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May 5, 2018

These are the best smart home products to use with Google Home Mini

by John_A

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Now that you’ve got a Google Home Mini, it’s time to connected it to some things. Need some things? Here’s where to start.

So you’ve got a new Google Home Mini. Good for you. That’s a good call. It’s like a Google Home, only less expensive and smaller, without the emphasis on the speaker. It’s like an Amazon Echo, only, erm, not and Echo, and with Google Assistant instead of Alexa.

It is, in brief, a perfectly good purchase. But now you need to do something with it. If you’re already a user of such a product, you’re probably in the know. You’ve got your stuff, it’s connected and working.

If today’s your first day with a Google Mini, though, there’s a little more setup to do.

Here are a few prime choices when it comes to connected products to use with your Google Home Mini.

  • Connected lights
  • Connected thermostat
  • Logitech Harmony
  • Connected sprinklers
  • Wemo Plugs
  • Other Google Homes

Philips Hue — or other connected lights

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Philips Hue is the top name in connected bulbs, but they’re by no means the only ones available today. If you’ve got connected bulbs of any sort (or if you have some connected through another hub like Samsung Smart Things), you’ll definitely want to tie them in to Google Home Mini. Start with a $70 starter pack.

Attach the bulbs, assign them rooms, then just control them with your voice.

And remember that once you can control something in Google Assistant, you can control it form Google Home, or Android Auto, or your phone — wherever.

See Philips Hue at Amazon

Connected thermostat

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If you have a connected thermostat — I’m a big fan of Nest — especially the new $190 Nest E — and secondarily Ecobee — then you have got to hook it up to Google Home. There’s literally nothing in the world better than turning the heat up without having to get out of bed.

OK, there are lots of things better than that. But being able to control the temperature with your voice is a killer feature. Don’t think. Just do it.

See Nest at Amazon

Logitech Harmony

I’ve long recommended a Logitech Harmony remote over pretty much anything else. What comes with your TV probably is bad. What comes with your cable box probably isn’t great. What comes with the Apple TV is awful.

Logitech Harmony is much, much better, and it has the added bonus of being able to control lots of connected things.

And Google Assistant is able to control Logitech Harmony. So you can tell your new Google Home Mini to turn the TV off or on. (I usually default to the former as I’m headed out the door, or when my kids just aren’t listening.) Start with a $144 Harmony Companion, and eye the $250+ Harmony Elite for an upgrade.

It’s a great time-save — and a way to be so lazy that you don’t even have to look for the remote control.

See Harmony Companion at Amazon

Connected sprinklers

Here’s a great one if you’ve got a lawn you need to water. I’ve been using the Rachio connected sprinkler system for a long time. It works with my phone, and it works with Google Assistant.

If you’re using a $199 Rachio right, you probably won’t need to turn the sprinklers on or off manually too often.

But … this is just a great option to have. And it’s one of those things that really is easier to do with your voice than having to pull our your phone.

Your kids wanna run through the sprinklers? “OK, Google — tell Rachio to water the front yard.”

Neighborhood hooligans hanging out on your property? “OK, Google — tell Rachio to water the front yard.”

See Rachio at Amazon

Wemo Plugs

Don’t wanna do connected lights? Give a plug a shot instead. Wemo makes it really easy to turn just a dumb plug into something a good bit smarter for just $35. And it’s flexible. Anything you plug into one of the Wemo plugs becomes smart — not just a lamp.

This is one of those things that’s perfect for, say, a Christmas tree or outdoor decorations and lights.

You can set timers, and you can control via your voice.

And trust me (I know from experience) that’ll save you a few cold trips onto the front porch in your underwear.

See Wemo at Amazon

Other Google Homes

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One Google Home is great, but pick up a few more and you can use them to listen for commands and play your music through the house. If you don’t want another microphone or already have some nice speakers, you could also set up a Chromecast Audio system or pair your Google Home with Bluetooth speakers.

More: How to use Chromecast Audio as a whole-home audio alternative to Sonos

Update, May 2018: We added the “Other Google Homes” section and a jump list.

Google Hardware

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  • Google Wifi review
  • Google Home review
  • Chromecast Ultra: all you need to know
  • Which Chromecast should you buy?

Google Wifi: Google
Amazon
Google Home: Google
Best Buy
Chromecast Ultra: Google
Best Buy

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