It’s great to be able to control your smart lights or door locks with a simple swipe of your finger. Nothing is as satisfying or futuristic as giving a single order and letting the whole house meet your expectations! To do this, you will need a smart assistant, and the best way to “use it” is to have the Best Smart Speakers.
Amazon’s echo is the original smart speaker that combines reasonable sound quality with the innovative notion of controlling playback with your voice. Her onboard assistant, Alexa, is much more than a glorified jockey disc and continues to learn skills that help her to plan the day, stay healthy or have access to news. The competition never sleeps and we have the choice of two other competent assistants, Google Assistant and Siri.
Which assistant is the best? Which speaker should you have? We answer these questions and more via a brief information guide, then look at the best smart speakers currently available. Choose a favorite to fill your home with music and sounds of a shredder assistant that will make your life easier.
Best Smart Speakers Speaker Name Voice Assistant Rating Amazon Echo 2nd Gen Amazon Alexa 9.5 out of 10 Google Home Google Assistant 9.4 out of 10 Apple HomePod Apple Siri 9.3 out of 10 Sonos One Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant 9.3 out of 10 Ultimate Ears Megablast Amazon Alexa 9.2 out of 10 Amazon Echo Dot Amazon Alexa 9.2 out of 10 JBL Link 300 Google Assistant 9.1 out of 10 Google Home Mini Google Assistant 9.1 out of 10 Ultimate Ears Blast Amazon Alexa 9.0 out of 10 Amazon Echo Plus Amazon Alexa 8.9 out of 10
Things To Know
The Best Smart Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and some are much more portable than others. Quality speakers such as Google Home Max can weigh over 10 pounds and are not designed to be moved. It is therefore essential to find a good location to cover the entire room if you want a pleasant listening experience. Omnidirectional speakers such as Echo or Apple’s HomePod deliver music from all sides and are more likely to occupy a central place in the room. Finally, there are fully portable models that follow a similar design but that draw their energy from a rechargeable battery. Consider how likely you are to move the speaker before you buy.
It is important to understand that not all best smart speakers work with all smart gadgets and plan accordingly. If the loudspeaker is the first piece of smart technology you buy, you’ll want to become familiar with compatible devices so you can seamlessly integrate lights, thermostats, and more. The speakers that support Amazon Alexa are the best choice because Alexa is compatible with many smart devices. The Google Assistant does not have such support, but it gradually reduces the gap. Siri is the least connected popular voice assistant and can not be used with Android devices.
When buying traditional speakers, the sound quality is the only thing to consider and it’s easy to make a decision because more expensive equipment usually sounds better. Best Smart Speakers add the intelligent assistant variable to the mix, which can complicate things. Speakers with excellent sound quality can benefit from poor intelligent assistant support. Other models, such as Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, provide access to all the features of their respective wizards while sounding worse than more expensive speakers. You will want to make sure that the audio quality of the speaker is acceptable and that it supports your intelligent assistant before committing to a device.
We assume that you are here because you want to find the Best Smart Speaker for you – the one who plays best with the devices you already have, who understands you best and who, when it comes time to play music, played the strongest. Each of the smart speakers below is more than capable of making your smart home smarter, playing music and keeping an eye on your family.
Amazon Echo 2nd Gen
If you’re looking for an affordable smart speaker that sounds good enough to play your favorite tunes, the latest version of Amazon Echo is your best bet. In fact, it’s our current top pick for the best smart speaker on the market right now. The latest generation, Echo, sounds better than Amazon’s Echo Dot, but it’s cheaper than the Echo Plus and Apple’s HomePod. We do not think you should use it to replace your hi-fi, but at the same time, it’s a great place to start if you want to try smart home life with the Best Smart Speaker.
Amazon has also improved the style of the Echo since the release of the first version in 2015. The new fabric finishes will fit most living rooms better than the brushed aluminum of the original. The only drawback is that the echo does not have Amazon’s Echo Plus net volume dial. It should also be mentioned that Alexa often does not seem as smart as Google Assistant. At the price, though, it’s a great option that should meet the needs of most people. Amazon would also be working on eight new Alexa devices starting in September 2018, including a high-end microwave audio system.
- Great new look
- Lower price
- New Alexa features
- Alexa app could be better
For starters, you may never be able to enjoy the amount of music available on YouTube without buying a Google Home account. We are not saying that Google Home is able to play all the songs you can imagine, but after plunging into the depths of the ’90s, we still could not find a melody. Google Home could not locate and start playing. If Google Home excels as a DJ, it’s also a surprisingly smart home hub. It already includes some of the largest platforms available today, such as Samsung’s Nest, Philips, and SmartThings. This figure will increase again in a few months. But we are torn when it comes to recommending Google Home. In some ways, it is disappointing and not up to the coveted center of the smart home that Google has put on the market.
It’s because it’s not there yet. It’s a bit too rigid in her understanding of language, her list of smart home devices is getting longer, but still a little disappointing and, perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, she does not understand a lot of Google base. It has the potential to grow to compete with Amazon’s echo in the future, but for now, Google Home is just a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast functionality and the possibility of saving you a switch. Also worth mentioning is a more recent update: Google Home can now make calls to landlines in the UK! It was a feature unveiled in the previous year of Google IO, and she’s finally entered the house. Google Assistant has also been updated to include bilingual features, continuous conversation, and multiple actions.
- Customizable base
- Big song library
- Expanding the hardware ecosystem
- Missing Google’s own services
- Requires precise phrasing
The highly anticipated Apple HomePod has finally entered the battle of the best smart speakers for your home. The obvious benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it will play well with your other Apple products. So, if you’re a hardcore fan of Apple, the HomePod is a no-brainer. But it’s worth asking the same question you should always ask yourself when you want to buy a new Apple product: how much premium should you pay for owning a device that only integrates seamlessly with the Apple ecosystem?
When we looked at the device, we were torn apart as we were actually looking at two things at once: how the HomePod is considered a high-end speaker and how does it behave like a hub for the smart home? In the first category, the HomePod is excellent because it offers incredible sound and a very intuitive configuration. But in the latter case, Siri is only mediocre in its implementation, and the fact that you can not get out of the Apple ecosystem for many key functions is also a hindrance. Apple would work on the Apple HomePod 2, or on a cheaper and more compact HomePod Mini, but without any mention at the launch of the iPhone in September, it seems that we will not know until 2019.
- Great sound
- Nice, minimal design
- Siri accuracy is high
- Siri scope is limited
- No Bluetooth streaming
- Apple Music needed
Sonos One Alexa speaker is a sleek, feature-rich, stunning-sounding device that combines the best of both worlds. Alexa, who keeps getting better, on the one hand, and on the other, you have Sonos with his own multi-room solutions. The mix also contains a new feature that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With this, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and form a multi-room coupling with the Apple HomePod, making it the most popular speaker versatile list.
If anything prevents the Sonos One from coming back to splendor, it’s that Google Assistant is still MIA – something that Sonos has been particularly unobtrusive about. Once Google Assistant takes over later in 2018 (hopefully), Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart home speakers and is easily considered to be one of the Best Smart Speakers.
- Best of Alexa and Sonos
- Plays music while Alexa is muted
- Google Assistant MIA for now
- Premium price
Ultimate Ears Megablast
Ultimate Ears is an audio brand recognized for its quality and robust Bluetooth speakers. With its new Megablast speaker, he left and through Amazon’s intelligent Alexa assistant into the mix. The result is one of the most beautiful portable speakers with Megablast. And thanks to the integration of Amazon Alexa, it’s also one of the smartest. With Megablast, you get the 360-degree sound, portability, and durability of the excellent EU Boom speaker, with the intelligence of an echo. It’s really a wedding done in the paradise of best smart speakers.
But unfortunately, some key features are still missing several months after launch. Its price may be too high for those looking for a simple smart speaker. Amazon Echo is significantly cheaper than this speaker. The Megablast will cost you more than the last echo Amazon Echo or Sonos One. Overall, the Megablast is a great addition to the Ultimate Ears lineup and may well be the best speaker. This has not yet met all our expectations, but when Alexa will benefit from support for a wider range of music services and can create a network of multi-room speakers.
- Waterproof and robust
- Great sound
- Still awaiting key features
- Charging dock sold separately
Amazon Echo Dot
Echo Dot from Amazon is a great little product. It retains almost everything that made the original Echo so great while bringing a substantial price reduction. Being able to use an external speaker means that the Dot is really a great way to listen to music at home, but its internal speaker is also amazingly capable of handling simpler demands. If you want to know more about the Amazon Echo experience, then the Dot is perfectly ideal for trying it at a much cheaper price – and, in some ways, its audio output options mean it’s all about in fact the upper device.
We have not yet reached Tony Stark’s Jarvis age, but if developers continue to rally to Alexa by developing ever smarter skills, the future may be imminent. If the Dot really rings in your street but you have children and you do not know how they will get along with Alexa, check out Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition – it has unique and child-friendly benefits, including a guarantee two-year damage replacement, a red, blue or green colored rubber case, and a one-year FreeTime Unlimited for Kids subscription.
- Great, smaller design
- Stellar voice recognition
- Line out functionality is very useful
- Limited voice control
JBL Link 300
The JBL Link 300 is a Google Home speaker with a remarkable sound, which is loud and amplifies the bass. Although not everyone appreciates the warm tonal balance, the speaker represents a good value compared to the competition. We hope that Google and JBL will be able to improve their voice detection via a software update. The JBL Link 300 is the perfect place in the company’s Google Home speaker line. For your money, you get a loudspeaker that sounds good, gets loud, removes bass and has convenient physical controls. Its design is perhaps a little forgotten, but it’s forgiven because the speaker works so well.
The speaker is not perfect, however. The voice recognition is average because we have to shout on the device when the music plays loudly. In addition, there is currently no way to make voice calls, which can be done by Google Home and Google Home Mini, which are less expensive. Facing competitors, the Sonos One offers a more balanced sound, but only supports Amazon Alexa for the moment. The company promises to provide Google Assistant support to the speaker in 2018, but this feature has not yet appeared.
- Good sound, good bass
- Physical buttons
- Great value
- Tonal balance too warm
- Can’t make calls
Google Home Mini
In many ways, the Home Mini is similar to the Amazon Echo Dot. This is Google’s attempt to associate the assistant with as many homes as possible. The huge amount of features Google Home offers, along with its minimal build, premium, and low price, make it an instant star. This means that if you’re looking for a cheap speaker, the Google Home Mini system will do the trick for many people. However, keep in mind that it is better to consider this as a supplement to the host family rather than to the foundation.
In addition to being so smart, this device specializes in rewarding those already in the Google Cast ecosystem with a new, inexpensive device. Yes, Google Home Mini costs less than half the price of Google Home larger and half of its size. However, it does not seem like we’re getting half of his performance – we’re getting something less.
- Plays nice with Google Cast
- Bluetooth support
- Good value
- Weak sound performance
Ultimate Ears Blast
The EU Blast is a portable Bluetooth speaker first and a second smart speaker. Alexa’s inclusion makes Blast useful at home when paired with the optional Power Up dock – but even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, Blast is still a great Bluetooth speaker. The EU Blast is a slightly confusing product because it tries to be both a smart and portable speaker. As a portable speaker, you do not have to fear for the beach, the Blast is excellent (just like the old Boom 2).
However, do not expect the EU Blast to be great at home with poor voice recognition and the lack of the dock included. It’s hard to justify using EU Blast at home, as the smart speaker competitors like the Sonos One retailer at about the same price because the Sonos One works with the company’s multizone technology and its platform that supports just about every music service streaming the sun. In addition, you will have the opportunity to use Google Assistant and Alexa in a future update.
- Excellent sound quality
- Good battery life
- For home and on the go
- Amazon’s walled garden
- Alexa useless without Wi-Fi
- Poor voice recognition
Amazon Echo Plus
Amazon Echo Plus is the high-end choice among its tower speakers. You should consider buying one if you want decent sound quality but do not want to display Echo Show or Echo Spot. It is louder and more serious than the standard echo, especially useful for music. Does it sound as good as the Sonos One? No, but like other Amazon Echo gadgets, its price is competitive. Like other smart home systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it is easy to recommend Amazon Echo Plus. This is a unique and convenient solution for audio, intelligent assistant functions and the Internet of Things controls, with Alexa continuing to do her best as the most feature-rich voice assistant.
But the strength of the Echo range, especially at low prices, makes it even more difficult to sell these high-end models: the Echo Dot has comparable capabilities for a fraction of the price, for example, it just sounds as good. Likewise, the integrated smart hub is a great addition but is not yet fully in functionality, which means smart home users may not want to jump right now. In short, if you want to enter the connected homeworld, Echo Plus is a great place to start. Just be aware that cheaper options can, at least for the moment, also suit your needs.
- Good Alexa voice control
- Improved audio
- One-box smart home solution
- The sound could be better
- Smart hub features need work
The future may not be about which Smart Speaker you buy, but will be more focused on integrating voice-activated smart assistants into other products. However, for now, our list of Best Smart Speakers displays you the ten best Smart Speakers that you can buy right now. And with the huge success of these voice-activated home helpers, this selection is probably only the beginning as a number of other companies, including some of the biggest names in tech, are also working on their own smart home audio products. It remains to be seen whether they upset the market or turn out to be a load of hot air.
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