When you invest in one of the best smart speakers, you’re investing in a gadget that’s great for more than simply playing music. With smart speakers, they act as a way of controlling your smart home too, so you can hook them up to your lighting, provided you have the best smart bulbs, and you can also use them to control your heating, talk to your family or friends in different rooms, check the weather and the news, and so much more!
Amazon and Sonos are just a couple of the household names that provide the leading smart speakers today, and this list features some of the best brands of smart speaker that suit different needs and wants.
Firstly, you’ll want to decide which team your on – Alexa, Siri or Google? That will narrow down your choice when it comes to picking the best smart speaker for you.
And if that doesn’t matter to you, then consider what you’ll be using it for the most. Is it purely for music or do you want to connect it to your smart home? Would you like it to have a screen or simply some great quality sound?
Browse our guide to find out the best features of each product, but remember, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. There’s something here to suit every budget, and still produce high quality sound.
From the best Alexa speakers to Sonos, Google, Apple and more, check out our full list of the best smart speakers below.
The best smart speakers 2023: the list
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The Amazon Echo Show 10 is the most comprehensive Alexa smart speaker to date, capable of doing the most, and with a unique trick: its large screen rotates to follow you around the room so that you can always see it clearly even if you need to move around. Smart screens have often found a home in the kitchen, where they can be used for recipe videos or fun videos to keep you entertained, and that's a great example of where the Echo Show 10 excels: if you need to move from position to position in the kitchen, then the screen just turns to go where you go, and you don't need to touch it with your dirty hands to be able to see what's going on.
The big screen is also ideal for making the most of what a smart display can do, and videos look good on it – the only downside here is that Alexa isn't the strongest for video service support (with its half-hearted YouTube integration being the biggest sore point). It's also more expensive than simpler smart speakers, but we can't begrudge it than when it's so useful. You can read more about it in our full Amazon Echo Show 10 review (opens in new tab).
If you wanted something a little more modest, then check out the Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021) (opens in new tab) which is a little smaller and cheaper. And make sure you check our Amazon discount codes (opens in new tab) to get the best price.
Designed to be the focal point of your smart home, the Amazon Echo Show 15 is the biggest smart display yet. It can be mounted on the wall to look like a photo frame or placed on a stand. The 15-inch Full HD screen looks fantastic, and there's plenty of space to display Alexa widgets, which makes this the most usable and useful smart display on the market. You can leave sticky notes to family members, create shared calendars, see recommended recipes or control your smart home all from the home screen.
One downfall is its speaker system, from the Amazon Echo Echo 15 review you can tell that it's nowhere near as powerful or accurate as the Echo Show 10 so if you listen to a lot of music then that's probably still the better choice. But for most people, it will be fine because it is loud enough to clearly hear Alexa's responses. But in saying that there's so much to discover on the Amazon Echo Show 15, it's the most accomplished smart speaker yet in terms of usability.
The new Amazon Echo is bigger than the previous model, but that's because it beefed up its speakers and features as well as its shape. A large woofer and two tweeters provide better balance and clarity for music, while the Zigbee smart home hub functionality that used to be part of the Echo Plus only has been moved into the standard Echo.
Alexa is as capable as ever, but it can also respond a little faster to some queries in this model, thanks to Amazon's new learning chip, which can process some common voice requests on the device itself, making it quicker to respond to questions such as turning the lights off. We think the new design is a little less décor-friendly than the old one, but that's made up for by all its new improvements – it's the best Alexa speaker overall, as our full Amazon Echo (4th gen) review (opens in new tab) reveals.
This does absolutely everything in one package. By all means, if you'd rather run the compact Nest Mini, or opt for a smaller screen in the Nest Hub which came before it, you can. But for the most full-on Google Assistant smart speaker experience, this is the way to go. Why? It's the combination.
The screen is a crisp 10-incher so you won't need to squint. The speaker is a heavy, loud and great-quality cone. There's a camera for video calls, and you can use it for double-duty security camera purposes. And Google Assistant is a great smart environment to play in. Assistant is made even better with that screen on board: you can poke at your music with touch controls, watch videos, skim through photos and a lot more, and this also works as a Chromecast speaker and display. Here's our full Google Nest Hub Max review.
The full-size HomePod was an incredible-sounding thing, but next to the competition it was hard not to look at its price without wincing. Now the HomePod mini is here, it's clear the folks from Cupertino have pulled off a cost-effective sequel in magnificent style. This is a quality little speaker with all the brains of its chunkier cousin – including, importantly, the ability to act as a HomeKit hub to control smart home devices. If you're using an iPhone, going HomePod is the slickest phone-to-speaker experience there is… although be warned that Siri continues to lag behind Alexa and Google Assistant for overall smartness.
The HomePod mini also packs a surprising punch in the sound department, with 360-degree audio filling most rooms without issue, and sounding truly excellent as a pair. It's the size of the Echo Dot, yet sounds as good (arguably better, depending on preference) to the full-size Echo or Nest Audio. Here's our full HomePod mini review (opens in new tab) for more on where it excels, and where it stumbles.
Watch out Sonos and Apple, because Amazon's best-sounding Echo yet isn't here to play. The Amazon Echo Studio comes with support for the Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio standards. It's capable of filling a room and then some with rich, vibrant acoustics as revealed in the Amazon Echo Studio review.
One 1" tweeter, three 2" mid-range speakers and a 5.25" woofer are fitted inside delivering a huge 330W of power. Perfectly placed in your living room, this is predominantly a home speaker for listening to music. But because it has both a 3.5mm audio input and an optical input, you can hook it up to devices other than your phone as well, like your TV. On top of that, you do of course get all the smarts of Amazon Alexa.
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 voice assistants to the mix – specifically, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can choose which you prefer.
As you can read in the Sonos One review, 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 2020 if you listen to music a lot. It's more expensive than the similarly-sized Echo (4th gen) or Nest Audio, but in terms of audio quality it's closer to the pricier Echo Studio or Google Home Max. The mic quality isn't quite as good as the latest from Amazon and Google at picking up your voice over other noises, but it works more then well enough. Just bear it in mind if your house is regularly chaotic.
If there’s one thing that Audio Pro knows how to do, it’s making great-sounding speakers. The Audio Pro G10 is no different. Not only does it produce crisp, loud audio for such a small speaker, but it also has the Google Assistant built-in. Get all of your burning questions answered or skip to the next song in your playlist using your voice. Just ask Google. With Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 support, you can hook the Audio Pro G10 up to your multi-room system, or seamlessly play music over Spotify Connect.
Setup is painless through the Google Home app, and you can control its bass and treble settings there too, though admittedly they don’t make much of an impact. What sets this speaker apart from the rest is a few small features that will actually go a long way for some, including a power button to save on energy and to switch the Google Assistant off without needing to unplug it. There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary port. Read our full Audio Pro G10 review (opens in new tab) for more on where this speaker impressed us.
The Sonos Roam is a great choice if you want your smart speaker to double as a battery-powered mobile speaker. It's around 6.5 inches long, so it's easy to toss in a backpack or a coat pocket to take on a trip with you. At home, it works on Wi-Fi, with Sonos or Apple AirPlay 2 multi-room capabilities, plus your choice of Google Assistant or Alexa as a smart assistant.
On the go, it uses Bluetooth, which kills its ability to be a smart speaker, we should note. It provides around 10 hours of life on its battery, which is fine, though other (less smart) competitors offer 15-20. It sounds good for such a compact speaker, but there are cheaper and larger options here that sound better for less money. So it's best to think of it as a portable speaker that doubles up as a nice smart speaker when at home, as our Sonos Roam review (opens in new tab) explains.
Besides the rebranding that's taken place to reflect Nest becoming the umbrella label for everything in the Google smart home range, the Nest Mini (opens in new tab) adds a wall mounting hole and boosts the audio from the original Google Home Mini. Voice detection should be improved with the introduction of a third microphone, and Google has brought back the tap controls as well – just touch the top of the speaker to pause or resume audio playback, and slide along it to change the volume.
Otherwise the Google Nest Mini is very much like the Google Home Mini: all the power of the Google Assistant in a very compact, aesthetically pleasing form factor. Your choices for colours are chalk, charcoal, coral or sky. Here's our full Google Nest Mini review (opens in new tab).
Google's replacement for the Google Home upgrades the sound over its predecessor by including a woofer and dedicated tweeter, giving a more full sound overall – though the audio doesn't quite match the new Amazon Echo, and definitely not the likes of the Sonos One.
The new tall, slim design is attractive, and is smaller than it comes across in photos. It has hidden controls on top – slightly too hidden, in our view, but if you know they're there, it's nice not to have the look broken up. Google Assistant is excellent, of course, and though there are no unique features to it on this device, it's a really good balance of speaker quality and capability for those in the Google ecosystem, as our full Google Nest Audio review (opens in new tab) says.
Sonos' jump to the outdoors isn't just a battery-powered Sonos One, even though we would have been happy with that. The Move has been engineered for outside. It's weather resistant, with an IP56 rating; that first digit means there's dust protection, and the second means it should be protected against strong water jets. It's drop resistant, too, making this by far the most rugged speaker Sonos has ever made. There's also a carry handle moulded into the casing.
Sonos states 11 hours of battery life, which obviously depends on volume and usage, and there's a charging base included which means this doubles nicely as an indoor speaker when you're not carting it around - it also charges via USB-C if you're looking to power it from a power bank. Hook it up to Wi-fi and you can choose your smart ecosystem, as Sonos has joined Bose in offering both Alexa and the Google Assistant, and you can obviously tap into Sonos' rich app and multi-room expertise to expand your playback possibilities.
What to look for in a smart speaker
The majority of the smart speakers out there are also digital assistants, with many of the leading products coming from Amazon or Google. So if you are looking for a smart speaker with a digital assistant, then this is the way to go. Apple currently only has one product that offers Siri as an option, and for the most part Google and Amazon are the better way to go.
There isn’t really too much difference when deciding between Alexa vs Google Assistant – while Alexa can often be smoother overall, Google often ties in with more products in your home, so it really depends what you want to use your smart speaker for.
When choosing the right speaker for you, consider the audio quality, the size, the design and optional extras such as a screen and smart hub. Typically, the bigger the speaker, the better the sound.