Smart speakers can be a fun and easy way to listen to music and control your smart home from any room in your house. You can ask questions and give commands using a smart assistant, without pressing any buttons.
Folks looking to choose a smart speaker for their home might be intimidated by all the options. But here at CNET, we’ve been testing voice control devices and smart speakers since they first hit the scene. We’ve considered all the important smart device features, from sound quality to the ease of installing multiple speakers. There are lots of products to choose from, but here are the very best.
What’s the best smart speaker?
Amazon Echo speakers are among the most affordable and easy to set up smart speakers out there. That’s why the fourth-generation Amazon Echo is our pick for top smart speaker overall. It’s 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.
But for platform-agnostic folks, our top picks aside from the fourth-gen Amazon Echo, are 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.