Best Smart Speakers 2021

Best Smart Speakers 2021

Last Updated on

You are welcome to this review; it is aimed at showing the best smart speakers out there. We have studied, and we came out with these smart speakers that are reliable and will give you quality sound. Read through, as we show to you the best smart speakers.

BUYER’S GUIDE

Your first choice comes down to one of the three major digital assistants – Google Home, Alexa,  or Siri. In terms of features and functions, they’re more or less the same even though they handle commands a little differently.

You’ll find that your decision will be influenced by services you’ve signed up to, the automation environment you want and products you already own. This, and a few other elements, defines each brand:

 Google Home

The most comprehensive and humanlike in its capabilities and responses. Works well with existing Google products such as the Pixel phones and Chromecast line.

A highlight of Google-based smart speakers is that they allow you to send content to Google Chromecast dongles using your voice, as well as control playback using your voice. It’s also very good at controlling first and third-party smart devices over a Wi-Fi network, though responses are a little slower than Alexa and Siri.

Google Home enabled smart speakers can easily group together as well. Worth considering if you have Google products or a Google account (e.g. Gmail).

Amazon Alexa

The only major assistant that isn’t tied to an existing product or software line (e.g. Android or iOS), arguably allowing Amazon a little more freedom to partner with whoever it wants. Unlike the other two, Alexa can’t complete all of its tasks out of the box.

Instead, you can download ‘Skill’ kits for specific tasks, allowing you to tailor Alexa to your needs. Though useful, this can require a bit of work. Interesting feature – Alexa has an intercom system that lets you communicate between Amazon speakers throughout the house, like walkie-talkies.

Siri

Like most Apple products, this will seamlessly slide into your home if you’re already set up in the Apple ecosystem. Connecting to an iPhone, Apple TV or iMac for example, is seamless, and it recognizes first and third-party smart device commands in a heartbeat.

But it’s not quite as polished as its competitors – it can struggle to recognize requests from time to time, and can only complete basic tasks for now. Connected smart devices must also be Home Kit enabled, which leaves out a large chunk of the market.

Smart speakers are basically another vessel for digital assistants like Google Home, Siri and Alexa (they were conceived in smartphones after all). As a result, we’re starting to see these systems pop up in other products such as TVs and kitchen appliances. Car manufacturers are interested in integrating voice commands as well.

After selecting your preferred brand, you should also consider these points:

 Bluetooth

This is a handy workaround if you want to stream music on a smart speaker that doesn’t support your service of choice. You can simply tap in via your smartphone or PC. Note, this won’t add smart controls to the service.

Cross-platform support

Most manufacturers are gradually expanding their partnerships with third-party companies making smart home devices.

If you own or are planning on purchasing smart appliances and entertainment products from specific companies, look into whether they can directly communicate with each other. This makes the set-up process much easier.

 Ease of use:

This combines set-up, accessibility (physical controls) and, most importantly, how well it responds to commands in various environments. Those with lower scores required us to repeat commands even in quiet rooms. Good speakers can pick up your voice, even in a busy situation.

Don’t expect miracles however, your smart speaker is unlikely to perform well in a noisy environment, like a party.

 Follow-up questions

Good smart speakers can hold a conversation after the initial question has been asked, so you don’t need to repeat yourself. “Show me nearby Italian restaurants,” for example, can be followed by “when do they open?” rather than “when do local Italian restaurants open”.

Services

Speakers can connect directly to certain services such as Spotify, Netflix, ABC news and so on, so you can issue commands from the speaker without having to fiddle with settings or extra connections like Bluetooth. Look for models that support services you subscribe to.

Sound quality

Most smart speaker owners use them as a media player of sorts, so sound quality is a serious consideration. However, if you only want to use your smart speaker to control other devices, or listen to spoken word content such as the news, you could get away with one of the smaller, cheaper models.

BEST SMART SPEAKERS

  1. Google Nest Mini
  2. Sonos One
  3. Amazon Echo
  4. Google Home
  5. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
  6. Ultimate Ears Blast
  7. Ultimate Ears Megablast Blue
  8. JBL Link 500
  9. Apple HomePod
NAMES FEATURES WHERE TO BUY
Google Nest Mini

B082XRP343

  • Dimensions: 98mm x 42mm
  • Weight: 181g
  • Connectivity: Wifi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast
  • Speakers: one 40mm driver
GET IT ON AMAZON
Sonos One

B07NJQFL4X

  • Airplay 2
  • Voice control built in
  • Mute for privacy
  • Humidity resistant
  • Capacitive touch controls
  • Wi-fi
GET IT ON AMAZON
Amazon Echo

B07NFTVP7P

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360? omni-directional audio. Play music simultaneously across Echo devices with multi-room music (Spotify and Sirius XM support coming soon).
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
GET IT ON AMAZON
Google Home

B076H8KB5X

  • Customizable base
  • Expanding hardware ecosystem
GET IT ON AMAZON
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

B07FZ8S74R

  • Much better sound than previous model.
  • Still the best inexpensive Alexa speaker.
  • 5mm jack for more powerful speakers.
  • Alexa remains the best voice ecosystem for smart home control.
GET IT ON AMAZON
Ultimate Ears Blast

B07DGXDT3V

  • control via app
  • control your smart devices
  • waterproof
  • warranty
GET IT ON AMAZON
Ultimate Ears Megablast Blue

B0762NL2X2

  • Wireless charging
  • Waterproof
  • 16-hours battery life
GET IT ON AMAZON
JBL Link 500

B076FDH6WC

  • Auto-power off
  • Bluetooth
  • Chromecast Built-in
  • Google Assistant
  • Multi-room Support
  • Voice Assistant integration
  • Wi-Fi support
GET IT ON AMAZON
Apple HomePod

B07KC4ZR16

 

  • Siri integration
  • Apple designed woofer
  • Seven tweeters
  • 7-inch mesh body
  • Spatial recognition
  • Stereo sound, AirPlay 2
GET IT ON AMAZON

Google Nest Mini

B082XRP343

The body is made from 35% post-consumer recycled plastic and the top from 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is a step in the right direction.

The Nest Mini also has a new faster machine learning chip built into it, which is part of Google’s push to do more natural language processing locally for better speed and privacy. It also has a new wake word engine, which is designed to prevent accidental activation of Google Assistant while still enabling it to hear you from across the room.

PROS CONS
  • good sound for the money
  • No 3.5mm input, privacy concerns of a smart speaker,
  • wall mount
  • not quite room-filling sound
  • made of recycled plastic
  • Google Assistant
  • Bluetooth 5.0, native BBC radio playback

Sonos One

B07NJQFL4X

Get rich, room-filling sound with Sonos One, and control it with your voice*, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, and more. The Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are built right-in so you can play music, check news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, completely hands-free.

PROS CONS
  • Easy to use
  • Premium price
  • Listen your way
  • Brilliant sound

Amazon Echo

B07NFTVP7P

The humble Amazon Echo has entered millions of homes already – and with good reason. It’s an affordable entry point for those beginning their smart home, with audio capable enough to handle news, podcasts, music, or whatever you might be using your AI voice servant for.

That’s especially true with the new 2019 Amazon Echo,  a third-generation model that bumps up the audio further with the drivers used in the 2018 Echo Plus – though without the latter’s Zibgee compatibility.

PROS CONS
  • Bigger sound
  • No Zigbee
  • New Alexa features
  • Alexa app still needs improving

Google Home

B076H8KB5X

Get help with things like your daily brief, your flight information, or your commute to work. Check on the latest weather and traffic in your area. Set alarms and timers, pull up your calendar appointments, or add items to your shopping list just using your voice. Simply ask your Assistant on your speakers to adjust the temperature, lighting, and more.

PROS CONS
  • Integrates with your Google tools
  • Lacks balanced sound, especially on vocals
  • Controls Google Cast-enabled devices
  • Booming bass

 

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

B07FZ8S74R

The Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) is a surprising product. It’s small, but it offers a gateway into the world of the smart home and improved audio over its previous models, as well as the Google Home Mini.

PROS CONS
  • Small, fabric design
  • Sound quality isn’t quite there
  • Easy setup and integration
  • No auxiliary cable included
  • Clear call quality
  • Improved Alexa app

Ultimate Ears Blast

B07DGXDT3V

Super portable wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth® speaker with voice control: balanced 360° sound, deep bass, Amazon Alexa built-in, plus it’s water, dust & drop proof. It’s the ultimate voice-controlled, go-anywhere speaker. Plus, you can set timers, check the weather, control smart devices, and enjoy Alexa’s growing range of crazy skills

PROS CONS
  • Great sound by smart speaker standards
  • Low end can be a little fat
  • Rugged design
  • Still some issues with Alexa smart features
  • Decent battery life

Ultimate Ears Megablast Blue

B0762NL2X2

MEGABLAST takes our pioneering shape and concept of 360° sound to the next level. The all-new architecture distributes powerfully loud, clear audio, with greater dynamic range, farther and more evenly than any speaker in our portfolio.

PROS CONS
  • Loud, rugged speakers withstand rough treatment
  • Services like Spotify over WiFi are missing
  • Alexa without the power cord is great
  • Both speakers are expensive, and the dock costs extra
  • Megablast lives up to its name in volume
  • Bluetooth and WiFi don’t always coexist well
  • Charging dock is convenient
  • Many familiar UE features are missing

JBL Link 500

B076FDH6WC

JBL Link 500 has the Google Assistant built-in. It is your own personal Google. Always ready to help.

The JBL Link 500 is a voice-activated speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® enabled that delivers amazing stereo sound with deep bass and clear highs for bigger rooms. It has the Google Assistant built-in. It’s your own personal Google.

Always ready to help. You can ask it questions. And tell it to do things. The more you use it, the more useful it gets. Just start with “Ok Google” – a simple voice request triggers your JBL Link 500 to play music, podcasts or radio from services like Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora and more. To amplify your party, speakers with Chromecast built-in can be grouped together to enjoy the same song in every room.

PROS CONS
  • Well-balanced audio — if you listen loud enough
  • Lacks bass at low levels
  • Stereo sound with wide sound field
  • No wired inputs

Apple HomePod

B07KC4ZR16

HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music and Siri, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home. And it can help you and your whole family with everyday tasks — and control your smart home — all with just your voice

PROS CONS
  • You can effortlessly control the product.
  • Built-in radio is one quality that other speakers have, unlike Homepod that doesn’t support radio.
  • Has a powerful loud sound.
  • Basically, the product is expensive. You have to invest a huge amount of money in buying the product.
  • Loud, crisp sound with clear treble and bass that makes just the right noise
  • One thing that customers look for a product is its capability to connect to Bluetooth which this product lacks.
  • Even if you connect the iPhone, you can still receive calls.
  • Well-established Siri voice assistant.
  • Speaker’s design is cool. It looks so neat and can place anywhere at home or office.
  • Listening to acoustic music is great.

CONCLUSION

We have come to the end of this review. These smart speakers that have been reviewed above are reliable, and durable. You should consider getting one of them for your home. As they make your daily life a lot easier.