Amazon Alexa vs Google Home vs Apple HomeKit: Which ecosystem is right for you?

With a wide range of smart home devices, ease of installation, and exciting entry-level options, it’s super-easy and fun to build a smart home. Now, when it comes to home automation and smart home devices, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit are the major players. Today, you’ll easily find a smart version of any product or home appliance. Starting from smart lights and smart blinds to home security and smart thermostats, the market is flooded with the smart-version of devices that can help you build a smarter home.

If you want to buy one or two smart devices, it’s okay to go ahead and pick a few for you. However, things are completely different when you want to set up an integrated, future-proof full smart home. Some smart devices can work with multiple platforms, whereas some just don’t. Therefore, it’s a great idea to first choose an ecosystem and then select those devices that can communicate well within that smart home ecosystem. 

Whether you’re planning to set up the smart home of your dreams or are in the mood to upgrade your existing home by adding more smart devices, this article will help you pick the best ecosystem to build an interconnected home. 

We’ve compared Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit on some important metrics. Also, we’ve covered the pros and cons of each smart home platform so that you get an idea of where each ecosystem shines and where it struggles. Therefore, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of which is the best platform that can help you build the smart home of your dreams. 

Amazon Alexa vs Google Home vs Apple HomeKit

How to choose the right ecosystem for your home?

1. Ease of installation

Are you planning to design the smart home of your dreams and wondering if HomeKit is better than Google Home or vice-versa? You must consider the installation process involved in the platform that you’re planning to go for. After all, you don’t want to spend hours struggling with the complicated setup process. Fortunately, regardless of the ecosystem that you choose, most smart home devices are easy to set up. Now, when we compare Apple HomeKit vs Alexa or Google vs Amazon Smart Home, it’s worth knowing that Google Home makes it super easy for you to add new smart devices. It automatically detects a smart device that’s on your network and will prompt you to add that device. Then, you just need to log in to your account and follow some basic, on-screen instructions, and your device is good to go. 

Coming to the Apple HomeKit, there’s a system of scanning codes that makes the setup process a breeze. In addition, the Apple Home app has a well-designed and easy-to-use interface. Having said that, things can completely turn around if you lose the code or the product doesn’t have a code. In such cases, you would need to contact the product manufacturer and get a new code issued for that specific device. This is time-consuming and can be stressful too. 

Lastly, Amazon Alexa has quite a complicated interface that may not please everyone. Some users may find it confusing to add a new device in the first place. Fortunately, the setup process involves simple step-by-step instructions which won’t take too long to add a new device. 

Here’s a quick glimpse of Ease of Use and adding new devices to different ecosystems:

  1. Google Home
  2. Apple Homekit
  3. Amazon Alexa 

2. Compatible devices and Usage

One of the most important factors that you need to consider while choosing HomeKit, Google Home, or Alexa is the list of devices supported by an ecosystem. After all, when you start building a smart home, you would need multiple devices, and a platform that supports a wide range of devices makes it easier for you to have an expansive and integrated smart home. You can interconnect your smart devices and automate your home in a much easier way. 

When it comes to smart home device compatibility, Amazon Alexa is the king. It works with over 60,000 devices and it makes it super easy to choose multiple devices that can work together for your smart home. Google Home has also caught up in the past few years and supports over 30,000 third-party devices, securing the second spot when it comes to device compatibility. The latest smart home devices work with Alexa as well as Google Home. You can easily find the supported platforms in the product description of a smart device. 

Apple HomeKit has a different story here. When we compare Amazon Alexa vs Apple HomeKit vs Google Home, HomeKit stands at the last in terms of third-party compatibility. While Apple HomeKit works with most major brands, there are a lot of devices that are not compatible with HomeKit. As a result, you get to choose from fewer devices that work with Apple’s smart home ecosystem. It’s worth mentioning that there’s a software called Homebridge which mimics the official support for HomeKit. Therefore, you can integrate home devices that don’t have native support for HomeKit. It offers more than 2,000 Homebridge plugins that support thousands of smart home accessories. You can install the HomeBridge software on a computer that’s plugged into your network.

Apple is said to waive certain restrictions and we might see a wider range of devices that are certified to work with HomeKit in the near future. But for now, Apple doesn’t offer a wide range of smart home devices with native HomeKit support. Therefore, it might not be the first choice for someone who wants to invest in a wide range of devices and build an interconnected smart home. On the flip side, if you want two-three basic devices like smart lights, doorbells, and smart blinds, you can go for any ecosystem.

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank in terms of device compatibility:

  1. Amazon Alexa
  2. Google Home
  3. Apple HomeKit

Also Read: Best Smart Home Devices Upgrade in 2022

3. Cloud vs Local Control

Whenever we get a new smart home device, we would download an app, connect that device to the network, and then control it via an app over an internet connection, right! Now, what if you can control your devices without any internet? This is the difference between cloud and local control. Talking about the Apple HomeKit, it also embeds local control. It means devices can operate without an active internet connection and cloud service. This is particularly useful in situations where your internet goes down or an expensive smart home device goes out of business. In such cases, you would still be able to use your devices without any issues. In addition, local control ensures more security, faster response, and reliability.

However, there are some caveats too. With local control, you won’t be able to control your devices remotely. For example, if you want to turn OFF your home lights from the office or change the temperature of your smart Thermostats while you’re heading to your home, you just can’t do that. 

These things are perfectly possible with Cloud control that requires an internet connection for your devices to work. If the internet goes down, you won’t be able to control your devices. Having said that, brands with cloud control allow you to control your devices remotely, keep them updated, and offer more features like IFTTT, voice control, routines, and more.

Although cloud control is more convenient as it lets you control your devices remotely too, local control gives you more privacy and automation options. 

Now, if we compare Amazon Alexa vs Google Home vs Apple HomeKit, the latter offers both local and cloud control, while the other two work only with Cloud control. To make the decision process simpler, you must decide on whether you want to have the freedom to control your devices without an internet connection or want to enjoy the convenience of controlling your smart devices remotely. This largely depends upon an individual’s preferences and what they want from their smart home. 

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank in terms of controllability:

  1. Apple HomeKit
  2. Amazon Alexa and Google Home

4. Privacy

While Amazon Alexa and Google Home support more devices and have better assistants, Apple HomeKit gives you an edge when it comes to privacy and reliability. Therefore, Apple HomeKit is the clear winner when it comes to security and privacy. This is one of the major selling points of Apple HomeKit. First, since HomeKit uses local control, Apple devices will not leak your personal information to the internet. Second, the same privacy features of Apple’s seamless iOS ecosystem are included in the HomeKit as well. As a result, Apple HomeKit is more secure than Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Therefore, if you’re looking for devices like smart home cameras where privacy and security are major concerns, Apple HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video should be your first choice. 

It’s worth mentioning that Google also promises not to share your data without your permission. Having said that, this doesn’t apply to third-party devices or apps. Also, since Google is into the advertising business, it can still use your data to target ads. 

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank in terms of privacy:

  1. Apple HomeKit
  2. Amazon Alexa
  3. Google Home

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5. Smart Assistant

Undoubtedly, Voice assistant makes a home device smarter and more exciting to use. Amazon has Alexa, Google Home uses Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit has Siri at the centre of its ecosystem. If we compare Alexa vs Google Assistant vs Siri, Google Assistant is the smartest digital assistant that’s available today. Whether it’s language, accent, or dialect, it’s just hard to beat Google Assistant. It supports over 40 languages and several dialects for some of those languages. In addition, Google Assistant has the ability to deal with different accents. It means if you’re not a native speaker of any of the supported languages, you’ll still be able to use Google Assistant without any issues. Moreover, Google’s massive investment in Natural Language Processing would probably keep it ahead of its competitors. 

Moving further, when it comes to the ability to understand and answer correctly, Google Assistant wins the race. Siri has 75%, Amazon Alexa got 72.5%, and Google Home secures the top position with 88%. 

Now let’s talk about another important thing, the shopping experience with these voice assistants. Since Alexa is an Amazon product, it offers a seamless shopping experience. Talking about Google Home, it’s also quite helpful in guiding and recommending during your online shopping trips. Unfortunately, Siri didn’t even come close to Amazon Alexa or Google Home as it doesn’t offer a smooth online shopping experience. 

Lastly, if we talk about playing music with these voice assistants, Alexa clearly outdoes its competitors with its ability to play music from Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, and more. Google Home can also play music from several third-party platforms, while Siri mainly works with Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank when it comes to voice assistants:

  • Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple HomeKit

6. Voice-control devices

When it comes to building an interconnected home that has multiple smart home devices, you must have a centralised way of controlling them. When you’ve one, two, or three devices, you can control them via an app. However, when you’ve to deal with multiple different devices, it’s a good idea to go for a hub. Now, this hub can be a smart speaker too. It unites all your home automation devices and allows you to access lights, smart blinds, cameras, video doorbells, and other devices with your voice. The hub basically acts as a communicator between different smart devices.

Talking about Apple Home vs Google Home vs Alexa, Apple offers only one smart speaker, the HomePod mini which is priced at $99. It’s worth mentioning that there are strong rumours that Apple might release homeOS or HomePod OS at WWDC 2022. There are chances that Apple might have a smart-home strategy with a brilliant lineup of smart home devices coming up our way.  However, we’ll have to wait for a little while to see what Apple has planned. 

Coming to Amazon Alexa and Google Home, we have a neck-to-neck competition when it comes to smart speakers and displays. They offer a pretty cool lineup of smart speakers across different budgets. Interestingly, their entry-level smart speakers, Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini, both are priced at $50. It’s worth mentioning that when it comes to the total number of products and how frequently new models are released, Amazon leads the pack. 

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank in terms of voice-control devices:

  1. Amazon Alexa
  2. Google Home
  3. Apple HomeKit

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7. Serviceability & ease of troubleshooting

When you’re planning to choose an automation ecosystem for your home, don’t forget to have an idea of serviceability and ease of troubleshooting. Some devices for some ecosystems allow 3rd party plugins and software tinkering, which makes them easier to service/troubleshoot. Unfortunately, Apple Homekit devices don’t support such things and as a result, they are harder to troubleshoot. Talking about Google Home vs Alexa, the latter wins the race in terms of third-party plugins and integrations. Moreover, there are tons of resources available on the internet that provide effective troubleshooting solutions.

Here’s how these three smart home ecosystems rank in terms of serviceability and troubleshooting:

  1. Amazon Alexa
  2. Google Home
  3. Apple HomeKit

8. Devices that you already own

When you’re trying to figure out whether HomeKit is better than Alexa or is it worth investing in Google Home, it’s important to factor in the devices that you already own. For example, for Apple users who already own an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, HomePod Mini, or any other Apple device, it’s a great idea to go for HomeKit. It offers a fantastic app interface and best-in-class smart home automation features. For example, if you’re watching TV and your doorbell rings, a video screen pops up on your TV and you can know who’s at the door.

Next, if you’ve already got a bunch of Android or Google devices, it makes sense to go for Google Home. First, Google Home has Google Assistant, which is smarter than Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, or any other voice assistant. Another reason to choose Google Home is that it offers a wide range of compatible devices. In addition, Google Home is more streamlined toward entertainment.

Coming to Amazon Alexa, it’s an excellent platform for users who haven’t already invested heavily in Apple or Google devices. Firstly, Amazon Alexa offers a huge library of compatible devices to choose from. If you crave a tech-laden home, you can pick a bundle of devices, link them together, and create the powerful smart home of your dreams. Secondly, Alexa is a great voice assistant that’s fused with a multitude of features that are being added regularly. It’s very common to find an Amazon Echo device in kitchens nowadays. You can start from there as well.

In short, it’s a great idea to pick the ecosystem that best suits your existing setup and the devices that you use in your house. 

Here’s a quick glimpse of how to pick the best smart home ecosystem based on devices you already own:

  1. Apple users- Apple HomeKit
  2. Google/Android users- Google Home
  3. Users who did not invest heavily in Andoid or Apple devices- Amazon Alexa

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Pros and Cons 

Whether we compare Apple Home vs Alexa, Google vs Amazon Smart Home, or Apple HomeKit vs Google Home, each platform has some specific areas where it shines and struggles. To help you understand what each platform offers you, let’s understand the pros and cons of Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit. 

Amazon Alexa

Let’s talk about good things first. Amazon Alexa is the most popular name when it comes to smart devices and smart home ecosystems. It dominates over 50% of the smart home market and there are reasons for it. First, it’s an open ecosystem that has extensive brand partnerships, as a result, it offers a vast array of compatible devices. Right from the major brands to smaller names in the markets, a wide range of smart home devices work with Alexa. From Smart lights, door sensors, smart thermostats, smart speakers, smart blinds, Wi-Fi 6 Mesh routers, and home security, you can control everything with Alexa. It means you won’t face any issues while picking up devices for your smart home. 

Next is the fantastic Skill System. From suggesting recipes and playing your favourite music to helping in online shopping and reading the news, Alexa has over 100,000 skills that can do anything and everything for a user. In addition, Alexa can also recognize the individual voices of each of your family members and provide personalised results. 

Now, let’s talk about the downsides of Alexa. First, it can play Amazon Prime Music on your smart speakers and Amazon Prime Video on your Echo Show, but it cannot play YouTube directly. This is the area where Alexa literally struggles. Next, it doesn’t really cope with complicated requests and accents. Also, sometimes it can get irritating to say Alexa before every follow-up question. Furthermore, you may sometimes have to deal with connection drops and slow responses.

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Google Home

First things first. Google Assistant is the smartest and most accurate digital assistant that you’ll find today. Also, it’s extremely popular, easy to use, understands the context, and provides the best answer. For example, you can ask,

“Hey Google, 

When was PlayStation 5 released? What is the price?”

It will remember the context of the original question and provide the best answer. Communication feels more natural and easier with Google Home. Also, when it comes to language, accent, or dialect support, it’s just hard to beat Google smart devices. 

Next, Google Assistant is not only used in smart devices but in Android and Google smartphones too. Therefore, if you’re an Android user or a fan of Google devices, Google Home is probably the best option for you. Next, Google Home also offers a wide range of compatible devices. Although it’s less than Amazon’s offerings, you’ll also find Google Home-supported devices in most product categories. 

Now, let’s talk about the things where Google Assistant is not a perfect choice. First, it has fewer privacy features than the other two platforms. Next, it’s not as widely available as Amazon Alexa. Google’s smart home platform is spread across seven countries, which puts it far behind Alexa which is available in around twenty-eight countries. 

Also Read: Best Accessories for Google Pixel 6

Apple HomeKit

Talking about the Apple HomeKit, it may not have a large list of compatible devices or a perfect voice assistant, it’s just hard to beat HomeKit when it comes to security and privacy. Yes, Apple HomeKit is far more secure than Amazon Alexa as well as Google Home. Therefore, for users who don’t want to take any chance when it comes to privacy, HomeKit is a perfect home automation platform for them. One of the best things about HomeKit is the local control. You can control your smart devices without the need for any cloud service or active internet connection. Therefore, no matter if your favourite smart home device goes out of business or you’re stuck with a bad network, you’ll still be able to control your devices. 

Moving further, it also has the most user-friendly interface and aesthetics of all three platforms, and offers a super-easy way to set up new devices.  

Now, let’s talk about a few things where Apple HomeKit lags behind its competitors. First, when compared to Amazon Alexa or Google Home, Apple HomeKit offers the least number of compatible devices. Therefore, users can have a hard time choosing the smart devices that fit in the Apple home automation ecosystem. Next, Apple’s Siri lags behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in terms of accuracy, response, and overall user experience. Lastly, HomeKit also requires a hub (Apple TV, HomePod, or a compatible iPad) that’s turned ON and connected to the network all the time to operate the devices. 

Also Read: Best Soundbars for Apple TV 4K [Buying Guide]

Which is the best platform for your Smart home?

Here comes the most awaited question- whether you should go for Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit? See, each platform has its own benefits and the selection largely depends upon your preferences and what you expect from your smart home. 

Amazon Alexa is the best choice for users who want to set up an expansive, interconnected home with multiple smart devices. You can choose from a huge list of compatible devices and set up a home of your dreams where each device works together in a better way. Right from the smart bulbs, thermostats, home security systems, doorbells, home speakers, water sensors, and more, you can control everything with Alexa. In addition, the voice assistant is great and features are added on a regular basis. 

Coming to Google Home, it also supports a wide range of devices and you can easily install new devices with much ease and finesse. What differentiates Google Home from its competitors is its voice assistant. Google Assistant is the smartest and more accurate of all the voice assistants that exist today. Whether it’s answering questions, making recommendations, or shopping online, Google Assistant is just superb. In addition, the app is available for iOS as well as Android. Everything considered Google Home is a more suitable option for users who love Android or Google devices. 

Lastly, if you’re a die-hard Apple fan, HomeKit is probably the best platform to build your smart home. In addition, this ecosystem is more streamlined toward security and privacy. Next, you can control your smart home devices even when your internet isn’t working. Lastly, HomeKit offers powerful options where automation can be tied to the location of your phone, the activity of devices & sensors, and more. In short, if you don’t care about a large list of compatible devices, and want to set up a home smart with minimal devices and ease, Apple is an excellent pick. 

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Recommended devices for each platform

If you want to set up a basic smart home, we’ve mentioned some amazing smart devices like lights, hubs, and other devices for each ecosystem. Let’s have a look.

Amazon Alexa

By now, we know that Amazon Alexa has the largest number of compatible devices among the three platforms. Right from some fantastic first-party picks to feature-packed third-party options, you’ll find a plethora of Alexa-supported devices that are released regularly. Here are the best Alexa-compatible devices in 2022:

Hub: Amazon Echo Dot

Lights: Philips Hue

Thermostats: Ecobee Smart Thermostats

Security Camera: Blink Outdoor Security Camera

Door/Window sensor: Samsung SmartThings Door and Windows Sensor

TV: LG 80 Series 55” 4K TV

Streaming device: Amazon Fire Stick 4K

Mesh Wi-Fi Routers: Amazon eero 6

Google Home 

You’ll also find a wide range of devices that are compatible with Google Home. This includes several first-party offerings under Google’s Nest branding and various Google Assistant-enabled devices across major & smaller brands. Here are the best Google Home-compatible devices in 2022:

Hub: Google Nest Mini

Lights: Philips Hue

Thermostats: Google Nest Learning Thermostats

Security Camera: Google Nest Cam

Door/Window sensor: Ecolink Zwave Plus Sensor

TV: Sony X85J 65-inch

Streaming device: Google Chromecast Ultra

Mesh Wi-Fi Routers: Google Mesh Wi-Fi

Apple HomeKit

Although Apple HomeKit supports fewer devices than its competitors, you can find a product under each major category. Here are the best HomeKit-compatible devices that can help you set up a smart home. 

Hub: HomePod mini

Lights: Philips Hue

Thermostats: Ecobee3 Lite Thermostats

Security Camera: ecobee SmartCamera

Door/Window sensor: Eve Door and Window

TV: LG 90 Series 4K TV (Does not really matter as long as you have connected Apple TV to it)

Streaming device: Apple TV 4K

Mesh Wi-Fi Routers: Linksys Velop Mesh Routers

Also Read: Best OLED TVs for Apple TV 4K

With this. we’ve come to an end of our comparison on Amazon Alexa vs Google Home vs Apple HomeKit. We hope this article has clarified your doubts and has helped you pick the right ecosystem. Which smart home ecosystem did you choose for your home? Do share your experience in the comments section below.