Voice Assistants for your Smart Home System
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that there are three major voice assistants that dominate the market: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. If you want to control your smart home with voice commands, deciding which platform you prefer and buying the products that are supported by your preferred voice assistant before you buy. Many of the different products linked below will work with multiple voice assistants, this is really personal preference. Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri cover the big names like Philips Hue lights and Nest thermostats. Frankly, unless you have some very esoteric home automation devices, you can probably control your smart home with either voice assistant.
Start with a Hub in Mind –
Google Nest or Amazon Alexa
Google Nest and Amazon Alexa have the most robust systems that have already been built out to be compatible as a starting point. Apple has HomeKit however, this system is not nearly as robust. You might also consider starting with SimpliSafe for your doorbell, lock, and security system. From there, you can build with either Alexa or Google for additional products to add to your Smart Home ecosystem.
Prices listed below will fluctuate depending on current sales and promotions.
Google Nest SmartHome
- Google Voice Control starting at $29 – If you go with a Google system, there are six options for central control and Google Assistant is much better than Alexa at parsing natural language. Amazon’s voice assistant is picky with syntax, though it has gotten better with steady updates. Google Assistant doesn’t get confused by wording as easily as Alexa, so you can speak more naturally and not have to worry as much about phrasing your commands properly. Below are our picks if you are building a google Smart Home system.
- Nest x Yale Lock $250
- Nest Hello Doorbell $200
- Nest Secure. $499, $19/m monitoring by Brinks w/ contract
- Google Home Max $300 is a big bassy smart speaker that pairs well with Google Home Mini speakers
Nest Learning Thermostat $200 is one of the first and still the best thermostats. Works well with Alexa as well as Google.
Nest Protect smoke and CO Detector $99 this self-test themselves and notify the owner on the app. They also have a night light that turns on when you walk under them in the dark
Amazon Alexa Ring Smart Home
Alexa Voice Control Hub – Amazon Echo Show 8 $129 is the best for Alexa, also consider the Echo Show 5 $70 for smaller spaces. Alexa has much more robust third-party support, with thousands of skills that can be enabled to perform specific tasks, like ordering a pizza or telling a story. You can also make your own simple Alexa skills easily with Alexa Blueprints. Alexa also supports many more smart home devices for voice control than Google Assistant.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 $200 is a reviewer’s favorite and works with both Google and Amazon (Ring is owned by Amazon)
Ring Alarm Security System $219 from Amazon, one of the best in the Ring ecosystem. Professional monitoring is just $10/month
Echo Dot has a drop-in feature that lets you use your Echos as an intercom.
Ecobee $250 thermostat has a good option with voice control built-in.
Apple HomeKit App w/ Siri on iPhone
Unfortunately, Apple does not have a robust compatible system as a starting place. You could use your iPhone, iPad, or apple laptop as the central control hub for your smart home system or buy an Apple HomePod. Go to the HomeKit app to see what is compatible and build from there – there aren’t as many products as I expected.
Affordable SimpliSafe Security
For a great doorbell, lock, and security system I would start with SimpliSafe. It is the most affordable system on the market and a great way to get the basics of your system started for less than the google nest or amazon ring system. It also integrates with Alexa, Google, or Apple Watch so you can use Alexa and Google voice assist to arm your system. This product also integrates with the August lock and the Nest thermostat.
- SimpliSafe Smart Lock $99 lock and unlock your door using the PIN pad, the key fob, or your phone.
- SimpliSafe Doorbell. $169 – has all the same capabilities as ring but integrates with the security system on one app.
- SimpliSafe Hearth Security System $300 – includes a base station, keypad, key Fob, 3 Entry Sensors, 1 Motion Sensor, 1 105dB Siren, 1 Smoke Detector
Combine the Best in Smart Home Technology Into Your own System
If you don’t mind having multiple apps to control devices on your phone just pick your favorites and start building your custom smart home. We’ve curated a list of our favorites in several different categories, taking into consideration features, interoperability, and value. You can mix and match different products. Advanced techy homeowners who know programming chops can even build your own home hub with an open-source program called Raspberry Pi.
- August Smart Lock Pro + Connect $279 attaches to your existing deadbolt and unlocks with bluetooth or over any of the three voice assistants. August integrates with Simplisafe home system.
- SimpliSafe Smart Lock $99 lock and unlock your door using the PIN pad, the key fob or your phone. You can also sync your system with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
- Nest x Yale Lock $250 – Yale has been making locks for years and they partnered with Nest (Google) to make their product techy.
- Ring Alarm $219 from Amazon, one of the best in the Ring ecosystem. Professional monitoring is just $10/month
- Nest Secure $499 is a similar suite from Google. $19/m monitoring by Brinks w/ contract.
- SimpliSafe Hearth Security System $300 and $15/m monitoring.
- Arlo Ultra is one of the best cameras on the market, but Arlo does not have an alarm system product.
- Alarm.com provides extensive support options.
- Alexa Echo Plus bigger smart speaker to complement the smaller smart speakers like the Echo Dot that can be placed elsewhere. Bonus – I love the Drop-in feature that lets you use your Echos as an intercom.
- Google Home Max $300 is a big bassy smart speaker that pairs well with Google Home Mini speakers.
- Sonos One $199 Amazing sound, high price. compatible with Google and Alexa. Control music from the sonos app. System connects to wifi so when calls come in your music is not interrupted. Sonos is supported by Alexa voice commands.
- Apple Home Pod $300
- Bose Home Speaker $200 – compatible with Google and Alexa
- Anker Eufy Smart Plugs simple, good price, effective – get the mini so it won’t block your other outlet!
- Wemo Made by big player Belkin, also a good option.
- iHome control smart plug (siri)
Hub – control center
- Amazon Echo Show 8 $99 is the best for Alexa, also consider the Eco Show 5 $70 for smaller spaces.
- Google Nest Hub $99 and Nest Hub Max a$230 are more expensive options for Google Assistant.
- An iPad can make a killer Siri Homekit hub.
- Nest Learning Thermostat $200 is one of the first and still the best thermostats. Works well with Alexa as well as Google.
- Ecobee has a good option with voice control built-in.
- Phillips Hue has tons of great smart bulbs.
- Lutron has many options for more robust home lighting.
- LIFX is born out of gamer culture with lots of mainstream options.
- IKEA TRADFRI LED $19 bulbs with
- IKEA TRADFRI
- Gateway $35
Other Categories/Honorable Mentions
Garage Door: ismartgate 02WNA102 Wi-Fi Standard PRO Garage Door Opener $149
HunterDouglas Smart Shades – enables you to control, time, and set your shades to raise, lower, tilt, or traverse automatically to suit your schedule. Operate your PowerView window treatments hands-free through integration with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and the Google Assistant.
|Special Thanks to Pat Kinne|