This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for a UK audience.
Shopping for a new speaker isn’t just about music anymore. Finding a great sounding speaker is easy. All tried and tested audio brands produce high-end speakers. But these days, most listeners demand something a little smarter. This is the era of the smart home, after all.
But smart speakers are saturating the market. You can spend all day browsing product descriptions and review sections to find the best fit for your smart home.
don’t be afraid We won’t let you deal with all these problems. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best smart speakers you can get right now. But first, here’s some important information to help you decide.
What is a smart speaker?
Smart speakers usually come with built-in voice assistants and can be found in almost every home at this point. If you have a bunch of smart devices in your home – smart lights, a smart thermostat, a smart home security system, a smart robot vacuum or even a smart toaster (yes, it’s a real thing) – a smart speaker can act as a hub that keeps them connected and controls your smart home as a whole. In short, a smart speaker is what makes your home truly smart.
Are smart speakers worth the money?
While smart speakers aren’t always the best way to listen to your audio and aren’t usually prioritized for music, they’re absolutely worth having if you’re on a budget. (And you might not even notice the volume downgrade unless you have a finely tuned audiophile ear.) Plus, smart speakers don’t always have to break the bank—there are plenty of budget options out there, including the fantastic Echo Dot.
Why do you need a smart speaker?
The real reason to get a smart speaker is convenience. Hands-free voice assistants are the name of the game when it comes to smart speakers. Being able to plan your day, catch up on the news, play music and control most of your smart tech just by talking to your speaker is really great. It’s a great way to make your day bigger by doing less.
What is the best voice assistant?
The three most well-known voice assistants are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. Of those three, most would put Siri at the bottom. This is not to say that Siri is a bad voice assistant, but Apple is simply too exclusive about its correct operating systems and Siri is only available on Apple devices.
Then we come to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It comes down to personal choice. Both Amazon and Google have their specialized skills. You can’t really lose with either choice here – just think about what features you want the most and choose the one that best suits your vision.
What skills does Alexa have?
If you’re an online shopper and have an arsenal of smart devices in your home, Alexa is probably your best bet. Amazon’s smart speakers recognize more devices than Google’s Assistant, so you’re more likely to have a better time with the Echo if you really want to opt for a true smart home.
Alexa’s direct connection to the Amazon store also makes online shopping easy, allowing you to add items to your cart and pay with just voice commands. If you get a lot of Amazon stuff, Amazon’s smart speakers are a no-brainer.
What can Google Assistant do?
Google Assistant is generally better at things like general knowledge, location services, and other real-world information you might need at a moment’s notice. Google Assistant is also great for those with Android phones, allowing easy exchange of information between your smartphone and smart speaker when using Google-supported apps. Google speakers are also better at networking, so if you want to buy more than one smart speaker and connect them, Google is a good place to start.
What is the best smart speaker?
Choosing any kind of speaker is not easy, especially since there are so many devices offering similar feature sets. We know it’s a tough decision, so we’ve tried to make your life easier by curating a selection of the best smart speakers.
We’ve highlighted the best smart speakers from leading brands, with something for everyone and every budget. You just need to consider the options and then choose the speaker that best suits your personal preferences.
These are the best smart speakers in 2023.