Want to Create a Google Smart Home? Here’s What It’ll Cost You
This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Since the release of the original Google Home smart speaker in 2016, the landscape of Google Nest and Google Assistant devices for the home has expanded dramatically to include smart speakers, smart displays and so much more. But the overwhelming array of options raises a question: Exactly how much will a Google home actually cost you?
Answering that question isn’t quite as easy as it may seem. With customizable Google Assistant routines and now more than 30,000 compatible devices, a Google smart home could cost anywhere from $30 to $3,000 or more. You could purchase one Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) for $100 or you could add a full-fledged ecosystem of security cameras, smart displays, video doorbells, thermostats, smart speakers and streaming devices.
The cost of a Google home will ultimately boil down to the number of devices you purchase: Do you want the basics? Or do you want to go all out? Or maybe you want to land somewhere in the middle.
To help you decide, I broke down the cost of three smart home setups with different numbers of home products, ranging from just the essentials to a Google smart home that pulls out all the stops.
(Note that some of the prices quoted below are sale prices and will fluctuate periodically.)
Google smart home: The basics
Let’s start simple. If you’re just getting started with smart home devices or you want to cut the fluff, a basic smart home is likely what you need. That means you’ll have to buy a control center, lighting and basic security.
For each smart home, it’s important to have a control center, one device that will kick off your collection of devices. For a Google-centric smart home, I recommend starting with the second-gen Google Nest Hub. Not only is this CNET’s favorite Google smart display, but it’s our favorite overall Google Assistant device. The Nest Hub has all of the same Google Assistant features as the smart speakers, but it has a touchscreen, so you can search the internet, check the weather, stream YouTube videos, follow along with recipes, and chat with family members. Most importantly for our purposes, it also lets you manually control your smart home gadgets.
While the standard price is $100, you can typically find the Nest Hub on sale like it is here for $65.
Cost so far: $65
The voice-control features combined with the touchscreen function makes the Nest Hub a great choice to act as a control panel for the rest of the connected home devices. Once you have that set, it’s time to start adding devices. A smart light bulb is a good first step, and I recommend the C by GE bulbs for a Google smart home. These affordable Bluetooth bulbs just need to be set up in the Google Home app and then can be controlled from your control panel.
I recommend starting with the soft white two-pack option — I suggest putting the bulbs in your front entrance or living room — and then expanding from there. You can find the two-pack for just under $19 here.
Cost so far: $84
Security devices have become more central additions to smart homes over the last several years. With security cameras, video doorbells, smart locks and security systems, the home security landscape is vast, and there are plenty of excellent choices that work with a Google-centric home. But for a home that sticks to the basics, a video doorbell is an easy choice, and the best option for a Google-centric home is the Nest Doorbell with battery.
This Google device combines a top-notch wireless doorbell camera with better performance and a slew of unique features: two-way talk, high-def resolution, a 145-degree field of view with a 3:4 aspect ratio, smart alerts, facial recognition and more. At $180, it’s an affordable choice that’s packed with perks — plus, you can usually find it on sale (check out the $150 Nest Doorbell at Best Buy).
With only the basics, you can have Google running your home for under $250.
Total cost: $234
Google smart home: The happy middle
If you’re looking for a smart home that makes life easier but leaves out the more costly bells and whistles, a middle ground smart home would be the way to go. This home keeps all of the essential devices listed above, but upgrades security, entertainment and a few other categories.
While the Nest Hub is the ideal control center for your Google-centric home, adding Google Nest Minis around the house in other rooms would be a great alternative when giving commands to Google Assistant. The Nest Mini is a great starting point when building a smart home. It’s affordable and packed with features: intercom functionality, stereo pairing, control of compatible gadgets and web search. At $49 each, the Nest Mini is an excellent little smart speaker.
Cost so far: $283
When upgrading a smart home, expanding your security devices makes sense. Your Nest Doorbell will provide an initial layer of security, but adding a security system and cameras will ensure better safety and protection for your home and family. When working with Google Assistant, the best devices for security include the $36 Wyze Cam v3 indoor cameras, the $180 Arlo Pro 4 outdoor camera and the $206 SimpliSafe Essentials Kit (the six-piece security system with all the basics). Now, you don’t really need three different security products from three different brands, though each product would be a great option — if you’re wanting more functionality for your money, go with Wyze. If you want one really good cam with pretty much every feature you could want, pick Arlo instead. If you want a more integrated system, choose SimpliSafe.
With all three security products factored, our cost so far is $705.
Reliable, strong internet is a must-have in 2022. We have more devices connected to our Wi-Fi than ever, from cameras to computers to TVs. This means you need a solid router, and the Google Nest Wifi is the obvious choice when controlling your Google smart home. At $169 each, the Nest Wifi isn’t cheap, but since you’re already invested in the Google home landscape, its reliable speeds and ability to run everything through the Google Home app are worth the extra money. And you can often find it cheaper ($147 on Amazon and $155 at Walmart).
Using the price on the Google website, the cost so far comes to $874.
With the addition of compatible devices, it’s important to keep a few smart plugs around to efficiently connect and control non-smart devices like lamps or fans. The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini is a great choice for your Google-centric home since it offers smartphone app controls, Google Assistant compatibility and a sleek design. I recommend starting with the $17 2-pack to use with your two smart bulbs.
Total cost: $891
Google smart home: The works
While you can build an excellent midtier smart home for under $1,000, that might not be good enough for you. If you’re cool with spending the big bucks, and you’re absolutely set on having your home fully integrated with Google Assistant, then there are plenty more devices you can add to your array:
- Google Nest Hub Max: Another great option that can work as your Google home control panel. At $229 standard price, it’s a more expensive alternative to the 2nd-gen Nest Hub and Nest Mini, but it has some extra nifty features, like a 10-inch screen, a facial-recognition camera and video chat capabilities. Like many of the products listed above, you can often find the Nest Hub Max for cheaper ($190 at Best Buy and Crutchfield).
Cost so far: $1,081
Using the Walmart price, our cost so far comes to $1,354
- Chromecast with Google TV: Add some extra entertainment to your Google smart home with Google’s $50 streaming stick. This affordable device plugs into your TV to stream Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Google Music, Google Movies & TV and HBO Go. Though more expensive than the original $35 Chromecast, this revamped version offers 4K resolution and an improved TV interface.
Cost so far: $1,404
- Nest Thermostat (2020): Changing the temperature with a simple voice command is a neat trick. And the latest thermostat from Google offers upgraded tricks, a new design and is Google Compatible — all for under $100. You can currently find the Nest Thermostat for $99 on Amazon and at Walmart.
Total cost: $1,503
With all of these extras, your Google home will be jazzed up with the best security, entertainment and smart home gadgets on the market. While there are thousands of additional compatible devices you can mix and match — from speakers to lights to cameras — that will make your home even more rooted into the Google landscape, these are the top devices to purchase at each level of spending. And if you want to go Google-crazy, you can always add more gadgets to this list.
All in all, your full-featured Google home will cost $1,503 at minimum — but, of course, there’s thousands more you could spend on the full Google package, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Want more Google home advice? Check out the 32 cool things you need to try with Google Assistant and the five best places to put your Google Home and Nest devices.