Should I buy a Google Home or an Amazon Echo?

5 minute read

Google Home vs Amazon Echo. Which is the correct choice for your Smart Home? I think the answer really depends on the rest of your current setup, or which other peices you are planning to buy. Each of these devices are starting to form ecosystems that could limit which path you go down.

Do you already have Smart Home products?

Do you have a Smart Home hub, such as Vera, Wink or TP Link? Do you have smart switches in your home that you are wishing to set up? Do you have a Ring Doorbell or a Nest Camera that you would like to get deeper connectivity to? If you already have a few peices of a Smart Home, you might already be locked in to the Echo or the Google Home.

Examples

If you have a Nest Hello doorbell or Nest security cameras, you might want to pick Google Home. These products will stream to chromecast and allow Google Assistant to coordinate these integrations.

If you have a Ring doorbell, Echo might be the right choice, as future versions of the Echo Show will allow you to interact directly with your video doorbell.

The new Echo Plus will have ZigBee connectivity built right in. This has the ability to reduce complexity from a Smart Home setup, by allowing you to skip the step of having to buy a Smart Hub.

Do you listen to Amazon Music or Google Play… Each of the respective devices neglect their competitors service. Pandora, Spotify, IheartRadio are supported on both platforms.

The Vera hub integrates directly with Echo, but not with Google Home, while Wink and TP Link integrate with both.

Smart Home with Google Home

What would an ideal setup look like with Google Home? Let’s try to put together a system that takes advantage of the strengths of Google Home, which means leveraging other Google products, and falling back on tight integrations.

Smart Hub

Obviously you will want to pick up a Google Home, but you will also need a smart hub to control your lights and door locks. The Z-Wave/Zigbee hub that integrates directly in to Google Home is the Wink Hub

Lighting

I think the Leviton Z-Wave devices are the best smart home swtiches available on the market. You could integrate Wi-Fi lights directly to the Google Home, but you will want the mesh networking capabilites of these Z-Wave dimmers and switches to extend functionality to the hardest to reach parts of your home.

Door Locks

Security Cameras and Doorbell

Stay in the Google ecosystem with the Nest Outdoor Cam and Nest Hello. It integrates with Chromecast and will give the best experience with Google Home.

Sound

Google Home finally came out with an integration with Sonos, and we couldn’t be happier. Sonos is the name of the game in Smart whole home sound.

Smart Viewing

The Sonos Beam has Google Assistant built right in, and integrates with the rest of your Sonos system for a true whole home sound solution. The chromecast blends in with the rest of the Google Products on this list.

Smart Home with Amazon Alexa

How about Alexa? What products should we leverage to take advantage of the Amazon ecosystem and the new Echo Plus? We will focus on ZigBee integrations and products that are known to be rock solid with the Echo.

Smart Hub

The Echo Plus is all you need here. No need for an additional Smart Hub, as long as you stick with ZigBee for your light switches.

Lighting

Leviton does not have a ZigBee line of Smart Switches yet, so my 2nd favorite switch is GE. GE has a full suite of wall dimmers, switches and lamp dimmers.

Door Locks

Security Cameras and Doorbell

With deeper integration with Alexa and a direct visual connection to Echo show, go with Ring for your outdoor cameras and doorbell if you go the Echo route.

Sound

Alexa was the first to integrate with Sonos, and the integration is flawless. Sonos is the name of the game in Smart whole home sound.

Smart Viewing

The Sonos Beam has Alexa built right in, and integrates with the rest of your Sonos system for a true whole home sound solution. The fire stick is a no brainer here, as you are in the Amazon ecosystem.

The winner

It’s tough to say. I have bias around Nest products and Leviton Z-Wave switches, and I really hate that Amazon picked Zigbee for their mesh networking technology. On the other hand, I think Amazon is putting a lot of effort in to the Smart Home space, and is really pushing the boundaries with integrations and AI around Alexa.

I think both ecosystems will continue thrive as both have dedicated fans and have both made big investments in the Smart Home space. Right now, though, Amazon is making moves.