The idea of an AI-powered, voice-controlled smart home has quickly gone from novel curiosity to a way of life. Devices such as Google Nest Mini, which come integrated with Google Assistant, are both cheap and effective, allowing anyone who is curious about this next wave of technology to dip their toes in the water.
But with the speaker alone, there are only so many alarms you can check, so many Spotify playlists you can load up and so many times you can check the weather before the excitement wears off.
Once you’ve become familiar in the ways of interacting with a smartphone app and a piece of plastic, the next logical step is to surround it with other smart devices that can take advantage of the voice controls and Google Home app.
Once you have that, you can turn your lights on and off, control your TV, play music throughout your house, activate your home security system, check on any security cameras, or lock a door, all with a tap of a smartphone screen or your voice.
Problem is, we’re still in the relatively early days of all this and there are many, many competing platforms. Not every smart home device you pick up is guaranteed to be compatible with Google Assistant out of the box. Some might only work with Amazon’s Alexa platform, while others may require pricey additional hardware, such as a Zigbee bridge, in order to interact with Google Assistant.
Thankfully that’s a minor hurdle to overcome, and with a little research, you will find a whole host of devices that can take advantage of Google’s game-changing tech.
Here are all the best accessories that will work with your Google Assistant-powered home, out of the box, without any additional hardware.
1. Google Nest Mini Speaker
BEST GOOGLE ASSISTANT HUB
If you haven’t already, you’re going to need some sort of a voice-controlled hub powered by Google Assistant to function as a point of interaction in your home. Luckily you have three solid options made by Google.
The quickest, cheapest and easiest way to do that is with a Google Nest Mini. This little puck-shaped speaker can orchestrate your symphony of smart home devices from whichever room it’s placed in. But they’re most effective when you have more than one. Set one next to the TV in the living room, hang one on the wall in the kitchen and place one on the nightstand of your bedroom, and you’re plugged into your smart home no matter what room you’re in. (Bonus: you’ll also have a de facto intercom system throughout your home.) The relatively low price of the Nest Mini was deliberately set with the idea that you’ll want more than one of these. And for those concerned with privacy, the Nest Mini has a physical switch that can cut the mic, so you don’t have to worry about your speaker listening in when you don’t want it to.
2. Google Nest WiFi Mesh Router
BEST GOOGLE ASSISTANT ROUTER
You absolutely don’t need a new router if you have a strong WiFi signal throughout your home. But if you’re already looking to upgrade in that area, the Nest WiFi mesh router is also a great way to build out your Google Assistant smart home at the same time. Each satellite node of the router system has a built-in Google Assistant speaker that delivers all of the functionality of a Nest Mini and even has better sound quality to boot. It won’t improve your home network experience in any meaningful way, but if you were already in the market for a new router, this does kill two birds with one stone.
3. Google Nest Hub
BEST SMART DISPLAY
Another option is the Google Nest Hub. This one comes with a 7-inch screen that can display the weather or news, play YouTube or Netflix vids, browse the web or give you touch controls for all your smart devices. But like the other options on this list, it also comes with a voice-enabled speaker that offers a hands-free experience. This is a great fit for the kitchen, entryway or your bedroom.
4. Google+C by GE Bluetooth Tunable LED Bulbs
BEST WHITE LED BULBS
While there is no shortage of connected LED bulbs that are compatible with the Google Assistant ecosystem, the “C by GE” line of bulbs are the only ones that were specifically designed in partnership with Google. These bulbs don’t require a special hub or bridge, instead connecting directly to the Google Home app on your phone and your Google speaker via Bluetooth.
From there you can not only power your lights on and off, but set schedules for them to turn on, set up profiles with specific lighting scenes or settings that you prefer, or even control your lights when you’re away from home. If you spring for the tunable white bulbs, you can even tell your Google speaker to adjust the color temperature for day or night, so that you have the perfect amount of yellow light or blue light to help you fall asleep easier or start the day full of energy.
5. Philips Wiz Wi-Fi LED Bulbs
BEST COLOR LED BULBS
If you want to add a little bit of fun to your living space, or want to use a Google Assistant-powered hub that isn’t made by Google, this is the way to go. Unlike the C by GE bulbs, the Philips Wiz bulbs connect to the rest of your smart home via WiFi, which means there are no limitations on what Google Assistant hubs or speakers you can use. Running these through Google Assistant will allow you to set up routines so that at a certain time of day, or with a certain command, you can activate a specific lighting scene that fits your current mood.
6. Google Nest Thermostat E
BEST SMART THERMOSTAT
The original Nest Thermostat was one of the first devices that sparked this generation of smart home products, which is why Google opted to just buy the company in whole. While there are plenty of Google Assistant-compatible thermostats out there that do the job, the Nest Theromstat E’s ability to learn your preferences and habits, and then automatically adjust the temperature of your home accordingly, is still a killer feature.
Aside from being able to manage the Nest from within the Google Home app, the benefits of Google Assistant come into play when you pair the Nest with another voice-enabled device. For example, if you’re watching TV with the Sony Bravia X900h, you can use the microphone in the remote to ask Nest for the current temperature in the house and then follow up with approximate or specific adjustments as needed. Google Assistant will then give you visual confirmation on your TV screen.
7. Sony Bravia XBR-X900H 4K LED TV
BEST SMART TV
If you want a TV that slots in perfectly with the the rest of the Google Assistant-powered devices in your home, the Sony Bravia X900h is not only a great 4K TV in general but one that comes with Google Assistant baked into its software. With the push of a button on your remote, you can use your voice to launch streaming apps, movies and TV shows, control playback, and even view photos from your Google Photos account.
But it can also do the same things that Google Assistant can do on your phone or hub. You can check the weather, run a search query or control the other connected devices in your home, all through the microphone on your TV remote. But for added convenience, place a Google hub, such as a Nest Mini or Nest Audio, in the same room and you’ll have a totally hands-free experience as you binge your way through your favorite TV shows.
8. Chromecast with Google TV
BEST TV STREAMER
If you like the TV you have, but it doesn’t play nice with Google Assistant, the Chromecast with Google TV is an effortless way to add that functionality. As long as your TV is HDMI-CEC compliant, adding the Chromecast with Google TV will allow you to launch a movie or TV show, play music, turn your TV on or off and adjust the volume level of the content that is currently playing, all with your voice.
But the Chromecast with Google TV is also an excellent streaming choice, even without voice commands. In addition to offering support for 4K content in Dolby Vision/HDR, the streamer works with virtually any streaming service you’d ever want to use. It also now works with a remote and comes with the new Google TV interface, which adds a more traditional way of controlling playback.
9. Sonos Arc Dolby Atmos Soundbar
BEST SMART SOUNDBAR
Placing an additional Nest Mini or Nest Audio in your living room can seem redundant if you already have a full array of home theater equipment in there. However, the Sonos Arc soundbar comes with Google Assistant baked in, so you can not only control the volume of your soundbar but also have all the same benefits of a hub without the extra device. The addition of Dolby Atmos audio to your movie-watching experience won’t hurt either.
10. Wemo Mini WiFi Smart Plug
BEST SMART PLUG
Smart plugs are great because they can serve multiple functions around the home. They can be used as a defacto light switch for lamps that don’t have connected LED bulbs. They can cut power entirely to a microwave or television if you think they’re sucking power when not in use (this can save you money in the long run). And they can also guard against something like a toaster malfunctioning and starting a fire. Belkin’s WeMo line of smart plugs are Google Assistant-friendly devices that can turn off and on with a simple voice command, allowing you to manage the power outlets around your house.
11. Google Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm
BEST SMART DETECTOR
Smoke alarms easily emit one of the top three most unpleasant noises in the world, which can be downright miserable if you have a kitchen lacking great ventilation. Nest has changed that with a smart smoke/carbon monoxide alarm that adjusts the intensity of its alerts based on the severity of the smoke in the room. If you simply made your kitchen smoky from cooking, the alarm will simply speak to you and send an alert to your phone, which you can then silence with the tap of a button, or a simple voice command if there’s a hub nearby.
12. August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
BEST SMART LOCK
The August Door Lock is great for being able to automatically unlock the door when you arrive, keep tabs on who comes and goes, or remotely control the points of entry into your home when you’re not there. But you can also use it to your advantage when you’re at home. Opening up the Google Home app on your phone or yelling at your Nest Mini to unlock the door for a guest might be approaching peak laziness, but it also feels like something straight out of the future. It’s also nice for those moments when you’ve already climbed into bed and can’t remember if you’ve locked everything up.
13. Google Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack
BEST SMART HOME SECURITY
Google’s Nest Secure system is pretty straightforward as far as connected alarm systems go, delivering notifications to your phone anytime something trips one of its sensors. A standard bundle comes with a few entry/motion sensors, and the home base, which not only functions as the alarm and keypad but also has an NFC sensor built-in so that you can arm and disarm the alarm with the tap of a keychain tag. While Google Assistant can currently only arm your alarm or check on the status of your home, it seems feasible that in the future, Nest Security will be more tightly integrated with the Cam and Protect products.
14. Google Nest Cam IQ
BEST SMART CAMERA
The Nest line of cameras, which include indoor, outdoor and doorbell cams, give you 24/7 monitoring around your home with video recording at 1080p resolutions. The IQ in particular is able to use Google’s image AI to provide package, people and vehicle recognition, and it is able to field all your Google Assistant requests thanks to an integrated mic and speaker. Along with the ability to set active zones, you can receive notifications anytime something or someone arrives outside, or when there’s unexpected motion inside. The cherry on top is that you can tell a voice hub in your living room to show you a specific camera, and it will display a live feed through your Chromecast or Google Cast-enabled TV.
15. Tailwind iQ3 Smart Automatic Garage Door Opener
BEST SMART GARAGE DOOR OPENER
The reasons for buying a Google Assistant-compatible garage door opener are virtually identical to buying a smart lock: peace of mind that you didn’t leave the biggest door in your home open after you left, and the ability to close it from anywhere in the house when you are home. The Tailwind iQ3 lets you do all this, plus it can automatically open or close when you arrive home or leave the house. This may be more of a luxury than some of the other picks on this list, but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less useful in your life.