The best smart speaker 2024: Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri voice assistant speakers

best smart speaker
(Image credit: Future)

If swiping through endless apps to switch on your robot vacuum isn't for you, the best smart speakers might just help your home smarter. Allowing you to control almost every aspect of your smart devices depending on compatibility, these speakers are for far more than music, with many including smart voice assistants that can help you keep organized.

Included below are a variety of smart speakers across different platforms, from Apple HomeKit to Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, all of which are Matter-compatible, meaning your home will be much easier to set up; still, we'd recommend checking out compatibility with your devices before buying. It's worth noting that Matter isn't an audio standard, but instead a communication standard for smart home devices, so it doesn't affect speakers' abilities to play music or deliver features like multi-room streaming audio. 

We've tried and tested all of the smart speakers below to see how responsive they are, the quality of the sound, the value for money, and how easy they are to incorporate into your home. Whether you want to control whatever smart home devices you have set up or just have more simple needs, there's something in here for you. Just say the word and turn your favorite smart lights on. These are all voice-controlled speakers, but some of the best smart displays offer a visual alternative you might prefer if you want a live feed from your home security cameras and video doorbells.

Best smart speaker 2024: the quick list

The best smart speaker 2024

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The best smart speaker for most people

Amazon Echo (2020)

(Image credit: Future)
The best smart speaker for most people

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 4.7 inch / 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3 cm
Speaker: 1 x 3 inch woofer, 2 x 0.8 inch tweeter
Physical controls: Volume up/down, play/pause, microphone mute
Power: Mains
Matter compatible?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Futuristic look
+
Improved sound over previous version
+
Zigbee hub and Matter compatibility

Reasons to avoid

-
Max volume level isn’t loud enough

The latest, spherical Amazon Echo is a complete revamp of the company’s flagship smart speaker. The new shape is only part of it: there's seriously improved sound quality, a built-in Zigbee smart home hub and a new AZ1 neural edge processor that reduces the time it takes for Alexa to respond to commands. So this is a big step forward for Amazon's smart speaker.

It isn't perfect. When we tested the Echo we felt it could have been a bit louder, especially compared to larger rivals such as the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max; Amazon does have a much louder Echo, the Echo Studio, which you'll find elsewhere in this guide. Amazon tends to do things its own way, so you can't use Google Cast to send audio from your phone like you can with a Google Nest Audio device and you can't add your Echo to an Apple HomeKit network – although many HomeKit devices are also Alexa-compatible and this Echo now works as a Matter hub.

Read our full Amazon Echo (2020) review

The best budget smart speaker

Amazon Echo Dot (2020)

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget smart speaker

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inch / 10 x 10 x 8.9cm
Speaker: 1 x 1.6 inch speaker
Physical controls: Volume up/down, play/pause, microphone mute
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Space-age aesthetic
+
Easy setup and integration
+
One of the most affordable smart speakers on the market right now

Reasons to avoid

-
Directional, shallow sound
-
No Zigbee hub inside

The Amazon Echo Dot has always been the best option for those who aren’t sure about smart home tech and want to take the first step. It provides a place for Alexa to live inside your home and is loud enough to fill a room. And with discounting often taking it below its already low $50 / £50 / AU$80 price, it’s easy to see why it’s long been one of the most popular smart speakers on the market.

The Dot has the same space-age aesthetic as its bigger brother, the Amazon Echo (2020), so it looks stylish and once again is quite a change from the previous Echo Dot design. In our tests we found it extremely easy to set up and use, although its small speaker means the sound lacks the depth and punch of its larger siblings. There's no Zigbee hub here, but the device is Matter compatible. It's a great way to add Alexa to your home but if you're like us you'll probably want to upgrade to something more powerful for regular music listening.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot (2020) review

The best premium smart speaker

Sonos Era 100 on white table

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium smart speaker

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa or Sonos Voice Control
Dimensions: 7.19 x 4.72 x 5.14 inch (18.25 x 12 x 13.05 cm
Speaker: 3x class D amps, 2x tweeters, 1x midwoofer
Physical controls: Play, pause, skip, replay, volume up/down, mute your voice assistant, group/ungroup Sonos products.
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: No

Reasons to buy

+
Clear, detailed sound
+
Bluetooth and 3.5mm line-in options
+
Rich bass

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive smart speakers on test
-
Bass can be heavy-handed

The Sonos Era 100 is a replacement for the superb Sonos One, with improvements including a wider soundstage for room-filling sound, plus the option to choose between Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3.5mm line-in connections so you can play music from just about any source. Audio is clear and detailed, and bass has received a boost as well, though in our tests we found it could be a little heavy-handed at times.

The unit itself is compact and unobtrusive, with touch controls on the top for controlling music playback, and switches on the rear for Bluetooth playback and muting the speaker's microphone. Unfortunately Sonos has chosen to drop support for Google Assistant this time around, so the Era 100 only supports Alexa and Sonos's own voice control system.

It's definitely one of the most expensive speakers we've tested, costing more than the Sonos One before it, but if you value sound quality and your budget can take the hit then you won't be disappointed.

Read our full Sonos Era 100 review

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The best Apple smart speaker for Siri

Apple HomePod Mini in blue on a table

(Image credit: Future)
The best smart speaker for Siri

Specifications

Voice assistant: Siri
Dimensions: 3.3 x 3.9 x 3.9 inch / 8.43 x 9.79 x 9.79 cm
Speaker: Full-range driver and dual passive radiators for deep bass and crisp high frequencies
Physical controls: Volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, summon Siri
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sound
+
Sleek design
+
Only smart speaker with Siri built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs Apple Music for full function
-
Small number of compatible smart home devices

Since Apple discontinued its original, amazing and rather expensive HomePods, this smaller version is the only Apple-made smart speaker in town – or at least it is for now, as we're hearing rumours of a larger version coming soon. Despite their small size these smart speakers pack a powerful punch: if you're committed to Apple's ecosystem and services such as Apple Music, you'll love the way these speakers sound – and their comparatively low price.

We've tested these speakers over a very long time and while we love their sound, we don't love everything. Siri isn't as good as other digital assistants and seems rather buggy too: we've slept late a few times because alarms we asked Siri to set, and which Siri confirmed setting, didn't go off. Siri also seems to struggle with accents. And if you don't have Apple Music, you're quite limited in what you can listen to. You can't ask the HomePod mini to play anything through Spotify – that can only be enabled through AirPlay, and requires using your phone rather than the simpler method of asking Siri to play tunes with your voice. There's also a much smaller number of compatible smart home devices that work with the smart speaker, compared to the range available for Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers. But HomePods and HomePods mini are now Matter compatible, which means they're compatible with a growing number of Matter devices.

For us, the audio performance is the key reason to buy the HomePod mini. It's excellent for a speaker that's so small, and it really feels like the right mix of price and sound quality. The bass isn't too heavy, vocals aren't lost in the mix, and when you pair two minis the stereo experience is really immersive. It's just a shame that Siri feels like it's lagging behind rival assistants.

Read our full Apple HomePod mini review

The best smart speaker for Google Assistant

Google Nest Audio

(Image credit: TechRadar / Truls Steinung)
The best smart speaker for Google Assistant

Specifications

Voice assistant: Google Assistant
Dimensions: 4.9 x 4.9 x 3.1 inch / 17.5 x 12.4 x 7.8 cm
Speaker: 1 x 75mm woofer, 1 x1 9mm tweeter
Physical controls: Volume up/down, play/pause, microphone mute
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Subtle and unassuming design
+
Picks up voice commands very well
+
Quick, clear responses

Reasons to avoid

-
Missing detail in the mids and trebles
-
Matter compatible but not a hub

If you're looking for a smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in, the Google Nest Audio is currently the best Google-manufactured smart speaker you can buy; we liked the Google Home Max speaker, but Google has stopped making it.

We found that the Nest audio picked up our commands with ease, and Google Assistant is quick to respond as well as loud and clear. The subtle and unassuming design should blend in well with any home decor, and in addition to its audio skills it's also a surprisingly intelligent smart home hub. It hooks into some of the largest platforms now available by including Nest, Philips, and Samsung’s SmartThings – although while the device is Matter compatible there's no built-in Zigbee hub as with the latest Amazon Echo.

The smart bit of this smart speaker is very smart, but the speaker itself is a little disappointing: the sound quality didn't live up to our expectations. It sounds just fine with uncomplicated pop music, but other genres reveal a lack of detail in the treble and mids that makes tracks lack sparkle and sound a little muffled.

Read our full Google Nest Audio review

The best smart speaker for home cinema

Amazon Echo Studio

(Image credit: Future)
The best smart speaker for home cinema

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 6.9 x 6.9 x 8.1 inch / 17.5 x 17.5 x 20.6 cm
Speaker: 1 x 1 inch tweeter, 3 x 2 inch mid-range speakers, 1 x 5.25 inch woofer
Physical controls: Volume up/down, play/pause, microphone mute
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive sound quality
+
Pair two together for an affordable home cinema set up
+
Doubles as a Zigbee and Matter hub

Reasons to avoid

-
Large size won't suit all
-
Requires subscription for 3D audio

We think Amazon’s first high-end smart speaker for home cinemas is the best-sounding Echo we've tested. With 330W it's one of the most powerful speakers you can get for this price, and if you buy two Amazon Echo Studio speakers you can set them up in the Alexa app to create an immersive home cinema system. We've tested that configuration too, and while it's not as immersive as a dedicated surround sound system it's still very impressive as well as impressively loud.

It’s a powerful speaker and it doubles as a Zigbee hub too. But to get the best from it you'll need to subscribe to Amazon Music HD and its large size won't suit all. That said, you get a lot of speaker for your money and this is a much more affordable option than similar speakers from rivals such as Sonos.   

Read our full Amazon Echo Studio review

The best smart speaker for music

Bose Smart Speaker 500

(Image credit: Future)
The best smart speaker for music

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa or Google Assistant
Dimensions: 8.67 x 6.7 x 4.3 inch / 20.3 x 17 x 10.9 cm
Speaker: Not provided
Physical controls: Volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, microphone mute
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: No

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Elegant stylish design
+
Preset buttons for quick access to playlists

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive smart speakers on the market
-
Hit and miss Wi-Fi setup

If you’re searching for the best-sounding smart speaker, this is it. And with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, the sleek anodized aluminum Smart Speaker 500 has the smarts to match its room-filling sound and an elegant design. 

We found that the eight microphone array, designed for near and far-field listening, enabled us to talk to Alexa or Google Assistant even when our music was playing loud. And we loved the preset buttons that offer one-touch access to your favorite playlists, radio stations or albums. 

But in our tests we found that setting the speaker up on a Wi-Fi network using the Bose Music app is harder than it should be. We also can't ignore the fact that it's one of the most expensive smart speakers on the market. If you're an audiophile, though, we think you'll find it worth every penny. However, if you're looking to save a bit of money, check out our Bose voucher codes.

Read our full Bose Smart Speaker 500 review

The best for powerful bass

Denon Home 150 on grey background

(Image credit: Future)
The best for powerful bass in a small space

Specifications

Voice assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant
Dimensions: 11.2 x 7 x 6.2 inches
Speaker: 2-way
Physical controls: Volume Up, Volume Down, Play/Pause, 3 Quick Selects (Presets)
Power: Mains
Matter compatibility: No

Reasons to buy

+
Good quality sound
+
Alexa built-in
+
Useful network connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
You need two to get the best from it
-
Too many features for some users

The Denon Home 150 is a capable smart speaker that might look a bit boring but offers a bunch of smart listening options all packed into a compact design—perfect if you're tight on space. It keeps things varied and useful, making it easy to listen to streaming services right down to the collection on your network drive. Via the HEOS app, you can connect quickly to Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Soundcloud, Tidal and other services, with the app adjusting according to your location. 

Neat touches come from the ability to set up playlists across all sources, as well as to use Google Assistant or Alexa to control things using your voice. The app is a little simplistic looks-wise, but it has all the essentials and its aesthetic makes its features more easily accessible – including EQ settings and other customization tools. 

It's not the best-sounding device on this list - take a look at the Bose Smart Speaker 500 for top audio quality - but the Denon Home 150 offers more bass than you'd expect for its size. This means it’ll delight those who don’t have room in their home for a subwoofer - if you’re all about that bass, but you live in a small place. For a tech fan, slightly weaker sound quality in exchange for so much tweaking and app potential means the Denon Home 150 is a great alternative. 

Read our full Denon Home 150 review

How to choose the best smart speaker for you

When it comes to choosing the right smart speaker for you, there are a number of factors to consider. 

Start by working out which voice assistant you want your smart speaker to offer access to. If you already use a voice assistant on your smartphone or tablet, or have existing smart speakers or smart displays in your home, it makes sense to plump for a smart speaker that has the same assistant baked in. However, if you’ve yet to settle on the voice assistant for you, we've compared Alexa vs Google Assistant to help you decide. 

Next, consider where you intend to locate the smart speaker; smaller, more compact smart speakers are best suited to bedrooms and kitchens, for setting timers when cooking, while larger smart speakers work in rooms with bigger footprints such as a living or dining room. 

If you intend to use the smart speaker as your main listening device, make sure you consider the number of speakers and the sound output and quality they offer. Those with smaller speakers are best suited to background music, while larger smart speakers will offer a louder, more room-filling sound. Also, look for models that can be paired together to create stereo sound if you’re planning to use a smart speaker as part of your home cinema set-up. 

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, it might also be worth checking out the best AirPlay speakers, which allow you to stream music from your devices to your speaker. Many of these also come with your favorite smart assistant on board. 

How we tested these smart speakers

To discover the best smart speakers on the market, we assess the the sound quality of the speaker and how effective the built-in voice assistant is at controlling playback for you; from selecting specific playlists, albums and tracks to adjusting the volume, skipping tracks and even the number of streaming service its compatible with. 

We also evaluate each model on its ability to pick up your voice when issuing commands to the voice assistant, privacy features that help ensure the smart speaker isn’t constantly watching and listening, and the smart home devices it's compatible with, as well as how compact and durable the design is.

Frequently asked questions about smart speakers

What is a smart speaker used for?

As we’ve already mentioned, a smart speaker can do more than just offer a way to listen to your favorite music streaming service, or the albums and tracks stored on your smartphone. The built-in voice assistant can control the playback of your music for you; adjusting the volume, skipping tracks and even selecting a specific song, album or playlist for you completely hands-free.

It can also provide a weather report, offer an audible summary of the day's headlines, and answer your burning questions; whether that’s ‘what is the tallest mountain in the world’ or simply ‘Who is the Queen of England’.  

Smart speakers can even be used for light entertainment in the form of jokes and games and also allow you to stay in touch with friends and family by making audio calls through the device. 

If that wasn’t enough, a smart speaker can also control compatible smart home devices; for example, it can dim or brighten any smart lights you have in your home, turn the temperature up or down if you have a smart thermostat and let you converse with anyone at your doorstep by connecting to your video doorbell. 

Which voice assistant is best?

On the whole that's subjective. Some people have always liked Apple products the best and stay loyal to Siri. Others really like Alexa after snapping up an Echo as soon as the smart speaker was first launched. 

The general consensus seems to be that Google Assistant is, largely, the most accurate voice assistant. If you've got a lot of Apple products, of course, Siri is the best, and for overall compatibility, you're best opting for Alexa. But they're not hard and fast rules. 

Is Alexa better than Google?

For starters, the choice might depend on which speaker you like the look of the most. Sure Amazon's Echo range is very similar to the Google Home, but the Show, Spot, and Dot look quite different – check out our guide to the best Alexa speakers for more information. 

When it comes to the smart assistants within the speakers, they're both extremely capable. Amazon's Alexa has many, many Skills, which set it apart from the rest. But Google has been a leader in the AI game for a long time now, well before the smart speaker market emerged. It's a lot harder to change Alexa's voice, too.

Josephine Watson
Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.

With contributions from