Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: One of these smart speakers is better than the other

google home vs amazon echo

When one product is better in one aspect, but it’s competitor is stronger in another, the easy answer is to recommend both. You might want a Sony TV in your home theater, for instance, but Anthem’s A/V receiver, Bowers & Wilkins’ speakers, and a subwoofer from SVS. Well that dog won’t hunt when it comes to smart speakers, especially if you’re looking to control your smart home. No one wants to remember one wake word to turn on a light, a second to stream music, and a third to lock the front door.

With this in mind, I evaluated the two most popular smart speakers—Amazon Echo and Google Home—using seven important criteria, but giving smart home control the heaviest weight. If you can’t stand the suspense, my current opinion is that the Amazon Echo series is superior to the Google Home series. Read on to find out why.

Round 1: Smart home control

Winner: Amazon Echo. For me, this is the most important criterion of all. And for reasons Google still hasn’t explained to my satisfaction, controlling many smart home systems is a two-step process with Google Home. When I use Google Home to control the Vivint smart home system installed in my own home, for example, I must say “OK Google, tell Vivint to turn on the kitchen light.” Google Home responds, “Sure, here’s Vivint.” And then a different voice coming from the Google Home says “OK, turning off your kitchen light.” The action is invariably performed before the second voice stops speaking, but having to preface every command with “tell Vivint” just doesn’t feel natural—I don’t want a constant reminder that I’m talking to a machine.