If you're looking for an intelligent smart home speaker, then one powered by Google is a great alternative to the Amazon Echo range

Like the Amazon Echo smart speakers, Google Home devices - some of which are now Nest branded - are available in a range of sizes. They all have Google Assistant built-in - meaning they can carry out the same tasks - but they have very different designs and specifications which will determine where you put them around your home and what you use them for.

Here's everything you need to know about the Google Home and Nest devices to help you work out which is right for you.

Which is the best Google Home speaker for you?

The Google Home is the original and a happy medium between the Home Max and Home Mini - the latter of which has been succeeded by the Nest Mini. It can be used to control all manner of smart home products (like the other Google Home speakers) but has reasonable audio capability, too, making it a great replacement for a kitchen radio.

The Google Home Max is a seriously powerful speaker, which when combined with Google Assistant could make it the only one you need in your home for entertainment.

The Google Nest Mini - which replaces the original Google Home Mini - is small and cheap enough to go into any home. It has the same features of Google Assistant as its larger siblings, but in a much more manageable size. It is very much about using the Google Assistant and is the easiest and cheapest access point to the system.

The Google Nest Hub is a great choice for those with compatible smart home devices, offering excellent control, whilst also delivering a good enough sound and all the features that come with Google Assistant.

The Google Nest Hub Max adds a larger display and a camera, making it a full Nest device, as well as a smart display. It too offers all the features that come with Google Assistant, as well as bigger sound compared to the Nest Hub.

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Google Nest Hub

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  • Dimensions: 178 x 118 x 67.3mm, 480g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz), Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, 15 W adapter, DC power jack 
  • Audio: Full range speaker, two microphones with far-field voice recognition
  • Display: 7-inch
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Quad-core ARM
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Google Nest Hub (formerly Home Hub) is a speaker like the other Home devices but it adds a 7-inch touchscreen to its list of attributes - yes, it's a smart display. The sound quality isn't as good as the Max or the original Home but the display is an excellent feature for watching quick YouTube videos, reading news snippets and controlling smart home devices.

It offers all the same features as the other Home products, along with a great design, YouTube integration (which Amazon's Echo Show does not) and it is fantastic for smart home control, with the list of compatible devices growing constantly.

There's no camera as there is on the larger Nest Hub Max but it makes for a great smart home hub.

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Google Nest Hub Max

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  • Dimensions: 250.1 x 182.55 x 101.23mm, 1.32kg
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, 30W adapter, DC power jack 
  • Audio: Stereo speakers (2x 18mm 10W tweeters, 1x 75mm 30W woofer), far-field mic and voice match technology
  • Display: 10-inch, 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera: 6.5MP Nest camera, 127 FoV, face match technology
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Google Nest Hub Max is the biggest Home device with a display and ushered in the name change to Nest. That's because it incorporates a camera which can not only be used for Duo calling, but offers full Nest Cam functions too, so it also acts as a security device. It will also work with Nest's face recognition, so it can change the display details to suit different users, though it doesn't deliver familiar face alerts like the Nest Hello or Nest Cam IQ.

Elsewhere, the Nest Hub Max boosts the experience of the smaller display device, expanding to 10-inches and offering stereo speakers backed with a woofer for better sound delivery. 

Otherwise the Nest Hub Max supports Google Assistant offering all the experiences you'd come to expect from Google's AI system.

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Google Nest Mini

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  • Dimensions: 42 x 98mm, 181g
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio
  • Audio: 40mm speaker driver, 360-degree sound
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, FLAC, WAV, Vorbis
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Google Nest Mini is the second generation of the Google Home Mini, and it remains the smallest of Google's smart home speaker range. Like the Amazon Echo Dot, it's a small puck-like device that is available in four colours - all of which have fabric covers that aren't interchangeable. The fabric is made from recycled bottles in the Nest Mini though, making it more sustainable than the original Google Home Mini.

Thanks to its diminutive size, the Nest Mini can be placed virtually anywhere, including wall-mounted thanks to its built-in wall-mount, and even kept out of sight if you wish. It can load up content on any Chromecast device, giving you voice-controlled access to movies and TV shows from supported services.

The Nest Mini gives you access to all those Assistant-powered features, so it's a smart home control device, it's an entertainer and a plaything, it's a quiz master, a reference tool and so much more. It's everything the big Google Home is without the larger speaker.

The Google Nest Mini is compatible with numerous smart home devices, the list of which is constantly growing. It also works with Spotify, Google Play Music, as well as a multitude of other audio services.

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Google Home

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  • Dimensions: 142.8 x 96.4mm, 477g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz)
  • Audio: 2-inch speaker driver, dual 2-inch passive radiators, dual microphones with far-field voice recognition
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, WAV, FLAC, Vorbis
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Google Home is the regular-sized smart speaker from Google. It's the original member and the one that will likely be most popular because of the way it blends style and function. It's pricier than the Google Nest Mini, but delivers way more punch. 

The Google Home sports a design that's reminiscent of an air freshener, with a slightly bulbous bottom that tapers in towards the top. On the angled top of the Home there is a touch-sensitive surface that can be used to control a variety of functions. You can also change the colour of the base to suit your style.

Its sound quality is good, but it probably isn't fit to be your main party speaker, even if it is a step-up from the Nest Mini. It offers all the connected functions of Google Assistant, so it's a natural smart home hub, letting you control all your devices, as well as accessing a wide range of Google services, information and giving you control of your Chromecast.

The Google Home has all the same smarts as the Google Nest Mini, only with more power under the hood. You can also purchase different bases to change the style of your Google Home speaker, too, which you can't do on the Mini.

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Google Home Max

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  • Dimensions: 336.6 x 190 x 154.4mm, 5.3kg
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz), Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, USB-C, 3.5mm auxiliary 
  • Audio: 2 x 4.5-inch dual voice coil woofers, 2 x 0.7-inch tweeters, six microphones with far-field voice recognition
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, WAV, FLAC, Vorbis, Opus
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Quad-core ARM
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Google Home Max is max by name and max by nature. It's large in size and it delivers high-quality sound that can fill a room. A large price tag puts the Google Home Max in the premium smart home speaker bracket - competing with the Sonos range and the Apple HomePod

Packing four drivers and six Class-D amplifiers, the Google Home Max makes the sound performance of most other smart home speakers pale in comparison. We certainly found it to be capable in terms of sound, but many may recoil at the price tag. 

It's on the large size too, as far as wireless speakers go, so finding a home for the Home Max could be tricky.

We imagine most people will put one in their living room or bedroom. It's not for wall-mounting but can be positioned either vertically or horizontally making it pretty versatile. It offers all the same features as the smaller Nest Mini and Home though, just with better sound capabilities.

See these products at work in our smart home setup video: