Automate your life with our pick of the best smart speakers from Google, Alexa, and Siri

The best smart speakers to upgrade everyday tasks, play music and get a (digital) helping hand

Sonos Roam
(Image credit: Sonos)

If you are new to smart home technology or an expert, the best smart speakers can make your home more organized, streamlined, and just plain easier to live in.

These clever devices allow you to control pretty much everything in your home using just your voice (or a couple of taps on your smartphone if you prefer) instead of having to manually control your heating, lights, alarms, and music streaming. In deciding which smart speaker is best for your household, you need to consider what you want out of it, whether that's excellent audio quality for playing music or a sleek design that suits your existing decor.

We know that sometimes there's nothing worse than technology that sticks out like a sore thumb on the mantelpiece, so we've included a few different design options on our list. To make the buying process easier, we've also ranked the best Alexa speakers to help you narrow your search to one type of assistant. Keep scrolling to see what we thought.

The best smart speakers in 2024 - tried and tested by us

Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

Sonos RoamLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Sonos)
Best portable smart speaker

Specifications

Assistant: Google, Alexa
Dimensions: H6.1 x W2.3 x D2.4in
Weight: 0.93lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Portable and waterproof design with solid battery life
+
Great audio quality
+
Both Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
+
Trueplay tuning
+
Connects well with other Sonos products

Reasons to avoid

-
Stereo pairing only possible over Wi-Fi
-
Quite expensive

Small and light, rugged enough to not sustain any damage on the way, and beautiful enough to display in the home, Sonos' Roam portable smart speaker has it all. The Roam is a smaller version of Sonos' other portable option, the Move, and can easily fit into a handbag or backpack. It supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and can be set up using Sonos and Google Home apps.

The Roam comes with quite a few customization options, as well as TruePlay tuning, which adapts the sound to the environment in which the speaker is located. The system works over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the portable speaker can withstand weather conditions, dust, and other outdoor elements. The minimalist design makes it easy to grip and store in a pocket.

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars | read our full Sonos Roam review

Echo Dot (5th Gen) with ClockLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best Alexa smart speaker

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5in
Weight: 0.75lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Improved audio over previous models
+
Room temperature sensor
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Boosted audio still not as impressive as other speakers

Despite being a great-sounding, character-rich smart speaker, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) won't break the bank and works nearly flawlessly. Amazon's fifth-generation device is a smart speaker that uses Alexa to control smart appliances, listen to music, read the time, and do a host of other tasks.

Especially impressive was the funky LED strip around the base of the speaker and the cyber-chic LED clock display. Its onboard Alexa smart assistant is impressively quick at answering queries, and the responses are often right on target. Voice commands can also be heard from a distance, and a variety of other voices are available in the app. 

In addition to the Action button, there is a volume up, volume down, and mute button for the microphone, but voice commands work so well that you rarely need them. The Echo Dot with Clock's audio quality compares favorably with other affordable smart speakers, but is lower than the level of higher-end speakers.

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars | read our full Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) review

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Google)
Best smart display from Google

Specifications

Assistant: Google
Dimensions: H4.7 x W2.7 x D6.9in
Weight: 1.1lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good price
+
Solid sleep-tracking tools
+
Improved 7" display

Reasons to avoid

-
No camera for video calls
-
Lower screen resolution than others

We tested the Google Nest Hub, and it knocked our reviewer's Amazon Echo right off the nightstand. Whether you are using the speaker in your bedroom, in your kitchen, or even in your office, the speaker has a stylish look that you can't ignore. If you need a camera, however, you'll likely need to look elsewhere, but be prepared to shell out a bit more.

This Google Nest Hub Speaker comes with a 7" touchscreen display, 54% recycled plastic enclosure and is capable of playing video clips, YouTube episodes, or Netflix shows. There is no built-in camera, and the microphone can be turned off anytime. 

Using a tiny radar sensor, Google Sleep Sensing detects motion and breathing patterns along with sound, light, and temperature sensors to understand how your sleep is affected. You can use Google Assistant to set reminders, ask questions, control compatible smart devices, monitor home security, leave notes for family members, get the latest news, listen to music, and more.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 | read our full Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) review

Marshall Stanmore II Voice smart speaker

(Image credit: Marshall)
Best smart speaker for music fans

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 7.6 x 13.8 x 7.2in
Weight: 10.5lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good audio quality with better-than-average bass
+
Iconic design
+
Good range of connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

-
Large and bulky
-
Quite expensive

Marshall Stanmore II Voice is an excellent option for anyone who wants a smart assistant in their home but who isn't enthusiastic about the looks of Amazon, Google, or Apple's smart speakers. Featuring Google Assistant and Alexa, Marshall's Stanmore II Voice smart speaker combines iconic style with modern functionality.

Even though we had difficulty connecting the Google Assistant to our iPhone, the Marshall Stanmore II Voice speaker is overall easy to set up. The Stanmore II is one of Marshall's larger smart speakers, and it's as much a design piece as it is an audio device. It can do everything a Google speaker can, including setting routines, alarms, and reminders. It has the classic dials on top, and red LED lights indicate which mode the speaker is in.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full Marshall Stanmore II Voice review

Amazon Echo Show 15

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best smart speaker for families

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: H15.8 x W9.9"
Weight: 4.8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Large, high-res screen
+
Works as Fire TV substitute
+
Widgets for to-do lists, post-its, and more
+
Looks like a picture frame
+
Solid speakers

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Widgets are still limited
-
Restricted in some areas by Amazon apps

The Echo Show 15 is a 15.6-inch smart display from Amazon designed as a one-stop home management hub. Combining a sleek calendar aesthetic with Alexa's personal assistance, the Echo Show 15 is an impressive showcase of Amazon's smart home efforts. The device can perform a wide range of tasks, including being an Alexa speaker, playing games, displaying to-do lists, posting notes, and providing weather and calendar information.

Setting up the Echo Show 15 is simple and can be done in ten minutes. The device also offers customization options, including the wake word, default music and video services, and alerts. However, the device is less portable than many other smart displays due to its weight, so careful consideration should be taken when choosing a spot for it.

Overall, the Echo Show 15 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an Alexa-powered large-screen smart display. While it has some limitations, it offers a sleek design and robust performance that make it an excellent choice for home management.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full Amazon Echo Show 15 review

AMAZON Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best smart speaker for keen chefs

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: H9 x W6.7 x D5.6in
Weight: 5.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+
10.1" HD display that moves with you during calls
+
Can also be used as a security camera
+
Quiet motor for screen movement

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Quite large and bulky

The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) is an ideal smart speaker for adding a smart hub to your kitchen. In fact, it's one of our favorite Alexa speakers for its inbuilt connectivity to cooking sites and suggestions or hands-free recipe walk-throughs.

The smart speaker can also play music and make calls, as well as serve as a security system. Watch Prime Video, Netflix, or Hulu on the screen, and use the touch controls to scroll through playlists or TV shows.

The Echo Show 10 has a silent motor that responds to your movements. Alexa works with recipe sites, including the Food Network and Tasty, and you can order food from Amazon Fresh and Domino's as well. With the recipe function, our life became so much easier. However, cooking and music cannot be used at the same time, so we often had to choose between the two.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full Amazon Echo Show 10 review

Apple HomePod mini

(Image credit: Apple)
Best Apple smart speaker

Specifications

Assistant: Siri
Dimensions: H3.3 x W2.9in
Weight: 0.7lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Superior sound quality to other smart speakers
+
Works seamlessly with other Apple products
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Compatible devices for Siri are more limited

The Apple HomePod Mini is a great little smart speaker with audio quality that's a cut above other options, but it's only really recommended to those who are already fully committed to the Apple ecosystem. The speaker is an affordable, smaller, and less expensive device that has become the company's flagship product. It is quite versatile, but unfortunately, it does not provide as much cross-compatibility as other products.

It is small and light, and you can easily place it on a shelf or side table, and there are five colors available for it. The HomePod Mini's audio power is really impressive, and you would be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a much larger speaker than the 3.3 x 3.9-inch device in front of you. The in-built microphone on Apple's HomePod Mini picked up our voice even when the TV was playing in the same room.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full Apple HomePod Mini review

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Smart Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)
Best high-end smart speaker

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: H11.8 x W6.5 x D8.1in
Weight: 10.4lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful, striking design
+
Bass-heavy, deep sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Lack of customization options
-
Hard to find a good place for it in the home

A good smart speaker with built-in Alexa, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is a bit on the larger side, but it is a great addition to the home. Amazon, Google, and Apple have all maintained relatively safe design standards for their smart speakers, leaving room for other companies to take aesthetics more seriously. This Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Alexa speaker looks distinctive and adds a modern twist to your home audio.

Though we love the unique design of the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, its size may be problematic. Still, with a limited number of physical controls and settings, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is easy to set up and use. It is compatible with Spotify Connect and Roon, as well as Alexa.

It would have been easy for us to stop what we were doing and listen to our favorite tunes again and again with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin's audio. However, those who wish to use analog controls to guide their tech will likely be frustrated by the Zeppelin, despite its excellent performance.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin review

Amazon Echo Studio smart speaker

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best Alexa speaker for audio

Specifications

Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: H8.1 x D6.9in
Weight: 7.7lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good sound quality compared to other Amazon speakers
+
Dolby Atmos and spatial audio processing
+
Good connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

-
Audio performance was disappointing
-
Large and bulky

The Echo Studio is a step up from other Amazon Echo smart speakers in terms of audio quality, but the speaker's powerful bass can sound overpowering, and its size and style may cause some buyers to have a difficult time with interior design.

The automatic room adaptation adjusts the sound quality to the acoustics of the room, so it should be placed on a coffee table, kitchen island, or deep shelf in a spacious alcove. It looks and sounds like a Sonos speaker, but in spite of its unassuming style, the Echo Studio requires quite a bit of space. 

Still, in addition to being powerful and clear, its audio output makes different instruments stand out in songs. Using 3D spatial audio, it creates a surround sound effect that fills any room with its distinctive sound. For music to be played from any compatible source, the speaker comes with both wired and optical inputs.

Livingetc rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars | read our full Echo Studio review

Amazon Echo Studio being used by writer during testing

(Image credit: Future)

About this guide

We have compiled this list based on our own experience and independent reviews. For all of our guides, we also use team Livingetc's breadth of knowledge, digging into the specs and design elements of the most popular models across a range of price points. As new releases and industry changes occur, and as we test the best smart speakers in person and judge them accordingly, we will update this guide regularly.

We will be transparent about our choices in each article. If you'd like to learn more about the testing process, you can visit our dedicated page. 

caroline preece author image
Caroline Preece

With her lifelong love of gadgets, Caroline lends her knowledge to everything from reviews to news to buying guides at Livingetc, where she specializes in all things smart home. Her guide to the best smart speakers combines top picks from brands with speakers she and contributors have tested. The devices are chosen based on how well they fit into daily life, how attractive they look, and whether they're worth the price.

How to choose the best smart speaker for your home

Echo Show 15 on stand being tested in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

How do smart speakers work?

A smart speaker is a device for the home that can be activated by its users by simply saying 'Alexa' or 'Hey Google' before being asked to perform a specific task. It may be something as simple as answering a general knowledge question, checking the weather forecast, pausing music, or streaming without searching for the remote control. A lot of people use them for streaming music, playing podcasts, and, in some cases, enhancing their home theater setup, because they are also marketed as speakers.

The way you use yours is totally up to you.

Will my smart speaker be able to hear me over loud music?

In our experience, smart speakers often claim to be able to hear a voice command over loud background noise, but in practical terms, this is not always the case. A good example is Google Assistant, which can turn up its sensitivity, and voice recognition will go a long way to improving your smart speaker's functionality.

Amazon Echo Show 10

(Image credit: Future)

Google or Alexa? Which is the best smart assistant?

The choice depends heavily on personal taste, with many people sticking to their first assistant. It is always a good idea to evaluate what you already use before you get started with smart speakers. It is probably more convenient for you to use Alexa-enabled speakers if you're already a subscriber to Amazon Prime, for example. In addition, if you're a big Apple fan and don't mind being tied to Apple Music, you could choose a Siri device like the Apple HomePod Mini as a way to use Siri.

It is important to note that if you are interested in connecting your smart display or speaker to a Ring doorbell, it is Alexa that you should use. 

Will my smart speaker spy on me?

This is a completely legitimate question and one that has been asked by many people since it became common knowledge that smart speakers like Amazon's and Google's are literally listening to everything you say, waiting for your command, so that they can act accordingly. As a matter of course, these companies make sure that your data is not stored for the long run, and that every effort is taken to ensure that your privacy is not compromised.

In any case, many speakers have a switch that allows you to turn off the microphone if you do not wish for it to listen in on your conversations.

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