can buy. It offers integration with Google Assistant alongside excellent video quality, free cloud storage, and pan-and-tilt functionality.

Chromecast Ultra: Best Streaming Device

Google Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra

We think the Chromecast Ultra (about $69) is the best option if you want to control your TV with Google Assistant. This streaming device supports up to 4K video quality so you can see crisp Ultra HD details in your favorite movies and TV shows.

Once you pair it with a Google Nest smart speaker, you get access to Google Assistant voice controls. With a simple voice command, you can choose your favorite shows from a variety of streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. From there, just ask Google to pause or rewind when you need to grab a snack from the kitchen.

If you don’t want 4K video streaming (or don’t have the internet speed to support it), you can get the original Chromecast (around $35) for half the price of the Ultra.

Some TVs Have Built-in Google Assistant

If you buy an Android TV device from brands like Sony and LG, you can control it without a separate smart speaker or Chromecast device.

Samsung SmartThings: Best Smart Hub

Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub

Samsung SmartThings Hub

Samsung SmartThings (about $70) is the best smart hub add-on for Google Assistant, especially if you already have a Google Nest smart speaker or display. After you link the SmartThings Hub to your Google Assistant devices using the Google Home app, you’ll get support for popular smart home devices that use Z-Wave and Zigbee technology.

This gives you tons of options for adding sensors and accessories to your Google smart home that wouldn’t be compatible otherwise. When you’re buying sensors, we recommend checking out the company’s SmartThings devices first, but many third-party sensors are just as useful.

It might be overkill to want support for more brands than you need, but it’s one of the best ways to get all of the devices you desire.

Check out our full Samsung SmartThings review to learn more.

Google-Branded Smart Hub

The Google Nest Hub Max (around $229) is the best smart hub from Google. Its built-in Google Assistant voice controls, touchscreen display, and built-in security make it an excellent choice to control smart devices. It’s not compatible with Zigbee or Z-Wave like the SmartThings hub, but it’s still compatible with plenty of Wi-Fi smart devices that work with Google Assistant.

Google Assistant Devices FAQ

How do I connect Google Assistant devices?

Follow these instructions after setting up the device you want to use with Google Assistant:

  • Start by setting up a smart device with a built-in Google Assistant (e.g., smart speaker, smart display, Google Assistant smartphone app), which involves downloading the Google Home app on a smartphone or tablet.
  • After setup, jump into the Google Home app and tap the plus sign “+” on the top left of the screen.
  • Choose “Set up device” from the top of the menu. You’ll have two options:
    • Select “New devices” if the product is a Google device or says “Made for Google” on the box. Follow the prompts, and the device will connect automatically.
    • Select “Works with Google” for all other devices and type the product name or brand into the search box. After selecting the brand, the Google Home app will ask for login credentials to finish linking your device.
  • In the last step, the Google Home app will ask you to assign devices to specific rooms in your home before adding those devices to the app’s home screen.

You can now control your devices using Google Assistant and the Google Home App.

Does Google Assistant work with If This Then That (IFTTT)?

Yes. You can link the two services together by creating an IFTTT account and linking it to Google Assistant from there. One of our favorite features is the option to set up single-word commands for Assistant, which makes it slightly faster to control specific lights and devices.

IFTTT also links to hundreds of other services and devices, so it can help you link two products together that aren’t naturally compatible with each other.

What is Thread, and why do most Google Nest devices have it?

Thread is a smart home protocol that works a lot like Zigbee. It allows devices to communicate with each other without a Wi-Fi connection while having better range and using less energy than Wi-Fi. For now, Google seems to be the only consumer electronics brand that uses this protocol.

You can find Thread technology in almost every type of Google Nest product except security cameras, Google Nest smart speakers, and the Google Nest Hub.

Disclaimers

*Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

†Google, Google Assistant, Google Nest, Google Home, and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Written by John Carlsen

John is a technology journalist with over seven years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech. Before joining SafeWise in 2020, John was an editor for Top Ten Reviews specializing in home security and the smart home. Learn more

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