Skip to main content

Google Home vs. Apple HomeKit: which is the best smart home platform?

When it comes to smart home platforms, there are only a few viable options — and Apple HomeKit and Google Home are always part of the discussion. The former is tightly regulated by Apple, while Google Home offers more freedom for outside developers to integrate with the software. But is one strategy better than the other? And, more importantly, is one of them better for your smart home?

From compatible smart home gadgets to required hubs, here’s a closer look at HomeKit and Google Home to help you find the right platform.

What is a smart home platform?

Apple HomeKit app on smartphone.

If you’re a bit fuzzy on what a smart home platform is, you’re not alone. They’re a fairly recent development in the tech world, but they provide you with surprising versatility. A smart home platform is what the rest of your smart home gadgets connect to — allowing you to issue commands to them remotely, sync their performance with other devices, or just 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 is hoping to solve that issue in the future, but for now, picking a smart home platform is still a big decision.

Hub devices

The Nest Hub Max front view.
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 issuing your orders to the corresponding devices. They often come in the shape of a smart display or smart speaker, and while you’ll probably want to pick one up for either the HomeKit and Google Home, they’re no longer required.

Google Home devices can all be controlled remotely using the Google Home smartphone app, and HomeKit devices can be controlled remotely through the HomeKit smartphone app. Of course, it’s highly recommended that you add a hub to your smart home (such as the Apple HomePod or Google Nest Hub Max), as these give you an easier way to communicate with your system.

Google has the advantage here, as Google Home supports a wide range of Hub devices from various manufacturers. HomeKit, meanwhile, is relegated to using a smaller pool of Hub devices — such as the HomePod or Apple TV 4K.

Winner: Google Home

Compatible devices

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat in stainless steel.

As was the case for Hub devices, the list of compatible devices (such as smart speakers, light bulbs, thermostats, and smart locks) that sync with Google Home is much longer than for HomeKit. Apple has locked down the HomeKit ecosystem tightly, and while that means all of the available HomeKit products integrate seamlessly with each other, it also means you have a much smaller catalog to pull from.

To get a better look at what smart home devices work with each platform, check out our roundups of the best Google Home devices and best HomeKit devices.

Winner: Google Home

Ease of use

Apple HomePod 2023
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends

Both Google Home and HomeKit are intuitive and easy to use, thanks to their accompanying smartphone apps and easy access to voice commands. However, the HomeKit app is not readily available on Android. It works great 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


Because of its availability on both iOS and Android, a wide variety of compatible products, and tons of 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 allows you the freedom to select products that work best for your needs (and budget), and its lineup of first-party products can often go toe-to-toe with those offered by Apple.

Conversely, if you’re an Apple loyalist and already own an iPhone, you might find HomeKit to be the better option. Its catalog of devices isn’t nearly as robust as Google Home’s , but what is available is high quality and typically among the best on the market. And because HomeKit is so tightly regulated by Apple, it might offer better security than Google Home — which allows dozens of third-party manufacturers with questionable privacy histories to use the platform.

At the end of the day, choosing HomeKit or Google Home comes down to personal preference. Most homes would be best served by Google Home and its gigantic catalog, but Apple enthusiasts will find much to love about HomeKit and its exclusivity.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a freelance journalist whose gaming addiction began with the SEGA Genesis. His work has been published on…
The best smart carbon monoxide detectors of 2023
best smart carbon monoxide detectors google nest protect

Carbon monoxide detectors are a crucial part of any home. With the ability to identify dangerous levels of the odorless gas and alert nearby family members, it’s important to have several reliable carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house. And if you’re looking for products that bundle in a few extra features, you’ll want to be shopping for smart carbon monoxide detectors – which offer everything found on traditional detectors along with voice commands, smart home integration, smartphone controls, or other useful abilities.

There aren’t as many smart carbon monoxide detectors on the market as there are traditional carbon monoxide detectors, but there are still a handful worth considering. In fact, two of our three picks are made by Google and Amazon, so you can be sure they’ll play nicely with the rest of your smart home setup.

Read more
Nest Learning Smart Thermostat just had its price slashed to $200
The Google Nest Learning Thermostat in stainless steel.

Best Buy has one of the best Nest Thermostat deals around at the moment with $50 off the Google Nest Learning Smart Thermostat so it's down to $200. It's the ideal way of gaining more control over the temperatures at home and keeping your bills lower too. If you're keen to learn more, keep reading. Alternatively, tap the buy button below to get straight to purchasing this delight. We can't say how long this deal will stick around for so you don't want to risk missing out.

Why you should buy the Google Nest Learning Smart Thermostat
One of the best smart home devices you can buy for enriching your life, the Google Nest Thermostat is a great use of technology. It can take control of your home's heating and cooling effectively without you needing to lift a finger. It learns your habits and adjusts so that it automatically regulates your home's temperature based on your schedule. Thanks to its Nest Leaf feature, it also alerts you whenever you choose a temperature that's energy efficient too, potentially saving you money on your bills.

Read more
The 7 best smart home products that support Matter
Amazon Fire TV on Echo Show 15.

Matter is arguably the biggest thing to happen to smart homes since their inception. The interoperability feature lets devices from different ecosystems interact with each other, giving you the freedom to shop for your favorite products regardless of manufacturer. Unfortunately, not all devices have rolled out support for Matter – and not all of them will.

Only a few notable products support Matter as of today, although dozens more are expected to add the functionality in the coming months. For now, here are the five best smart home products that support Matter. For a full list, head over to the official Matter website.

Read more