Best smart speaker for 2022 – In recent years, smart speakers have become ubiquitous. Regardless of whether you’re an Amazon acolyte, an Apple obsessive, or a Google fanatic, there’s a smart speaker for you, and the three tech giants offer a very good product. Amazon gets a little extra credit for popularizing smart speakers with the original Echo device and Alexa voice assistant, but another company was quick to keep up, and now there’s a market chock-full of smart device competitors, each with their own pros and cons.

When shopping for the best smart speaker for your needs, the key differences you’ll find come down largely to price, size, and audio quality. If you don’t need a lot of oomph from your music and you’re good with slightly lower audio quality, you can save money and get the same intelligence in a smaller smart speaker.

Virtually every option on your smart device includes multi-room audio and allows you to turn on lights, play music, ask a question, set reminders, and more with a simple voice command. If that sounds appealing to you, it might be time to give in to the growing hype from this growing category of devices and buy a smart speaker.

If you have an affinity for one of those brands in particular, choosing a speaker is easy. Head here for help choosing an Amazon smart speaker model. Here is a guide if you want a google equipped smart speaker.

If you’re platform independent and don’t need to choose between an Amazon Alexa or Google speaker, the variety of options can seem intimidating at first. Fortunately, we have been testing voice control devices in the smart speaker market since they first appeared. We considered all the important features of smart devices, from the inclusion of a smart display to the ease of installing multiple speakers. Here are our thoughts.

Ben Fox Rubin / CNET

Deciding which assistant you want in the center of your smart home is a difficult decision. Both Alexa and the Google Assistant work with many devices. Both help you easily organize and control them with good audio performance. While the Google Assistant is a bit smarter, Alexa works with more smart home devices and makes setup easy with voice commands.

Ultimately, we’ll give the smart home edge in the best smart speaker category to Amazon thanks to Alexa and the $ 100 fourth-generation Amazon Echo.

Alexa can send alerts if your smart speaker hears glass breaking or a loud smoke detector. The newest Echo combines the usual Alexa smarts with a great-sounding speaker and has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub so you can sync your little sensors to it instead of having to buy more gear.

Read our Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review.

James Martin / CNET

Amazon used to be the undisputed ruler of the smart speaker world, but Google has done an admirable job of bringing its digital assistant up to speed in the sound race. At this point, choosing between the lower-priced smart devices from the two companies comes down to dividing the hairs. If Alexa is your preferred voice assistant, you should go for the latest Echo Dot. It’s affordable and offers all the Alexa skills and smart home integrations you’ll need.

The Google Assistant now has nearly as many capabilities as Alexa, making the $ 25 Google Nest Mini a solid alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot if the Google Assistant is your preference. Also, Google Assistant is a slightly smarter voice assistant than Alexa. It responds more flexibly to voice commands if you can’t remember the exact name of your smart home devices, and Google’s grouped commands, called routines, work with more types of smart devices than similar Amazon routines. The Google Assistant can recognize multiple voices, so it will give you and your spouse different answers if each of you asks about their calendars, although now Alexa can do this too.

Overall, Google still has the upper hand, and the Google Nest Mini is a great low-cost way to take advantage of that intelligence.

Read the Google Nest Mini review.

Apple

Apple’s little Siri-enabled smart speaker bridges a strange gap between its $ 100-priced competitors like Google’s Nest Audio and Amazon Echo, and others that come in small packages like the Nest Mini and Echo Dot.

Features like intercom, audio transfer, and stereo pairing make this little smart speaker quite practical. It looks good and it sounds great too. When it comes to the smart home, Siri and HomePod Mini are limited to devices that are powered by Apple’s smart home platform, HomeKit.

If you like Apple, and if Siri is your smart assistant of choice and HomeKit is your smart home service of choice, you will love Apple’s newest smart speaker. If you already live with an original iPhone, Apple TV, or HomePod, the Mini makes sense as your next little smart speaker.

Read the Apple HomePod Mini review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The $ 219 Sonos One lets you pair two units in stereo to play stereo sound or multi-room audio, but even a single speaker sounds amazing when playing a wide variety of music genres and costs significantly less than other premium sound quality smart speakers like Google Home. Max.

Better yet, the Sonos One has Alexa and the Google Assistant built in; just choose which one you would like to use for your voice commands during setup. Plus, Sonos has Apple’s AirPlay 2 so you can control it with any Siri-enabled device, including your iPhone.

Add that up and the Sonos One is a great-sounding, reasonably priced smart speaker that can fit homes with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri-centric smart hubs. It’s a tough pitch to beat.

Read the Sonos One review.

Other options

Those smart speakers are our favorites, but you still have plenty of other options if you’re looking for something specific in audio performance. Read our breakdown of Alexa versus Google Assistant versus Siri if you want to know the pros and cons of each and decide on one smart home device per platform.

Note that neither the original Amazon Echo neither him Nest Audio appeared above because you can get the same capabilities for less with the smaller versions (Dot and Mini). That said, if you want a smart speaker that divides the difference between affordability and premium sound, both are still solid options.

If you like the idea of ​​an aid that always listens, but wants something more visual, check out our best smart screen list. Smart displays essentially combine a smart speaker with a touch screen so you can watch YouTube videos, make video calls, scroll through images and control your smart home devices with one touch. Amazon and Google have several options in this booming smart home tech smart display category.

read more: The best smart displays of 2022

Find out what platform or features you’d like, and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you and your family.

Frequently asked questions about the best smart speakers

Best smart speaker for 2022
Best smart speaker for 2022

Are there smart stereo speakers?

Yes!

Almost all Amazon Echo smart speakers can be paired in stereo with another Echo speaker. The list is quite long, so take a look at Amazon’s stereo device compatibility page. You will find a list of speakers that can be paired with each other for stereo sound.

All Google smart speakers can be stereo paired, as long as they are identical models. Google’s Nest Audio speaker is the best option for stereo pairing, and a pack of two of these speakers often offers a $ 99 discount per MSRP speaker. You will be able to configure the speakers in your Google Home app and tell Google which speaker is the right and which is the left. Bass and treble settings can also be adjusted from the Home app.

The Apple HomePod Mini (the only smart speaker Apple currently produces) can be paired with another HomePod Mini to listen to the left and right channels in stereo. You can also pair your HomePod Minis with your Apple TV for surround sound theater. These smaller speakers won’t blow your mind, but it’s a nice added feature.

If cinema surround sound for your TV is your highest priority for smart speakers, Sonos offers the best audio quality in our opinion. Two Sonos speakers (same model) can be paired in stereo.

If you are interested in connecting your speakers to a larger system, the following smart speakers are equipped with an auxiliary connector:

Who is the smartest voice assistant?

Today, the race is extremely close between the Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Apple’s Siri is on the board, but in a solid third place when it comes to true reliability, insight, and understanding of human requests.

Overall, we give the Google Assistant the upper hand for its superior cadence, naturalistic tone, and ability to consistently understand (and answer) questions and keep track of queries. That said, it’s close enough that you can safely invest in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa based on other preferences, such as speaker style, devices, and compatibility with other popular smart home products.

Alexa is almost as good, so you really can’t go wrong no matter which assistant you choose. You will learn its quirks and how to interact with your assistant to get the best answers and useful information.

For fun, here’s our deep dive into each attendee’s “personality”.

Which smart speaker is loudest?

In our tests of smart speakers from Apple, Amazon and Google, we believe that the Amazon Echo (4th generation) offers more when it comes to volume. Nest Audio follows you closely with powerful sound, too.

However, the Sonos One (2nd Gen) is our current pick for the best sound quality, especially if you are considering using your speaker in a stereo pair or as a theater system for watching TV.

Read our Amazon Echo (4th gen) and Nest Audio reviews to learn more about the sound quality of these two flagship models.

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