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The Best Smart Speakers for your Home in 2021

January 18, 2021 - 7 mins read

There used to be a time when people would talk about ‘the future’ as a place with flying cars and robot assistants. While we haven’t quite worked out the flying cars, voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are becoming more and more popular. So if you’re setting up a smart home with all the latest tech, it might be time to explore adding a smart speaker into the mix.

To help you find the right smart home speaker system for your lifestyle, let’s take a look at some of the best options out there (and some of the benefits of these new gadgets).

The Best Smart Speakers for your Home in 2021

What is a smart home speaker?

Similar to portable bluetooth speakers, smart home speakers can play music, but they also connect to the internet so you can access a built-in voice assistant. Once set up, you can use voice commands to perform tasks such as:

  • Checking the weather
  • Search online
  • Order food through your favourite food delivery apps
  • Control other apps like Netflix and Spotify
  • Read the news
  • Add events and reminders to your connected calendars

To brush up on smart speakers and get tips on how to best use them, check out our smart speakers buying guide. You’ll get a detailed overview of this new technology including information on how to smarten your home if you’re just getting started.

The types of smart speakers

There are a few different types of home smart speakers designed to help you get tasks done and integrate with your other technology around the home. While most have voice assistants, they all have a range of unique features, so the first thing you’ll need to do is decide what you need. You might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you prefer a touchscreen?
  • What other devices will your smart speaker need to connect to?
  • What will you use the speaker for? Just music, or other tasks?

Once you have your wish list, it’s also important to factor in what operating platform you use. Amazon, Google and Apple all offer their own smart home speakers, so let’s take a look at a few great options.

“Similar to portable bluetooth speakers, smart home speakers can play music, but they also connect to the internet so you can access a built-in voice assistant.”

Amazon Alexa

Amazon has one of the best voice controlled speakers and they were instrumental in paving the way for other brands, especially in terms of technology. The Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa (Gen 4) - Charcoal is sleek, compact and easy to fit into small spaces. It integrates with other Amazon devices, like the Amazon Echo Show 5 Smart Display with Alexa, so you can fill your whole home with music (and access Alexa at the same time). The Echo Show 5 also has a touchscreen so you can catch up on the news or watch movie trailers, too.

Google Home

Alternatively, Google has developed one of the best smart home speaker systems for epic integration across the entire Google suite of software and devices. You can access your favourite Google applications via the Google Nest Mini Sky Blue, which can distinguish between six different voices at home, so it’s a great option for families.

The Google Nest Hub Max - Charcoal can act as a central point of control for your entire smart home setup. On top of the typical voice commands, you can video call friends and family, plus dim smart lights, lock the door and turn on the TV. Add on a Google Nest Audio and you’ll be able to access the Google Assistant from multiple locations around your hoFuse.

Apple Siri

Apple’s smart speaker, the Apple HomePod mini - Space Grey, high-fidelity audio that has the capacity to adapt to its location. You can ask Siri to help you make calls, add events to your calendar and create your smart home setup using apps on your Apple iPhone. Discrete yet powerful, the Apple HomePod packs great sound and gives you access to all the Apple apps you already know and love.

What to look for in a smart speaker?

When you’re looking for a smart home speaker system, there are a few features to look out for. These features will help with connectivity, support and just generally make your user experience more enjoyable:

  • Sound quality: This might seem like an obvious one, but check out what kind of output the speaker has to determine if it’s going to give you the sound quality you require. If you’re just using it for voice commands, audio quality won’t be as important.
  • Services and app support: You probably already subscribe to certain streaming services, like Spotify, so make sure the speaker you’re interested in will connect to and support the apps and subscriptions you regularly use.
  • Voice assistant: A good voice assistant will ask follow-up questions to determine what information you need, so where possible, ask to give the speaker a test run to make sure you’re happy with its ability to hold a conversation.
  • Cross-platform capabilities: This is becoming less of an issue, but some speakers don’t support services or apps from other platforms. Check that the speaker partners with the right third-party providers for what you want to access.
  • Bluetooth: But if your speaker doesn’t support the apps you want to use, you can still connect if the speaker has bluetooth (it’s a great workaround).
  • User-friendly: Take a look at how easy it is to set up a speaker, what accessibility controls are available and how well it responds to your voice in various situations. All of these points when combined will either make or break your experience of using a smart speaker.

Once you have your wish list, it’s also important to factor in what operating platform you use. Amazon, Google and Apple all offer their own smart home speakers, so let’s take a look at a few great options.

What are the benefits of using a smart speaker at home?

Smart speakers, like many other smart home devices, are designed to make your home more enjoyable, connected and convenient. With a smart speaker at home, you get:

  • Hands-free control: : It’s perfect for when you’re cooking or have your arms full when you walk through the door.
  • Guided help: When you’re trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, you can get your voice assistant to create a shopping list and then walk you through the steps when you’re ready to cook.
  • Accessibility: If you or someone at home has mobility needs, a voice controlled speaker can offer support for turning on lights, the TV and even turning on the shower (if it’s all connected together).

Find the best smart home system for your home at The Good Guys

Smart speakers are a wonderful addition to any smart home setup. We’ve got all the leading brands and smart speaker options for you to explore as well as other smart home technology. You can shop online on our website, or chat to one of our smart speaker experts in store.

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