11 Smart home gadgets perfect for Android users
Smart home tech is, quite frankly, an intimidating pool to jump in to. There are a lot of options out there, and they all do a lot of of the same stuff. None of them are particularly cheap, so you want to make sure you’re making the right decisions when it comes to smartening up your home. You’ve already picked a platform — welcome to Android Authority, by the way — so you want to make sure your new smart home tech works with your chosen ecosystem.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best smart home gadgets that work with Android and Google Assistant.
The smart home is going to start with the home assistant. DGIT, our sister site, has a breakdown of your options, but this is an Android site, so we’ll assume Google Home for now. That is the most ubiquitous device, just after the smartphone itself. Google Home’s ability to interact with you and your smart devices makes it the perfect bridge to let you control your home. In addition to controlling your smart home, Google Home also works with you and your phone as an information hub for anything you may need to accomplish. Add in its great sound as a smart speaker, and this is probably the first device you’ll want to pick up to get your smart home game off to a great start.
Alternatively, you can check out the Google Home Mini — Google’s entry-level product. Google Home Mini has all the capabilities of its larger sibling, but doesn’t have the speaker horsepower. Of course, if all you’re doing is asking questions, and powering a smartphone, audio playback isn’t necessarily the most important thing, so $30 might be a good investment.
An honorable mention goes out to the Lenovo Smart Home display which debuted at CES, but won’t hit store shelves until this July.
As long as we’re taking a stroll through the Alphabet, another great smart home gadget is the Nest Thermostat. Nest is an Alphabet property and as such the Nest thermostat works great with your Android phone and Google home. Nest offers a number of advantages over the traditional thermostat including adjusting the temperature when you’re away from the house, and learning your household habits to schedule changes appropriately. It responds to remote control from the Google Home or the Nest app.
Nest also has a little brother, the Nest Thermostat E, which brings a lot of the same functionality, but at a lower price point. Plus, most utility companies offer rebates on the equipment, bringing your costs down even lower.
Of course, if you’d like a different smart thermostat, we have a list of the best smart thermostats to help you with your decision. Think the process will be too hard? Installing a Nest is easier than you might think.
Continuing on with the Nest line of products, we also have Smoke and CO alarms. Normally, we wouldn’t give much thought to a smoke or CO detector. Chances are you already have both of these in your home. But adding a little bit of intelligence to this tech is not a bad idea. For example, a Nest Protect can link to your Nest Thermostat and automatically cut off your heating equipment in the event of a fire of CO leak. It’s this kind of intelligence that can help mitigate a disaster.
A smart doorbell is probably about half smart and half safe. But up until now, Nest hasn’t really had a horse in this race. As of now, you can preorder Nest Hello. Nest developed a smart doorbell which allows you to see who’s at the door and even communicate with them. Some models will even recognize frequent visitors and can announce them with Google Home.
You can also subscribe to a service called Nest Aware which gives you smarter alerts, a longer history of saved video, and designated activity zones. If you preorder before Feb. 20, Google is also throwing in a free Google Home Mini.
Nest, and by extension your Android phone, also work with a number of third-party devices from door locks, to garage door openers, and beyond. You can see a full list of compatible devices here but we’ve listed some of our favorites down below.
Wink Hub 2
When it comes to connecting a Smart Things hub, there are two big names out there — Wink and Samsung. Choosing the right hub can influence a lot of your smart home decisions. While we found that Samsung’s SmartThings hub is a great option (that includes a battery backup), the Wink Hub 2 is designed to work with Nest and Google Home, giving it an extra edge. As long as a smart device is labelled as Wink compatible, you should be in good shape. Plus, the Wink Hub 2 has a great design and is just attractive to look at.
The Wink hub will allow you to control all manner of smart home devices, even linking them in tandem. If you’re going out of the house, you can set your thermostat to lower and your lights to turn off when you lock the front door. The Wink app is easy to use and intuitive. There is no battery backup, like on the Samsung SmartThings hub, but then again, if the power goes out, what do you plan to control with the hub? Just saying.
All that being said, we’ll give the Samsung SmartThings Hub an honorable mention here. As mentioned, it has a battery backup, and it was hard not to notice how much emphasis Samsung put on Smart Home tech at CES this year.
Kwikset is one of the oldest names in home security and locks. The Kwikset Kevo is a smart lock with a whole range of features. You can unlock your deadbolt with a bluetooth connection on your phone. You can authorize one-time entry codes for people, and even remotely unlock your door should an unexpected guest come over.
One smart thing that the Kevo can do is pair with your Nest Thermostat. This offers advantages such as automatically setting your Nest to “Away” mode when you leave the house and lock the front door. This leads to energy savings when you leave the house outside of your normal times. It’s a minor compatibility, but it’s one of those things that makes a smart home even smarter.
LIFX Smart LED Light Bulb
Smart bulbs in your home can be quite convenient. Controlling lights while you’re away is a good way to make people think you’re home. Remotely turning on lights when you’re on your way home is a great way to avoid walking into a dark house. LIFX bulbs are nice because they do not require any kind of hub or controller to work (more on those later) but they also integrate with Google Home and Nest in a smart way.
If Nest Protect detects a fire, LIFX bulbs will pulse red and then turn themselves on to full brightness, illuminating your way to get out of the house. Nest cameras can detect that the house is empty, and trigger LIFX bulbs to switch to a dimmer/lower power mode to help conserve electricity. It’s all of these integrations that make a smart home really start to come together.
Phillips hue lighting starter kit
Phillips is one of the bigger names in smart lighting. Phillips requires a Hub Bridge to connect the bulbs to your network and Nest. But once you have that equipment set up, you can do some really fun things. Phillips Hue bulbs are controllable from your smartphone or Google Home. Plus the bulbs work with Nest to help out in emergencies, or to save power when you’re away from the home.
One on the benefits of the Phillips Hue bulbs is that the bulbs themselves are a lot cheaper than other bulbs with the electronics built in, because of the separate hub. Phillips Hue bulbs can be as little as $12-$15 as opposed to $20 and up. When you’re outfitting your whole home, the savings add up very quickly.
TP-Link Smart Plug Mini
If you have devices — or lights — that you just want to turn on or off, TP Link has a smart plug you can use with your phone or with Google Assistant. No hub required. Within the app, you can set schedules to turn your appliances on. You can also set an away mode which turns lights or appliances on at random. The compact design is so small it doesn’t block adjacent outlets, which is pretty awesome.
Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub
Once upon a time, you had to have a button attached to your car’s visor to make your garage door open and close. Those days are gone now, as garage doors have joined the smart home revolution. The Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub connects to your existing opener and allows you to check the status of your garage door, and even raise or lower the door as needed. You can even receive alerts when your garage door opens and closes. You can control your garage door with Google Home, but that requires a $1/mo or $10/year subscription — because reasons, I guess.
Sony Bravia TV
Finally, we come to the TV. While not technically smart-home automated, the TV is arguably one of the most central parts of a home. Google’s Android TV is Google’s operating system optimized for TV. The Sony Bravia TV has Android TV and Chromecast support built in.
Not only is it possible to cast your apps/screen to the TV, but you can also play, pause and stop content from Netflix, Youtube, etc, all with your voice.