Best Smart Speakers of 2021

Best Smart Speakers Compilation

NAMES FEATURES WHERE TO BUY

Sonos One

equipped with both Google Assistant and Alexa GET IT ON AMAZON

Amazon Echo

it’s equipped to control most smart home devices you own GET IT ON AMAZON

Sonos Arc Soundbar

works with both Alexa and Google Assistant GET IT ON AMAZON

Echo Dot with Clock

Echo Dot with Clock also has an LED display that glows GET IT ON AMAZON

Amazon Echo Flex

able to interact with your voice assistant to adjust the lights or set a reminder. GET IT ON AMAZON

Google Nest Audio

3-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter inside a stylish frame GET IT ON AMAZON

Google Nest Mini

control your music with only your voice GET IT ON AMAZON

Bose Portable Home Speaker

functionality of Alexa or Google Assistant without having to connect your phone GET IT ON AMAZON

 

Introduction

More than any other year, 2020 felt like the year where voice-enabled smart speakers really came into their own as a fully realized product. In addition to a wave of new product offerings from the likes of Amazon, Google, Sonos and Apple, the software powering all of these devices also saw improvements and refinements to make the experience of using the best smart speakers feel less like a novelty and more like something that is actually helpful.

But as we’ve seen this product category expand, we now know which smart speakers are better suited for certain situations and which are less-than-optimal for others. To try and make that process a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best smart speakers for each part of your home. Check out our other publications like the best lounge chairs, electric razors, trampolines, organic mattress, snow blowers, smart plugs,

 

Best Smart Speaker Buyers Guide

Check Your Calendar on a Smart Display

Checking events on your calendar with a smart speaker is not the best experience in the world. It’s much easier to pull up your phone than listen to a speaker slowly rattle off everything on your agenda. However, a smart display makes it much more useful. You can see the day’s events and reminders you have set at a glance without even asking for it.

Talk to People in Other Rooms

If you have smart speakers in multiple rooms of your house, then you also have an intercom system. The Amazon Echo accomplishes this with a feature called Drop In. You can use Drop In to call other Echo devices, just like making a phone call. However, the more useful feature is the ability to call other rooms of the house. You can send a message to your spouse in the den, or broadcast to the whole house that dinner is ready.

Turn Your Smart Display Into a Photo Album

This is another feature for a smart display, since it’s pretty hard to hear photos. Echo Show and Home Hub can display your pictures; by default, they pull photos from the internet to serve as idle background images, but you can change those settings and add your photos instead.

Control Your TV Without a Remote

The TV remote control is a wonder of modern convenience, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. With a Google Home speaker and a Chromecast, you can cast whatever you’re watching to your TV and even turn the display on or off on certain televisions.

Link to Smart Home Devices

If you have compatible devices, you can turn off your bedroom lights from under the covers, pull up a video of the front door from the display in your kitchen, or ask whether the air conditioning is turned on. Having a smart speaker in your home gives you a central hub to control your smart home, and changes the math on which devices might be worth purchasing.

Use Routines to Perform Multiple Tasks at Once

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home devices support a feature called Routines, which allows you to create a single voice command that performs multiple actions at once. For example, when it’s time for bed, you could create a routine that turns off your lights, turns off the TV, and starts playing some soothing music. Just tell your speaker “good night” and let your voice assistant take care of the rest.

The Best Smart Speaker for Living Rooms

Sonos One

Like the Sonos Arc, this speaker is equipped with both Google Assistant and Alexa, but the real killer feature here is the audio that comes from this little speaker. Sure it may cost twice as much as the Echo or Nest Audio, but it is every bit as smart, and capable of producing audio that is louder and more detailed than either of those speakers. And if you ever decide that you want to expand or reconfigure your audio setup in your home, the Sonos ecosystem of products are best equipped to do this: You can turn a Sonos Arc soundbar and two Sonos One speakers into a surround sound system, and thanks to Sonos own software installed on speakers, its the best for managing a multi-room audio setup.

PROS CONS
producing audio that is louder Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Kitchens

Amazon Echo

When it comes to Alexa-compatible speakers, we think the best one for the kitchen is the fourth-generation Echo. It gets loud enough and sounds good enough to provide a pleasurable experience, but you also don’t have to break the bank to buy one. With an integrated Zigbee hub, it’s equipped to control most smart home devices you own (or plan to own), and if you do your grocery shopping through Amazon or Whole Foods, you can simply do your shopping by rummaging through your fridge and pantry, then telling the Echo what to add to your cart.

PROS CONS
provide a pleasurable experience Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Home Theaters

Sonos Arc Soundbar

And when it comes to a smart speaker that can immerse you in the world of a blockbuster film while also having the intelligence to manage your other smart home devices, the Sonos Arc soundbar is the ideal pairing for your fancy 65-Inch TV.

The Sonos Arc works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, which means that you can have hands-free access to both assistants. Not only can you use your voice to launch music services and streaming TV apps, but also take advantage of Dolby Atmos 3D audio, can generate plenty of bass without a subwoofer. And, generally, this is just one of the best soundbars you can buy right now even without the voice assistant functionality.

PROS CONS
Dolby Atmos 3D audio Not found

The Best Smart Speakers for Bedrooms

Echo Dot with Clock

Whether it’s helping you wake up on time and manage your schedule in the morning, or making sure your doors are locked and lights are off before you go to bed, the Echo Dot with Clock is the best speaker for the job.

This little orb has all the same Alexa abilities as the other Echo speakers, but as the name implies, the Echo Dot with Clock also has an LED display that glows through its cloth exterior so that you can always check the time with a quick glance. It also still packs decent audio for its size. While you might not use this as the speaker for your next get-together, it more than serves its purpose for those moments when you’re in need of some background music.

PROS CONS
LED display Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Entryways, Hallways and Spare Bedrooms

Amazon Echo Flex

These are the areas of your home where you don’t necessarily need a full-fledged speaker, but still want to be able to interact with your voice assistant to adjust the lights or set a reminder. This is why the Amazon Echo Flex is the best Alexa smart speaker for these areas of your home.

The smallest and cheapest of Amazon’s speakers, the Echo Flex isn’t really meant for listening to music, but rather summoning Alexa to do your bidding around the house. It has a form factor that sits directly on the wall so that there are no cords to deal with which is what makes this perfect for areas like the entryway where you pass through often, but don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in. And because it has a USB port on its underside, you can even attach specially designed accessories such as a clock, nightlight or motion sensor, the latter of which can trigger smart home routines when you pass by it.

PROS CONS
Alexa smart speaker Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Home Offices

Google Nest Audio

Packing a 3-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter inside a stylish frame, the Nest Audio delivers quality sound without you having to spend on a more expensive speaker that may be overkill for the 9-5 segment of your day. And when it comes to services such as navigation and daily schedules, we think Google Assistant has the edge here, thanks to the fact that it’s deeply integrated with Google Maps and Calendar. But the other added bonus here is that Nest speakers come with a mechanical mute switch, so that if you have a Zoom meeting or a conference call where sensitive subject matter is being discussed, you can rest assured that your speaker isn’t listening in as an unnamed participant.

PROS CONS
delivers quality sound Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Bathrooms

Google Nest Mini

Sure, a smart speaker in the bathroom may seem like overkill, but who doesn’t like having music while taking a shower or getting ready? And furthermore, who wants to have to mess with trying to skip songs or adjust the volume with hands that are covered in water, hair product or shaving cream? It’s for reasons such as these that we think the Google Home Mini is the best smart speaker for the bathroom.

In addition to letting you control your music with only your voice, we like the Nest Mini because it’s wall-mountable, which means that it isn’t taking up valuable real estate on your bathroom counter or running the risk of having any number of bathroom products splash all over it. And like the Nest Audio, the Nest Mini has a mechanical mute switch, offering you total privacy when you’re — ahem — answering the call of nature.

PROS CONS
it’s wall-mountable Not found

The Best Smart Speaker for Backyards

Bose Portable Home Speaker

For the most part, a true smart speaker is almost exclusively designed to be used indoors and constantly connected to a power outlet, since having WiFi audio and an always-on voice assistant isn’t the most efficient feature for a battery-powered speaker. But there are a few, which while not truly portable, are portable enough that you can easily carry them outdoors and enjoy all the same features that you would from some of our other top picks on this list. And of the smart speakers which are best for the backyard, we like the Bose Portable Home Speaker the best.

Along with giving you the choice to enjoy all the functionality of Alexa or Google Assistant without having to connect your phone, this speaker is water-resistant, can provide up to 12 hours of playback on a single charge and even comes with a handle to make it easier to lug around. Furthermore, since it’s a Bose speaker, you can rest assured that this thing will produce the same top-shelf audio quality you’ve come to know and love from other Bose products.

PROS CONS
speaker is water-resistant Not found

Conclusion

Looking at our review, each smart speaker has been carefully categorized according to our research result. Also, take note that the floor lamps that didn’t meet our standard were not included among this list.