In 2020, Amazon, Google, and Apple are making good smart speakers. The competition between these tech giants only drives them to keep getting better. Amazon popularized smart speakers with the originaland the Voice assistant, but today you have several options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
How do you choose the best smart speaker for your needs? The main differences are mostly related to the size, price and audio quality of the hardware. If you don’t need a lot of oomph from your music and you have slightly lower audio quality, you can save money and get the same smarts in a smaller smart speaker.
Our favorites thatand the are both fantastic smart devices. Almost all of your options include multi-room audio and allow you to turn on the lights, play music, ask a question, set reminders and much more with simple voice commands. If that’s your thing, it may be time to give in to the growing hype of this burgeoning category of devices and buy a smart speaker.
If you have an affinity with one of these brands, picking a speaker is easy.Model. Here is a . The $ 350 Apple HomePod is your only option if you want a Siri-enabled smart speaker. However, the good news is that it has great audio quality that makes listening to music very pleasant.
If you’re platform agnostic and don’t have to choose between Alexa or Google, the choice can be intimidating at first. However, choosing the best smart speaker can be easy once you know what you’re looking for. Here are our thoughts.
The growing number of smart speakers are ready for your command
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Note that the products described here are selected independently by our editors.
Ben Fox Rubin / Tips Clear
Naming the best smart speaker is very difficult these days. Both Google and Amazon have very powerful smart speakers at affordable prices. If you’re not into the gist of the category and just want to try out a smart speaker, then consider getting the 3rd generation Echo Dot. Amazon’s voice assistant offers more functions than Apple’s Google assistant and Siri.
The third generation Amazon Echo Dot looks and sounds better than previous versions and is still only $ 50. There’s also a $ 60 version with a handy LED clock for timers, temperature, and alarms. The Echo Dot offers the same digital assistant smarts as more expensive Echo devices. You sacrifice some audio quality for size and price, but it plugs into your own speakers so you can easily make up for that difference. Read the Amazon Echo Dot Review.
Sarah Tew / Tips Clear
The $ 200 Sonos One lets you pair two devices for stereo or multiroom audio, but even a single speaker sounds great on a variety of music genres and costs significantly less than other smart speakers with great sound quality like Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod.
Better still, Sonos One has both Alexa and Google Assistant built into it. Just choose which ones you want to use for your voice commands during setup. Sonos also has Apple’s AirPlay 2, so you can control it with any Siri-enabled device, including your iPhone.
If you add it up, the Sonos One is a great sounding, affordable smart speaker that fits into households with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. It’s hard to beat. Read the Sonos One review.
James Martin / Tips Clear
Amazon used to be the undisputed ruler of the world of smart speakers, but Google did an admirable job of catching up with its digital assistant in the sound race. At this point, choosing between the two companies’ most affordable smart devices – the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Nest Mini – comes down to splitting your hair. The Dot is still our favorite, but by a small margin.
The Google Assistant now has almost as many features as Alexa. That makes the $ 50 Google Nest Mini a solid alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot for finding the best smart speaker. In addition, the Google Assistant is a slightly more intelligent voice assistant than Alexa. It is more flexible to voice commands when you can’t remember the exact name of your smart home devices, and Google’s grouped commands called routines work with more types of smart devices than Amazon’s similar routines. The Google Assistant can recognize multiple voices, so you and your spouse will get different answers when you ask about your calendars. Alexa can do this now too.
Overall, Google is still ahead of the game when it comes to assistant intelligence, and the Google Nest Mini is a great, affordable way to take advantage of those smart features. Read the Google Nest Mini review.
Chris Monroe / Tips Clear
Deciding which assistant you want in the middle of your smart home is a daunting task. Both Alexa and Google Assistant work with many devices. They both help you organize and control them easily. While the Google Assistant is a little smarter, Alexa works with smarter home devices and makes it easier to set up with voice commands.
Ultimately, we’ll be giving Amazon the smart home advantage in the best smart speaker category thanks to Alexa and the $ 150 worth of Echo Plus. Alexa can send alerts when your smart speaker hears broken glass or a smoke alarm. The Echo Plus combines the usual Alexa smarts with a speaker that sounds great and has a built-in smart home hub so you can sync your little sensors with it instead of buying more gear. Read the Amazon Echo Plus review.
Tyler Lizenby / Tips Clear
Siri’s first smart speaker adapts its sound to the room you are in and sounds amazing when you play all genres of music. Its sound quality surpasses the Sonos One and even squeaks through the similarly expensive Google Home Max. Thanks to Siri, you can also use an Apple HomePod to control your smart home products with the sound of your voice, just like the other smart speakers around Asking help and answering calls on your iPhone.
However, the HomePod is more limited than the others. You can only play music from Apple’s music service using voice commands. Other smart speakers give you some popular streaming options like Pandora or Spotify. For the smart home, you’re limited to devices that work with Apple’s smart home platform, HomeKit. So the HomePod has some limitations that the rest don’t, but that shouldn’t concern you if you’ve already invested in Apple products and just want great sound quality. Read the Apple HomePod Review.
Best portable smart speaker
JBL Link 20
Sarah Tew / Tips Clear
With so many smart speakers to choose from, it’s surprising how few are portable. Fortunately, the JBL Link 20 checks all of the correct boxes to qualify as a good smart speaker, and it’s battery powered. It has decent battery life and solid sound quality, and Google Assistant is built in like the Google Nest Mini.
Even better, the wireless speaker is fully waterproof, so you can play music outdoors and connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, or stream audio through your phone’s bluetooth. $ 200 is a bit expensive. It often sells for $ 150 and is currently sold out, but JBL representatives assured us it will be back in stock soon.
Meanwhile, the similar JBL Link 10 is a solid and cheaper, if a little less impressive, alternative. Read the JBL Link 20 review.
These smart speakers are our favorites, but you have plenty of other options if you’re looking for something in particular. Read our breakdown ofif you want to get to know the advantages and disadvantages of each and decide by platform.
Note that neither the originalstill the original was shown above because the smaller versions (Dot and Mini) let you get the same features for less money. However, if you’re looking for a smart speaker that will split the difference between affordability and premium sound, both options are still solid.
If you like the idea of always listening but want something more visual, check out ours. Smart displays essentially combine a smart speaker with a touch screen so you can watch videos on YouTube, make video calls, and control your smart home devices with one touch. Amazon and Google both have multiple options in this booming smart display category of smart home technology.
There are also manyand a growing number of . Visit the or the when you want Alexa in a wearable body. The is another, more compact choice when you need a portable smart speaker with the Google Assistant. You can also buy add-ons from a company called If you want to make your google or amazon smart speaker portable.
Finally, thatUses . It’s knowledgeable enough if you’re a Windows fanatic but not enough otherwise to stand out from the crowd. Samsung even has a much-belated smart speaker, the .
Find out which platform or features you want and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you and your family.
Updated regularly with new products as we review them.