Google Home is a leader in the smart home market. It still trails Amazon's Echo but is far ahead of Apple's HomePod and has gained a lot of capabilities since its launch, thanks to the constant improvements to Google Assistant and a growing number of the best Google Home compatible devices.
But if you're new to the smart-home space and don't know which products to buy, we have you covered. Here are the top Google Home-compatible gadgets that will give you a head start on building a truly smart home.
Google Home Mini ($49)
Google Home Mini is the cheapest way to get Google Assistant in your abode. The device doubles as a speaker that can play music throughout the home, and you can issue voice commands to control your smart home appliances, set reminders, answer questions and more. The Home Mini is smart enough to know your voice, so you can ask about your day's schedule, and it will know that it's you.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Bulb ($20)
When you're planning out your smart home and want to find an easy (and cheap) place to start, light bulbs are your best option. The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Bulb will set you back $35, and you can plug it into just about any lamp around the house. Once the smart bulb is ready to go and it's connected to your Wi-Fi network, you can use your Google Home to turn the bulb on and off and set it to a desired color and intensity. The light bulb also comes with scenes and scheduling support, so you can decide when the lights should turn on and at what intensity they should be to set the mood. With Google Home's help, you can choose those scenes with a simple voice command.
Netgear Arlo Q ($150)
Netgear's Arlo Q is an indoor security camera that delivers 1080p HD livestreams that let you see what's happening in the house no matter where you are. The camera, which costs just $150, offers night vision and a two-way audio feature that lets you talk and listen to whomever is in the room. Better yet, Netgear's camera lets you store content for up to seven days for free and download that content to your computer. With Google Home support, you can use your voice to play a live video feed from the camera to a Chromecast connected to your TV.
TP Link Smart Plug ($40)
Smart plugs are an ideal option if you have "dumb" products in your smart home that you'd love to control with your smartphone or voice. And TP-Link's Kasa Smart Plug is one of the best options. The plug, which comes in a pack of two for $40, gets inserted into your power outlet and connects to your home network over Wi-Fi. You can then plug in anything you want, including a lamp, television or any other home appliance, and control it from your Google Home. Better yet, you can set scenes and schedules that will turn on the connected devices at the time of your choosing.
iHome Wi-Fi Outdoor Smart Plug ($37)
When you build a smart home, you also need to ensure that you can control devices inside and out. The iHome Wi-Fi Outdoor Smart Plug allows you to connect any device to it and control that product with your voice. The iHome plugs into an outdoor outlet and has outlets on it. Once it's wirelessly connected to your network and your Google Home, you can give voice commands to turn devices on and off, control lights, and more. Be aware, however, that the plug, which has been ruggedized for outdoor use, must be plugged into a GFCI outlet (i.e., one with a Reset switch) for it to work.
Google Chromecast ($35)
Google offers a compelling option for turning your dumb TV into a smart one quickly and cheaply. Better yet, you can control it with your voice via Google Home. To do that, you need the Google Chromecast, a $35 dongle that plugs into your television and gives you access to a variety of streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and Google Play. With help from Google Home, your voice is your remote, allowing you to find content to start watching, pause programming, skip to something else and much more.
Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener ($80)
The Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener does pretty much what you'd expect: It connects to your existing garage-door opener and gives you full remote control over it. Using the app, you can open or close your garage door from anywhere. You can also find out whether it's open or not. From Google Home, you can ask the system the status of your door and open or close it with only a command. Note, however, that Chamberlain will charge you $1 per month or $10 per year to use Google Home with the garage-door opener hub.
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect ($250)
The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect is a door sensor that allows you to control and monitor your door from afar. The device lets you lock and unlock your door and control who's allowed to come in. A bundled hub lets you connect to your Google Home and issue voice commands to open or lock your door. Some assembly is required with August's Smart Lock Pro, and you need to install it on a deadbolt. That said, you won't need to replace your existing hardware.
Nest Learning Thermostat ($222)
Want to reduce your energy costs and be comfier at home? The Nest Learning Thermostat is a connected thermostat that automatically adjusts temperatures in your home based on your preferences for heat and air conditioning. With Google Home, you can ask Google Assistant to adjust the temperature to a desired level. You can either specify a temperature or tell it to make it warmer or cooler. You can also tell the Nest to turn off or switch from heating to cooling and vice versa, as well as ask the temperature.