The 10 Best Smart Speakers
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in October of 2017. If you and the family crave a more interactive listening experience, consider one of these smart speakers as a step in the right direction to bringing a home into the 21st century. Made to do much more than stream radio stations or play back CDs, our options feature integrated Bluetooth functionality and compatibility with several common voice assistance platforms, including Amazon Alexa and Siri. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 19, 2021:
It had been a while since we last visited this list and, as such, there were a plethora of new options on the market. This resulted in a total revamp with essentially every item being replaced by a newer and better model. Since not everybody likes to use the same virtual assistant, we made sure there were speakers here for those who prefer Alexa, as well as those who prefer Google Assistant. When it comes to sound quality, the Echo Studio, Marshall Stanmore II, and Bose Home 500 immediately come to the top of the pack. The Bose Soundbar 300 and Sonos Arc are also leading the field in the audio quality department, however they occupy a somewhat different space in the home, as they are designed for entertainment centers rather than as a standalone speaker for a kitchen counter or bedroom. In the overall functionality department, the Echo Show 3rd Gen is a clear winner, with its 10.1-inch screen for video content and calls, and the ability to track your movement and rotate its display to face you.
March 24, 2019:
Given that this is a relatively fast-moving category, my process for bringing the wiki up to current standards included a focus on functionality, size, portability, compatibility, and of course rich sound distribution. I included the next generation of both the Echo Dot and Echo Show models. The Echo Show (2nd gen), for example, now has a larger and more vibrant screen than its predecessor along with expanded compatibility with Zigbee devices. Keeping with the same theme, the Echo Dot (3rd gen) offers improved sound quality and a fabric-made exterior design for complementing virtually any interior decor. I added the Marshall Stanmore II due to its classic and elegant exterior along with the far-field microphone array technology that ensures Alexa will "hear" a user across a room and over high volumes (many of the other options on the list are equipped with far-field microphones as well). While dedicated more for television use, the Sonos Beam's slim profile and use of woofers, tweeters, and several amplifiers allow it to distribute sound evenly without taking up too much space in one's entertainment center. Added the GGMM E3 for its enhanced connection capacity with up to 16 speakers/devices, offering a true surround sound experience for larger homes. Additionally, it's one of the few models with a built-in digital clock for convenience. I also thought the Harman Kardon Allure Portable was a worthy contender, particularly because of its omnidirectional sound delivery and 10-hour battery life. The Riva Concert is a perfect option for outdoor use, thanks to its splash-resistant design and patented Trillium technology that works to ensure distortion-free playback of any music. Even though I know the brand tends to be on the pricey side, I felt it was important to have the Bose 500 represented, especially due to its 8-microphone array and oppositely-facing drivers that set an extra-wide soundstage for large interior spaces. Now I could imagine the Creative Nova being used by a busy housewife (or husband) who's trying to find his/her "inner peace" by using the device as both a therapeutic tool and a speaker for room-filling audio as they relax by watching the device display a color-changing light show while in the bathtub or kitchen. It also has a convenient carrying handle for easy transport into any other room. Small, but mighty, the Ellipsis Plug-In is one of the more innovative products I discovered due to its native Alexa support, multi-device syncing, and its ability to function as a WiFi extender. It's also a surprise for it to have superior bass response, given its small size.
Apple HomePod As long as you have one of the company's mobile devices, the Apple HomePod can be a great addition to your home. It offers the sleek aesthetic and excellent user experience you expect from their products, and it pairs this with rich, 360-degree sound a self-correcting EQ. apple.com