In the Market for a Smart Speaker? Read THIS!

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Music lovers! 🎶

If you’re considering buying a smart speaker but not sure which one to purchase OR just wondering what the differences are among them, this post is for you!

First, what exactly is a smart speaker?

A smart speaker is a wireless speaker and voice command device that comes with an integrated virtual assistant (such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, Siri, etc) that allows you to interact with it hands-free. Just simply talk to your “assistant” or ask it a question and it will respond to you!

For instance, you can ask Siri a myriad of questions, have Cortana control your smart home devices (turn down the lights/turn up the heating), ask Alexa to check the traffic… as well as get a weather report, tell you a joke, create a to-do list, set an alarm, book an Uber, play music and SO much more!

Check out the following options…

Currently, there are two brands of speakers (Amazon and Google) that are primarily dominating the market and each speaker offers different features. However, there are a few other popular brands that are good contenders, as well as a couple other speakers that will be releasing in 2018.

AMAZON (powered by Alexa):

  • Echo Dot: Most affordable at only $29.99, you can stream Wi-Fi music, control smart home devices, make free audio calls, and more.

  • Echo: Priced at $79.99. With the same features as the Dot, the Echo also has seven microphones, as well as dual speakers with room filling sound, powered by Dolby. Choose from multiple colors and finishes.

  • Echo Plus: Priced at $149.99. With the same features as the Echo, the Echo Plus also has a built-in hub for simple setup of compatible smart home devices.

  • Echo Spot: Priced at $129.99, the Echo Spot has the same features as the Echo Dot but also with a stylish screen, which allows you to play video from Amazon Video and more.

  • Echo Show: Priced at $149.99. The Echo Show is larger and optimized for visuals and room filling sound and comes with a 7″ screen, dual speakers and more.

  • Echo Look: Priced at $199.99; currently only available by invitation. With Echo Look, you can take full-length photos of your daily look using just your voice. The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Plus, get advice from fashion specialists and more!

  • Amazon Tap: Priced at $79.99, this Alexa-enabled speaker features voice control, Wi-Fi music streaming, Bluetooth, stereo sound powered by Dolby, and more!

GOOGLE (powered by Google Assistant):

  • Google Home Mini: Most affordable at $29.99, the Google Home Mini is similar to the Echo Dot in size. You can stream Wi-Fi music, control smart home devices, make free audio calls, help you find a lost phone and more. Choose from several colors or finishes.

  • Google Home: Priced at $79.99, the Google Home also uses voice commands to enjoy music, get answers from Google and manage everyday tasks. With 2 microphones and 3 speakers, the Google Home is compatible with Android and iOS operating systems, and can control compatible smart devices such as Chromecast or Nest.

  • Google Home Max: Priced at $399, the Google Home Max is built with dual 4.5″ woofers and two tweeters. With Smart Sound, Max uses machine learning to automatically adjust the equalizer settings to match the acoustics of your room. Plus, it features far-field voice control so Max can hear you across the room while your music is playing.


  • Sonos One: Great for avid music lovers! With Amazon Alexa built in, the Sonos One allows you to play songs, check news and traffic, control your smart home and enjoy all those other helpful Amazon Alexa skills using a single Sonos speaker. Priced at $199.

  • Harman Kardon Invoke: The Harman Kardon Invoke speaker includes Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana to answer questions and smart home technology to streamline tasks. You can answer Skype audio calls hands-free and project music powerfully via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth without sacrificing sound quality. Priced at $99.99.

  • Invoxia Triby: Triby features voice control with Amazon Alexa and is a smart portable speaker, internet radio, hands-free speakerphone, and connected message board! With two built in speakers and a passive radiator managed by 3D algorithms, it creates immersive soundscapes with profound bass and clear treble. Enjoy your music anywhere!


  • Apple HomePod: Available in early 2018 for $349, the Apple HomePod will feature voice control, Siri intelligence, automatic room-sensing technology, remote access and home automations through the Home App, and is compatible with iPhone 5s and later.

  • Samsung featuring Bixby: Samsung is rumored to release a smart speaker by mid-2018 that will feature Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant. It will also synchronize with TVs, Galaxy smartphones and other Samsung devices and is expected to cost around $200.

How do you choose the right speaker? Here are our picks…

Best overall speaker:

Amazon Echo. The speaker that started it all is on sale for under $80. The sound difference between the smaller Dot & the larger Echo are too great to scrimp on.

Best sound in an affordable speaker:

Sonos One. For under $200, you get a smart speaker with stronger Hi-Fi than you’ll hear on one of the smaller Amazon or Google units. If you listen to music every day, the Sonos One speaker is money well spent.

Best bargain:

Google Home Mini. On sale for under $30, the cute doughnut-shaped speaker is a powerful device with a nice price tag.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. But if you have an Android phone, it probably makes more sense to purchase a Google speaker to integrate with your other Android devices.

Which smart speaker is YOUR favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Join The Discussion

Comments 10

  1. JEB

    WOW! There are lots of choices now.

  2. Kristy

    Saw in the news this can used by the manufacturer to spy on you. To get facts on when you wake up, your conversations and any other activity they can use for marketing.

    • Lo

      Lol that’s what I thought the post would be about

  3. pokz

    Actually…this would be your best guide from me…. google uses wifi -NO BLUETOOTH! ..Amazon uses bluetooth!…

  4. Grandma Cathy

    I believe there is still a special on the Google Home Mini at Wal-Mart. $29 and once registered on Google Home, you receive a $25 credit at Wal-Mart. Only catch, you must purchase through the Google Express app. You can do this twice.

  5. Jennifer

    We have the Echo. I love it. I have used it to tell me what time it is in the morning and I’m running around to get my toddler ready. I set timers with it. Use it for food measurements. Ask questions. Play tons of music. To turn the lights on when my hands are full of grocery bags. Play games. We have the dot in other rooms. The speaker in the echo is great. I use this for so many things. It’s so worth it!

  6. Amy

    My vote would be an Echo Dot connected via Bluetooth to a Sony Speaker or any other Bluetooth speaker you happen to have.

  7. Stef

    Can’t wait for the HomePod! Found out about it this summer while little one was at Apple Camp!
    Right now we have a couple of Echo’s, but use them via Bluetooth to speakers. It actually works really well! We just connect them to Bose wireless speakers and the sound quality is great! So if you already have Bluetooth speakers that have good, clear sound a Echo dot would work well.

  8. Lucy

    I got Amazon Echo and Echo dot. The echo is downstairs on the bar counter between the kitchen and the living room. I wanted a good quality speaker that would have a 360 degree sound because of the open plan we have downstairs. I have an echo dot upstairs in our large loft, it is connected to the sound bar (my husband won the sound bar at work, so I am glad I found use for it). I have another echo dot that I haven’t opened yet, but I do plan on buying a wireless speaker that can be run on batteries, where the echo dot sits on top – we could use it outside, by the pool, or in the garage. Overall, I am amazed by the quality and ease of use. It was so easy to set up, and super easy to use. It also understands all of us, including kids. We mainly listen to music, set reminders and alarms, and ask it questions. I am honestly very impressed and highly recommend it!

  9. Joe

    I spent a lot of time researching these products. Since they pretty much function the same, I purchased several Google mini’s and I am really happy about it. It all comes down the the search engine. Simply put, most people use google, because the results are the most relevant. Amazon Alexa uses Bing, Bing???

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