Best smart speakers of 2024

Find out each brand's specialties in our comparison of the best smart speakers.
Best overall
Sonos Roam
Sonos Roam
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • pro
    Best audio
  • pro
    Alexa and Google voice controls
  • pro
    Bluetooth
Best budget
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • pro
    Good audio
  • pro
    Alexa voice controls
  • pro
    Bluetooth
Best voice controls
Google Nest Audio
Google Nest Audio
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • pro
    Better audio
  • pro
    Google voice controls
  • pro
    Bluetooth
Best portable speaker
Bose Soundlink Revolve ll
Bose Soundlink Revolve II
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Better audio
  • pro
    Google and Siri voice controls
  • pro
    Bluetooth
Best for HomeKit
Apple HomePod mini
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Better audio
  • pro
    Siri voice controls
  • con
    No Bluetooth

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

At SafeWise, we tend to focus more on smart speakers' home security advantages and home automation benefits. But guess what else we’re suckers for? Audio quality. That’s why we chose the Sonos Roam, which produces rich audio—at both high and low frequencies—that most folks will enjoy.

Sonos Roam also has a superpower: it uses both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls (sadly not at the same time). This means you can choose your preferred voice assistant to manage your smart home. Read our full comparison to see how other smart speaker brands stack up and which tasks suit them best.



Compare smart speakers

Product
Best for
Price*
Voice assistant and smart home
Speakers
Wireless music streaming
Learn more
Read review
Best overall Amazon,
Google
Tweeter,
Mid-woofer,
Amplifiers (2)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth AirPlay 2
Best budget Amazon1.6 in. front-firing speakerWi-Fi, Bluetooth
Best voice controls Google0.75 in. tweeter,
3 in. woofer
Wi-Fi, Chromecast, Bluetooth
Best portable speaker AmazonTransducer, dual-passive radiatorsWi-Fi, Bluetooth
Best for HomeKit AppleFull-range driver,
passive radiator (2)
Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2

*List price correct as of post date. Read full disclaimer.


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Smart speaker reviews

1. Sonos Roam: Best overall

Best overall
Sonos Roam
Sonos Roam
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$267.30

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

This one’s for the music lovers. We chose the Sonos Roam for our audio quality pick thanks to tons of online reviews praising its balanced performance with music.

As the name suggests, the Sonos Roam is made for all environments. The home, the backyard, hiking trips, and even beach days. It's completely water and dustproof, meaning it can be submersed under an unsuspecting wave for up to 30 minutes.

pro
Pros
pro Balanced audio performance
pro Alexa and Google Assistant built in
pro Apple AirPlay 2 support
pro Dust and waterproof
con
Cons
con Alexa and Google don't work simultaneously
con No Bluetooth audio
Bell
Sonos Move

The Sonos Move (about $700) is essentially a pricier version of the Sonos Roam. Its battery lasts up to 11 hours, it supports Bluetooth audio, and it's also weather resistant so you can enjoy music poolside.

Sonos Roam can also link wirelessly to other Sonos speakers for a whole-home audio system. Now your music doesn't need to stick to a specific room. In our experience, Sonos does multi-room audio better than Echo and Google. We also like that this speaker works with Apple AirPlay 2, allowing you to play tunes from your favourite Apple devices.

We absolutely love its two major voice assistant platform options: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This is the kind of flexibility that defines a standout smart home device.

Although the two voice platforms live in the same house on the Sonos Roam, they don't speak to each other, so you need to toggle between them in the mobile app if you plan to use both. We recommend trying out both when you first buy the speaker and choosing one that makes sense for your needs.

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Works with Sonos

Sonos even supports smart home devices independently from Alexa and Google—like Lutron, Alarm.com, Brilliant, and IKEA Home Smart, to name a few.

2. Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen): Best budget

Best budget
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Amazon Echo smart speakers could dominate this entire list in almost every way. Instead, we chose the attribute that best describes them: value. Nothing screams this more than the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen), which costs around $100 and is a gateway to the broader Alexa ecosystem.

pro
Pros
pro Affordable
pro Best smart home compatibility
pro Seriously cute
pro Tons of Echo models to choose from
con
Cons
con Clunky in-app smart home controls
con No portable Echo speaker
Bell
Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

The $80 Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a bit larger than the Echo Dot but sports the same ball-shaped design. That bigger size packs in a 3-inch subwoofer and two 0.8-inch tweeters for great audio performance. It also has a built-in Zigbee smart hub that controls devices like smartbulbs, smart locks, and smart plugs.

This Amazon Alexa smart speaker boasts a seriously cute spherical shape. Its front-firing speaker projects sound out into a room rather than at the ceiling like older puck-shaped Echo Dots. The audio quality doesn't match larger speakers, but it's more than enough for most folks, especially at this price.

Alexa's smart device compatibility is still the best in the business, with more brands supporting Alexa than Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit (Siri). But if you read our Google vs. Alexa article, you probably know we're not fans of the Alexa app's clunky smart home controls.

Alexa doesn't really have a portable Alexa speaker you can take on the go (we miss you, Amazon Tap). But Amazon sells a vast selection of smart speakers. And, overall, we think that Echo smart speakers are the best choices for most folks since they balance price and quality—even if they don't quite match pricier audiophile brands like Sonos and Bose.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Alexa and Amazon Echo to learn more about Amazon's smart home offerings.

3. Google Nest Audio: Best voice controls

Best voice controls
Google Nest Audio
Google Nest Audio
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$149

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

In our experience, Google Assistant's voice controls outperform Alexa because they make it easier to issue multiple commands and offer more accurate answers to questions. That's why we chose the Nest Audio (about $150) as our favourite smart speaker for voice controls.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent voice controls
pro Attractive design
pro Strong audio performance
pro Intuitive in-app smart home controls
con
Cons
con Not a ton of bass
con Less smart home compatibility than Alexa
con Fewer music services than Alexa
Bell
Google Nest Mini

The Google Nest Mini costs around $100, making it a great Echo Dot alternative for folks that prefer Google Assistant. We especially like the wall-mounting notch on the back—you don't need a third-party mounting bracket, unlike the Echo Dot.

Google took four years to replace its Google Home speaker—this new version sports a more attractive design, fabric coverings, and improved sound quality. But it doesn't pack the bass of other premium speakers.

We love that its app controls for smart home devices are a little easier to use than Alexa's. But Google Assistant fails to match the smart home selection and compatibility of Amazon Echo, which had a two-year head start into the category.

Google also supports fewer music streaming services than Alexa (more so since discontinuing Google Play Music). While it supports popular services like Spotify, Apple Music, TuneIn, and Pandora, it's missing Amazon Music. In any case, we think that Nest Audio is the best smart speaker for voice controls and Google purists.

Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Google Assistant and Google Nest Products.

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Google Nest Hub Max

The Google Nest Hub Max (about $300) is our favourite smart display because it supports so many video streaming services. These include big names like YouTube, which is not available on Amazon Echo Show. Plus, its integrated camera works with Nest Aware cloud storage as a security camera.

4. Bose Soundlink Revolve II: Best portable speaker

Best portable speaker
Bose Soundlink Revolve ll

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

There's a fair amount of competition for portable speakers with built-in voice controls, but we think that the Bose Soundlink Revolve II (about $300) is the cream of the crop. Not only is it compatible with our Google Assistant (our favourite!), but its also compatible with Siri, and the Apple HomeKit system. It's resistant to water and dust, so you don't have to worry about playing music beside the pool.

pro
Pros
pro 360° immersive audio
pro Lightweight, compact design
pro Water resistant
pro Google Assistant and Siri voice controls
con
Cons
con On the pricier side
con Less powerful bass than larger portable speakers

We like that the Bose Soundlink Revolve II is water and dust resistant. If the rain starts falling, just pack up your picnic to some tunes and grab the speaker before you head out. It also has a clean, compact design that looks great on the picnic table and indoors on a charging dock.

At 660 grams, it's one of the heavier portable smart speakers we looked at,  especially compared to the 345 gram Apple Homepod mini and 340 gram Amazon Echo Dot. Fortunately, that heaviness translates into a higher battery life (around thirteen playback hours). Typically, most larger smart speakers can last as long as 12 hours.

We were quite surprised with how loud it really is, and how such a compact speaker can deliver 360 consistent, uniform audio. No matter where you are in the room, everybody gets the same experience. 

We think the Bose Soundlink Revolve II is perfectly suited to a range of environments. Rain, hail, or shine, its durable enough to take on hikes, to the beach, or on a picnic out in the back yard. Conversely, it also works well if you'd like to use it as an indoor speaker, too. 

In the end, the Bose Soundlink Revolve II is a worthwhile purchase when you want a smart speaker on the go.

Bell
Bose Soundlink

You may be well acquainted with Bose's extensive range of earbuds and headphones, and their speakers are just as good. We also love the Soundlink Flex (around $250), another speaker perfect for the outdoors. It's less 'smart', isn't as durable as the Soundlink  Revolve II, and the audio isn't as good as what it could be in comparison to the Revolve.

5. Apple HomePod mini: Best for HomeKit

Best for HomeKit

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

From an audio perspective (especially in pairs), the HomePod mini is probably one of the best smart speakers you can buy. It achieves this rich audio thanks to full-range driver and a two passive radiators. However, its lack of portability is what keeps it from topping the Sonos Roam.

You can use the HomePod mini as a hub for HomeKit devices like smart locks and security cameras. While we love how convenient the Apple Home app is, HomeKit-compatible devices are among the most expensive you'll find on the market. It's light-years behind Alexa and Google in both compatibility and affordability.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent audio performance
pro HomeKit smart hub
pro Siri voice controls
con
Cons
con Requires Apple device to use

The Apple HomePod mini is a bit of a black sheep among smart speakers; not only is it the only speaker with Siri voice controls, but it's also exclusive to Apple users. You can't even go through setup unless you have an iPhone or iPad. This isn't a problem for iPhone users, but HomePod mini misses a huge swath of the market because Apple is the paragon of incompatibility.

At $150, this smart speaker is very competitive with the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. 

More brands we considered

Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1

*Pricing is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (around $550RRP, but on sale now for $350) is a portable Alexa alternative. It's just as compact but sports an 18-hour battery life and is a bit lighter. It just missed being our top portable pick thanks to a price tag that's much higher than the Bose Soundlink Revolve II. 

Final word

We think that the Sonos Roam is the best smart speaker for most folks since it gives you excellent audio quality and your choice of voice assistant. If it's too expensive for your tastes, there's no shame in choosing the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Audio, which are just as worthwhile.

When it comes to building your smart home, smart speakers are the tip of the iceberg.

Smart speaker FAQ

The defining attribute of a smart speaker is voice control (and the internet connectivity behind it). This means you can play music, activate smart home devices, and ask for information using the sound of your voice. Smart speakers also have a mobile app, but voice controls are generally more convenient.

Here are some ways to jumpstart your search:

  • Voice assistant: Look for a smart speaker that includes your preferred voice assistant. The basic functionality of digital assistants is comparable, but there are subtle differences in compatibility and performance.
  • Music: If you're a music connoisseur, most smart speakers that cost $100 or more are great for this. Many cheaper smart speakers work fine for music, but don't expect a ton of bass or volume.
  • Smart home: If you're into smart home controls, focus on compatibility with your favorite smart home devices. It's okay to buy a cheap smart speaker ($50 or less) if music isn't your primary goal.
  • Aesthetic: If you're into interior design, choose a smart speaker to match your style. Most models are available in multiple colors, and there are attractive options for every major smart assistant.

Yes, smart speakers always listen for specific wake words like “Alexa,” Hey Google,” and “Hey Siri” so they know when to act. Fortunately, you can quickly delete recordings and adjust privacy settings using the app for the virtual assistant equipped with your smart speaker. Most speakers also have a physical mute button that turns off voice commands altogether when you don’t need them.

Smart speakers can usually make outgoing phone calls, though this feature isn’t available in every country. Alexa supports calls in the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico, while Google Assistant can call numbers in the US and Canada. Siri requires an iPhone to make phone calls.


Disclaimer
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.

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