9 Best Smart Speakers (2024): Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri

Estimated read time 4 min read

Connects to Alexa.

★ Cheaper, Similar Echo Show: The second-gen Echo Show 8 ($130) is a little cheaper and is still a great choice if you don’t have your heart set on new features like the smart home hub or spatial audio.

If you aren’t in it for the music, the Amazon Echo Dot With Clock (5th Gen) and Google’s Nest Mini (7/10, WIRED Recommends) will give you most of the perks of owning a smart speaker, and you can use them to make existing speakers smarter on the cheap. The sound is very similar between models, and they have nearly identical footprints, so you can argue that one is better than the other based on the ecosystem alone. We used to prefer the Nest Mini for this reason, but now that Amazon has added a simple clock to the front of the Echo Dot, we like it a bit more.

The tiny display on the Echo Dot With Clock comes in handy. It can tell you when your timers are going to expire in the kitchen or when your alarm is set for the morning. It tells the time too. That makes it a better bedroom and kitchen companion. You can also ask it the weather, have it answer random questions, and play white noise at bedtime to help you sleep. Plus, it presents an easy way to get a smart assistant into the places in your home where you don’t normally listen to music.

Connects to Amazon Alexa.

★ Alternative: The Nest Mini ($49) is also a great mini speaker if you prefer Google Assistant. It’s usually on sale for $25, making it one of the most affordable smart speakers out there. It can do everything the Nest Audio can do, though its sound quality is nothing to write home about.

The pint-size Sonos Roam (9/10, WIRED Recommends) has become our new favorite portable speaker. Reviewer Parker Hall has taken it on road trips, to outdoor weddings, and in the basket of his bike. The simple-to-use Sonos ecosystem works with Google Assistant and Alexa, and the speaker has Bluetooth for when you’re out of Wi-Fi range. It even includes wireless charging, which makes it the perfect speaker to set down at home between trips outdoors.

You’ll get 10 hours of listening on a full charge at medium volume, and the thing is rugged; an IP67 rating means it can survive in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Hall is not easy on speakers, and his review unit is still going strong. If you’re looking to up your out-and-about game, buy one of these and stash it inside a stainless to-go mug. Just grab a drink along the way.

Connects to Google Assistant or Alexa.

★ Alternative: The second generation of Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound A1 ($279) added Alexa voice assistant to the mix. It’s a beautiful, great-sounding, and durable mono speaker we’ve had on our Best Bluetooth Speakers list for a while, and with Alexa in tow, it’s a good portable option for fans of Amazon’s voice assistant.

This butt-shaped speaker from Sonos (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best way to hear spatial audio tracks—audio that is mixed with more than two channels and can be projected anywhere in a 3D space. (Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music both offer this.) It can project audio throughout your room and can even be paired with a Sonos soundbar to work as Dolby Atmos surrounds in a home theater.

Even if you’re not listening to spatially mixed audio, the speaker still sounds fantastic. It has big, confident bass and details up top, and it can tune itself to your room using iOS or built-in microphones on the speaker. It’s a bit harder to place than the Era 100 above, and is also nearly double the price, but this is still worth considering if you have a larger space or a modern home with a more open floor plan.

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