Google Home vs. Amazon Echo

Which one is better for you?

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home

Lifewire

The Amazon Echo and Google Home are both excellent devices for controlling your home, keeping track of your schedule, or answering the oddball trivia questions that pop into your head. These smart speakers hit the midrange with a good speaker setup but are not so over the top that they cost too much. We've reviewed them both to help you decide which of these is the right choice for you.

These smart speakers are better-sounding versions of their little siblings, so if you are trying to save money, you can also compare the Echo Dot and the Home Mini that both come in at about half the price.

Overall Findings

Google Home

  • Answers the widest range of questions.

  • Good sound quality.

  • Plays your personal music collection.

Amazon Echo

  • Completes the most tasks.

  • Audio-out and Bluetooth capability.

  • Accepts orders for Amazon products directly.

The choice of a smart speaker depends heavily on what you plan to do with it. You may want to use it to control your smart home devices or to stream music in your home. You are bound to ask the occasional question and give instructions for actions or purchases. In reality, you likely want to do all these things and more. Here's the information you need to know before making your decision.

Best Speaker: Google Home Sound Stands Out

Google Home

  • Good sound quality for a speaker in this price range.

  • Dual passive radiators bring out the bass.

  • Not as loud as the Echo.

Amazon Echo

  • Noticeably louder than the Google Home.

  • 35 mm audio-out and Bluetooth capability for hooking up an external speaker.

  • Focuses on voice rather than music.

The Google Home speaker is designed to emphasize high and low range, which gives it better treble and bass sounds than the Echo. A dip in the midrange gives it an advantage when playing music at house volume levels.

The Amazon Echo is loud enough to be used as a single-room speaker and is a major upgrade over the Echo Dot. It sounds best in the midrange, which is where the human voice registers, but it holds up well when playing music.

Neither speaker will be mistaken for an upper-end wireless speaker like the Sonos system or Apple's HomePod, but both hold their own as a single-room smart speaker.

If you are primarily going to be asking questions and listening to podcasts, the Echo can handle the job even better than the Google Home, but if you want to listen to music, the Google Home is the better choice.

Best for Streaming Music: Amazon Echo Has an Edge

Google Home

  • Upload your personal music collection to Google Play Music and listen to it on Google Home.

  • Stream anything on your smartphone or tablet to Google Home via Bluetooth.

Amazon Echo

  • Reads Kindle and Audible books aloud.

  • Stream music on your smartphone or tablet to Echo via Bluetooth.

  • Doesn't support uploading your own music to Echo.

Google Home natively supports Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Pandora, and Spotify. You can also link apps like iHeartRadio, and TuneIn to your Google account and begin streaming from them via voice commands to Google Home.

In addition to Amazon Music Unlimited and your Amazon music collection, the Echo supports Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Deezer, Gimme Radio, and SiriusXM. You can also add music streaming skills to play music stored on Plex or listen to a TED Talk.

The Echo has an edge here because it supports more services natively, with even more available through Alexa skills. She can also read books to you.

Best at Shopping: Amazon Echo

Google Home

  • Local businesses can partner with Google Shipping.

  • Orders backed by a Google guarantee.

Amazon Echo

  • Vast selection of products at Amazon.

  • Quick order and delivery from nearby Whole Foods.

  • Must go to the Amazon website to complete orders for more than one item.

Google introduced Google Express as its shopping backbone, but it has since folded the service into Google Shopping.

Amazon Echo goes hand-in-hand with an Amazon Prime membership, realizing that dream of asking your house for new light bulbs and having it automatically order them for you. In addition to buying from Amazon, you can keep track of a shopping list in the Alexa app for use when you are at the grocery store.

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, the Echo is the easy winner. If you don't, you are probably still better off with the Echo.

Best at Answering Questions and Performing Tasks: It's a Tie

Google Home

  • Answers the widest range of questions.

  • Remembers the context of your questions, allowing easy follow-up queries.

Amazon Echo

  • Alexa answers questions and often displays a sense of humor.

  • Has thousands of third-party skills available for completing tasks.

If there is one area where Google reigns supreme, it is answering questions. Give Amazon credit, it's done a great job feeding Alexa information, but it just can't compete with Google's knowledge graph.

Amazon started behind both Apple, whose Siri digital voice assistant kicked off this race, and Google, who has spent years perfecting the ability to gather knowledge from the web, but you would never know it based on the Echo.

The Echo takes home the overall prize for completing tasks thanks in large part to the number of third-party skills available. The ability to create your own blueprints for Alexa adds to this lead. 

Best Smart Home Hub: Amazon Echo

Google Home

  • Google Home supports multistep routines similar to Alexa but doesn't schedule them.

  • Chromecast support widens the choice of compatible devices.

Amazon Echo

  • Schedule a multistep routine to go off at a set time.

  • Controls the widest variety of smart home devices.

Amazon's Echo may have the quantity, but there is still plenty of quality to be had among Google Home's compatible devices, including the popular Nest products and Samsung SmartThings, which work with both the Echo and Google Home.

This is another area where Amazon was the first to market, and it helped. The Echo is compatible with the widest variety of smart home devices, so there is a better chance that it's going to work with what you already own. You still need to check the list of Echo compatible smart devices to make sure yours are on the list. 

The key here is which device is compatible with your current smart devices. However, if you are starting a smart home from scratch or your devices work with both smart speakers, the Echo ties them together the best.

Final Verdict

The Amazon Echo gets the nod of approval. It has the widest variety of skills, a more-than-adequate speaker, and ties in nicely with the Amazon Prime membership. This makes it a great choice for those who want to use their smart speakers to do things. Alexa can do anything from helping you shop to turning off your lights.

Google Home is quickly catching up to the Echo in terms of skills, and this is especially true in the Smart Home category. The Google Home is best for those who want a smart speaker to listen to music and do quick searches of the web at a whim.