Best Smart Speakers That Are Great for Your Home 2021

smart speaker over the table inside the house

Ready to make your home a little smarter? Smart home technology can seem intimidating, but there’s an easy way to dip your toe in: smart speakers. Smart speakers have an immense range of functions and everyday tasks they can assist you with. Here we’ll present our picks for the best smart speakers that are great for your home in 2021.

A smart speaker is simply a speaker that’s equipped with a digital assistant (Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant). These voice assistants can tell you the weather forecast or change your TV channel. They can control your smart thermostat or give you a traffic report.

While most speakers are only designed to listen to audio, smart speakers are two-way: You can speak to the digital assistant, and it can speak back to you. (You can also use smart speakers to stream music and other audio.) All you have to do is say the digital assistant’s name aloud to get their attention, then make a request. For instance: “Hey Google, what’s the weather today?” or “Alexa,

Smart speakers are designed to connect to other smart devices in your home over your wifi network. For example, your smart speaker can control your smart TV as previously mentioned. It can also turn on your smart oven and set the temperature. But you don’t need to have a particularly “smart” home to find a smart speaker useful. Even if you have no other smart home devices, a smart speaker is incredibly useful.

Best Smart Speakers That Are Great for Your Home 2021

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

If you’re ready to try out a smart speaker and don’t want to spend a lot, the Amazon Echo Dot is the perfect choice. This small spherical speaker resembles a digital-age crystal ball, with Alexa as your clairvoyant. And while Alexa may not actually be able to predict the future, she can at least tell you tomorrow’s weather report.

Amazon’s smart speakers naturally only support Amazon Alexa. So if you prefer Google Assistant or Siri, get a different speaker. But if Alexa’s your girl, this is a great device for controlling smart home devices and making hands-free calls. And at just $50, it’s about as affordable of a smart speaker as you’ll find. The newest 4th generation model also has much better sound quality than previous versions. But if you intend to stream a lot of music, you may want to look elsewhere. The sound isn’t quite up to par for frequent jam sessions.

ProsCons
Budget-friendly priceSound quality isn't up to par for music.
Decent sound qualityCan only be used with Alexa.
Great entry-level modelAlexa struggles to recognize accents.
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Amazon Echo Studio

Need something with a little more punch? The Amazon Echo Studio delivers with louder, clearer sound — and a bigger price tag that’s still pretty affordable at $199. Its squat cylindrical design is covered in fabric for a slightly higher-end look than the Echo Dot as well.

While the Echo Dot is best for chatting with Alexa and controlling smart devices, the Echo Studio does more. It supports 3D audio as well as Dolby Atmos sound. Simply connect it to your smart TV and while it won’t quite compete with high-end surround sound systems, it makes for an easy home theater setup.

Overall, if you’re committed to Alexa, this is the best-sounding speaker you can buy. Audiophiles who also want the convenience of Alexa will likely be pleased with this purchase.

ProsCons
Great valueHigher price
Loud, clear soundSound quality only shines at high volume
Simple home theater setup3D Audio isn't consistent
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Bose Home Speaker 300

For the music enthusiast, the Bose Home Speaker 300 provides a great alternative to the Sonos One at $199. Bose is known for top-notch sound quality and this model is no different. It can be configured to use with either Alexa or Google Assistant. And great microphone response means it’s easy to make requests even when playing music loudly. Its curvy black design with a 360-degree speaker means your digital assistant can hear you from any direction.

The Bose Home Speaker 300 is great for you if you like to play music from many different sources: It has a 3.5mm input, Bluetooth, and can play from numerous streaming services.

So why choose the Bose Home Speaker 300 over the Sonos One? The only real reason is if you want to flesh out your system with more Bose speakers. The Home Speaker 300 can be connected with the Home Speaker 500 for multi-room audio with digital assistant capabilities. Otherwise, the Sonos One edges out the Bose with better sound quality at a similar price.

ProsCons
Excellent sound qualityHeavy bass can sound distorted
Supports Alexa & Google AssistantPlay & pause functions slightly delayed
Great microphone responseNo Chromecast
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Sonos One

If excellent sound quality is your concern, look no further than the Sonos One. Like all Sonos speakers, its sound quality is top-notch, and it supports multi-room audio. You can connect it to other Sonos speakers for a stereo feel or just use it solo. The Sonos One also supports a huge range of music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music. Do note, however, that it lacks Bluetooth connectivity or wired audio connections. If you mostly rely on streaming services for your music, you’ll be in good shape.

Unlike most smart speakers that only support one digital assistant, Sonos One supports all of them. It can be set up to work with Alexa or Google Assistant right off the bat. And, it also has Apple Airplay so you can connect it to your iPhone and use Siri.

The squat cylindrical design comes in black or white to match your decor. And at around $200, it costs much less than other premium sound quality smart speakers. Overall, the Sonos One is one of the best sounding smart speakers for any household.

ProsCons
Impressive sound for its sizeNo Bluetooth support
Supports AirPlaySound is distorted at high volume
Supports Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Amazon Echo Show 5

The Amazon Echo Show 5 adds a whole other dimension to smart speakers: a video display. Equipped with a 5.5 inch touchscreen, you can use it for video calls, viewing your calendar, or looking at recipes. (In fact, it’s equipped with a web browser so it almost functions like a mini low-budget tablet.) You can also use it as a photo slideshow display, to watch streaming video, or simply as a clock. And of course, Alexa is built-in to help you with numerous everyday tasks like Google searches and ordering pizza. With all these functionalities, you might be surprised to learn that this device clocks in under $50.

One of its most unique functions is the gradual wake-up feature. Called Sunrise, it gradually brightens the screen as it comes time for your alarm to go off. Don’t want to get up yet? Use voice commands to stop or snooze the alarm.

Overall, the Amazon Echo Show 5 is nice little smart multi-function display for your nightstand or desk. It would also make a great gift for older family members to use for video calls. Its super-affordable price makes it one of the most versatile entry-level smart speakers on the market.

ProsCons
Easy touch-screen controlSound quality isn't great
Equipped with a web browserBluetooth audio is poor
Unique sunrise alarm featureForced ads for other Amazon services
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Sonos Move

Think of the Sonos Move as the more expensive, outdoor-loving sibling of the Sonos One. This durable battery-powered model is perfect for parties and outdoor events. It’s dust- and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your smart speaker poolside. It works with Alexa or Google Assistant, so take your pick. Options to connect streaming apps, Bluetooth, or Apple AirPlay means your guests will easily be able to play their music.

Note that it weighs almost 7 pounds, so you don’t want to take this hiking. But for setting up on your patio, it’s perfect, as it can also withstand intense sun. The Sonos Move is pricey at $399. But it may be worth it if you want great sound quality and digital assistant capabilities outdoors.

ProsCons
PortableExpensive
Durable & water-resistantHeavy
High-quality audio
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is another great option for outdoor use. And since this one weighs just 2.3 pounds, you could feasibly take it hiking or otherwise carry it around, no sweat. It is, however, rather pricey at $349, and it’s not waterproof — so make sure it doesn’t wind up in the pool.

This model supports both Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as Bluetooth and Airplay 2, giving you options galore. As usual with Bose speakers, the sound quality is excellent. Deep  bass struggles a bit at high volumes, however.

Overall, if you need a great smart speaker for your patio, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker can do the job. Its black capsule-shaped design would also look nice on a shelf as a supplementary speaker to another Bose. But if the price tag makes you flinch, consider another cheaper option.

ProsCons
Supports Alexa and Google AssistantExpensive
Bluetooth, Airplay 2 and wifi enabledDeep bass can sound distorted
High-quality sound
Best Smart Speakers 2021 Reviews

Why Should You Buy a Smart Speaker?

Smart speakers are becoming more and more ubiquitous, with 147 million units sold in 2019. If you don’t already own one, you may wonder what the big deal is. After all, you already have a smartphone that can perform any task you need. However, adopting a smart speaker into your home can open up a whole new world. It can help with hands-free tasks that make everyday life easier, like reading recipes aloud while you’re cooking. And the ability to control other smart devices with voice commands is a game-changer. For example, just imagine being huddled in bed on a cold night. Instead of getting up to adjust your thermostat, you can simply say: “Google, adjust my thermostat” and turn it up a couple degrees.

Here are some other things a smart speaker can do:

  • Send text messages
  • Give you news updates and headlines
  • Maintain your shopping list
  • Read Wikipedia entries
  • Provide calendar reminders
  • Set your oven temperature
  • Arm your home security system

…and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Final Thoughts

We hope our guide to the best smart speakers for your home has helped you narrow down your options. Whether you prefer Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, there are numerous options on the market. We recommend deciding on your budget first, then looking at the options in your price range. But whether you want to spend less than $50 or several hundred, there’s a great smart speaker out there to make everyday tasks more pleasurable.

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