The Best Smart Speakers To Buy In 2019
The Echo was released in 2014 and it started a whole new category in technology - the smart speaker. From there, Amazon inspired other high-profile companies to build their own smart speakers and voice assistants, expanding the market at rapid-fire.
Today, we have endless options for smart speakers, and picking the best one keeps getting harder. You have to decide which voice assistant you prefer (Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Siri are the most well-known) and which speaker has the features you need.
Is sound quality your biggest non-negotiable? Do you want your speaker to connect to other smart home devices? Is a touchscreen display necessary? Read on while we break down the details of the best smart speakers on the market.
Sonos One - $198
The classic Sonos One sets the bar high in sound quality, smart-home utility, and stable multi-room audio, which is why it’s the best “overall” option for a smart speaker. It connects to Alexa, Sonos, AirPlay2, and Google Home, and is probably compatible with whichever ecosystem you prefer. It comes Alexa enabled but also supports Apple Airplay 2 and most recently, Google Assistant.
Sonically, the Sonos One is stellar. While it’s not as loud as some other options, it’s certainly one of the best for sound quality in voice-enable speakers. The Sonos One also connects to around 100 streaming audio services and would work seamlessly in a home theater setup as it connects to larger Sonos speakers and soundbars.
If you’re looking for one pretty much perfect speaker, the Sonos One will get the job done and reliably fill your home with jams.
Best Smart Soundbar
Sonos Beam - $399
The Sonos Beam has similar qualities to the Sonos One, but packaged in a compact, sleek soundbar designed to connect with your TV. It is supports Alexa, Sonos, AirPlay 2, and Google Assistant.
Arguably the best part of the Sonos Beam is how it seamlessly connects with other Sonos speakers to take your movie-watching experience to the next level. You can wirelessly connect other Sonos speakers to the Beam to make your own surround-sound system and can add some drama to the mix with a Sonos Sub.
The Beam is a solid choice for most living rooms, and its compact size makes it work with pretty much any size of TV. If you own a Fire TV, the Beam can play TV shows and movies with voice requests.
Best Smart Display
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) - $229
The Echo Show is a great Alexa-powered smart display with stellar video quality. The coolest part of this device is that it can call and “drop in” on other Echo speakers, as video and voice calls are supported. That means it’s easy to connect with friends and family who also have the device and see their faces at a moment’s notice.
The biggest draw to the Echo Show is the screen, and the second generation version looks much better than the previous model with a 10-inch, full-size screen. You can still give Alexa commands by voice, but the screen lets you see the weather, what music is playing, and more. It also has a video version of Alexa’s daily flash-news briefing and can play Amazon Prime movies and TV shows.
Best Mini Speaker
Google Home Mini - $49
If you want the perks of owning a smart speaker but need to keep it on the cheap, the Google Home Mini is a good bet. They’re small, cute, colorful, and have enough audio power to fill a small room with tunes. It can tell you the weather, play white noise at bedtime, answer questions, and any other task the regular Home can do, just in a smaller package.
The smart-home compatibility of the Google Assistant continues to grow, so you’re free to connect it to your other smart home devices and control them by voice.
Best Party Speaker
Google Home Max - $299
If you want to crank up the music to the max in any size room, the Google Home Max smart speaker is a fantastic option. It has the ability to get really loud and bring the bass, courtesy of its dual 4.5-inch woofers. A magnetic pad on the bottom prevents the speaker from sliding around while dampening vibrations, and it comes with touchpad volume control.
The Google Home Max automatically shapes its audio to match the acoustic properties of whatever room you’re in. A collection of six microphones listens to the audio signature of the room, reducing or amplifying frequencies to arrive at a clearer-sounding result. If you like to rock out and blast the music, this speaker is an excellent voice-controlled option.
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There are so many choices in the market for a smart speaker - which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.