The best smart speakers 2020: which one should you buy?

The perfect sensible audio system of 2020 are probably the most versatile devices in our arsenal; they play music, assist us management our sensible dwelling units, and include digital assistants able to reply our each query. 

These voice assistants, which embody Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, have taken our properties by storm. That is as a result of they will achieve this a lot – they will let you know concerning the climate, play music, let you know the information and management your sensible dwelling units hands-free (like your Philips Hue bulbs or sensible locks).

Regardless of this, evidently many people are under-utilizing our smart speakers, choosing to access voice assistants via our smartphones; that’s why you need to choose the right smart speaker for you to get the most out of these clever gadgets. 

Among the most well-known smart speakers are the Amazon Echo and Google Nest (née Google Home) ranges of products – and a new fleet of products from both companies, including the Amazon Echo Studio and the Google Nest Mini, are set to shake up the smart home world.

So if you need help finding your next virtual assistant, take a look at our guide below. We’ve rounded up the best-sounding smart speakers for a range of budgets, styles, and smart home ecosystems, so choosing the best model for you should be a breeze.

Our top smart speakers

The best smart speakers 2020

sonos one

(Image credit: Sonos)

1. Sonos One

The best-sounding smart speaker on the market

Rich sound

Best of Alexa and Sonos

Plays music while Alexa is muted

Premium price

Sonos’ debut Alexa speaker is a cleanly-designed, feature-rich and great-sounding device that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got the ever-improving Alexa on the one hand, and on the other you’ve got Sonos with its own multi-room smarts and mostly unrivaled sound performance.

There’s also a new feature in the mix that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With it, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and form a multi-room pairing with the Apple HomePod.

It now also supports Google Assistant making it the most versatile speaker on the list.

If you feel a bit tied down by the Sonos One, be sure to check out its portable cousin, the Sonos Move; this nifty speaker comes with all the smarts of the One, and is top of our list of the best Bluetooth speakers for 2020.

Read more: Sonos One review

apple homepod

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Apple HomePod

Superb sound, so-so smart speaker

Great sound

Nice, minimal design

Siri’s scope is limited

Apple Music needed

The Apple HomePod finally entered the smart speaker battle for your bookshelf in early 2018. 

The obvious benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it’ll play nice with your other Apple products. So if you’re a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-brainer. 

But it’s worth asking the same question you should always be asking yourself when you want to splurge on a new Apple product: how much of a premium should you pay for owning a device that fits only seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?

When we reviewed the device we were torn because we were really reviewing two things at once: how the HomePod weighs up as a premium speaker and how it fares as a smart home hub.

In the former category, the HomePod is excellent, as it boasts incredible sound and a very intuitive set-up. But in the latter, Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the fact that you’re not able to break out of the Apple ecosystem for many key functions also rankles.

Apple is said to be working on the Apple HomePod 2, or a cheaper, more compact HomePod Mini, rumored to launch at some point in 2020 – we’re halfway through now and we’re still waiting. Fingers crossed it’ll be worth it.

Read more: Apple HomePod review

amazon echo 2019

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Amazon Echo (2019)

The Amazon Echo just got hench

Bigger sound

New Alexa features

Alexa app still needs improving

No Zigbee

The humble Amazon Echo has entered millions of homes already – and with good reason. It’s an affordable entry point for those beginning their smart home, with audio capable enough to handle news, podcasts, music, or whatever you might be using your AI voice servant for.

That’s especially true with the new 2019 Amazon Echo,  a third-generation model that bumps up the audio further with the drivers used in the 2018 Echo Plus – though without the latter’s Zibgee compatibility.

It even looks like an Echo Plus, and it may be confusing to tell them apart if you have one of each in your home – but the 2019 refresh of the standard Echo raises the baseline for the whole range. At $99.99 / £89.99 / AU$149, it is nonetheless cheaper than the Plus, or the Apple HomePod, regardless of the enhance to sound high quality.

With softer cloth appears than the extra industrial earlier fashions, Alexa appears extra at dwelling in a front room than ever – whereas new AI capabilities have launched voice profile options and extra variation with regards to altering voice velocity.

We do not suppose you need to be utilizing it to exchange your hifi – you may want the newly-announced Echo Studio for that – however on the similar time it is a actually great spot to start out if you wish to check out what the sensible dwelling life is like.

Learn extra: Amazon Echo (2019) evaluation

Google Home

Picture Credit score: Google (Picture credit score: Google)

four. Google Dwelling

Nice for Chromecast homeowners and inquisitive varieties

Customizable base

Increasing hardware ecosystem

Lacking Google’s personal providers

Requires exact phrasing

For starters, you may by no means recognize simply how a lot music is on YouTube with out shopping for a Google Dwelling. We’re not saying Google House is able to taking part in any music you possibly can consider, however after dredging the depths of the ’90s we nonetheless couldn’t discover a tune Google Dwelling couldn’t observe down and begin taking part in.

Whereas Google Dwelling excels as a DJ, it’s additionally a surprisingly clever sensible dwelling hub. It already hooks into a few of the largest platforms now out there by together with Nest, Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings, and given a few months that number will grow even more.

But we’re torn when it comes to recommending the Google Home. In some ways it’s disappointing and doesn’t live up to be the coveted center of the smart home Google has marketed it as. 

That’s because it’s just not there yet. It’s a little too rigid in its language comprehension, its list of smart home devices is growing but still a bit underwhelming, and, perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have many of Google’s core services built into it.

It has the potential to develop to compete with Amazon’s Echo in the future, but for now the Google Home is simply a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to save you a trip to the light switch. 

Over the past year, the Google Home has received a number of notable updates, including the fact you can now use the device to make calls to landlines in the UK. Google Assistant has also been updated to included bilingual capabilities, Continued Conversation and Multiple Actions. A more recent update has also brought Google Assistant to Nest Security alarm systems.

Read more: Google Home review

pure discovR

(Image credit: Pure)

Wild card for UK readers: Pure DiscovR

An Alexa speaker with knockout design