Smart Speakers Buying Guide

The Comprehensive Buying Guide for the Best Smart Speakers of 2020

The Best Smart Speakers of 2020

With Amazon, Apple, and Google continuing to make improvements to their voice assistants, it has never been a better time to get a smart speaker. With that said, there are a lot of options out there and not knowing before buying can cost you both time and money.

 

The good news, we’ve tested the lot and narrowed it down to the best of the best. Whether you’re looking for overall value, great audio quality, or the best voice assistance, we have you covered. These are the best smart speakers and they all come integrated with either Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri. Let’s find you your next smart speaker.

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Best Overall: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
sonos one top
Best sound for the price: Sonos One
Best for personalized assistance: Google Nest Mini
Best for smart home controls: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd gen)
Apple HomePod
Best overall sound: Apple HomePod

Best Overall

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
Echo Dot

The 3rd Generation Echo Dot has improved from previous generations in both look and sound and is now only $29.99 at Amazon. 

 

All thing considered, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd gen is a great starter smart speaker and offers more capabilities than Google Assistant and Siri. While it doesn’t have the greatest audio quality, you can easily connect this to your other speakers to amplify the sound while having a versatile smart speaker.

Best sound for the price

Sonos One

The Sonos One is the first Sonos smart speaker, but not the first smart speaker as Google, Amazon, and Apple were already “one” step ahead of the action. Sonos One is a voice-controlled smart speaker for music lovers with Alexa and Google built-in and is only available from Sonos.

 

The Sonos One made its way up the ladder and is among the best smart wireless speakers on the market. It has all the features of others of its kind, is averagely priced, and comes highly recommended by fans that tout its remarkable sound qualities. Paired together with other Sonos Ones and you have a powerful system in one small device.

 

Read our full review of the Sonos One.

Best for personalized assistance

Google Nest Mini

While we still think the Echo Dot is best, the Google Nest Mini is only edged out by a small margin.

 

Google Assistant has improved immensely over the past few years and is comparable to Alexa’s capabilities. And what we really like is Google Assistant’s flexibility to voice commands and routines. It allows you some flexibility when it comes to remembering smart device names and allows you to string together multiple commands to form a routine.

 

Overall, the Echo Dot matches value and functionality but the Google Assistant is better for overall assistant intelligence.

Best for smart home controls

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd gen)

The Amazon Echo Plus combines audio quality along with its built-in hub and temperature sensor to make for a very powerful multi-tasking smart speaker. Its stylish design comes in black, charcoal and white, and its small footprint saves space on your desk, shelf or table.

 

If you’re looking to truly turn your home into a smart home, the Amazon Echo Plus is a great investment. It comes built-in with a Zigbee Smart Hub adding a ton of value over smart speakers that rely on voice assistant integrations over wi-fi and bluetooth.

 

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Plus.

Best overall sound

Apple HomePod

Arguably the best feature of the HomePod is its premium sound quality, which can easily fill a room that lets you hear the clear separation between elements of a song. For example, hearing all of the elements that make up an EDM track or the reverberations from a bass guitar.

 

Compared to the Sonos One and Amazon Echo, the HomePod provides a much better listening experience that is clear, pleasant, and loud. In our review, the HomePod is at its best when you place it against a wall. This allows it to pull apart the sounds very well – with all elements coming through with amazing quality.

 

If you’re part of the Apple ecosystem already (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Music, etc) and are interested in a smart speaker primarily for playing music then the HomePod is the smart speaker for you! The Apple HomePod has far surpassed the sound quality of its competitors such as Sonos One and Amazon Echo, but it comes at a steep price relative to other features, such as Bluetooth functionality, which are present in most other competitors.

 

Read our full review of the Apple HomePod.

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