So, you’ve just purchased a new Google Home or Amazon Echo and you are probably thinking how things are set to get lit in your home. Well, sorry, buddy! This is just the beginning.
As you are about to find out, getting the best from either of the two connected speakers needs more than just having the smart speaker itself. There’s a huge ecosystem of accessories you need in order to take full advantage of the potential of the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the two digital assistants on show in this article.
To make it even better, some of these Home and Echo accessories won’t break the bank, especially if you consider the convenience they bring to your life. In fact, you might be surprised that you’ve been living all this time without some of these gadgets.
Without further ado, let’s look at some of the best accessories compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo. Note that there are accessories that only work with one or the other, but this article’s focus is on accessories that are compatible with both connected speakers.
Best smart bulb
Imagine coming home at night with your arms full of groceries. To turn on lights, including smart lights, you’ll need to put down whatever is occupying your hands, take out your phone, launch the app in question and finally turn on the lights.
No matter how short this process might be, it’s quite a huge inconvenience, especially when there’s the Google Home or Amazon Echo to turn to. Both smart speakers have digital assistants that can take commands and execute them as you wish.
For instance, you can simply say “Hey Google, turn on the kitchen lights” and the Google Home and Assistant will take over. The story is the same when it comes to Amazon Echo and Alexa, but the question is which is the best smart bulb for use with either smart speaker?
The Philips Hue A19 white starter kit is definitely one of the best accessories compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo. If this is the first time into the smart home life, you’ll love this one. The starter kit features a hub and two bulbs all for just $69.99. Considering that buying the bulbs separately will cost you $50 each, this is a great deal you are getting with the Philips Hue A19 starter kit.
As you would expect, you can use the smart bulbs in conjunction with Google Assistant or Alexa to turn lights on and off or manage the settings by assigning the bulbs specific names or changing the brightness or colors of individual bulbs. Note that for this to work, the Hue A19 bulbs need a hub, but not necessarily the included unit.
While the Philips Hue A19 starter kit comes with a hub, you might also be interested in smart bulbs that have no need for a hub. Well, you can’t do better than the LIFX A19 Wi-Fi Smart LED Light bulbs, but be ready to shell out $59.99 for each bulb.
Best smart plug
One of the best ways to control your home is using a smart plug like the Conico Smart Power Strip. Unlike your typical smart plug that ships with only one AC plug, this Smart Power Strip has four. In addition, it also gets another four USB charging ports.
Using the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for voice control, you can take charge of the four AC plugs individually using the Jinvoo Smart app. Each of the four smart outlets is protected against any power surge and is also equipped with intelligent auto timing that can be used to automatically control your lights.
At just $30.99, this is one of the best deals you’ll be getting, but you can also get the white color variant that costs just $27.99 if the black variant doesn’t interest you. Alternatively, there’s also the $31.99-rated Pinlo Smart Power Strip, which has just about the same capabilities as the Conico Power Strip, but you only get three smart plugs instead of four.
If you are looking for something to work with outdoors, there’s no better than the Koolertron Outdoor Smart Plug. It has three plugs that can be controlled individually using a remote, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It also comes with an individual app for the same purposes of control and thus needs no hub, but it costs a little more at $40.99.
Best smart hub
Not all Google Home and Amazon Echo accessories need a hub in order to connect to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, respectively. However, there are those that must have one. In essence, this is a tool that connects all the compatible electronic devices in your home and gives you full control over them. Think of it as the brain in your connected home operations.
The best of the best is Samsung SmartThings Hub, which can be yours for $89.99 and works with a myriad of brands, among them Philips, Bose, Halo, First Alert, Honeywell, and NETGEAR. Like many other Google Home and Amazon Echo accessories, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub also comes with a standalone app, but you can still use the respective digital assistants to control lights and temperature.
Using the Samsung SmartThings Hub, you can bring together smart bulbs, sensors, cameras, locks, plugs and so on, making it easy to automate and monitor your home from wherever you are. However, if this sounds too costly, you can still check out the Philips Hue Smart Bridge that is currently available for $52.45, but this one will limit you to using Philips products.
Best smart thermostat
Due to its close ties with Google, it’s natural that Nest is appearing on our list of the best smart home thermostats with respect to the Google Home. However, a couple of weeks or so with the Nest 3rd-generation learning thermostat and you’ll agree that this is, in fact, the best smart home thermostat not only for the Google Home but also for Amazon’s Echo.
It comes with a great pedigree and from well-reputable individuals, but it’s the thermostat’s ability to learn from your traits. Rather than manually adjust the settings, Nest is intelligent enough to do it after observing how you want things done. Of course, this should take a couple or so weeks.
If you need to adjust the Nest manually, the Google Assistant or Alexa is a command away. Both assistants can be paired with Nest and ask either to play around with the settings, be it raising or lowering the temperature or even ask for the current temperature in a given room in your house, say, the kitchen.
Right now, you can grab the 3rd-generation Nest Learning Thermostat at $234.85 on Amazon, a small discount of 6% from the usual $259.99. Alternatively, if for some reason you don’t like the Nest, you can also grab the Ecobee4 Thermostat, which costs $238.94 on Amazon and is also compatible with both Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The Ecobee4 Thermostat also comes with room sensors that help manage cold and hot spots in the house as well as Far-field voice technology that ensures the device can hear your voice from across the room. As you would expect, you can use your Android phone and an app to adjust the temperature and general settings or simply use voice controls via the Home or Echo.
If you are looking for something more affordable but it’ll still get the job done, try Honeywell’s Lyric T5 Thermostat. It comes with a touchscreen, a 7-day flexible scheduling or location-based temperature control feature dubbed Geo-Fencing, smart alerts to warn you of extreme temperature and filter changes, but you need C-wire to work.
As noted, the Honeywell Lyric T5 Thermostat is slightly affordable, coming in at $102.80, down from the usual price of $149.99.
Best smart light switch and dimmer
If you are looking for the best smart wireless in-wall dimmer, you can’t do better than the Lutron Caseta Wireless In-Wall Dimmer Starter Kit. Available at $99.95, the Caseta Wireless In-Wall Dimmer is compatible with both the Google Home and Amazon Echo; it’s easy to set up and comes with features like the multi-button keypad and home scheduling.
With this gadget, you can group lights by room, a section of the house, or even the tone of the house and manage them using your voice. For instance, you can say something like “OK Google, turn on theater lights” and Google Home will work its magic. The same applies to the Amazon Echo and Alexa.
Alternatively, you can also go for the slightly cheaper WeMo Dimmer that offers dimming at the switch for $64.99 or simply get the WeMo Light Switch, which goes for $39.99. In addition to coming with support for Google Assistant and Alexa, both the WeMo Dimmer and Light Switch can also be controlled using the Wemo app.
Best smart door lock
Besides smart bulbs, you can also make your doors smart by installing smart locks. One caveat that still exists here, though, is that no door lock can be locked or unlocked using the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, at least for now.
The only basic things any smart door lock can do are to check if the door is locked or unlocked. Although not as helpful, it’s better than having to leave your seat just to check if the door is unlocked. In this category, the best you can get is the 2nd-generation August Smart Lock, which currently goes for $116.99 on Amazon instead of the usual $229.99, but you’ll need a separate hub for this to work.
The August Smart Lock lets you create virtual keys for guests as well as monitor who comes and goes, 24/7. Since each user has a unique key, you’ll be able to tell who opened the door and when it happened right from your smartphone. To work with your connected speaker, you still need to pair it with the August Connect gateway so that the lock connects to the internet.
At $180.78, the 2nd-generation Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock is also a great alternative. Unfortunately, it only works with Amazon Alexa, but you’ll have to purchase a separate hub worth $99 via the Kevo app. Even though you can remotely lock access and monitor the activity in and out of the house, you’ll further need another Kevo Plus hub that costs $99 via the Kevo app.
Best smart garage door controller
At the moment, there’s no perfect solution you could turn to for the perfect voice-controlled smart garage door, be it on Google Home or Amazon Echo. Still, the Gogogate 2 is an option you could try out.
At $139, the Gogogate 2 can open, close and even check if the door is locked or unlocked regardless of where you are. This means you can let people into your home even when not physically around. It gets even better as Gogogate 2 can also integrate cameras to give you a view of the door and current status right from the app.
When you come home carrying luggage, groceries or with children, you can ask Alexa or Assistant to open and close the door, which makes Gogogate 2 one of the best garage-door controllers with both Alexa and Assistant support. If you want something that is specific to the Google Assistant, however, there’s no going past the Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub MYQ-G0301, which is currently available for $99.99 on Amazon. The company has also promised to add Alexa support in the near future.
Best home security cameras
When you add Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa control to home security cameras, you’ll be able to arm and disarm them whenever you enter or leave the house. It’s also possible to call certain cameras to action so that they give you live feeds of what’s happening.
In this line of argument, you can grab the Nest Security Camera that goes for $168.45 on Amazon, down from the usual $199. Being an outdoor camera, the Nest Security Camera is weatherproof and it plugs directly into power, thus eliminating the need to worry about batteries.
The camera also supports alerts. It looks and detects motion and sound and sends alerts with a photo of what’s happening. It can also save photos from the scene in the Nest app for up a period of up to 3 hours. You can also scare off suspicious visitors or burglars using the camera’s built-in speaker and microphone or simply alert the delivery guy to drop off the package at your doorstep.
If you don’t want too much Google around you, the NETGEAR Arlo Q is also another great piece of hardware. At $164.07, down from the usual $219.99, the Arlo Q will provide you with clear images of your home as well as customized alerts and seven days’ worth of free storage for video footage. You can also monitor specific areas of your home, however, this is only good for indoor use. On the other hand, the NETGEAR Arlo Pro 2 does a great job for outdoor monitoring, but it costs a $439.99.
Another great smart home security camera is the Logitech Circle 2, which goes for $179.99 on Amazon. Like the rest, this one is also compatible with Alexa and Assistant, but it’s much better thanks to the fact that it can act as both indoor and outdoor security camera. The Logitech Circle 2 also supports continuous recording alongside 24-hour cloud video storage. You also get a bunch of enhanced features via the Circle Safe.
Best smart sprinkler controllers
Maintaining your lawn is no joke. It requires a lot of time and effort to keep it to the best standards, but with a smart sprinkler controller, you can take away any hassles involved and enjoy a much easier way of proper lawn care.
Using Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller, which goes for $199 on Amazon, you can request the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to start watering a given section of the lawn or even delay watering a certain section for whatever reasons. Alternatively, you can go the easy way and ask either digital assistant to simply turn on/off the system.
One little problem with Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller is that it relies solely on the internet. This means that if there’s no connection, there’s nothing really much you can do with the controller due to the lack of local controls.