It is great to be able to operate your smart lights or door locks with a simple movement of your finger. Nothing is as satisfying or futuristic as giving one order and keeping the whole house up to your expectations! For this, you need a smart assistant and the best way to use it is to have the Best Smart Speakers.
The Amazon Echo is the original smart speaker that combines reasonable sound quality with the innovative idea of controlling your voice. Her assistant on board, Alexa, is much more than a glorified jockey disc and continues to learn skills that help her plan the day, stay healthy or have access to news. The competition never sleeps and we have the choice of two other skilled assistants, Google Assistant and Siri.
Which assistant is the best? Which speaker should you have? We answer these questions and more via a short information guide and then look at the best smart speakers currently available. Choose a favorite to fill your home with music and sounds from a shredder assistant that will make your life easier.
Best Smart Speakers Speaker Name Voice Assistant Rating Amazon Echo 2nd Gen Amazon Alexa 9.5 out of 10 Apple HomePod Apple Siri 9.4 out of 10 Google Home Google Assistant 9.3 out of 10 Sonos One Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant 9.3 out of 10 Ultimate Ears Megablast Amazon Alexa 9.2 out of 10 Amazon Echo Dot Amazon Alexa 9.2 out of 10 JBL Link 300 Google Assistant 9.1 out of 10 Google Home Mini Google Assistant 9.1 out of 10 Amazon Echo Plus Amazon Alexa 9.0 out of 10 Ultimate Ears Blast Amazon Alexa 8.9 out of 10
Things To Consider
The Best Smart Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and some are much more portable than others. High-quality speakers such as Google Home Max can weigh more than 10 kilos and are not designed to be moved. It is therefore essential to find a good location to cover the entire room if you want a pleasant listening experience. Omnidirectional speakers such as Echo or Apple’s HomePod deliver music from all sides and are more likely to occupy a central place in the room. Finally, there are completely portable models with a similar design but which derive their energy from a rechargeable battery. Consider how likely you are to move the speaker before you buy.
It is important to understand that not all the best smart speakers work with all smart gadgets and plan accordingly. If the loudspeaker is the first piece of smart technology you buy, you want to become familiar with compatible devices so you can seamlessly integrate lighting, thermostats and more. The speakers that support Amazon Alexa are the best choice because Alexa is compatible with many smart devices. The Google Assistant does not have such support but gradually reduces the gap. Siri is the least connected popular voice assistant and can not be used with Android devices.
When buying traditional loudspeakers, the sound quality is the only thing you have to take into account and it is easy to make a decision because more expensive equipment usually sounds better. The best smart speakers add the intelligent assistant variable to the mix, which can complicate things. Speakers with excellent sound quality can benefit from poor support from intelligent assistants. Other models, such as Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, provide access to all functions of their respective wizards while sounding worse than more expensive speakers. You want to make sure that the audio quality of the speaker is acceptable and that it supports your intelligent assistant before you connect a device.
We assume that you are here because you want to find the Best Smart Speakers for you – the one that plays best with the devices you already have, that you understand best and that when it’s time to play music strongest. Each of the smart speakers below is more than capable of making your smart home smarter, playing music and keeping an eye on your family.
Here are the Best Smart Speakers Of 2018
Amazon Echo 2nd Gen
If you’re looking for an affordable smart speaker that sounds good enough to play your favorite songs, the latest version of Amazon Echo is your best choice. In fact, it is our current top choice for the best smart speaker currently on the market. The latest generation, Echo, sounds better than Amazon’s Echo Dot, but it’s cheaper than the Echo Plus and the Apple HomePod. We do not think you should use it to replace your hi-fi, but it’s also a great place to start if you want to try a smart life at home with the best Smart Speaker.
Amazon has also improved the style of the Echo since the release of the first version in 2015. The new fabric finishes fit better in most living rooms than the brushed aluminum of the original. The only downside is that the echo Amazon’s Echo Plus net volume button has not. It should also be mentioned that Alexa often does not seem as smart as the Google assistant. However, for the price, it is a great option that must meet the needs of most people. Amazon would also work on eight new Alexa devices from September 2018, including a high-end microwave audio system.
- Great new look
- Lower price
- New Alexa features
- Alexa app could be better
The long-awaited Apple HomePod has finally entered into battle with the best smart speakers. The clear advantage of an Apple HomePod via an Echo or Google Home device is that it will play well with your other Apple products. So, if you are a hardcore fan of Apple, the HomePod is a no-brainer. But it’s worth asking the same question you always have to ask yourself when you want to buy a new Apple product: how much premium do you have to pay for owning a device that can only be seamlessly integrated with the Apple ecosystem?
When we looked at the device, we were torn apart when we actually looked at two things at the same time: how is the HomePod considered a high-end loudspeaker and how does it behave like a hub for the smart home? In the first category, the HomePod is excellent because it offers an incredible sound and a very intuitive configuration. But in the latter case, Siri is only mediocre in its implementation, and the fact that you can not step out of the Apple ecosystem for many important functions is also a hindrance. Apple would work on the Apple HomePod 2, or on a cheaper and more compact HomePod Mini, but without any mention at the launch of the iPhone in September, it seems that we will not know until 2019.
- Great sound
- Nice, minimal design
- Siri accuracy is high
- Siri scope is limited
- No Bluetooth streaming
- Apple Music needed
For starters, you may never be able to enjoy the amount of music available on YouTube without buying a Google Home account. We do not say that Google Home can play all the songs that you can imagine, but after we threw ourselves into the depths of the nineties, we still could not find a melody. Google Home could not find the search and started playing. If Google Home excels as a DJ, it is also a surprisingly smart home base. It already contains some of the largest platforms available today, such as Samsung’s Nest, Philips, and SmartThings. This number will increase again in a few months. But we are torn when it comes to recommending Google Home. In some ways, it is disappointing and not the coveted center of the smart house that Google has put on the market.
It is because it is not there yet. It’s a bit too rigid in her knowledge of a language, her list of smart home devices is getting longer, but still a bit disappointing and perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, she does not understand much Google base. It has the potential to grow to compete with Amazon’s echo in the future, but for now, Google Home is a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast functionality and the ability to save you a switch. Also worth mentioning is a more recent update: Google Home can now call fixed lines in the UK! It was a function unveiled in the last year of Google IDE, and she finally entered the house. Google Assistant has also been updated with bilingual functions, continuous conversation, and multiple actions.
- Customizable base
- Big song library
- Expanding the hardware ecosystem
- Missing Google’s own services
- Requires precise phrasing
Sonos One Alexa speaker is a slim, feature-rich, stunning sounding device that combines the best of both worlds. Alexa, which is getting better and better on the one hand, and on the other hand, you have Sonos with its own multi-room solutions. The mix also includes a new feature that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. Allows the Sonos One to communicate with Siri and form a multi-room link to the Apple HomePod, making it the most popular versatile speaker list.
If something prevents the Sonos One from becoming beautiful again, it is that the Google assistant is still MIA, something Sonos was particularly unremarkable about. As soon as Google Assistant takes over (hopefully) later in 2018, Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart home speakers and is easily regarded as one of the best smart speakers.
- Best of Alexa and Sonos
- Plays music while Alexa is muted
- Google Assistant MIA for now
- Premium price
Ultimate Ears Megablast
Ultimate Ears is an audio brand known for its quality and robust Bluetooth speakers. With his new Megablast loudspeaker, he left the mix through Amazon’s intelligent Alexa assistant. The result is one of the most beautiful portable speakers with Megablast. And thanks to the integration of Amazon Alexa it is also one of the smartest. With Megablast you get the 360-degree sound, the portability and the durability of the excellent EU Boom loudspeaker, with the intelligence of an echo. It is truly a wedding done in the paradise of the best smart speakers.
Unfortunately, some important functions are still missing some months after the launch. The price may be too high for people looking for a simple smart speaker. Amazon Echo is considerably cheaper than this speaker. The Megablast costs you more than the last echo Amazon Echo or Sonos One. In general, the Megablast is a great addition to the Ultimate Ears line-up and perhaps the best speaker. This has not yet met all our expectations, but when Alexa will benefit from support for a wider range of music services and create a network of multiroom speakers.
- Waterproof and robust
- Great sound
- Still awaiting key features
- Charging dock sold separately
Amazon Echo Dot
Echo Dot from Amazon is a great little product. It retains almost everything that has made the original Echo so great and at the same time delivered a significant price reduction. If you can use an external speaker, the Dot is really a great way to listen to music at home, but the internal speaker is also amazingly capable of setting simpler requirements. If you want to know more about the Amazon Echo experience, then the Dot is perfect for trying it for a much lower price – and in some ways, the audio output option means that it is actually the top device.
We have not yet reached the Jarvis era of Tony Stark, but if developers continue to compete with Alexa by developing ever-smarter skills, the future may be imminent. If the Dot is really in your street, but you have kids and you do not know how to handle Alexa, check out Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition – it has unique and child-friendly benefits, including a two-year warranty for damage, a red, blue or green colored rubber housing and an annual subscription to FreeTime Unlimited for Kids.
- Great, smaller design
- Stellar voice recognition
- Line out functionality is very useful
- Limited voice control
JBL Link 300
The JBL Link 300 is a Google Home speaker with a remarkable sound that is loud and amplifies the bass. Although not everyone appreciates the warm tonal balance, the speaker represents a good value compared to the competition. We hope that Google and JBL will be able to improve their voice detection through a software update. The JBL Link 300 is the perfect place in the company’s Google Home loudspeaker line. For your money, you get a loudspeaker that sounds good, gets loud, removes bass and has convenient physical controls. The design may have been forgotten a little, but it is forgiven because the loudspeaker works so well.
The speaker is not perfect, however. The voice recognition is average because we have to shout the device when the music is playing loudly. Moreover, there is currently no way to make voice calls, which can be done by Google Home and Google Home Mini, which are less expensive. Compared to competitors, the Sonos One offers a more balanced sound, but currently only supports Amazon Alexa. The company promises to offer Google support to the speaker in 2018, but this feature has not yet appeared.
- Good sound, good bass
- Physical buttons
- Great value
- Tonal balance too warm
- Can’t make calls
Google Home Mini
In many ways, the Home Mini is similar to the Amazon Echo Dot. This is Google’s attempt to link the assistant to as many houses as possible. The enormous amount of features that Google Home offers, along with the minimal build, premium and low price, make it a star. This means that if you are looking for a cheap speaker, the Google Home Mini system will get started for many people. Keep in mind, however, that it is better to consider this as a supplement to the host family than at the foundation.
Apart from being smart, this device also specializes in rewarding those already in the Google Cast ecosystem with a new, inexpensive device. Yes, Google Home Mini costs less than half the price of Google Home and is more than half the size. However, it does not appear that we get half of his performance – we get a little less.
- Plays nice with Google Cast
- Bluetooth support
- Good value
- Weak sound performance
Amazon Echo Plus
Amazon Echo Plus is the high-end choice among its tower loudspeakers. Consider buying one if you want decent sound quality but do not want to display Echo Show or Echo Spot. It is louder and more serious than the standard echo, especially useful for music. Does it sound just as good as the Sonos One? No, but like other Amazon Echo gadgets, the price is competitive. Like other smart home systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it is easy to recommend Amazon Echo Plus. This is a unique and convenient solution for audio, intelligent assistant functions and the Internet of Things controls, where Alexa continues to do its best as the most versatile voice assistant.
But the power of the Echo range, especially at low prices, makes it even more difficult to sell these high-end models: the Echo Dot has similar possibilities for a fraction of the price, for example, it just sounds good. In the same way, the integrated smart hub is a great addition, but not yet fully functional, meaning that smart home users might not want to jump right away. In short, if you want to enter the connected homeworld, Echo Plus is a great place to start. Keep in mind that cheaper options, at least for the time being, are also suitable for your needs.
- Good Alexa voice control
- Improved audio
- One-box smart home solution
- The sound could be better
- Smart hub features need work
Ultimate Ears Blast
The EU Blast is first a portable Bluetooth speaker and a second smart speaker. The inclusion of Alexa makes the Blast handy at home when combined with the optional Power Up dock – but even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, Blast is still a great Bluetooth speaker. The EU Blast is a somewhat confusing product because it tries to be both a smart and portable speaker. As a portable speaker, you do not have to be afraid of the beach, the Blast is excellent (just like the old Boom 2).
Do not expect that the EU Blast at home will be great with poor voice recognition and the lack of the dock. It is difficult to justify EU Blast at home because smart speaker competitors such as the Sonos One dealer have about the same price because the Sonos One works with the company’s multi-platform technology and platform that supports just about any music service that streams the sun. You will also be given the opportunity to use Google Assistant and Alexa in a future update.
- Excellent sound quality
- Good battery life
- For home and on the go
- Amazon’s walled garden
- Alexa useless without Wi-Fi
- Poor voice recognition
The future may not be what Smart Speaker you buy, but it will be more focused on integrating voice-controlled smart assistants into other products. However, for now, our list of Best Smart Speakers shows the ten best Smart Speakers you can buy now. And with the enormous success of these voice-controlled home users, this selection is probably only the beginning, because a number of other companies, including some of the biggest names in technology, are also working on their own smart home audio products. It remains to be seen whether they are in the market or appear to be a load of hot air.
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