8 Best Smart Speakers (2021): Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Connecting to Amazon Alexa
If you don’t have it for music, the The Amazon Echo Dot With Clock (4th Gen) and Google Salag Mini (7/10, Recommended WIRED) will give you most of the perks of owning a smart speaker, and you can use it to improve existing speakers cheaply.
The sound is similar between the models, and they have almost identical footprints, so you can easily argue that one is better than an ecosystem -based one. We prefer the Nest Mini for this reason, but now that Amazon has added a simple clock in front of the Echo Dot, we want the Alexa -powered option to be pretty good.
The small display of the Echo Dot With Clock is available quickly. It can tell you when your kitchen timers end or if your alarm is set in the morning. Of course, it also speaks to time. It makes an even better companion in the bedroom and kitchen. You can also ask it the time, answer it with your no questions, and play the white noise at bedtime to put you to sleep. It also provides a quick way to get a knowledgeable assistant in areas of your home where you don’t usually listen to music.
Other options: the Salag Mini ($ 49) also good mini speaker if you like Google Assistant.
Connects to Google Assistant or Alexa
The size of the Sonos Roam (9/10, WIRED RECOMMENDATIONS) has become our new preferred portable speaker. I take it (Parker) on road trips, at outdoor weddings, and in the basket on my bike. The simple to use Sonos ecosystem works with Google Assistant and Alexa, and the speaker has Bluetooth for when you’re not in range of Wi-Fi. It also comes with a wireless charge, making it the perfect speaker to put at home in between outdoor trips.
You get 10 hours of listening at a full charge in medium volume, and the thing is hard; an IP67 rating means it can survive 3 feet of water in 30 minutes. I’m not easy on speakers, and our review unit is still going strong. If you’re looking for your outside-and-part game, buy one of these and put it inside a stainless to-go mug. Just grab a drink.
Other options: the Transfer to Sonos ($ 399) a good mini speaker, and it seems more powerful, but it’s more difficult (and expensive).
There are tons of smart speakers. Here are a few more we like: