The Google Smart Home has gone through quite the transition in the last year or so. After the death of the groundbreaking Works With Nest program, many devices that once played well with the search giant's smart home were left in the dust.
But, after 12 months of re-grouping, re-imagining and re-branding its home automation offerings, Google is emerging as a very strong contender in the smart home space.
From bringing all its past and present smart home products under one name - Nest - to rolling out a new Works With Hey Google program (previously called Works with Google Assistant and sometimes called Works with Ok Google), to make adding gadgets to your smart home easier, the Google Nest Smart home is a robust platform well worth a look. Even if its naming conventions are still a bit all over the place.
Google claims there are over 500,000 devices that work with its Google Assistant voice assistant and can be controlled using its Google Home app.
These compatible products will have a Works With Hey Google label on them, and in addition to voice control using a smart speaker - such as a Google Nest Mini or a Google Nest Hub, or a third party speaker like the Sonos One - can be integrated into Google Home Routines.
But not all of these integrations are the same and some devices work with Google much better than others - case in point all the Nest products have the best integrations, naturally.
Here, we deep dive into our favorite compatible Google Assistant devices to help you set up your Google-powered smart home. Spoiler alert, there's a lot of Nest products here.
Of course you need a good smart home speaker and/or display to control all these in your home easily, and you'll also want to pick up one with a Thread radio in for future-proofing for the arrival of CHiP.
For more on this check out our separate roundup of the best Google Assistant speakers.
Get Set for Seamless Setup
But first, as part of its attempts to simplify the smart home Google has introduced Seamless Setup to its Google Home app.
This lets you add connected devices quicker and easier than ever before, all within the Google Home app, without having to download the brand's app or use any third-party hub.
It's a bit like the process Amazon provides for Echo Zigbee speakers and devices like Hue light bulbs. Currently, the list of smart home devices that work with Seamless Setup is small, just smart lights:
- C by GE
- GE Imagine
- LEDVANCE/Sylvania SMART+
- Philips Hue Bluetooth
- Yeelight Smart LED Bulb M2 (Multicolour)
But more will be come so keep an eye out for the 'Seamless setup with Google Home app' badge that will start appearing on boxes of compatible devices.
Read more about Seamless Setup in our explainer. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Buy now: Amazon | From $69
C by GE
C By GE smart bulbs are Made for Google (another one of Google's smart home labels which essentially means it's certified by Google), and have Seamless Setup - so work directly with a Google smart speaker, no hub required.
There's a lot to choose from, too - color changing bulbs, white tunable bulbs, and just white in A19 and BR30 sizes, light strips, switches, plugs and motion sensors.
GE is a huge name in the lighting space, and had some of the original smart light bulbs way back when. Today, the GE Lighting line is owned by smart home aficionados Savant, and there's a whole name change on the horizon (it will be called Cync). But whatever it's called, these bulbs are super responsive when synced with Google Assistant and are an affordable and easy way to kit out your home with smart lights.
Of note, there are two options - C by GE Bluetooth and C By GE Direct Connect, the latter has more functionality than the former, you can use the C By GE app to set schedules, control your bulbs remotely, create scenes and add them to Google Home Routines. The Bluetooth-only bulbs need a bridge, in the form of a Google speaker of C by GE plug or smart switch, for any of this functionality.
Read our full C by GE bulbs review.
Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer
Buy now: Amazon | From $55
Lutron's dimmer switch works with almost every ecosystem out there, and Google's is no exception. Wire this smart switch up and you can use your assistant to switch the lights on and off with your voice, dim them and add connected lighting into Routines.
But you do need the Lutron Caseta Bridge. While this is annoying it does make Lutron one of the most reliable smart lighting systems out there - thanks to its proprietary radio frequency.
Plus, the bridge comes bundled with a dimmer switch, and you also get a super handy Pico remote for voiceless remote control, all for that $90 starter kit price tag.
Adding more switches to your home will cost $55 each, and they will work in three-way switch boxes and don't require a neutral wire, making these some of the most versatile switches out there right now.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch Dimmer (HS220)
Buy now: Amazon | $22.99
If $55 a light switch is a bit above your budget, you're not alone. TP-Link to the rescue. The reliable, budget smart home brand has a range of smart switches to fit every situation and budget (apart from if you don't have a neutral wire).
Our favorite is the Smart Dimmer Switch, which works over Wi-Fi, so doesn't need a hub, and works with Kasa's great app as well as with Google Assistant.
With the voice assistant you can turn the lights on, off, dim them and add to Routines. There's also a non-dimming option for even less cash, handy for rooms like the laundry room, bathroom or pantry when you don't need dimming. Kasa is releasing a motion sensing switch soon, too.
Connecting smart security cameras to your Google Home lets you view footage on a smart display with just a couple words, super handy for seeing what's going on at a glance.
Buy now: store.google.com | From $129
Nest did have four cameras, a Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ indoor and a Nest Cam Outdoor IQ. The main difference being that the IQ cameras were smarter (facial recognition and video-tracking), and more expensive and had higher-quality footage.
As of the beginning of 2021, the IQ line has been discontinued, with Google hinting that there are new cameras on their way.
In the meantime, the still-excellent Nest Cam Indoor ($129) and Nest Cam Outdoor ($199) are great options for surveilling your Google-powered home. And there's also a Nest Cam IQ built right into the Nest Hub Max smart display for a smart home twofer.
The Nest Cam Outdoor is an AC-powered, weatherproof white camera that you can mount to the side of your wall and even plug in outdoors, thanks to a weather proof power plug. It has 1080p video and a 130 degree field of view.
The Nest Cam Indoor has a handy magnetic base, flexible mount and the same video specs. Its 10 foot USB power cable is super handy for getting it where you need it and both cameras offer motion, person and sound alerts.
You can ask to see live footage on both the Google Home app on your phone ‚Äď "OK Google, show me the dining room" ‚Äď or on a smart display or TV with a Chromecast. You can add the cameras to routines. For example, "OK Google, I'm leaving" will turn on all your Nest Cams. Neat.
Arlo Ultra 2
Buy now: Amazon | From $299.99
If you're going for a single-camera setup, we'd sooner recommend the Nest Cams above, but for multi-cam homes Arlo's wire-free range is hard to beat right now. Especially if you crave top quality video from your security cameras.
All Arlo's battery-powered cameras are Works With Hey Google certified, weather-resistant, have two-way audio, motion-activated recording, built-in spotlights and sirens, and super smart video analytics - including person, animal and vehicle detection (for a fee).
They work great with Google, letting you view specific feeds on your smart Google display or Chromecast TV screens and you can view live feeds right in the Google Home app.
For its lofty price tag, the Arlo Ultra 2 adds a 4K sensor, with HDR for better video quality in mixed lighting. You can also stream 4K using the app, and the field of view packs in a massive 180 degrees.
If it's too rich for your blood you can get all the goodies just at a reduced 2k resolution with the Arlo Pro 4, which doesn't need a base station (the Ultra does require an Arlo Base Station).
Check out our full review to see why its our Top Pick.
Wyze Cam v3
Buy Now: Wyze | $19.99
The cheapest camera on the block is and has been for a while - Wyze. For under $20 you get 1080p Full HD video, color night vision, two-way talk, person detection. and a built-in siren - it's impressive.
Plus this cam can go indoors or out, thanks to weatherproofing and you get local storage if you add in a microSD card.
This is a superb camera for an incredible value. It doesn't have the sharpness and clarity of a 4K capable cam, but it also doesn't have the price tag. As an easy, cheap, and smart way to check in on your home or garden, you just can't beat the Wyze Cam v3.
It works with Google for viewing your live feed on a Nest Hub or Chromecast-powered screen (you can't see video in the Google Home app). Package and vehicle detection just arrived and animal spotting has been promised putting this on par with all those pricey Arlo and Nest cams.
Get the full scoop in our Wyze Cam v3 review.
TP-Link Kasa Spot Indoor Camera (KC105)
Buy Now: Amazon | $34.99
The TP-Link Kasa is a budget indoor camera that has the power to show footage on Google smart displays such as the Nest Hub (again, no video in the Google Home app). It records in 1080p quality and boasts a 130-degree viewing angle.
It covers all the basics and covers them well, including activity zones, night vision and two-way audio. Considering the low price, this should absolutely be on the shortlist for your Google-enabled home security camera.
It's not quite in the elite tier in terms of video quality, hardware design or software options and extra features, but it comes close in every category.
Throw in the microSD local storage option and you're easily looking at one of the best smart security cameras on sale now.
Nest Learning Thermostat
The original smart thermostat is still one of the best, especially since the addition of the separate room sensors to help out with those cold spots.
What separates the Nest Thermostat (now in its third generation) from the competition is that it can learn your habits after a week of training it. After that it takes care of your climate control autonomously and intelligently, adapting to the weather, your usage, and your comings and goings to save you money while keeping you comfortable.
New Nest customers set up the device through the Google Home app so your thermostat is automatically connected to Google Assistant, letting you vocalize your temperature demands (and control your hot water in the UK). Of course you can also add changing your climate to your Routines, plus the Nest Thermostat can work as a presence detector for Google Home's presence sensing feature.
If you don't need the temperature sensors or hanker after the super swanky hardware of this pricey thermostat, Nest's newest thermostat, the Nest Thermostat is a more affordable option (replacing the Nest E in the US, although that model is still available in the UK - read our review here).
The Nest Thermostat costs $129.99, doesn't have a sleek spinning dial or tactile touch screen and doesn't learn your habits. Instead, it offers up an energy-saving program you can tweak and then can lower or raise the temperature based on whether you are Home or Away to further save you money.
It doesn't work with Nest's separate temperature sensors, but it is fully compatible with Google Home so can be controlled by voice, routines and the Google Home app.
Ecobee 3 Lite
While we love the Ecobee SmartThermostat as it has an assistant built in, it's Alexa, not Google. So, for the Google Home that $249 thermostat is a bit of a waste.
Unless you need some of the more advance HVAC controls of the higher- end version, we'd recommend the Ecobee 3 Lite for a Google home that, for some reason, doesn't want a Nest thermostat.
The Ecobee Lite has a few things going for it over the similarly priced, lower-end Nest Thermostat; a touchscreen and compatibility with room sensors (although you have to buy them separately).
It also integrates very well with Google Home and can be added to Routines, controlled with your voice and adjusted using the Google Home app.
It can't use its presence sensor for Home and Away routines in Google Home however, as it doesn't have a motion sensor built in the device.
Tado Thermostats and Smart AC Controls
Buy now: Amazon | $149
Tado's range of smart thermostats and Smart AC Controls units can all be controlled by Google Assistant voice commands to set, increase or decrease the temperature or air conditioning.
It also now supports wireless temperature sensors that are equipped with temperature and humidity detectors and are able to control multiple Smart Radiator Thermostats in a room, or group of rooms.
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 "Hey Google, increase bedroom temperature by 3 degrees."
You can also use rooms and routines to automate your heating, creating a group of rooms to make multiple heating changes ‚Äď "Hey Google, turn the upstairs heating off", have the heating come on downstairs when you initiate your "Good morning" routine, or have all the heating off downstairs when you tell Google "Goodnight."
Power up your outlet game with our top Google Assistant smart plugs. Also head to our best smart plugs roundups for a more comprehensive selection.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini (HS105)
Buy now: Amazon | $22.99
The TP-Link's Kasa smart plug does exactly what you'd expect: scheduling, setting scenes, an away mode (which turns off all your devices when you leave), and remote on/off control. There's an energy monitoring option for a few dollars more.
And of course, it works with Google Assistant to turn devices on and off with the power of your voice and add it into routines, all at an affordable price. You can often pick up a 4 pack of these for under $30.
Kasa also offers smart power strips and outdoor plugs if you're looking to expand your smart plug use.
Wyze Smart Home Plug
The rock bottom priced Wyze plug has a lot going for it for a budget price. You get remote control through the Google Home or Wyze app, voice control, scheduling, and the option to have the plug turn on or off after a set period of time - handy for things like fans and electric blankets.
Using the Wyze app you can set up a vacation mode, which will turn the plug on and off at random intervals should you want to give the impression you‚Äôre at home, and stave off any chancing burglars.
There's no energy monitoring, and getting it connected to Google Home can be a bit fiddly (here's a guide on how to do it), but you can buy twice as many for your money, so a little extra work may be worth it if you've got lots of outlets to smarten up.
Read our full Wyze Smart Home Plug review.
Nest x Yale Lock
Buy now: store.google.com | $249 ($279 with Nest Connect)
Nest partnered up with lock specialists Yale for this smart lock with a lot of smart baked in. This is a solid, dependable smart lock, that can be locked and unlocked with a keypad, and an app or voice commands.
It's a tad long-in-the tooth and is quite large and bulky (on the inside) compared to a lot of modern smart locks, but its integration with Nest is unparalleled. Including integration with your Nest Secure security system to arm / disarm it, plus the use of locking or unlocking as a trigger for Google Home and Away routines.
Really niftily, it will automatically lock itself when everyone is away from home. You can use Google Assistant to check whether the doors are locked and then also lock your door with a quick "Hey Google."
Buy now: august.com | From $249
The August Wifi Smart Lock is one of the smallest, slimes, quietest retrofit smart locks you can buy. It's almost half the size and 20% slimmer than the original August Lock, now resembling a regular thumb turn on your door rather than a giant smart device.
Despite its smaller size, the lock packs an extra feature - integrated WiFi, so there's no need for a bridge to control it when you're away from home.
The best thing about August is the signature auto-unlock feature, where your door will automatically unlock itself as you approach. We also like the auto-lock settings and DoorSense that tells you if your door is open or closed before you lock it remotely.
With Google Assistant you can add locking the lock to your routines, you can lock and unlock with voice (unlocking requires a pin code), as well as use the Google Home app to control things.
We've got the lowdown in our August Wifi Smart Lock review.
Yale Linus Smart Door Lock
Buy now: Amazon | $219.99
If you are in the UK you can get the best of both worlds with a Yale lock powered by August.
The Yale Linus is a retrofit lock, like the August, and like the August it has an auto-unlock feature. (Yale and August are both owned by the same company, Assa Abbloy, so August's smarts are built into the Yale Linus).
The lock is controlled over Bluetooth to lock and unlock with the Yale app and activate auto-unlock as you approach your door and auto-lock as you leave.
But you can also add the Linus Connect Bridge to get you out of home control plus add Google Assistant support, which lets you lock and unlock your door with your voice (again with a PIN), and add the lock to routines.
For more, check out our Yale Linus Lock review.
If you want to keep an eye on what's going on on your front porch and screen any visitors without getting off the couch, you'll want a smart doorbell. There are plenty that play nicely with Google Assistant, but again, the Nest option is the best option.
Buy now: store.google.com | $199
Nest's smart video doorbell is an oldie but a goodie, complete with 1600 x 1200 HD video at 30fps that's nice and clear. A 4:3 aspect ratio lets you see people head to toe and facial recognition paired with Google Home integration can be set up to announce your visitors on your Google speakers - even by their own names (with a Nest Aware subscription).
If you don't opt for the subscription, it'll simply announce that someone is at the door. Still cool, but nothing is as fun as having Google Assistant announce that your UPS delivery person is here.
This is a wired-video doorbell, and it's packed with smarts such as quick replies, motion, sound, person and package alerts and the option of 24/7 video streaming.
Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell
Buy now: Amazon | $199
If you don't have doorbell wires, Arlo's wireless option is an excellent alternative - remember Arlo's cameras also show up their live feeds in Google's Home app - which very few other camera do.
It looks JUST LIKE the Nest (I mean really, how did they get away with that?!), costs a little less and also has smart features like package, animal, people and vehicle detection, with a subscription.
But unlike with Nest Hello, there's no option for 24/7 recording and no facial recognition.
Video quality is 1080p, with a super-wide 180-degree viewing angle and a 1:1 aspect ratio so you can see top to bottom. There's also a built-in siren, which the Nest doesn't have , plus pre-recorded quick reply messages.
Check out more details in our comprehensive Arlo Essential Video Doorbell review.
Best Google Assistant smart streamer
Chromecast with Google TV
Buy now: store.google.com | $49.99
Google's Chromecast streaming dongle is an excellent piece of kit for your Google Home, turning any TV into a smart home screen. But with the Chromecast with Google TV you also get a Google Assistant smart remote, so you can call on your assistant from the palm of your hand while chilling on the couch. It's a no-brainer as they say.
With 4K HDR streaming (Dolby Vision, HDR10+) and Dolby Atmos compatibility, it's got all the features you need. Plus, if you subscribe to YouTube TV you'll love the integration of live TV into the interface, something none of the other streaming devices offer.
You can also pull up live feeds from your compatible connected cameras - such as a Nest Cam and an Arlo - and use Google Assistant to do other common smart home tasks too, such as adjust the thermostat, turn on the lights and lock the door.
See our deep dive review of the Chromecast with Google TV here.
Best Google Assistant smart smoke alarm
Buy Now: Amazon | $119
The Nest Protect is set to detect both fast and slow fires, plus carbon monoxide. There are both wired and battery versions available, and the latter will last a couple of years between battery replacements, which is highly impressive.
The alarm on the Protect is a human voice. At first signs of something awry, she‚Äôll say: "Heads up! There's smoke in the [room]". If it‚Äôs major it‚Äôll be: "Emergency! There's smoke in the [room]."
You'll also get a notification to your smartphone if smoke is detected, and another if the alarm sounds ‚Äď which is useful if you're in a different room, and a bit of peace of mind if you're away as well.
The Protect has a motion sensors built-in that you can use to activate your presence sensing-based Google Home Home and Away routines, and it can also be set to turn on your lights and turn off your Nest Thermostat when smoke is detected.
Best Google Assistant smart security system
With the demise of Nest Secure, the simple but spendy security system from Google, you'll need to search elsewhere for your Google-Assistant powered smart security. Here are our two top picks.
Abode Smart Security System
Abode is an all-in-one smart home hub and smart security system, with professional monitoring on tap should you want it.
There are two versions: the Essentials Gateway (2nd gen), which costs $249 but can be found for as little as $199; and the Iota, which is an all-in-one system that includes a camera for $269 - and that camera shows up with a live feed in the Google Home app.
Abode integrates excellently with Google Assistant, letting you arm and disarm with voice and stream video from security cameras on your smart displays and in the app.
Plus, because Abode is smart home hub, any Zigbee and Z-Wave devices you connect to it ‚Äď including locks, lights and sensors - will show up in your Google Home app, too.
Some, like locks and lights you'll be able to control with voice and add to routines. others, such as sensors, won't do much.
Read our full Abode system review.
Blue by ADT Security System
Buy Now: Amazon | From $179
A DIY solution from America's best-known professional security system, Blue is a cheap way to get ADT professional monitoring with no long-term contracts. It's also owned by a company that Google just bought a 6.6% ownership share in. Which means we can assume Google integration will only get better.
As of now you can do things like arm and disarm your system with voice and get voice alerts on your Google speaker if a door opens or a flood sensor detects a leak. You can also call up video from the Blue cameras on a Google smart display.
Like Abode, this a true DIY smart security system. You can install, monitor, and use this system without having to pay any fees and without losing any functionality. If you want pro monitoring or more than 24 hours recorded footage from any connected cameras then you pay, but otherwise it's all free.
The devices aren't cheap, but they're not the most expensive out there either. And there's three decent cameras on offer, plus basic security hardware, and you can expand your smart home using Z-wave devices.
Read our review of the Blue by ADT security alarm system for more details.
Best Google Assistant Smart Home Router
Buy now: store.google.com | $149
A mesh WiFi system with Google Assistant smart speakers built in, this is an excellent way to extend Wi-Fi coverage around your home to make sure all your smart home devices can talk to the internet. Plus, you can always talk to Google.
Nest Wifi is made up of two different devices: the Router and the Point. The Router has a 4x4 Wi-Fi antenna, so on its own should cover 2,200 square feet. Add in a Point (or two or three), and you can add another 1,600 square feet of Wi-Fi (the Point only has a 2x2 antenna).
Software features including voice control, device priority and parental controls, and everything is accessed through the Google Home app.
There‚Äôs no WiFi 6, but there is support for WPA3 security, and each device also has Bluetooth Low Energy for Seamless Setup and a Thread radio for CHiP support ‚Äď the same smarts as Google‚Äôs newest Nest Hub.
Get all the details in our full review of the Nest Wifi mesh system.