It’s 2023 — Why Don’t You Have a Smart Speaker Yet?

bose portable smart speaker, amazon echo 4th gen
The Best Smart Speakers for Your Connected HomeBest Products; Bose, Amazon

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

A smart speaker will instantly make your life easier. Yes, really! It'll allow you to get information, set timers, play your favorite audio content, and perform countless mundane tasks via voice commands. These clever home gadgets can not only answer questions and entertain you, but also control connected home appliances, including lights, thermostats, smart TVs, and streaming players, among many others.

You can choose between smart speakers with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. Today's market is full of high-quality products in various price categories — from affordable to decidedly premium. That's why we spent weeks evaluating products to help you find the best smart speaker for your needs.

The Best Smart Speakers

What to Consider

Virtual Assistant

Choosing a virtual assistant is the first step before ordering a smart speaker and a matter of personal preference. If you are already an Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri user, skip this step and focus your search on compatible products that fit your criteria.

If you’ve never used a virtual assistant before, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are the two most popular options for smart speakers, and you can find them on products from their makers and third-party manufacturers. Alexa is available in a wider variety of smart speakers and is excellent overall. Siri is exclusively available on Apple’s hardware and is also incredibly capable after over a decade of availability.

The Google Assistant has a superior ability to answer seemingly random questions — you should opt for it if you are looking for a tool that will help you expand your knowledge. Given Google's search prowess and long track record in developing and using neural networks, that's hardly a surprise.

Sound Quality

The quality of sound depends on two major factors — the number of built-in audio drivers and the price. Typically, the more audio drivers a smart — or any other — speaker packs, the better it will sound. Multiple speaker units can produce a more detail-rich sonic experience.

Unless you are shopping on a very tight budget, we suggest you buy a smart speaker with two (or more) audio drivers. When it comes to hearing your voice commands, every product we selected is up for this task.

Regarding price, spending more on smart speaking will inevitably treat you to better sound than cheaper alternatives. This is a rule of thumb that applies to audio gear and a plethora of other tech product categories.

Standard Speaker or Display Screen

Depending on your needs, you can opt for a smart speaker with a low-key design or a more elaborate one with a built-in touchscreen and camera, also known as a smart display. Standard speakers are easier to integrate into any interior as standalone units or a stereo pair for next-level sound.

Smart displays bring a new world of interactions with virtual assistants because they’ll answer many prompts with voice and by showing onscreen information. They can stream video, so you can use them for many more tasks than regular speakers — from step-by-step cooking and DIY projects to watching live sports. You can also use their screens to control your connected home devices.


Every speaker on this list has Wi-Fi, allowing it to connect to your home network and control the connected appliances. If you are a first-time user or shopping to upgrade an older smart speaker, I strongly suggest you look for products that support Matter and Thread — the latest, most advanced smart home standards.

The Matter connectivity protocol will make the smart speaker compatible with the latest smart home accessories. The futureproof standard was developed in collaboration between Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and other industry giants.

Thankfully, Matter became available on many smart speakers via a firmware update. That said, you should know that products from third-party manufacturers not named Amazon, Apple, or Google don’t support the feature.

Thread is a nifty connectivity standard that will allow compatible smart home products to link in a strong and secure mesh network that will reduce the strain on your home Wi-Fi. You need a single Wi-Fi-equipped device to serve as a Thread border router and some of the best smart speakers are up for the task.

Now that you have the basics down, you can find the right smart speaker for all your needs from our top picks.

Echo (4th-Generation) Smart Speaker

Amazon's latest Echo is our favorite Alexa speaker and an equally great option for first-time buyers or current users looking for an upgrade. The product has a beautiful design and a surprisingly immersive sound, all at an outstanding $100 price point. Thanks to support for Zigbee and Matter smart-home protocols, the gadget is also a capable hub that can control connected home products without the help of additional hardware.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo Dot has the same design as the Echo, but a more compact footprint and a lower price tag. It lacks the acoustic capabilities and the smart home hub functionality of the bigger Echo, but it costs half as much.

You can order the fourth-generation Echo and Echo Dot with a fabric finish in charcoal, glacier white, or twilight blue. I tip my hat to Amazon for using recycled aluminum, fabric, and plastics to make the products.

More: Our Guide to Comparing Amazon's Echo Products

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Echo (4th-Generation) Smart Speaker</p><p>$99.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Echo (4th-Generation) Smart Speaker


Nest Audio Smart Speaker

The Nest Audio smart speaker is our favorite for Google Assistant users. Priced at only $100, it has a refined design, impressive audio performance for its compact size, easy setup, and the ability to control a multitude of smart home gadgets. Available with charcoal, chalk, sage, sand, or sky fabric finish, the Nest Audio's enclosure is made from 70% recycled plastic.

When it comes to acoustic capabilities, the Nest Audio sounds better than its price tag suggests. It delivers a crisp and detail-rich sound with just the right amount of bass. I like that there’s an option to easily pair a duo of speakers for an even more captivating stereo sound that still won’t break the bank.

If you are looking for a Google Assistant-powered speaker on a tighter budget, consider the Nest Mini instead. It has a more compact design with the same fabric but only one audio unit for considerably less.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Nest Audio Smart Speaker</p><p>$99.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Nest Audio Smart Speaker


HomePod (2nd Generation)

The second-generation HomePod is hands down the best for Apple users who interact with Siri. Of course, the HomePod is also a powerful smart home hub with futureproof connectivity, an onboard humidity and temperature sensor, and the ability to detect smoke and carbon monoxide alerts. You can order the product in midnight or white.

The amazing sound quality of the HomePod is powered by five audio drivers, a large high-excursion woofer, four built-in microphones, and the Apple S7 chip. Combined, the hardware bits produce a captivating sonic experience with support for immersive Dolby Atmos-enhanced sound. The latter also makes the HomePod a legit soundbar alternative for Apple TV 4K users.

You can link two HomePod speakers in a stereo pair for next-level sound. Consider the cheaper HomePod mini if controlling your smart home devices is a priority over blasting tunes. Available in more color options than its larger sibling, the starter HomePod is a just-as-capable connected home hub.

More: Our Review of the Apple HomePod

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>HomePod (2nd Generation)</p><p>$299.00</p><p></p>

Shop Now

HomePod (2nd Generation)


Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock

This value-packed iteration of the latest Amazon Echo Dot rocks a discreet LED display that does much more than show you the time. It can also display the weather, the song you are listening to, and many other handy bits that instantly improve your daily routine.

What’s more, the compact smart speaker can also double as a Matter controller and, if you are using Amazon’s stellar eero mesh routers, even extend the coverage of your Wi-Fi network.

The fifth-generation Amazon Echo Dot sounds respectable for its size and price point. The device’s sole audio driver delivers an enjoyable sound with a surprisingly rich bass. You can create a stereo pair with two Dots for a more immersive sonic experience.

Amazon manufactured the Echo Dot using recycled polyester and plastic. You can snag the product in glacier white or cloud blue.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock</p><p>$39.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock


Smart Soundbar 900

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is expensive but also one of the best in the business. It has an elegant design, an easy setup, and an audio performance that’s worth every penny of its hefty price. Plus, unlike some of its rivals, the Soundbar 900 brings access to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Bose equipped the Soundbar 900 with nine audio drivers, which combine to deliver incredibly immersive Dolby Atmos sound. The sonic experience is expandable via an optional bass module and surround speakers. With sophisticated onboard microphones, the device can hear a voice command from across a large room with loud music blasting.

You can order the Soundbar 900 in black or white. Consider the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 if you are an Alexa user looking for a more compact option. The product lacks Google Assistant integration, but it’s much cheaper.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Smart Soundbar 900</p><p>$899.00</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Smart Soundbar 900


Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

The Amazon Echo Show 8 is our favorite Alexa speaker with a built-in display. The product offers a well-concocted mixture of elegant design, good sound, and useful features, all at an agreeable price point. We like that the device’s built-in camera, in addition to making video calls with other Echo users, also allows you to keep tabs on your home, potentially saving you money for a standalone security camera.

As its name suggests, this Echo Show iteration packs an 8-inch touchscreen equally suitable for keeping tabs on the news and weather or streaming video, among other scenarios. The screen doubles as an excellent picture frame when not in use. Sporting a pair of audio drivers and a passive bass radiator, the Echo Show 8 pumps out a size-defying sound that perfectly complements its display.

You can order the Echo Show 8 in charcoal or glacier white. Consider the smaller Echo Show 5 if you are looking for a smart display on a tighter budget. On the other hand, the bigger and pricier Echo Show 10 has a bigger screen that will change its position as you move.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)</p><p>$129.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)


Nest Hub Max

The Nest Hub Max is the best Google Assistant-toting smart display worth your attention, and years after its arrival, still in a league of its own in terms of performance and versatility. The do-everything gadget is a mighty home helper, a fantastic sound and video entertainment device, and, thanks to a built-in Nest Cam, a dependable home security tool. It's available with a fabric-covered base in charcoal and chalk colors.

In a manner befitting its name and price category, the Nest Hub Max packs powerful speaker units and a large 10-inch touchscreen that’s great for streaming video from YouTube and many other services or showcasing your Google Photos library. The screen is also an excellent smart home command center that can control your connected devices.

You can rely on the Nest Hub Max camera for Google Meet and Zoom video calls and for monitoring your home while away. The sensor has auto-framing capabilities and face-match tech. The latter is handy for sharing the smart display with family members.

More: Our Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Nest Hub Max</p><p>$189.00</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Nest Hub Max


Echo Studio Smart Speaker

Amazon's Echo Studio is the best Alexa-powered speaker for audiophiles. It packs five audio drivers, which combine to deliver Dolby Atmos-enhanced sound with phenomenal quality. Unsurprisingly, the product is a great option for experiencing its maker's Amazon Music HD streaming service.

Our favorite bit about the Amazon Echo Studio is its ability to wirelessly connect with a Fire TV streaming device to upgrade the sound of the video content that's streaming. Users can also pair two Echo Studio speakers for a stereo setup or add an Echo Sub for an even more powerful bass.

The fabric-covered Studio, like the Amazon Echo, is also a powerful smart home hub that will control compatible appliances with Alexa voice commands. You can order the speaker in two color options: charcoal or glacier.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Echo Studio Smart Speaker</p><p>$199.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Echo Studio Smart Speaker


Uxbridge Smart Speaker

The Uxbridge Smart Speaker by Marshall has a retro design that’s a nod to the legendary brand’s guitar amplifiers. Its gorgeous retro design is complemented by equally awesome top-panel controls for playback, volume, bass, and treble. The last two bits set the product apart from its rivals.

Marshall equipped the Uxbridge with a woofer, tweeter, and high-quality amplifier that deliver an entertaining sound. Regarding wireless connectivity, the device supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast — two of today’s most popular wireless streaming standards. Bluetooth connectivity is also available.

This variant of the product is powered by Amazon Alexa. But if you are a Google Assistant user, don't worry! Marshall offers a version with the Google Assistant on board as well.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Uxbridge Smart Speaker</p><p>$219.99</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Uxbridge Smart Speaker


Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker, just like the Home Speaker 300 we already mentioned, is compatible with Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Apple AirPlay 2. However, thanks to a water-resistant build, the product is ideal for use in a backyard or a patio, as long as there's Wi-Fi in range.

Like all Bose products, the Portable Home Speaker delivers a rich and entertaining sound. Its built-in microphones pick up voice commands, too. With Bluetooth connectivity and a convenient handle, the device is suitable for use just about anywhere.

The Smart Speaker can last up to 12 hours between charges. It packs a USB-C connector for replenishing its battery. Bose also offers an optional charging cradle for the speaker.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Portable Smart Speaker</p><p>$399.00</p><p></p>

Shop Now

Portable Smart Speaker


You Might Also Like