The Best Smart Speakers for Apr 2021

As technology advances, we’re able to do increasing impressive things with ease. The latest addition to improve our home lives is the introduction of smart speakers. Using an intelligent digital assistant, you can now control your home with just your voice. It’s not just about the sound quality, but how well the assistant performs as well.

So let’s get into the best smart speakers!

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In a hurry? This is our winner!

Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
  • Sonos One - The powerful smart speaker with voice control built-in
  • Brilliant sound - Get rich, room-filling sound with Sonos One, and control it with your voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay2, and more
  • Voice control - Amazon Alexa is built right in so you can play music, check news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, completely hands free
  • For every room - The compact design fits just about any space. Put it on your kitchen countertop, or tuck it away on your office bookshelf. It's humidity resistant so you can even put it in the bathroom
  • Stereo sound with 2 - Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound. Use a pair as rear home theater surrounds with Arc or Beam

Best Smart Speakers – Comparison Table

Best Smart Speakers – Reviews

Our Pick

1. Sonos One

Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black

Pros

  • Adaptable: Whether you use Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, or Apple AirPlay 2, this speaker will work seamlessly with all three.
  • Humidity Resistant: Capable of dealing with hot and humid temperatures, the Sonos One (Gen 2) is a perfect addition to the bathroom.
  • Inter-connectivity: Pair two speakers together and you can benefit from an epic stereo sound in any room.
  • Small and Compact: The small sleek design of the Sonos One speakers means they suit any location, whether kitchen, lounge, or office.

Cons

  • Home Connection Issues: Some users have reported that the speakers occasionally lose their connectivity, and stop working with Alexa or their music service.

Summary

The best all-round smart speaker on the market, these smart speakers can slot into your home with ease. Whether you need to put them on an office bookshelf or beside the tv, the sleek and sophisticated design of the Sonos One will look right at home. 

The major drawback of the One is that ultimately, it’ll become obsolete – but that’s the reality with most smart speakers. As new speakers are produced with newer software, the manufacturer will slowly stop releasing software updates for that model. 

Overall though, the Sonos One has a brilliant sound quality and is definitely well-suited to connect into your home network.

2. Marshall Action II

Best Showpiece

Marshall Acton II Wireless Wi-Fi Multi-Room Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-In, Black - NEW

Pros

  • Powerful Audio Experience: Marshall once again proves their musical abilities with the Action II.
  • Alexa Enabled: Marshall have developed their smart home speaker alongside Amazon, so Alexa integration is flawless.
  • Looks Beautiful: For those who are fans of music, Marshall have developed a gorgeous speaker. It is simply stunning to look at, and is sure to draw attention.
  • Customise Your Sound: It’s easier than ever to customise how your music sounds, via an app or the built-in analogue controls. 
  • Far-Field Voice Recognition: The sound cancelling microphones mean that the Action II can easily understand you, whether you’re across the room, or in a loud space.

Cons

  • Set Up Can be Challenging: Some customers have reported set-up to be slightly difficult, so make sure that you have the MArshall and Alexa app installed before you begin.
  • Expensive: The Marshall Action II may be the most expensive speaker on this list, but it is worth it.

Summary

The Marshall Action II is perfect if you’re looking for a showpiece speaker that will hold its own. It’s also able to easily hear you, despite distance or background music which is a fantastic feature. 

Due to its integration with Alexa, it may be slightly difficult to set up without having the prerequisite apps downloaded first, but otherwise should be relatively simple.

This is my personal favourite, and if you’re planning to use it for music just as much as controlling your home, then definitely choose this one.

3. Belkin SoundForm Elite

Best Party Speaker

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker + Wireless Charger (Alexa Voice-Controlled Bluetooth Speaker) Sound Technology by Devialet (White)

Pros

  • Wireless Phone Charging: As long as it supports wireless charging, your phone can be placed and charged on the pad. 
  • ‘Push-Push’ Woofer: New and unique technology simultaneously cancels vibrations, while producing a deep, rich bass.
  • Connects to Other Speakers: It doesn’t matter if this is your only SoundForm speaker in the house, it can still easily link up to the rest of your home network.

Cons

  • Lacks Sound Range: While the bass may be excellent, the rest of the speaker’s range isn’t as well adjusted.

Summary

If you’re looking for a speaker that is great to have at parties, then this is for you. The Belkin SoundForm boasts a great sound and deep bass, plus the inclusion of a wireless charger means you can easily put your phone down, without searching for a cable.

The powerful bass helps to ensure great party music, and the SoundForm Elite can easily fill a crowded room with sound. Be careful though, because some customers have reported that the rest of the range isn’t as clear as the bass.

4. Echo Dot 4th Gen

Best Bedroom Speaker

All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Twilight Blue

Pros

  • Small: The diminutive size of the new echo dot means it can easily be placed on any bedside nightstand.
  • New 360° Sound: The new spherical design means that wherever the Dot is placed, you can hear the audio clearly.
  • Amazon Drop-In: Since this is an Amazon Alexa product, you have the ability to talk to friends and family who also have an Alexa-enabled device. 
  • Microphone Off: For those who may be worried about being monitored, there is a handy and easily visible switch which can disconnect the microphone.

Cons

  • Sound Hasn’t Improved: Some customers have reported that the audio quality of the Dot 4 is worse than previous generations.

Summary

If you use a lot of Amazon products, or need something which easily slots into your bedroom, choose this. It’s small and looks great, plus depending on how ‘smart’ your home is, can offer easy control over your home. 

Compared to other speakers, the sound may not be that great. However, if you use it for controlling your home or dropping in on people, then it will do nicely.

What Should I Look for in a Smart Speaker?

When you buy a smart speaker, your primary concern is that it connects properly with all your other Smart Home products. Otherwise, you may as well get a normal one. The two major competitors are currently Google Nest and Amazon Alexa.

If you don’t already have products targeted at Nest or Alexa, then you can look into each companies collections and decide which would make the best sense for you. Google is better for random requests and finding things out, whereas Alexa is better if you spend a lot of time on Amazon.

What’s your preference when it comes to speakers? Are you looking for music quality or functionality? Are you Team Google or Team Amazon? Let us know in the comments down below!