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The best Google Nest products of 2023
Google bought Nest Labs in 2014 to make a major smart home push, and now, everything from thermostats to speakers and displays bears the Nest branding. Some of the company’s offerings are better than others ― and we’re here to play favorites. These are the best Google Nest products you can buy right now.
The best Google Nest products
Editor’s note: We’ll add new Nest products to this list as they launch.
Nest Doorbell (Wired, 2nd gen)
With many of us relying on deliveries for everything from groceries to e-bikes, it’s important to keep an eye on our doorsteps. The Nest Doorbell replaces your home’s analog hardware, and streams video right to your phone, tablet, or smart display (even Amazon ones). There are both battery-powered and wired-only Doorbell models, but for many people we recommend going with the latter, which has finally been updated to match the Battery model’s specs including a sleeker design and HDR video (albeit in 960p resolution).
You do sacrifice the ability to keep recording for an hour after power is cut, but you’ll never have to recharge, and you get the option of continuous cloud recording up to 10 days with a Nest Aware Plus subscription. The Battery model can only save event clips. If you don’t care about continuous recording, the cheaper, standard Aware subscription still offers 30 days of event history and familiar face recognition.
Without Aware, both Doorbells offer 3 hours of cloud-based event recording, as well as on-device person, package, animal, and vehicle detection for more selective alerts.
The Nest Protect is all about the trouble you can’t see — namely, smoke and carbon monoxide. It’s self-testing, and pushes alerts to your phone, where you can also silence those false alarms caused by burning the bacon. A further benefit is app-based battery warnings, so you never have to scramble for a stepladder to shut off annoying chirps.
There are wired and battery-powered versions, and it even lights up when you walk underneath at night. The wired model takes three AA batteries as backup. We do wish it had wider platform support, since as things stand it only integrates with other Nest products.
Nest Cam security cameras
Google’s Nest security cameras are nearly as popular as its thermostats. There are indoor and outdoor versions, both of which offer a 1080p video feed, a 130-degree field of view (technically, 135 degrees for the indoor model), and the detection of motion, people, vehicles, and animals. They’ll keep recording for an hour if they lose Wi-Fi.
The outdoor camera is weatherproof and supports battery power, whereas the indoor version is wired-only. If you’re all-in on Nest for home security, you can grab an upgraded outdoor Cam with floodlights, and/or multi-packs to rig up your whole home. Like the Nest Doorbell, you’ll need an Aware subscription to get expanded video history or familiar face detection.
The Nest Audio automatically tunes itself to the type of content you’re listening to (music, podcasts, etc.) as well as ambient noise levels. Adding a second unit enables stereo pairing, and you can link it with other Google-equipped speakers for a whole-home experience.
The product is a strong foundation for a smart home with support for Google Assistant, not to mention a wide array of services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and (of course) anything connected to Google. It may also be the smart speaker of choice for privacy. Yes, Google is using your searches for ads, but by default Google doesn’t record any of your voice commands for improving Assistant. You can easily ask your speaker to delete recordings if you do opt in.
Nest Hub Max
If you want to step up from the Nest Audio to a smart display while keeping audio quality intact, look no further than the Nest Hub Max. The product pairs a 10-inch touchscreen with two 18mm, 10W tweeters and a 75mm, 30W woofer. Adding a screen makes a big difference, since it enables things like video calls, guided recipes, and video services like Netflix and YouTube. If you have a Google-compatible doorbell or security camera, you can stream live footage.
Often, though, it’s the simpler things that make a Nest Hub worth it. It’s a quick way of getting the time, weather, and upcoming Google Calendar events, and you can assign it a Google Photos album for rotating wallpaper. With a visual interface, you can control smart home accessories without disrupting other people. It additionally serves as a Matter controller and Thread border router.
There are legitimate reasons to want the smaller 7-inch Nest Hub. That one has less powerful sound and lacks a camera, but it’s both cheaper and more compact, while offering an option the Max doesn’t: Sleep Sensing, which can gauge sleep issues when the Hub is sitting on your nightstand.
Nest Learning Thermostat
We’ve finally reached the product that put Nest on the map. The Learning Thermostat optimizes your heating and cooling systems, ultimately paying for itself by saving money on your power bill. You can create your own schedule, or as its name implies, let it learn from common manual adjustments. You’ll see a green leaf onscreen whenever you’re using a power-efficient setting.
Nest’s flagship is actually one of the simplest smart thermostats on the market. Its round shape is also aesthetically pleasing, moreso because you can choose colors like black, white, steel, or brass to match your décor. It’s compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Nest Wifi Pro
A continual challenge with any smart home is keeping every device online. For many people, Google’s Nest Wifi Pro should do the trick. It’s a mesh router, which means you can add extra units to improve coverage if range or obstacles are a factor. A single Pro covers up to 2,200 square feet (about 204 square meters).
Google has made some critical upgrades over the original Nest Wifi, most notably leaping from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6E for superior bandwidth and a much, much larger number of simultaneous connections. Each unit now has two gigabit Ethernet ports, and if you’re on the cutting edge of smart home tech, there’s support for Matter and Thread.
Chromecast with Google TV
Our final product is technically missing Nest from its name, but slots in neatly with the rest of the lineup, and is a natural choice for a Google-based smart home. The top-end Chromecast features a visual interface, a remote with Google Assistant, and the ability to stream video from Google-compatible security cameras. In effect it can turn your TV into a giant Nest Hub, though you may want a separate Assistant speaker or display to improve the convenience of voice commands.
The Chromecast’s main purpose is streaming movies and TV shows. It packs all of your favorite streaming apps, such as Netflix and YouTube, and you can use Google Cast to push media from phones, tablets, and laptops. Google bundles it in a “Home of Entertainment” package with two Nest Audios and a Nest Hub Max, which is a pretty solid way of decking out an entertainment system, even if you can’t use the Audios as TV speakers. On its own, the Chromecast is $50 or less.