Google Assistant Speakers
Whether you want an easy way to check the weather, control smart home devices, stream music, or any other multitude of things, Google Assistant speakers are the way to go. They come in many shapes, sizes, and prices, but you get the same core experience no matter which one you buy. If you’re in the market for your first Assistant device or need another for your growing collection, here’s a list of our current favorites — including the Google Nest Audio as our top overall choice.
Best Overall: Google Nest Audio
The Nest Audio is one of the newest Google Assistant speakers on the market, and it also happens to be among the best you can buy. This is the spiritual successor to the original Google Home from 2016, with the Nest Audio offering the same core experience along with plenty of welcome upgrades.
As the name implies, sound quality is the main focus of the Nest Audio. It’s not on the same level as the Sonos One or Bose Home Speaker 500, but you also have to keep in mind that it costs considerably less than those devices. For the price Google’s asking, the Nest Audio sounds darn impressive. Whether you’re listening to a single Audio or have two paired together for stereo playback, you’re in for a great experience.
When you aren’t listening to music, the Google Assistant works just as you’d expect. It’s helpful for all sorts of commands/questions, and the Nest Audio’s microphones work incredibly well for hearing your voice without a problem. Factor all of this together with a gorgeous fabric design that’s available in many colors, and we end up with one of the best smart speakers of the year.
- Fabric design looks gorgeous
- Good sound quality
- Can be used in a stereo mode
- Great microphone performance
- Competitive price
- Sonos One is better if you want amazing audio
Best Alternative: Google Nest Hub
If you place more value on utilizing the Assistant as a tool rather than having great audio quality, another fantastic option to consider is the Google Nest Hub.
Right off the bat, this thing looks great. The fabric base is available in a bunch of fun colors, and the way its display is positioned on it gives off the impression that it’s floating in mid-air. The quality of that 7-inch screen is fantastic, too. It’s an LCD panel that’s bright, colorful, and automatically changes its color temperature based on the lighting of the room it’s in.
All of your favorite Google Assistant commands work wonderfully on the Nest Hub. Because there’s a display, you can go a step further by being able to watch YouTube videos, follow step-by-step recipes, and see your favorite images on Google Photos throughout the day.
Audio is improved over the first generation, and though we’re remiss that Google didn’t include a camera for video calls, the new sleep tracking feature is promising. But all-in-all, you get a lot for your money with the Nest Hub.
- Fits on any desk
- Lovely fabric design
- Display is crisp and colorful
- Ambient EQ feature
- Good value
- Sleep Sensing will require a subscription
- No camera for video calls
Best Value: Google Nest Mini
If you’re in the market for a speaker that’s easier on your wallet, the Google Nest Mini is a much better fit. No, it doesn’t have a display, but this tiny speaker could pack a surprisingly big punch.
The thing we love the most about the Nest Mini is its design. The donut-like form factor means you can put the Mini virtually anywhere in your home, and thanks to the built-in mount on its underside, it’s even easy to mount it to a wall. The fabric covering also gives off a nice homey sense, and the array of colors it’s offered in are all fantastic.
This isn’t a speaker we’d recommend audiophiles get for jamming out to their favorite tunes. Still, for casual music listening and catching up on your favorite podcasts, the Nest Mini is better than you might expect. It’s loud and crisp, creating an enjoyable experience at the expense of some bass.
Add that together with well-implemented touch controls and the low price, and the Nest Mini shines bright as the best value pick in this ecosystem.
- It’s so small!
- Built-in wall mount
- Very loud
- Great touch controls
- Cheap cheap cheap
- Not ideal for audiophiles
- No display
Best Versatility: Sonos One
Moving over to a non-Google-made smart speaker, we have the Sonos One. The Sonos One has established itself as one of the best in the market ever since the first version was unveiled in 2017. If you live in the Google Assistant ecosystem, it’s hard to ignore.
First thing’s first, the Sonos One looks and sounds incredible. The sleek aesthetic that’s available in black and white isn’t overly flashy and fades nicely into any room of your home. The speakers also kick out an impressive amount of oomph for such a small form factor, with the One delivering a well-balanced soundstage you’re bound to love.
Where things get really exciting is when you learn about everything the Sonos One is capable of. Yes, it’s a Google Assistant speaker, but did you know you can also swap it out for Alexa? There’s also support for Apple’s AirPlay 2, and if you have other Sonos speakers, the One works seamlessly with them via the top-notch Sonos mobile app.
Yes, it’s expensive, but if you want one of the most functional speakers money can buy, the Sonos One is the way to go.
- Excellent audio quality
- Sleek design
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Supports AirPlay 2
- Seamlessly ties in with other Sonos speakers
Best Soundbar: Sonos Beam
When you think of smart speakers, you likely think of standalone gadgets you place throughout your home. That’s the shape most of them take, but the Sonos Beam is slightly different. Instead, this is a powerful soundbar and Google Assistant speaker crammed into one awesome package.
The Sonos Beam’s hardware is, in a word, excellent. It takes up a lot less room than you’d expect, making it a good fit for smaller entertainment stands. It’s also straightforward to set up, as it just requires a power cord and an HDMI cable that connects it to your television. That’s it.
Once everything’s hooked up and ready to go, the Beam delivers exquisite sound. Bass is powerful, there’s fantastic channel separation to bring your content to life, and the Beam sounds just as good whether you’re watching a movie or listening to music. It’s also a fully-functioning Google Assistant speaker, along with support for Alexa and AirPlay 2.
We have noticed that the Beam’s microphones can be overly sensitive at times, but minus that one grip and the steep price, this is a nearly perfect offering.
- Outstanding audio quality for movies and music
- Impressive channel separation
- Doesn’t take up too much room
- Connects to your TV with one cable
- Google Assistant and Alexa are onboard
- Microphones are too sensitive
- Not the most affordable soundbar
Best Audio: Bose Home Speaker 500
A lot of the speakers on this list deliver very good audio quality, but if you want your Google Assistant device to sound as good as possible, check out the Bose Home Speaker 500. Yes, the price tag is quite high, but there’s no denying just how good it is.
Bose is one of the most recognized brands in the entire audio industry, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Home Speaker 500 sounds amazing. Everything you listen to on the speaker is darn impressive, kicking out room-filling, stereo sound from just a single speaker. There are touch controls on the top for quickly managing your music, along with a small display on the front that shows the current song you’re listening to. There’s not much you can do with that screen, but it’s a unique touch and fun to have.
The microphones on the Bose Home Speaker 500 do a great job of picking up your voice even when you’re jamming out to tunes. With the Bose Music companion app, you can quickly cycle between different playlists, artists, and different music services. Plus, if you have other Bose speakers in your home, you can pair the Home Speaker 500 with them for multi-room playback.
- Playback display
- Room-filling sound
- Great microphones
- Controlled via a companion app
- Can sync with other Bose speakers
Best Display: Google Nest Hub Max
The idea behind the Nest Hub Max is simple — take what made the smaller Nest Hub great, add a bigger display, better speakers, and a camera. All of these extra goodies make the Max a good deal more expensive than its smaller sibling, but if you want the ultimate Google Assistant experience, it’s the speaker to beat.
Looking at the Nest Hub Max’s display, it’s incredible. The 10-inch size means YouTube and other video content is comfortable to watch, and the HD resolution ensures everything is as sharp as can be. Ambient EQ is also present, allowing the screen to look its best no matter what room it’s in. The speakers have also been seriously upgraded, with the Nest Hub Max kicking out impressive sound that’s enjoyable to listen to for hours on end.
Perhaps the most notable upgrade with the Max is the addition of its camera. This allows for a few different things, including video calls with Google Duo, hand gestures, facial recognition, and the ability to use it as a Nest security camera to keep an eye on your home when you’re away.
You’ll need to pay a price for all of the Nest Hub Max’s goodness, so while it isn’t the most accessible Assistant speaker, it is one of the most functional.
- 10-inch HD display
- Powerful speakers
- Camera for video calls and facial recognition
- Useful hand gestures
- Doubles as a Nest security camera
- Not as elegant as the smaller Nest Hub
- More expensive
Best Wireless: Sonos Move
Next up, we’d like to talk about the Sonos Move. This is the first wireless speaker Sonos has ever created, and trust us when we say that it’s something special.
Unsurprisingly, the Sonos Move has impeccable audio quality. It’s big, loud, filled with bass, and makes all types of music ring with joy. Cramming in such powerful audio tech results in the Move being on the larger side of things, but if you ask us, it’s a well-deserving trade-off.
Sonos also used the Move’s bigger footprint to cram in a huge battery, removing any sort of battery-anxiety you may have when using other wireless speakers. The built-in carrying handle also feels fantastic, and when it comes time to charge up, you drop the Move on its included docking station.
Tying everything together is water and dust resistance, Google Assistant, and support for both Alexa and AirPlay 2.
- Glorious sound with deep bass
- Fully wireless
- Built-in handle feels great
- Water and dust resistance
- Strong battery life
- Potentially too big/heavy for some users
- Average microphone performance
Best Unique Pick: Belkin Soundform Elite
When we say there’s no other Google Assistant speaker like the Belkin Soundform Elite, we mean it. In addition to being a fully-fledged Assistant speaker, the Soundform Elite also doubles as a Qi wireless charger. Seriously!
The charging pad is placed on the very top of the Soundform Elite, so if your phone battery is running low at any time, just throw it on the top of the Elite and it’ll start refueling. Belkin offers 10W charge speeds, which are pretty good for getting a decently-fast charge. In regards to the speaker side of the Soundform Elite, it’s equipped with high-fidelity sound and a dual-subwoofer design that kicks out a lot of bass.
Another cool aspect of the Soundform Elite is that is can be paired in speaker groups with other Assistant speakers — something you can’t do with options like the Sonos One and Sonos Beam.
- Includes a Qi wireless charger
- 10W charge speeds
- Dual subwoofers for big bass
- Can be grouped with other Assistant speakers
- Steep price
- Audio isn’t as balanced as competing speakers
Best Alarm Clock: Lenovo Smart Clock 2
For our final pick, we want to shine some light on the Lenovo Smart Clock 2. This is another one of the many display-equipped speakers out there, but it’s quite different from the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max. Why? The Lenovo Smart Clock is insanely small.
The size of the Smart Clock 2 doesn’t translate well in pictures, but when you see it in person for yourself, you’ll know why we’re so impressed with it in this regard. Even if you have the smallest nightstand or end table, the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 can fit on it with ease. The fabric design is nice, too, helping it fit into any home, no matter your decor.
Living up to its “Smart Clock” name, you’ll find a few handy alarm features. Tapping the top of the Smart Clock 2 with your hand when an alarm goes off will instantly snooze it so you can get more sleep, and as night turns into day, the brightness of the screen will gradually increase to help you wake up. The new dock adds not only a night light but also USB ports for charging along with a wireless charging pad.
All of the smart features found on the Nest Hub don’t make their way over to the Smart Clock 2’s petite form factor, most notably the ability to watch YouTube videos. However, you may be more than willing to live without those things at this price and size.
- Unbelievably small
- Fabric design
- Wireless charging pad on the dock
- Surprisingly good audio for the size
- Low price
- Not as fully-featured as other smart displays
The ecosystem for Google Assistant speakers has grown a lot since Google debuted the platform a few years ago, and right now, the one that stands out the most is the Google Nest Audio.
All of the speakers on this list could be considered the “best” for certain groups of people, but the Nest Audio stands out for its ability to cater to just about anyone. Great audio quality? Check. A clean, attractive design? Yep. Affordable price? Heck yes. It’s just so good in so many ways, and if you ask us, it was worth the four-year wait following the original Google Home’s release.
No matter if you choose the Nest Audio, Nest Hub, or anything else on this list, you’ll end up with a capable Google Assistant speaker that’s ready to help make your life just a little bit easier.
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