Not Again: Google Home Max Can Also Damage Wood Furniture

After discovering — to my furniture’s detriment — that the Apple HomePod and the Sonos One speakers can potentially leave white marks on certain wood surfaces, I decided to see what other smart speakers are capable of causing similar damage.

Not wanting to subject my mahogany cabinet to any more abuse, I bought a pine board from Home Depot, along with some mahogany stain and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax — an oil-based finish that was also used on my furniture.

As it turns out, the Google Home Max can damage wood just like the Apple HomePod and Sonos One, but there is some good news.

After letting the board dry, I placed the following nine smart speakers on it:

Amazon Echo (2nd gen)

Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Spot

Apple HomePod

Sonos One

Google Home Max

Google Home Mini

Then, I left them on the board, turned off, for a little more than 27 hours. Here’s what happened.

Amazon Echo: No marks

Amazon Echo Plus: No marks

Amazon Echo Dot: No marks

Amazon Echo Show: No marks

Amazon Echo Spot: No marks

Apple HomePod: The HomePod left a telltale ring on the pine board, although it wasn't as prominent as the one on my cabinet.

Google Home Max: Large white mark, caused by the silicone pad that Google ships with the speaker.

Google Home Mini: No marks

Sonos One: Also left four small, white marks that were not as pronounced as the ones left by the others tested (nor as prominent as the one on my cabinet), but they were still visible.

Why hadn’t I noticed the Home Max’s white mark before, when Google’s speaker was sitting on my cabinet? Simple: I wasn’t using it with the silicone pad at the time.

Google ships the pad with the Max, but I had left the pad in the box, figuring it wasn’t that necessary. However, when devising this test, I decided to use the pad to see its effect. So, if you have or plan to purchase the Google Home Max, and want to place it on wood furniture, I would advise against using the silicone pad.

Update (2/21): A Google spokesperson thanked us for bringing this to their attention, and added "To date, we've not received any reports about this issue in regards to Max."

I still think the Sonos One, HomePod and Google Home Max (to a slightly lesser extent) deliver the best sound of all the smart speakers. When we put all three to the test, the Sonos One came out on top, but the Google Home Max was competitive, not only for its sound, but also for what you can do with Google Assistant. But if you purchase or own any of the speakers that can damage furniture, I advise placing it on a non-silicone pad or coaster.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.