The Best Smart Speakers for 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Smart Speakers

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!

Today’s Top Smart Speaker Picks

The Best Smart Speakers – Our Reviews

No. 1
Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker

Best-sounding smart speaker: Sonos One (Gen 2) – Voice Controlled Smart Speaker

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.

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

No. 2
Marshall Acton II Wireless Wi-Fi Multi-Room Smart Speaker

Best smart speaker for music: Marshall Acton II Wireless Smart Speaker

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

No. 3
Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker

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.

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

No. 4
All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker

New Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart speaker

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.

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

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a smart Speaker do?

The virtual assistant feature of a smart speaker helps you to command some orders that the speaker executes. Some of the significant actions the smart speaker can perform are playing some music, answering some verbal questions, and controlling some home functions like lighting, security, and door locks. The central information source of the smart speaker will help you know the weather, directions, and traffic conditions.

What is a smart speaker device?

Smart speaker is nothing but a device that can be controlled using voice commands. It serves as a virtual assistant which will enable interactive actions to perform some tasks. You can also find a smart speaker with a screen that shows a visual response to the given command.

Is a smart speaker worth it?

If you are planning to convert your home into a smart home, then smart speakers are worth it. This is because smart speakers make it convenient to perform specific tasks, saving time. A regular smart device user can enhance the effectiveness of their existing systems using smart speakers. Also, smart speakers work the best for those who have disabilities and increase the house’s security by locking up doors and windows in case of emergencies, making them worthy enough to buy.

Are smart speakers always listening?

Yes, the smart speakers are always listening. But, you need not worry about privacy because they do not start recording any information until you give a designated wake-up command to them.

Can you use a smart speaker without a phone?

Yes, you can use a smart speaker without a phone. But continuous wifi connectivity is required while you use the smart speaker. But when you initially set up the smart speaker, you need the phone to download the particular app and complete the setup process.

Can smart speakers make phone calls?

Yes, you can make phone calls using a smart speaker. To make the calls, you have to give the basic wake-up command and then ask the speaker to call by naming the contact you are supposed to call.

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!

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