The Sonos One, the original Sonos smart speaker, is still among the best when it comes to the full package. In many ways it was the first “proper” smart speaker, a product made by an audio-focused company: other companies in the smart speaker field, such as Google, Apple and Amazon, are very much smart-feature-first. The one’s audio is crystal clear, with no discernible distortion, and provides a normal-sized room with enough volume to fill it twice over. The Sonos sound signature is hard to top, and if you’re starting out on a smart multi-room system with Sonos, it’s the perfect flagship product.
To most people, the idea of a smart speaker is probably still fairly alien. What can a smart speaker actually do, besides talk to you and let you know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow?
Plenty, it turns out. From controlling your smart home products (the ones linked to your lighting, heating etc.), to analysing your sleep patterns (not creepy at all), smart speakers are a one-stop shop for making your home life just that little bit easier.
For proper smarts, the three big names are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Each company makes its own speakers to show off smart capability and help users stick to a seamless ecosystem, but there are countless companies out there producing speakers compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.
With the advent of AirPlay2, even Siri is getting in on the third-party action: plenty of big audio brands are compatible with the software, giving you the chance to enter the Apple world with a little more flexibility.
Price and quality vary hugely with smart speakers, and choosing the right one is a balance between audio quality and smart capability, with the two not necessarily coming hand-in-hand.
How we tested
In our testing, we looked at both portable and home-based options to find some of the best examples of harmonious smart speakers on the market. These are the best speakers we found.
The best smart speakers for 2022 are:
- Best overall smart speaker – Sonos One: £182.49, Amazon.co.uk
- Best smart speaker for sound quality – Bose smart speaker 500: £359.95, Johnlewis.com
- Best smart speaker for visibility – Amazon Echo Show 10: £239.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best budget-friendly smart speaker – Google Nest mini: £24, Currys.co.uk
- Best smart speaker for iPhone – Apple Homepod mini: £89, Apple.com
- Best ultra-luxury speaker – Bang & Olufsen Beosound level: £1,199, Bang-olufsen.com
- Best rugged smart speaker – Sonos Roam: £179, Sonos.com
- Best smart speaker for multi-room audio – Audio Pro Addon C5A: £199, Currys.co.uk
- Best smart speaker for Alexa – Amazon Echo Dot 4th generation: £22.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best smart speaker with display – Google Nest hub 2nd generation: £49.99, Currys.co.uk
- Best portable smart speaker – Bose portable smart speaker: £379, Johnlewis.com
- Best smart speaker for the bathroom – Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1: £239, Bang-olufsen.com
- Best smart speaker for music – Sonos Move: £399, Sonos.com
- Best waterproof smart speaker – JBL Link portable: £119, Richersounds.com