Apple HomeKit and Google Home are two of the best smart home platforms out there. HomeKit is tightly regulated by Apple, allowing it to provide a streamlined experience that works flawlessly with all products in the catalog. Google, meanwhile, offers more freedom: its catalog is much larger than HomeKit's, and developers are largely free to use the software as they see fit. Google Home has also recently undergone a massive overhaul, making the app easier to use than ever before. But is Google Home or Apple HomeKit the better smart home platform? From compatible smart home gadgets to required hubs, here's HomeKit and Google Home to help you decide which is best for your setup.
What is a smart home platform?
If you're a little unclear about what constitutes a smart home platform, you're not alone. They are a fairly recent development in the tech world, but they offer you surprising versatility. A smart home platform is what the rest of your smart home gadgets connect to - allowing you to issue commands remotely, sync their performance with other devices, or simply check in on them without having to leave the couch. All smart home platforms function in similar ways, but not all products (such as smart lights or thermostats) support all platforms. Matter hopes to solve that problem in the future, but for now, choosing a smart home platform is still a big decision.
Hub Devices (John Velasco/Digital Trends)
Most smart home platforms used to require a Hub device to control all the action. These essentially serve as the brains of the operation, receiving voice commands and relaying your commands to the corresponding devices. They often come in the form of a smart display or smart speaker, and while you'll probably want to buy one for HomeKit and Google Home, they're no longer necessary. Google Home devices can all be controlled remotely using the Google Home smartphone app, and HomeKit devices can be controlled remotely using the HomeKit smartphone app. It's obviously highly recommended that you add a hub to your smart home (such as the Apple HomePod or Google Nest Hub Max) as it makes it easier to interact with your system. Google has the advantage here, as Google Home supports a wide variety of Hub devices from different manufacturers. HomeKit, meanwhile, has been relegated to using a smaller group of Hub devices, such as the HomePod or Apple TV 4K. Winner: Google Home
Compatible devices Nest
As with Hub devices, the list of compatible devices (such as smart speakers, lights, thermostats and smart locks) that sync with Google Home is much longer than for HomeKit. Apple has firmly shut down the HomeKit ecosystem, and while that means all available HomeKit products integrate seamlessly with each other, it also means you can draw from a much smaller catalog. To better understand which smart home devices work with each platform, check out our roundups of the best Google Home devices and the best HomeKit devices. Winner: Google Home
Ease of use Zeke Jones / Digital Trends
Both Google Home and HomeKit are intuitive and easy to use, thanks to companion smartphone apps and easy access to voice commands. However, the HomeKit app isn't readily available on Android. It works fine with iOS products, but anyone using a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel device will want to look elsewhere for their smart home needs. Winner: Google Home
With availability on both iOS and Android, a wide variety of compatible products, and countless unique Hubs to drive the action, Google Home is the better smart home platform for most homeowners. Setting up a Google Home-powered smart home gives you the freedom to select products that best suit your needs (and budget), and the range of first-party products can often match Apple's. Conversely, if you're an Apple loyalist and already own an iPhone, you may find HomeKit to be the better option. The catalog of devices isn't nearly as robust as Google Home's, but what's available is high quality and typically some of the best on the market. And because HomeKit is so tightly regulated by Apple, it may offer better security than Google Home, allowing dozens of third-party manufacturers with questionable privacy histories to use the platform. Ultimately, choosing HomeKit or Google Home comes down to personal preference. Most homes would be best served by Google Home and its massive catalog, but Apple enthusiasts will like a lot about HomeKit and its exclusivity. Editor's Recommendations
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