Best smart speaker 2024

If you're looking for the best smart speaker but don't know where to start, fear not! We've lined up a list of the best smart speakers in various categories to help you decide which one to add to your home.

Our top pick for the best smart speaker comes from one of, if not the category pioneer — Sonos, and it's the Sonos Era 100. It's the perfect size to set on an end table, desk, or bookshelf and can be paired with dozens of other Sonos devices as part of a larger speaker ecosystem.

The Sonos Ear 100 also has a vibrant, room-filling sound for its size, and it is compatible with Amazon Alexa and even Apple's AirPlay protocols.

Andrew Myrick headshot
Andrew Myrick

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

At a glance

Best overall

The Sonos Era 100 on a bookshelf

(Image credit: Sonos)

1. Sonos Era 100

Best overall

Specifications

Dimensions: 7.19 x 4.72 x 5.14 inches
Weight: 4.45 lbs
Speakers: Three Class-D digital amps, two tweeters, one mid-woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Microphone mute button

Reasons to buy

+
Dynamic, room-filling sound
+
Integrates with Sonos ecosystem
+
Supports a wide variety of music services
+
Works well with Alexa and the Sonos Voice Control

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as bigger speakers like Echo Studio
-
No Google Assistant support
-
Not water resistant

Like most Sonos speakers, the Sonos Era 100 offers audiophile-quality sound at a compelling price. While $250 isn't cheap, for the quality and features, it is a good value. In particular, the Era 100 punches above its weight class in sound output, considering its relatively small size. This allows the device to fit in just about any space, from a bookshelf to a fireplace mantel, to your kitchen counter.

The Era 100 packs three Class-D digital amplifiers, two tweeters, and one mid-woofer in that small-ish frame. You can combine it with other Sonos devices in multi-device groups, or you can create a stereo pair. The device has a far-field microphone array to enable it to hear your commands from across the room, and there is also a physical mute switch for when you don't want it to hear you.

What's great about the Sonos Era 100 (and the family of Sonos products in general) is that it's as platform-agnostic as possible when working with popular smart voice assistants and the widest range of content providers. As a result, Sonos speakers support more music services than Amazon or Google/Nest and work with Alexa and AirPlay 2. You can also control the Era 100 and any other Sonos speakers you may have through the Sonos app.

The biggest downside to the Sonos Era 100 is that it does not support Google Assistant. It also isn't water resistant, so you won't want to leave it outside by the pool. While it puts out a strong sound, it can't quite compete with bigger, more room-filling devices like the Echo Studio.

Best Alexa speaker

Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches
Weight: 34.2 oz
Speakers: dual front-firing 8-inch tweeters and 3-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light

Reasons to buy

+
Better sounding front-firing speakers
+
Built-in Zigbee hub
+
Newer AZ1 Neural Edge processor
+
3.5mm audio jack and 1/4-inch thread mount

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart display or LED clock
-
Inconsistent button response

Amazon introduced the original Echo to Prime users in late 2014. Since then, the product has spawned not only a whole line of Amazon smart speakers but an industry full of competition. The Echo, in particular, is now on its fourth iteration, with a completely new spherical design and enhanced functionality that has made it our pick for the best overall Alexa speaker.

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) has a rounded design and front-firing speakers that contribute to a richer overall sound. It's eye-catching for sure but doesn't stand out more than it needs to. The components are largely made from recycled materials, and Amazon has engineered the device to be more sustainable for energy usage. The speakers are still not as complex as the Sonos One's, but the Echo does come with a line-out 3.5mm cable and Bluetooth capability, so you can pair with other speakers or connect with other Echos.

As with smartphone iterations, the likes of Amazon and Google have distinguished minor outward upgrades to add new colors, and this year, the Echo brought back a fan favorite in Twilight Blue. I'm a big fan of this color palette and am happy that we're now seeing it come to more Echo speakers across the line.

Amazon has even gone so far as to introduce some new features to the Echo and Echo Dot. If you have one of the 4th-generation models or newer, you'll now enjoy motion detection. This enables the ability to create Occupancy Routines, meaning that your lights can automatically turn off if everyone leaves the room or turn on some music while you're cleaning the house. This feature is also available on the 2022 model Echo Dot, later on this list.

Best Google speaker

Google Nest Audio

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)
Best Google speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.89 x 4.89 x 3.07 inches
Weight: 2.65 lbs
Speakers: Two .75-inch tweeters and 2.95-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Two-stage physical mute switch with orange LED indicator lights

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic sound for the price
+
Understated design
+
Multiple color options
+
Intuitive touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Some software glitches

Google's newest smart speaker is the understated yet impressive-sounding Nest Audio. With a look somewhere between the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) diminutive puck and the shelf-sized Google Home Max, the Nest Audio is more than capable of serving as your primary smart speaker or part of a stereo pair. The device is a huge improvement over the original Google Home smart speaker, which resembled a Glade scented air freshener. It's available in five soft colors, including Chalk, Charcoal, and our favorites, Sand, Sage, and Sky.

We've been so impressed by the Nest Audio's performance that we even called it the best Google Assistant speaker available. We think it can go toe-to-toe with the latest regular-sized Amazon Echo or even the Sonos One (2nd Gen). Where it beats those speakers is in its next-generation Google Assistant integration. It can get up to 75% louder than the original Google Home and features 50% more bass than that first-generation smart speaker.

Like the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) before it, the Nest Audio's fabric shell is made from 70% post-consumer recycled materials like plastic water bottles. We applaud these efforts and look forward to future designs incorporating even more recycled and recyclable materials.

Best sound quality

Amazon Echo Studio

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)
Best sound quality

Specifications

Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.9 inches
Weight: 7.7 lbs
Speakers: 1-inch tweeter, 3 2-inch speakers, and a 5.25-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light

Reasons to buy

+
Multi-directional, immersive sound
+
Supports multi-room audio
+
Can be paired with another Echo Studio or Fire TV
+
Supports multiple music services, Airplay 2
+
Physical microphone mute switch
+
Built-in Zigbee smart home hub

Reasons to avoid

-
First-gen product
-
Most expensive Echo device

The Echo Studio is Amazon's first big bet on big sound. Think Apple's HomePod, but bigger, with arguably more room-filling sound and at about half the price.

It's no coincidence that this product follows hot on the tail of Amazon's HD music service launch. It has three midrange 2-inch speakers, a 1-inch tweeter, a large 5.250-inch woofer, and Dolby Atmos technology, making it more than capable of handling high bitrate music formats that have been mastered for 3D music. And now that Amazon is offering its HD tier at no additional cost to new and existing subscribers, everyone who purchases an Echo Studio will be able to get the full experience.

The Echo Studio also nods smart home management and security, with a physical microphone mute switch and a built-in Zigbee smart hub. Amazon recently introduced a new program it calls "Certified for Humans," which aims to help smart device partners make their setup and user experiences much easier for novices. In the interim (and for older smart devices), the Zigbee hub should help make that smart device setup and interoperability much easier.

Like all Echo devices, you can pair two Echo Studio speakers together for stereo sound, or you can group them with other speakers in multi-room groups. You can also pair them with your Fire TV for a richer TV viewing and listening experience.

Best for travel

Sonos Roam

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best for travel

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.61 x 2.32 x 2.44 inches
Weight: .93 lbs
Speakers: Two Class-H digital amps, one tweeter, one mid-woofer
Portable: ✔️
Weather-Resistance: ✔️
Privacy Features: Microphone mute button

Reasons to buy

+
The best sound in a compact portable speaker
+
Supports Google Assistant, Alexa, and Sonos Voice Control
+
Up to 10-hour battery life
+
It's tough with water and dust resistance

Reasons to avoid

-
Switching between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be challenging
-
On the pricey side

The Sonos Roam appears to have met or even exceeded expectations as the compact and portable speaker audiophiles have been waiting for. It brings the great sound quality that Sonos is renowned for and Sonos' great connectivity and multi-platform, multi-assistant support.

As with other Sonos speakers, the Roam works just as well with the Google Assistant as it will with Alexa. It's great to see Sonos speakers being able to stream via Bluetooth when Wi-Fi isn't available. But I've found that switching between Wi-Fi mode and Bluetooth mode to be a bit frustrating.

This portable speaker is durable, too. It comes with an IP67 rating, which means it can tolerate a fair amount of outdoor moisture, including humidity, rain, snow, and sea spray. It's not quite as tough to take a tumble as the Ultimate Ears speakers, but it can certainly hold up to extreme heat and cold, as well as UV rays (bet you never thought your speakers needed sunblock, too!).

Best value

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best value

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 10.7 oz
Speakers: 1.73-inch front-firing speaker
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light

Reasons to buy

+
Improved sound quality
+
Built-in temperature sensor for home automation routines
+
LED display can show more than just time
+
New tap-to-control functions
+
Can extend Wi-Fi coverage up to 1000sqft

Reasons to avoid

-
The 3.5mm audio jack has been removed
-
Only available in two colors

Amazon kept the spherical design from the Echo Dot with Clock (4th gen), down to the exact same dimensions. But managed to increase the speaker size, add a built-in temperature sensor, eero router compatibility, and more. Oh, and the LED display picked up new features too. Thank you, Amazon!

Amazon kept the fan-favorite LED clock from previous models but gave it more to do than just tell time. The Echo Dot with Clock (2022) can give visual feedback when responding to queries such as weather, showing artist and song that's playing, and more.  It sounds simple, but this little adjustment makes it much more useful as a smart speaker and even better value for the money than before.

During our review of the smart speaker, it was clear that even the small bump in speaker size made a difference in overall audio quality. The added temperature sensor brings even more functionality to the smart home device. You can now use the room's temperature where the speaker is placed to trigger automation, like turning on a fan. 

For those using one of the best mesh Wi-Fi routers on the market from eero, then using this speaker makes your internet coverage even better. The Echo Dot with Clock can act as an extender to broaden your Wi-Fi coverage by up to 1000sqft! This new smart speaker is a great option for a small but mighty desktop companion.

Best smart display

Echo Show 10 Screensaver

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
Best smart display

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inches
Weight: 90.3 oz
Speakers: 2x 3-inch tweeters and 1x 3-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Physical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light
Extra Features: Display can rotate for better viewing and video chatting experiences

Reasons to buy

+
The largest and most feature-packed Echo Show
+
Disable camera/mic with one switch/cover
+
Rotating display is great for when you're in motion
+
Zigbee hub and Amazon Sidewalk built-in
+
Can use as a security camera

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of space
-
Most expensive Echo device
-
No Dolby processing built-in

The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the ultimate screened Alexa portal and just might be the best smart display overall right now. Yes, all that innovation comes at a price — it's the most expensive Echo device you can buy, but it justifies the cost for many people.

This Echo Show has the largest screen and best speaker array of any other Echo Show and by far the best camera in a smart display. The speakers take advantage of the 360-degree base to project a fuller sound, and the 13MP camera is twice as good as that on the Nest Hub Max. Not only do those features make it the perfect home video calling device because they can keep you in the frame during calls, but they also make for a fantastic content consumption device. The display uses advanced technology to track your movements when enabled, meaning you can always see that cooking video or Netflix show while you're moving around the kitchen preparing a meal.

The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is built with privacy in mind, with a built-in, physical camera cover and microphone mute switch. So even though the tracking technology cannot identify you, nor does it save any image data, you can disable it at any time. But if you want to use the device to monitor your home while you're away, you can do that too with an Alexa Guard Plus subscription.

Best speaker for kids

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) Dragon

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

8. Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (2022)

Best speaker for kids

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 10.7 oz
Speakers: 1.73-inch front-firing speaker
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: 🚫
Privacy Features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light

Reasons to buy

+
New tap-to-control features
+
Fun animal prints
+
Comes with kid-friendly content
+
1 year of Amazon Kids+ included
+
2-year worry-free guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than regular Echo Dot

Amazon has created parallel product lines for its Fire tablets and the Echo Dot that it calls its Kids Edition devices. Generally speaking, these come in more playful colors and feature kid-friendly content, strong parental controls, and even stronger product warranties. Oh yeah, and they're more expensive than the "regular" versions of the products.

However, what you get for the increased price is value and peace of mind. The Echo Dot Kids Edition (2022) comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, Amazon's curated service of kid-friendly and age-appropriate content. In addition to tailored music, stories, and audiobooks, several kid-friendly skills are available on this Dot. Amazon Kids+ makes parental controls easy, allowing them to set time limits, content, and purchase restrictions.

Protecting the device is just as important as controlling what content your kids have access to. Let's face it. Kids destroy things. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee, which means that Amazon will replace the device if it breaks, no questions asked! So, when your child accidentally bonks their Owl or Dragon speaker to control it using the new tap-to-control features, and if it falls off the table, Amazon will replace it should it break.

As for the device itself, it benefits from all the new features that are in the Echo Dot with Clock from above. Aside from the LED display. Hopefully, Amazon and Disney will finally release the "Hey, Disney" voice assistant that's been teased now for over a year to make this excellent smart speaker even better.

Best outdoor speaker

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

9. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

Best outdoor speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 8.75 inches
Weight: 2.90 lbs
Speakers: 2x 25mm tweeters, 2x 55mm active drivers, and 2x 85 x 50mm passive radiators
Portable: 🚫
Weather-Resistance: IP67

Reasons to buy

+
Battery-powered and rechargeable
+
Pair up to eight Ulitmate Ears speakers
+
IP67 waterproof and nearly indestructible
+
"Magic Button" to control music from device

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs to be charged occasionally
-
Fairly expensive

One of the most significant drawbacks of smart speakers is their lack of portability, particularly when it comes to the great outdoors. One of the best and most rugged portable speakers on the market is the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3. You can feel confident bringing this speaker with you to your next pool party or picnic since it has an IP67 water-resistance rating and can be immersed in water up to one meter for 30 minutes. It's shockproof, too, so you don't have to worry if it takes a tumble off of the tailgate!

The MEGABOOM 3 is not only tough, but it sounds great too. It has a crisp and loud 360-degree sound with a deep bass response and a 20-hour battery life to keep the party going outside. When the battery gets low, there is an available base charging unit that you can purchase so that Megablast can sit on the charger and stay in operation, allowing you to top off your power quickly without fiddling with a USB cord. If you want to really amplify the sound, you can pair it with other Ultimate Ears speakers or up to seven other Megablast speakers for a neighborhood block party!

The MEGABOOM 3 has a "Magic Button" on the top that lets you easily play, pause, and skip tracks, and you can also set up one-touch playlists with Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Deezer.

We don't have a lot of bad things to say about the Megablast. However, one thing to keep in mind is that, because it is battery powered, you'll need to remember to charge it every once in a while (not a concern for stationary, plugged-in speakers). It's also quite pricey, but trust us — it's well worth it if you're after loud, booming sound.

Which smart speaker is best? 

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If you want a good-sounding smart speaker with platform and assistant flexibility, we recommend going with the Sonos Era 100. While it doesn't work with Google Assistant, it works with Alexa and Sonos Voice Control, along with the most content partnerships, and sounds great. But if you want to look beyond our top pick, it's important to ask yourself the following questions. 

1. Are you locked into a particular ecosystem?

While not universally true, many of the best smart speakers are made by Amazon, Apple, or Google. They are intertwined with those companies' software platforms, smart voice assistants, and overall ecosystems. Chances are, if you are an Alexa household, you're not going to be well served by considering an Apple or Google smart speaker.

Beyond platform and OS lock-in, however, you will also want to consider the third-party apps and connected home devices you want to pair with your smart speakers. Some speakers like the HomePod mini don't work with Spotify or YouTube Music, while Nest devices don't play well with Ring security products. And speakers from companies like Sonos and Bose have mixed results with smart home integrations. Before you purchase your smart speaker, take an inventory of your apps, devices, and services, and see which are compatible with what devices.

2. Do you need portability?

Many smart speakers are intended to be stationary, remaining plugged into the outlet somewhere in your home or office. You can indeed unplug and move them to another room, but unless they have a built-in battery, you're not going to be taking them to the beach or pool. So for those use cases, you're going to want to look away from Amazon, Apple, and Google and towards companies like Ultimate Ears and Sonos.

3. How much do privacy and security matter to you?

If you're concerned about always having connected microphones and/or cameras in your home, you'll want to look at devices that have built-in physical controls like mute switches and camera covers. The latest smart speakers from Amazon and Google/Nest have these features and even show indicator lights and play audio cues to let you know when they're not watching or listening. Even the more basic smart speakers these days have a mute button to prevent voice assistants from accidentally hearing something they perhaps shouldn't. And Amazon, Apple, and Google all give you various degrees of control over your voice recordings and history, with some even offering the ability to delete voice records at a certain time automatically or to do so on-demand.