What’s the best smart speaker?
The fourth-generation Amazon Echo, our pick for top smart speaker overall, is likely to best meet the needs of most households. Though it’s a couple of years old, the device features improved sound quality over the previous generation, is compatible with an assortment of smart devices, and goes for the relatively low price of $100 (it can often be found on sale, too).
That said, the fourth-generation Echo might not be the best pick for your particular home. Almost every smart speaker allows you to control the lights, play music, ask questions, set reminders and much more with simple voice commands. The decision may simply come down to which brand you’re already invested in. If you have an affinity for a particular company’s products, whether you’re an Amazon acolyte, Apple obsessive or Google stan, picking a speaker is easy.
For folks who are platform-agnostic, the range of choices might seem intimidating at first. We here at CNET have been testing voice control devices and smart speakers since they first hit the scene. We considered all of the important smart device features, from sound quality to the ease of installing multiple speakers. Our top picks are the fourth-gen Amazon Echo, the second-gen Google Nest Mini, the Apple HomePod Mini and the second-gen Sonos One. Find out why below.
Best smart speakers of 2023
Other smart speaker options
Those smart speakers are our favorites, but you still have lots of other options if you’re looking for something specific in audio performance.
Read our breakdown of Alexa versus Google Assistant versus Siri if you’d like to learn each one’s pros and cons, and decide on a smart home device by platform.
Note that neither the original Amazon Echo nor the Nest Audio made an appearance above because you can get the same capabilities for less with the smaller (Dot and Mini) versions. That said, if you want a smart speaker that splits the difference between affordability and premium sound, both are still solid options.
If you like the idea of always-listening help but want something more visual, check out our list of the best smart displays. 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 gadgets with a touch. Amazon and Google both have several options worth considering in the category.
Read more: Best Smart Displays for 2023
Figure out what platform or features you’d like, and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you and your family.
Best smart speaker FAQs