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The 7 Best Smart Speakers - Winter 2024 Reviews

Best Smart Speakers

A smart speaker with reliable voice assistant support can be a great and helpful addition to any home. Smart speakers are normally Wi-Fi-enabled speakers with built-in voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. These handy speakers can be controlled from a distance using your voice, and you can also use some to control your other smart home devices like thermostats and lightbulbs. You can use them to answer and decline phone calls, set alarms or timers, and ask questions that cross your mind. However, since they're most often designed for home use, many tend not to be very portable and require a power outlet to work. That said, there still are many portable options available on the market.

We've tested over 130 speakers, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best voice-enabled speakers. If you're looking for more options, check out our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best Alexa speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers.

  1. Best Smart Speaker

    The best smart speaker that we've tested is the JBL Authentics 500. This premium home speaker offers built-in support for both Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can use both voice assistants simultaneously. It stands out from the crowd thanks to its impressive sound quality as well as its stylish retro design, which is inspired by classic JBL speakers like the L100. You get many modern-day features for the price, including a room calibration tool designed to optimize the speaker's sound based on the unique acoustics of your living room.

    Thanks to its voice assistant support, you can activate this speaker using only your voice. It understands your commands clearly, even if you're in a noisy environment or on the other side of the room. As for its sound, it offers an impressive reproduction of voices and lead instruments, so you get a clear and balanced sound overall. Bass and treble knobs on the speaker itself let you adjust its sound to your liking, and there's also a graphic EQ for this purpose in the JBL One app. Overall, this feature-packed speaker is a little much for those who want a simpler smart speaker, but it stands out as among the best.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Smart Speaker

    The Sonos Era 300 is a more affordable smart speaker that's a great alternative. Released in 2023, this premium device offers built-in Alexa support for hands-free control. Available in either black or white, it boasts a sleek style that'll blend into your living room decor, which is especially handy if you want to use it as part of your home theater setup. That's right—this speaker connects to other Sonos devices in your home ecosystem and pairs with compatible Sonos soundbars for at-home surround sound. It's one of the only speakers we've tested with Dolby Atmos support, which is great if you want to watch movies in this format or listen to Dolby Atmos Music on compatible streaming platforms.

    This speaker gives you access to lots of premium sound enhancement tools. Room correction is available to optimize the speaker's sound based on your room's unique acoustics. The full feature is only available with iOS devices, but Android users get access to a simpler alternative. If you prefer, bass and treble adjustments let you manually adjust for any changes in the sound. It's also the best-sounding smart speaker we've tested, which is great if you're an avid audiophile. This speaker is still one of the best, so it's probably a little much if you're looking for a simple plug-and-play device to listen to music. Still, it's worth a look.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Smart Speaker

    If you want a premium speaker at a more affordable price, check out the Sonos Era 100. As its name suggests, it's the smaller, more price-friendly alternative to the Sonos Era 300. It comes with many of the same features, including built-in Alexa support, and you can pair it up with other Sonos devices to spread audio throughout your room or create a home theater setup with one of its compatible soundbars. Trueplay room correction is available, though only iOS users can access the full feature.

    The main difference between this speaker and the Era 300 is that this model doesn't support Dolby Atmos Music. As a result, you can't take advantage of a more immersive sound with certain tracks on compatible platforms like Tidal. It doesn't get as loud as the larger Era 300, either. Still, it's suitable for listening to many different music genres and gets loud enough to fill a typical living room with sound. Voices are especially clear, which is great for listening to pop and other vocal-centric genres. Overall, it's a versatile pick for smart speakers, and if you don't listen to much Atmos content, it may be a better deal for you.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Smart Speaker

    Shopping on a tighter budget? Check out the Amazon Echo Studio. This stylish device has a wide array of smart speaker functionalities to make the most of your listening experience. Its built-in Zigbee hub lets you connect the speaker to other compatible smart home devices like light bulbs or thermostats to the speaker. Built-in Alexa support allows you to control the speaker as well as your Zigbee devices, so it's easy to manage your home all in the same place.

    Whether listening to the classics or the latest pop hits, you enjoy clear reproduction of voices and instruments thanks to the speaker's balanced sound. If you want a different sound, you can switch it up using its bass and treble adjustments in the Amazon Alexa app. However, there's a little less bass mixed in than the Sonos Era 100, so you don't hear as much rumble in bass-centric tunes. That said, if you don't like a lot of EDM and hip-hop, you won't notice much difference. For a more budget-friendly price, it offers a great performance.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Speaker

    If you're on an even tighter budget, check out the Amazon Echo Gen 4. Its built-in Alexa does an excellent job understanding your commands, so you have no trouble controlling it from the comfort of your couch using only your voice. Like the Amazon Echo Studio, it has a built-in Zigbee hub, meaning you can control other smart home devices from the speaker. Its unique spherical design brings a stylish look to your home, with a ring of light underneath that flashes when you command it.

    That said, for the price difference, the Echo Gen 4 doesn't perform quite as well as the Studio. Its default frequency response is fair, with clear reproduction of voices and lead instruments, but there's a little extra boominess in the bass that isn't ideal for everyone. You can still customize its sound with the Amazon Alexa app, which is nice. However, it still doesn't get as loud as the Studio, so it's best suited for listening in smaller-sized rooms. You can always check out the best Google Assistant speaker we've tested in the budget range, the Google Nest Audio, while Siri fans can look at the Apple HomePod mini. All three speakers perform similarly, but the Amazon speaker's voice assistant performance is a touch better overall.

    See our review

  6. Best Cheap Smart Speaker

    The Amazon Echo Pop is an affordable smart speaker that's a great way to enter the space without breaking the bank. Available in several colors, this speaker boasts a small and compact footprint that suits smaller living spaces. Despite its wallet-friendly price, its voice assistant performance rivals that of more premium smart speakers. The built-in Alexa can hear your commands clearly from across the room and pick out your voice through the noise of a party. You can mute the assistant for more private moments, too.

    Given its small size, this speaker can't bring the same sound quality as the more premium speakers on this list. For example, it lacks the thump and rumble in the low-bass and doesn't get very loud. Still, it's more than suitable for listening to most vocal-centric content, like podcasts or the news. Dialogue reproduces clearly, so it's easy to follow along with the conversation. It's a great way to bring smart technology into your home for an affordable price.

    See our review

  7. Best Portable Smart Speaker

    Most smart speakers on the market are geared towards in-home use, which is reflected in their wired-only designs. They aren't the most suitable for on-the-go listening since you must keep them plugged into a power outlet to use them. Fortunately, those who want to bring their smart features with them can opt for more portable, battery-powered models, like the Sonos Roam. This speaker is great for listening in your backyard or on your next camping trip, and it's small and lightweight enough to throw right into your bag or backpack. It's even rated IP67 for dust and water resistance to help protect it against the elements.

    This speaker offers built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant. Its sound is suitable for most music genres. However, due to its smaller size, it doesn't get as loud as the more premium picks on our list, and it can't reproduce as much rumble in the bass. If you want a portable smart speaker with better bass and don't mind a larger size, the Sonos Move 2 may be a better option. Again, it's larger and heavier than the Roam, which means it can get louder and even has a longer-lasting battery life. Its voice assistant performance is just as good, too.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Denon Home 350: The Denon Home 350 is another premium smart speaker with built-in Alexa. It has a better low-frequency extension than the Sonos Era 300, so you notice more rumble in the bass. However, its soundstage isn't as good, and the speaker doesn't support Dolby Atmos. See our review
  • Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2: The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 is a well-built portable Bluetooth speaker offering outstanding Amazon Alexa support. However, unlike the JBL Authentics 500, it isn't Wi-Fi compatible, so while Alexa is built into this speaker, it relies on your paired smartphone to work. It also has a shorter battery life. See our review
  • Apple HomePod (2nd generation): The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is a mid-range pick ideal for those already owning products in Apple's ecosystem. It has a better low-frequency extension than the Sonos Era 100, which is great for bass lovers. However, without bass and treble adjustments, it's not as customizable. It doesn't support Bluetooth, either. See our review
  • JBL Authentics 200: The JBL Authentics 200 is a smaller and more compact alternative to the JBL Authentics 500. It has a similar design, built-in voice assistant support, and room correction. However, it lacks support for Dolby Atmos Music. See our review
  • Bose Home Speaker 500: The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a wired speaker designed for at-home listening. While it does have a multi-room feature that lets you pair it with other Bose speakers, it lacks the Sonos Era 100's room correction technology, and its default sound profile isn't as balanced. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 25, 2024: We've checked to ensure all our picks are still in stock and added the Bose Home Speaker 500 as a Notable Mention.

  2. Nov 30, 2023: The JBL Authentics 300 replaces the Sonos Era 300 as the top pick since it has better sound quality. The Sonos Era 300 moves to the 'Best Upper Mid-Range' pick. The Sonos Move 2 is now an alternative to the Sonos Roam, and the JBL Authentics 200 is a Notable Mention.

  3. Oct 19, 2023: Confirmed product picks are available. Some text edits for clarity.

  4. Aug 23, 2023: Added the Sonos Roam as 'Best Portable'. The Amazon Echo Pop replaces the Google Nest Mini as the 'Best Cheap'.

  5. Jun 29, 2023: Replaced the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 with the Google Home Mini as 'Best Cheap' as the Amazon is no longer widely available.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best-sounding smart speakers for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price (cheaper speakers win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no speakers that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for speakers that support voice assistants, sorted by their voice assistant performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect speakers. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.