Amazon, Google and Apple are good smart speakers, and competition between these technology giants is making this category better and better. Amazon helped popularize Smart home devices and smart speakers with the original echo and the now famous digital assistant known as AlexaBut today you have a number of options from different companies, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

How can you find out the difference between them and choose the best smart speaker for your needs? The main differences are mainly related to the size, price and audio quality of the hardware. If you don't need a lot of power from your music and have a slightly lower audio quality, you can save money and get the same smarts in a smaller smart speaker body.

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Our favorites that Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Nest Miniare both fantastic smart devices. Almost all of your options include multi-room audio, allowing you to turn on the lights, play music, ask a question, set a reminder, and more with simple voice commands. If you like that, it may be time to give in to the growing hype of this burgeoning device category and buy a smart speaker.

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This is the best smart speaker


Continue reading: Best Sonos speakers from $ 100 | Best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems of 2020

If you have an affinity for one of these brands, it's easy to choose a speaker. Here you will find help in choosing a smart speaker from Amazon Model. Here is a Instructions if you want a smart speaker equipped with Google. The Apple HomePod for $ 350 is your only option if you want a Siri-enabled smart speaker. The good news, however, is that it offers excellent audio quality that makes listening to music very enjoyable.

If you are platform independent and don't have to choose between Alexa or Google, the selection can be intimidating at first. However, choosing the best smart speaker can be easy if you know what you're looking for. Here are our thoughts.

The growing amount of smart speakers is ready for your command

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Sonos One


Please note that the products described here are selected independently by our editors.

Ben Fox Rubin / CNET

It is very difficult to name the best smart speaker these days. Both Google and Amazon have very powerful smart speakers at affordable prices. If you are not concerned with the core of the category and just want to try an intelligent speaker, you should get the 3rd generation Echo Dot. The Amazon voice assistant offers more features than the Google assistant and the Siri from Apple.

The third-generation Amazon Echo Dot looks and sounds better than previous versions and still only costs $ 50. There's also a $ 60 version with a convenient LED watch for timers, temperature, and alarms. The Echo Dot offers the same digital assistant smarts as more expensive Echo devices. You sacrifice some audio quality for the size and price, but it plugs into your own speakers so you can easily make up for that difference.

Read the Amazon Echo Dot Test.

Sarah Tew / CNET

With the Sonos One for $ 200, you can pair two devices to play stereo sound or multiroom audio, but even a single speaker sounds fantastic in a variety of music genres and costs significantly less than other smart speakers with premium sound quality like Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod.

Even better, both Alexa and Google Assistant are integrated in Sonos One. Simply choose which one you want to use for your voice commands during setup. Sonos also has Apple's AirPlay 2, so you can control it with any Siri-enabled device, including your iPhone.

When you add it up, the Sonos One is a great-sounding, affordable smart speaker that fits households with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. It's hard to beat.

Read the Sonos One test.

James Martin / CNET

Amazon used to be the undisputed ruler of the world of smart speakers, but Google has done an admirable job of catching up with its digital assistant in the Sound Race. At this point, when it comes to choosing between the two companies' cheapest smart devices – the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Nest Mini – it is important to split your hair. The Dot is still our favorite, but with a small lead.

Google Assistant now has almost as many features as Alexa. This makes Google Nest Mini a solid alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot for $ 50 to find the best smart speaker. In addition, Google Assistant is a slightly more intelligent voice assistant than Alexa. It responds more flexibly to voice commands if you can't remember the exact name of your smart home devices, and Google's grouped commands, called routines, work with more types of smart devices than Amazon's similar routines. Google Assistant can recognize multiple voices, so you and your spouse get different answers when you ask for your calendars. Alexa can now do this too.

Overall, Google is still ahead of the wizard intelligence, and Google Nest Mini is a great and affordable way to take advantage of these intelligent features.

Read the Google Nest Mini test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Deciding which assistant you want in the middle of your smart home is a difficult task. Both Alexa and Google Assistant work with many devices. Both help you to easily organize and control them. While Google Assistant is a little smarter, Alexa works with smarter home devices and makes it easier to set up with voice commands.

Ultimately, thanks to Alexa and the Echo Plus for $ 150, we'll give Amazon the smart home edge in the best smart speaker category. Alexa can send alerts when your smart speaker hears glass breakage or a smoke alarm. The Echo Plus combines the usual Alexa smarts with a speaker that sounds great and has a built-in smart home hub so you can sync your little sensors with it instead of having to buy more equipment.

Read the Amazon Echo Plus review.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Siri's first intelligent speaker adapts its sound to the room you are in, and sounds fantastic when you play all genres of music. Its sound quality surpasses that of the Sonos One and even squeaks through the similarly expensive Google Home Max. Thanks to Siri, you can also use an Apple HomePod to control your smart home products with the sound of your voice, just like with the other smart speakers Ask for help and answer calls on your iPhone.

However, the HomePod is more limited than the others. You can only play music from the Apple Music Service using voice commands. Other smart speakers offer you some popular streaming options like Pandora or Spotify. For the smart home, you are limited to devices that work with Apple's smart home platform, HomeKit. So the HomePod has some limitations that the rest don't have, but you shouldn't care if you've already invested in Apple products and just want excellent sound quality.

Read the Apple HomePod review.

Best portable smart speaker

JBL Link 20

Sarah Tew / CNET

Given the wide range of smart speakers, it's surprising how few are portable. Fortunately, the JBL Link 20 checks all the right boxes to qualify as a good smart speaker, and it's battery powered. It has decent battery life and solid sound quality, and Google Assistant is integrated like the Google Nest Mini.

Even better, the wireless speaker is completely waterproof, so you can play music outdoors and connect to your home's WiFi network or stream audio through your phone's Bluetooth. $ 200 is a little expensive. It is often sold for $ 150 and is currently sold out, but JBL representatives have assured us that it will be back in stock soon.

In the meantime, the similar JBL Link 10 is a solid and cheaper, if somewhat less impressive, alternative.

Read the JBL Link 20 test.

Other options

These smart speakers are our favorites, but you have plenty of other options if you're looking for something specific. Read our breakdown of Alexa vs. Google Assistant vs. Siri if you get to know the advantages and disadvantages of each individual and want to decide by platform.

Note that neither the original Amazon Echo still the original Google Home was shown above because with the smaller versions (Dot and Mini) you can get the same features for less money. However, if you're looking for a smart speaker that divides the difference between affordability and premium sound, both options are still solid.

If you like the idea of ​​always listening but want something more visual, check out ours Smart display best list. Smart displays essentially combine a smart speaker with a touchscreen, so you can watch videos on YouTube, make video calls, scroll through pictures and control your smart home devices with one touch. Amazon and Google both have several options in this booming smart display category of smart home technology.

There are also many Third-party devices with built-in Alexaand a growing number of Third-party speakers using Google Assistant. Visit the Amazon Tap or the UE megablast if you want Alexa in a portable body. The TicHome Mini is another more compact choice if you need a portable smart speaker with Google Assistant. You can also buy add-ons from a company called Ninety7 If you want to make your Google or Amazon Smart speaker portable.

Finally, that Harman Kardon Invoke Used Microsoft's assistant Cortana. It's competent enough if you're a Windows fan, but otherwise not enough to stand out from the crowd. Samsung even has a much belated smart speaker, the Galaxy Home with Samsung's assistant Bixby.

Find out which platform or features you want and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you and your family.

Updated regularly with new products as we review them.

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