The best smart speakers for Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri in 2021

Chat to the best virtual assistant-powered speaker for you

close-up on a speaker

Smart speakers are becoming more and more common, but not all are made equal. If you want to control your smart home, listen to music, or set a reminder without having to lift a finger, it’s worth digging deep to find the best smart speakers with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.

Since virtual assistants are what make smart speakers intelligent, your first step is choosing the right one. As fun as it is to communicate with them, they don’t talk to each other very well, making it near-impossible to fill your house with different brands. It’s much easier to pick a single voice assistant and stick with it as you increasingly connect your home.

Once you’ve chosen the right assistant for you, you just need to narrow down why you want a smart speaker. The Amazon Echo Show 10 comes with a screen so you can video chat or monitor your room while away, while the Sonos One focuses on the quality of the speakers and compatibility. There’s even a Sonos Beam smart soundbar to control your TV’s audio via voice. Here are the best smart speakers for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.

What are the best smart speakers for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri?

  • Sonos One
  • Google Nest Audio
  • Google Nest Mini
  • Google Nest Hub Max
  • Amazon Echo Studio
  • Amazon Echo Dot with the clock
  • Amazon Echo Show 10
  • Lenovo Smart Clock
  • JBL Link Portable
  • Sonos Beam
  • Apple HomePod Mini


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Best smart speaker – Sonos One

The Sonos One is by far the best sounding speaker out there, with a rich EQ right out of the box. It’ll fit into just about any ecosystem you’re part of, with Amazon Alexa built in, both Google Assistant and Apple’s AirPlay 2 taking just a few clicks to set up, and around 100 streaming services at your fingertips, including Spotify and Tidal.

There are two generations of the Sonos One out there, with the second boasting a new processor and more memory. We’re not sure it does enough to justify the extra $30, given that both have identical features, but it will likely receive software updates for a good while to come compared to its predecessor.

What we like

  • Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s AirPlay 2
  • Full-body sound
  • Works as a multi-room system with other Sonos devices
Sonos One
Virtual assistants Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa,
AirPlay 2
Features Music over WiFi,
Bluetooth Low Energy (setup only)
Dimensions (H x W x D) 16.1 x 11.7 x 12cm

white square google speaker

best Google Assistant speaker – Google Nest Audio

If your budget can’t stretch to the Sonos One, the Google Nest Audio is the next best thing for Google Assistant. It doesn’t quite sound as sharp as the Google Nest Max, but its understated, homely design and intelligent feature set are wrapped in a sub-$100 price tag that’s almost too good to pass up.

Google Assistant doesn’t quite have the same skills as Amazon Alexa just yet, but it’s fast catching up with some of the largest platforms under its belt, including Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings. The Search giant is also improving Assistant’s understanding so it recognises the same question asked in several different ways. It’s not quite perfect just yet and might not be worth trading the breadth of Amazon Alexa’s compatibility, but if you’re already in the Google ecosystem, the Nest Audio is a key player.

What we like

  • Receptive to voice commands
  • Integrates some of the biggest platforms
  • Sub-$100
Google Nest Audio
Virtual assistants Google Assistant
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D) 6.9 x 12.4 x 7.8cm

small oval speaker with four dots

best budget Google Assistant speaker – Google Nest Mini

You get what you pay for when it comes to smart speakers, which is why Google’s miniature Nest doesn’t have a particular wow factor. It does grant access to Google Assistant for a fraction of the price of its bigger brothers, however, being one of the cheapest on the market.

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It strips back Bluetooth and aux input support, and audio quality is on the average side, but pound for pound it stacks up nicely as Google’s version of the Amazon Echo Dot and is well suited to the kitchen or back room.

What we like

  • Small and space saving
  • Makes Google Assistant affordable
Google Nest Mini
Virtual assistants Google Assistant
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D) 10 x 10 x 8.9cm

smart screen with a picture of a mom with her two children

best Google Assistant display – Google Nest Hub Max

Smart displays aren’t quite as popular as speakers, but they’re on the rise and can act as a centralised hub for your smart home. The Google Nest Hub Max had a bit of a bumpy launch back in 2019, but with most of its problems now ironed out, it really lives up to the ‘max’ part of its name.

The 10-inch screen is a big step up from the 7-inches seen on the standard Google Home Hub, and its 1,280 x 800 resolution might as well be ultra HD at this size. The front-facing 6.5MP camera isn’t as clear as Amazon’s Echo Show 10 and the screen doesn’t twist, but you can still use it for video calls or as a security camera that reacts to movement and alerts your smartphone when you’re away from home. It even adds Android’s intuitive gestures to control your device through your lens.

What we like

  • Quick gestures
  • Google Assistant is more receptive to different syntaxes
  • Sleep sensing technology
Google Nest Hub Max
Virtual assistants Google Assistant
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth
Dimensions (H x W x D) 18.3 x 25 x 10.1cm
Screen 10-inch | 1,280 x 800 resolution
Buy now

best Amazon Alexa speaker – Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Alexa offers the most skills to choose from with robust third-party support, and its Echo Studio targets audiophiles with impeccably clear sound. It only narrowly misses out on the top spot because the Sonos One is simply more versatile, and the Echo Studio is a bit of a behemoth.

Its large stature helps it push 3D audio with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos, as the single speaker is just big enough to simulate directional sound. This is a feature that’s always better off in the hands of something with multiple speakers, but the Echo Studio handles it well, immersing you in a large soundstage.

What we like

  • Amazon Alexa is swift and responsive
  • It’s a versatile smart home hub with the most skills
  • Immersive audio
Amazon Echo Studio
Virtual assistants Amazon Alexa
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth,
3.5mm stereo, mini optical digital
Dimensions (H x W x D) 21 x 18 x 18cm
Buy now

best budget Amazon Alexa speaker – Amazon Echo Dot with the clock

Amazon’s Echo Dot range isn’t known for its audio, but the fourth generation brings a fuller sound than its predecessors without adding to the price. It’s noticeably taller, too, bucking the puck mould in favour of the same ball shape as its full-sized counterpart. There’s even one with a built-in clock if you don’t mind paying a little more.

It’ll save you a ton of counter space compared to the Echo while offering the same features, but if filling your house with Alexa is your end goal, and you miss one of the frequent Echo Dot sales, take a look at the Echo Flex. It has a smaller, tinnier speaker, but plugs right into an outlet and connects to USB devices like external motion sensors and night lights.

What we like

  • Small
  • Affordable, especially with frequent sales
  • Has two options, one with a clock
Amazon Echo Dot
Virtual assistants Amazon Alexa
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D) 10 x 10 x 8.9cm
Buy now

best Amazon Alexa display – Amazon Echo Show 10

You’ll need quite a lot of space to get the most out of the Amazon Echo Show 10’s chonky 10.1-inch display because the screen actually moves. You can either set it to auto-detect and have the monitor follow you around the room so you’re always in the perfect viewing position during a video call, or you can tap into the 13MP camera remotely via the Alexa app and pan around your room – which is perfect if you want to catch your pet misbehaving while you’re at work.

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It’s unlikely to be your new sound system, but its speakers are on par with other Echo devices, making it a handy way to slip Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu on while you’re in the kitchen. It lacks a dedicated YouTube app, leaving you stuck with the web browser version, which isn’t the end of the world but is a quality of life feature we’d like to see improved.

What we like

  • Swivelling 10.1-inch screen
  • Expansive voice commands
  • Quite versatile
Amazon Echo Show 10
Virtual assistants Amazon Alexa
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D) 25.1 x 23 x 17.2cm
Screen 10.1-inches

a speaker attached to a screen with a clock

best smart clock – Lenovo Smart Clock

The Lenovo Smart Clock is designed for those of you that want to bring a virtual assistant display into the bedroom, but don’t want the privacy headache that a built-in camera brings with it. Powered by Google Assistant, the Lenovo Smart Clock is cheaper than most of its rivals at full price, and is much easier on the eyes with ambient sensors that dim the light automatically based on the brightness of your room.

You can do all kinds of wonderful things with it, from setting reminders via voice commands or the touch screen panel to playing your favourite songs or controlling your larger connected smart home. A word of warning, though: it’s all too easy to turn your alarm off, even without the usual ‘OK Google’ wake word, so this requires willpower we don’t have.

What we like

  • Privacy-first, perfect for the nightstand
  • Has a USB port so you can charge your phone
  • Responds to voice commands well
Lenovo Smart Clock
Virtual assistants
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D)
Buy now

best smart soundbar – Sonos Beam

If you don’t fancy wrapping your ears in the best headphones for TV and movies, the Sonos Beam is a fantastic choice to increase your television’s sound quality. It’s not quite as full sounding as the Sonos Arc, but at half the price, the Beam sounds brilliant and boasts better bang for your buck. It’s also completely hands-free with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

The Sonos Beam fits in just about any room and acts as a wireless, multi-room speaker that can play music from any source. You won’t get richer sound from a device this size but you can connect it to other Sonos products, such as our favourite smart speaker.

What we like

  • Support for multiple virtual assistants
  • Incredible sound
  • Value for money
Sonos Beam
Virtual assistants Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa,
Siri, AirPlay 2
Features Music over WiFi
Dimensions (H x W x D) 65 x 10 x 6.9cm

circle speaker glowing a pink light

best Apple smart speaker – Apple HomePod Mini

Siri isn’t the most feature-packed voice assistant, but if you’re already in Apple’s ecosystem, then the HomePod Mini is a great way to expand your smart home. It’s still young and requires an Apple Music subscription, but will get Spotify and other third-party support in the future. Right now, though, it’s firmly for the folks running Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

Thankfully, the company has done away with the eye-watering Apple tax of the original HomePod, keeping a sub-$100 price tag. It’s still double the price of its Amazon and Google rivals, but the sound is a step above the Echo Dot and Nest Mini, with a similarly sleek design.

What we like

  • Relatively budget for an Apple product
  • Amazing soundstage for its size
  • Great for Apple enthusiasts
Apple HomePod Mini
Virtual assistants Siri
Features Music over WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2,
3.5mm stereo
Dimensions (H x W x D) 8.43 x 9.79 x 9.79cm

hand holding a white smart phone

What are Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri?

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri are all virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. They respond to your questions and requests when you use the specific wake word, tapping into the larger internet to bring you a response.

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It’s important to choose the right one for you, as they’re currently not interoperable and won’t work with one another. The best choice will depend on what you want from your smart speaker, whether it’s great sound to play music, a solid screen for video calls, or portability, but more popular voice assistants will always fare better because they learn quicker.

Is Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri better?

They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but Amazon Alexa is currently our favourite because of its wider third-party integration. There are tens of thousands of what’s known as ‘skills’, which Amazon lists in its directory, helping you to check your credit card balance, play games, check the traffic before you head out, and plenty more.

Google Assistant is a close second, featuring less skills than Alexa but a more versatile response. Google is placing a lot of emphasis on syntax so you can ask the same question in several different ways to get the same response – language is dynamic, after all. It’s still a little rigid but is progressing rapidly and could eventually earn Amazon’s top spot.

Apple is late to the game and hasn’t developed Siri nearly as much as its rivals. It entered the smart speaker market with the absurdly-priced HomePod, which was also incredibly restricted to Apple services before its discontinuation. The HomePod Mini is a giant leap in the right direction with its affordability, but unless you’re deep into the Apple ecosystem, it still lacks third-party support and you can’t activate calls without going through your iPhone first.

There are other virtual assistants out there, such as Samsung’s Bixby and the Halo-inspired Microsoft Cortana, but none of these remotely come close to the functionality of the big three.