The Google Chromecast seemed like an unassuming little device when it arrived in 2013, but in the years since it's transformed the way a lot of us watch movies and shows. The best Chromecast devices make it easy to send content from your Android phone to any of the best TVs.
Over the year, Chromecast devices have come and gone, and while there were many on the market at one point, all with different specialities, at the moment Google has reduced the range down to just two options.
Both are designed around video rather than audio, featuring HDMI connections to connect to screens or projectors, but the two have slightly different features, which means they're different prices.
But that doesn't mean these are the only devices you can Cast to, however. The reason Google makes fewer Chromecast options these days is how well it's done at persuading other manufacturers to build the features into the products.
The best smart speakers that have Google Assistant built in can be Cast to, as can many of the best wireless speakers. You'll even find that some of the best soundbars have Chromecast streaming built in.
So while we're just focusing on the Google-made Chromecast-named devices here, check out those guides for more Cast-ready gadgets!
The best Chromecast devices 2021
Unlike old Chromecast devices that were just for streaming to from your phone, this is a standalone smart TV device, with its own software. It's powered by Android TV, with the new Google TV interface, which is really easy to use and intuitive. It's packed with streaming apps, so is a great option if you're looking to add more services to a TV that doesn't have what you want built in.
With 4K HDR support too, it's a bit of a home cinema powerhouse – it looks great, and supports all major formats. Dolby Atmos audio is supported too.
It also works like previous Chromecasts, in that you can just beam things to it from other devices. It's just more focused at being a smart TV upgrade.
This is more like the classic Chromecasts: you have the ability to cast audio and video content over to a big TV from dozens and dozens of apps across Android and iOS. And that's it! No remote control, no built-in software. It's great for a low-cost upgrade to a TV you want to stream to sometimes, or for presenting to screens in an office.
You don't get 4K support here (just 1920x1080 Full HD), so there's an upper limit on quality. Similarly, there's no HDR support, so you'll get a better quality of stream from, say, Netflix on the Google TV model above than this one, if that's important to you.
But for just turning a dumb screen into one you can stream to, this absolutely does the trick.