Apple HomeKit and Google Home are two popular smart home platforms. HomeKit is tightly regulated by Apple, providing a streamlined experience with all of its products. On the other hand, Google Home offers more freedom and has a larger catalog of products and allows developers to use the platform as they see fit. Google Home has recently undergone a major overhaul, making its app more user-friendly than ever before.
So, which is the better smart home platform? Let’s take a look at HomeKit and Google Home to help you decide which one is best for your setup.
What Is a Smart Home Platform?
If you’re not sure what a smart home platform is, you’re not alone. It’s a relatively new trend in the tech world, but it offers a lot of versatility. A smart home platform is what all of your smart home devices connect to, allowing you to control them remotely, sync their performance with other devices, or simply check on them without getting off the couch.
All smart home platforms work in similar ways, but not all products (like smart lights or thermostats) are compatible with all platforms. There is an initiative called Matter that aims to solve this issue, but for now, choosing a smart home platform is still an important decision.
In the past, most smart home platforms required a hub device to control all of the action. These hub devices act as the brains of the operation, receiving voice commands and issuing orders to the corresponding devices. They usually take the form of a smart display or smart speaker. While it’s not required, it’s highly recommended to add a hub to your smart home setup, as it provides an easier way to interact with your devices.
Google Home devices can be controlled remotely using the Google Home smartphone app, and HomeKit devices can also be controlled remotely via the HomeKit smartphone app. However, adding a hub device to your smart home setup is still recommended. Google Home has an advantage in this area, as it supports a wide range of hub devices from various manufacturers. HomeKit, on the other hand, is limited to a smaller pool of hub devices, like the HomePod or Apple TV 4K.
Winner: Google Home
Similar to hub devices, the list of compatible devices (like smart speakers, light bulbs, thermostats, and locks) that sync with Google Home is much longer than for HomeKit. Apple tightly controls the HomeKit ecosystem, which means that all available HomeKit products integrate seamlessly with each other, but the selection is much smaller.
To see a more comprehensive list of smart home devices compatible with each platform, check out our roundups of the best Google Home devices and the best HomeKit devices.
Winner: Google Home
Ease of Use
Both Google Home and HomeKit are intuitive and easy to use, thanks to their accompanying smartphone apps and voice commands. However, the HomeKit app is only available on iOS. It works great with Apple devices, but if you’re using an Android device, you’ll need to look elsewhere for your smart home needs.
Winner: Google Home
Due to its availability on both iOS and Android, a wide range of compatible products, and a variety of hub devices to drive the action, Google Home is the better smart home platform for most homeowners. Building a Google Home-powered smart home gives you the freedom to choose products that work best for your needs and budget, and Google’s first-party products can compete with Apple’s offerings.
However, if you’re an Apple loyalist and already own an iPhone, you may find that HomeKit is the better choice. Though the catalog of HomeKit devices is not as extensive as Google Home’s, the available devices are high-quality and often among the best on the market. Additionally, HomeKit’s tight regulation by Apple may provide better security compared to Google Home, which allows third-party manufacturers with questionable privacy histories to use the platform.
In the end, the choice between HomeKit and Google Home comes down to personal preference. Most households would be well-served by Google Home and its extensive catalog, but Apple enthusiasts may prefer HomeKit and its exclusivity.
1. What is a smart home platform?
A smart home platform is a system that connects and controls all of your smart home devices, allowing you to manage them remotely and integrate their functions with other devices.
2. Do I need a hub device?
While it’s not necessary, adding a hub device to your smart home setup can make it easier to control your devices and interact with them.
3. Which platform has more compatible devices?
Google Home has a larger selection of compatible devices compared to Apple HomeKit.
4. Is Google Home easier to use than HomeKit?
Google Home is available on both iOS and Android, making it more accessible for a wider range of users. However, HomeKit is designed specifically for Apple devices and may provide a better user experience for Apple users.
5. Which platform is more secure?
HomeKit is tightly regulated by Apple, which may provide better security compared to Google Home, which allows third-party manufacturers with questionable privacy histories to use the platform.