Best smart speakers 2019: the best Amazon Echo, Google Home and other picks for you

Whether you're want the best Amazon Echo, the best Google Home, or any other smart speaker, these are our top picks

Amazon Echo Plus Best smart speakers 2019 Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

You've safely arrived at the best smart speaker 2019 buying guide from T3, a carefully curated collection of the very best smart speakers for the home currently on sale in 2019 – all killer, no filler.

If you're in the market for the best Amazon Echo, best Google Home, best Sonos, best Apple smart speaker or anything else, we can help you out.

Since the Amazon Echo first launched in 2014, smart speakers have become essential gadgets in many homes and the centre of many smart device networks. They're inexpensive, clever and simple to use, and they look good on a shelf too.

When it comes to finding the best smart speakers of 2019, there are more than ever to choose from – including some that now come with displays. Keep your eye on the sales and you might well be able to pick up a bargain as the likes of Amazon and Google try and grab as much market share as possible.

Our best smart speaker 2019 guide will make choosing the perfect device a whole lot easier – we've extensively tested just about every product on the market and will talk you through all the options you've got. Without further delay, here are our picks for the best smart speakers you can buy in 2019, and why you'd want to have them.

How to choose the best smart speaker for you

The good news when it comes to choosing the best smart speaker of 2019 is that you've got a lot of models to pick from. Your primary considerations are probably going to be the speaker design – how well it fits in with your home furnishings – and the capabilities of the digital assistant that comes built into the device.

If you're already firm friends with Google Assistant from your Android smartphone, for example, it might make sense to stick with a Google speaker. Likewise Siri and the HomePod, Alexa and the Amazon Echo, and so on. Choosing the best smart speaker is a lot to do with choosing the best digital assistant.

Make sure your smart speaker can do everything you need it to (controlling your smart lights, working with your favourite apps, and so on). Beyond that, you will of course want to look at the price of each device to help with your decision, and it's worth having a check to see what accessories are available for each speaker too.

Amazon Echo Plus Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Amazon Echo Plus is a stylish, powerful smart speaker and AI assistant.

1. Amazon Echo Plus

The most powerful Echo on the market, and arguably the best smart speaker for tech enthusiasts

Reasons to buy
+The top-of-the-range Echo+Seamless smart home integration

The full-fat, top-of-the-line Amazon Echo with all the bells and whistles is the Plus – essentially, you get better-sounding audio and tighter integration with other smart home kit for another £50/$50. Is the extra price worth paying? For most of you, probably not.

That said, if you want the ultimate Alexa-equipped device and have the budget to match, this is the best smart speaker of 2019 to go for (and Amazon offers some excellent bundle options on its site). The 2nd-gen model has improved hugely on the looks of the Amazon Echo Plus as well.

Sonos One Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

For music streaming, the Sonos One is the best smart speaker on the market.

2. Sonos One

A winner for music streaming, this is the best Sonos for Alexa-wanting audiophiles

Reasons to buy
+Top-quality audio+Intuitive, powerful apps

Sonos has been making top-quality wireless speakers for years, capable of streaming tunes from multiple online services and local media libraries all around the home. With the Sonos One, they've started adding some AI to the mix – specifically, Amazon Alexa (with Google Assistant on the way).

You get the usual Sonos quality plus the ability to use your voice to change songs (and check the weather and so on). It's an appealing combination, and the Sonos One is easily one of the best smart speakers around in 2019 in our expert opinion.

Amazon Echo Show 5 best smart speaker

An Amazon Echo with a dinky screen: the Show 5.

3. Amazon Echo Show 5

The best smart speaker for compact Alexa-on-a-screen

Reasons to buy
+Mic and camera switches+The price is just right
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The smart speaker category continues to be invaded with smart speaker/display combos, which brings us to the Amazon Echo Show 5 – it's obviously intended to go head to head against the Nest Hub, with a smaller display (5.5 inches) than the standard Echo Show.

It's significantly smaller than the big Echo Show but it's significantly cheaper as well, and has all the magic of Alexa on board. The screen is still perfectly readable when it comes to weather forecasts, recipes, calendar entries and so on, just not so great for video footage.

Apple HomePod Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Apple HomePod is the best smart speaker for iPhone users.

4. Apple HomePod

The best smart speaker for Apple fans

Reasons to buy
+Superb design and build+Works well for Apple fans

Here's the Apple HomePod, which has a lot going for it: very impressive sound quality, for instance, which can adapt to the room its in to make sure your ears are always hearing your tunes at their best. It also looks and feels fantastic, a proper premium bit of kit, and definitely one of the best smart speakers of 2019.

On the downside, you're going to be disappointed if you need to go beyond Apple Music, Siri and the iPhone with your HomePod: support for the likes of Spotify or anything else not made by Apple is pretty much non-existent (though you can stream audio from iTunes on Windows). Still, it's the best smart speaker for those already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Amazon Echo Spot Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The T3 award-winning Amazon Echo Spot is the best Amazon Echo for adding video to a compact form factor.

5. Amazon Echo Spot

The best Amazon Echo for combining a compact form with video

Reasons to buy
+Dinky little video screen+Fits in any room

We're big fans of the Amazon Echo Spot, which takes the considerable smarts of Alexa and adds a dinky little screen. That small display is more useful than you might think in terms of what you can do with it: watching videos, putting up an alarm clock display, and more.

The Echo Spot looks good in any room in your house, which means it can be used as a timer in the kitchen or a video caller in the study. We would put it higher in the list but the display makes it significantly more expensive than alternatives such as the Echo Dot.

Amazon Echo Dot Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Amazon Echo Dot may look understated, but it is one of very best Amazon Echo speakers available today.

6. Amazon Echo Dot

The cuter-looking Echo competes strongly with the best smart speakers on the market

Reasons to buy
+Compact, cute, capable+Recently updated

All the smarts of Alexa and all the compactness of a Google Home Mini make the Echo Dot a very appealing option in our best smart speaker 2019 list – especially considering its latest refresh, which gave it a more curved appearance and added some attractive-looking fabric finishes to the Echo Dot mix.

If you're just getting started with smart speakers then the Echo Dot is an excellent entry point, and unlike the Google Home Mini you can hook up a different speaker with the 3.5mm audio jack or via Bluetooth. At this price you might as well get one for every room.

Amazon Echo Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Amazon Echo is not just one of the best Amazon Echo devices on the market, but one of the best smart speakers full stop.

7. Amazon Echo

The original and best smart speaker, improved

Reasons to buy
+Where it all started+Better looks, improving Alexa

The 2nd-generation Amazon Echo builds on what made the original so great, and puts it in a more aesthetically appealing form factor – with a choice of finishes, so you can get one to suit your own style. It's a winning formula, and it earns the Echo a place on our best smart speaker 2019 list.

Alexa has been around for four years now and continues to get friendlier, cleverer, and generally better with each passing month. The audio output isn't top-notch, but it's still fine, and we're big fans of the price (which is almost a quarter of the price of a HomePod).

Google Home Mini Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Google Home Mini is one of the best Google Home speakers going.

8. Google Home Mini

Great assistance in a compact package, the Google Home Mini remains one of the very best smart speakers

Reasons to buy
+The smartest smart assistant+Small form factor that goes anywhere

Amazon Alexa came before Google Assistant, but such is Google's prowess with AI that its Assistant is generally considered the smartest of the digital assistants out there – at least in terms of understanding natural language and pulling data from the web at large – and that affects your best smart speaker choice.

The AI is enough for the Google Home Mini to beat several other smart speakers: it also has an attractive design that fits into just about any room, it has a clean and appealing companion app, and it just works. We would like to have the option to connect it to an external speaker, though.

Google Home Hub Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Google Home Hub is new, and one of the best Google Home devices of 2019.

8. Google Nest Hub

A recent arrival gatecrashes the best smart speaker party

Reasons to buy
+Clean and simple interface+Perfect for videos

Relatively new to the best smart speaker 2019 scene – or should that be the smart display scene? – is the Google Nest Hub, essentially a Google Home with a tablet attached. It acts as the centre of your smart home operations, controlling other devices and all your Google apps.

So, you can watch YouTube videos, see a slideshow of Google Photos, change the temperature on your Nest thermostat, ask Google a question, and so on and so on. We like the style and feature-set of the Google Nest Hub (originally called the Home Hub), and there's no camera to worry about.

Google Home Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Google Home now looks a little dated, but if you can get it cheap, it is still one of the best smart speakers lining store shelves.

9. Google Home

One of the very best smart speakers, but it now looks a little dated

Reasons to buy
+Google Assistant is fantastic+Choice of colour finishes

Google gladly name-checked the Amazon Echo when unveiling its very own smart speaker, and the Google Home does everything you would expect – it has the excellent Google Assistant on board of course, which continues to lead the pack of AI apps for the moment.

The Google Home is a little lower in our listings because we think the Google Home Mini is a better value proposition and this speaker is now getting on for a couple of years old. The software keeps getting regular updates though, and it remains a fantastic smart speaker and one of the best Google Home speakers available.

Amazon Echo Show Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

Amazon Echo Show

10. Amazon Echo Show

Alexa gets a display, and the 2nd-generation unit looks better than ever

Reasons to buy
+An Echo with a display+Much better 2nd-gen design

The Amazon Echo Show is pretty easy to explain: an Echo with a screen. That means Alexa can show as well as tell you information about your schedule and the upcoming weather forecast, for example. Video calling and movie watching are easy with the Echo Show too.

There's a lot to like about the Amazon Echo Show then, especially the redesigned 2nd-gen model, but there are some small reservations. It's relatively expensive, and support for non-Amazon video services (such as YouTube) remains something of a sore point.

Regardless, though, the Show is absolutely one of the Amazon Echo devices on the market, and also one of the  best smart speakers money can buy in 2019. Make sure you consider the new, smaller Echo Show 5 as well though.

Sonos Beam Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The ultra-desirable, ultra-stylish Sonos Beam is the best smart speaker for your TV.

11. Sonos Beam

A fantastic sound bar, the best smart speaker for your TV

Reasons to buy
+Great sound in compact form+Perfect for a home cinema setup

The Sonos Beam is another of the newer Sonos speakers with Alexa built in (and with Google Assistant and AirPlay support coming soon, hopefully) – it's a compact sound bar that can play audio from your television set or from a host of music streaming services.

It's a hugely impressive bit of kit – don't let its lower position on this list fool you – but in terms of smart speakers it's at the pricier end of the range. Only get this if you have the budget and are going to make full use of all the extra features you get with a Sonos device.

Lenovo Smart Display best smart speaker

The Lenovo Smart Display is another of the best speakers with a screen, for watching YouTube and other video content.

12. Lenovo Smart Display

One of the best smart speakers with a display

Reasons to buy
+Well built and a good size+Comes with a screen

Another smart speaker with a display, the Lenovo Smart Display is available in 8-inch or 10-inch sizes, so take your pick accordingly. It doubles up as a Chromecast, has decent-sounding audio, and can be used as a video calling device too.

With Google Assistant on board, it's just as smart as any of the best Google Home speakers on the market in 2019, with everything wrapped in a solid and secure device that's perfect for the study or kitchen.

Google Home Max Best smart speakers Best Amazon Echo speakers Best Google Home

The Google Home Max is the best smart speaker for those who love sound quality.

13. Google Home Max

Turn it up to the max, with this beefy smart home speaker

Reasons to buy
+Audio quality sounds great+Wired or wireless connection

Just because the Google Home Max is at the end of our list doesn't mean you should discount it: this is still a list of the best smart home speakers money can buy in 2019, and all these models are worth their place. In this case, you're getting some fantastic audio quality.

Top-level audio quality, plus the excellent Google Assistant on board, plus the option of a cabled connection, plus casting abilities – what's not to like? It'll cost you a lot of money, that's the key drawback, and it's probably overkill for most people's smart speaker needs.

Nest Hub Max best smart speaker

The Nest Hub Max looks like it's going to be an appealing device... when it finally goes on sale.

14. Google Nest Hub Max

The best smart speaker for pure Googleness

Reasons to buy
+Lots more screen space+Lots more audio oomph
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The Nest Hub Max is still awaiting an official launch date, but we like what we've seen so far: a 10-inch screen, a heavy-duty speaker, and a forward-facing camera, which means you can use this smart speaker and display to make video calls (unlike the Nest Hub).

The star of the show is of course Google Assistant, but you'll be surprised at just how much difference a screen makes – you can pause videos and music, get a better look at your smart home, and cast video content from a host of apps running on your smartphone.