Sonos OneSource: iMore

Best Smart Speaker iMore 2020

We know everything about good tunes, clear sound, and smart speakers: we've pretty much listened to them all! Looking to find a smart speaker that'll keep your tunes going all night long with crystal clear clarity? Then we have to recommend the Sonos One for overall sound quality, compatibility, Alexa integration, and design.

Best for Most: Sonos One

Sonos oneSource: iMore

If you want high-quality sound from your smart speaker, then the Sonos One is an ideal choice. From streaming audiobooks, podcasts, or playing your go-to album, this smart speaker has you covered thanks to a pair of Class-D amplifiers. At the same time, the humidity-resistant design makes it ideal for playing outdoors or even in the comfort of your own bathroom.

The Sonos One Smart Speaker works with AirPlay 2, so you can effortlessly use it with your iPhone for Siri support. If Siri isn't your thing, it also has Amazon's Alexa built-in, so you can shout the name of your favorite song, and it will play instantly. Not only that, but it works with a ton of different music streaming services.

Pros:

  • Supports AirPlay 2
  • Alexa built-in
  • High-quality sound

Cons:

  • Not portable
  • Lacks Bluetooth
  • Not all Alexa skills compatible

Best for Most

Sonos One

Best for Most

Designed to produce full, rich sound, and incredibly simple to set-up, the Sonos One is both versatile and ready to rock out.

Best Portability: Libratone Zipp Mini 2

Libratone Zipp 2Source: iMore

The Libratone Zipp Mini 2 is a portable smart speaker that gives you 12 hours of battery life from a single charge, making it perfect for travel. While small, it still packs a punch with 75 watts of power of room-filling 360-degree sound.

The Libratone Zipp Mini 2 has hands-free Alexa, so you can ask the Amazon virtual assistant to help control your smart home, change songs or volume, set timers, and more. It works on WiFi, and you can stream to it via Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, or even plug in a USB drive or aux cord to use it as a dumb speaker.

Pros:

  • 12-hour battery life
  • Hands-free Alexa controls
  • Supports Bluetooth and AirPlay 2

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Design suited more for travel
  • Not weather resistant

Best Portability

Libratone Zipp Mini 2

Best Portability

The Zipp Mini 2 Wireless Speaker is a portable and beautifully designed smart speaker that doesn't need to be plugged in.

Best for Outdoors: Sonos Move

Sonos Move in an outdoor settingSource: Sonos

The Sonos Move offers amazing sound both indoors and out with a rechargeable battery and IP56 weather resistance. This flexible speaker can handle humidity, light rain, snow, dust, salt spray, UV rays, and extreme variances of hot and cold temperatures.

Amazon Alexa is built-in for hands-free control, and it includes a handy charging base that you can set it on to top it off without messing with a cable. The best part though, is that it can stream over WiFi, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth — yes, Bluetooth! The Move is the first speaker from Sonos to support this standard wireless protocol.

Pros:

  • Amazing sound from a portable speaker
  • Excellent build quality
  • Water and dust resistance

Cons:

  • Microphones aren't the best
  • Still a little bulky
  • Expensive

Best for Outdoors

Sonos Move

Best for Outdoors

With a built-in battery and weather resistance, the outdoor-ready Sonos Move is one of the most flexible smart speakers around.

Best for Apple: Apple HomePod

White HomePod sitting on a television standSource: iMore

Apple's HomePod works with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and your Mac, for seamless multi-room audio. A six-microphone array allows you to summon Siri to play music, and podcasts, even from across the room. Stereo pairing can connect to another HomePod, enabling you to double the power of your tunes and blast 'em out loud and proud.

The HomePod also works with HomeKit accessories for quick and easy smart home controls. Plus, if you are really creative, you can use the HomePod in scenes and automations, to have it automatically play music as soon as you walk through the door.

Pros:

  • Amazing sound quality
  • Clean, compact design
  • Simple setup

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only works with Apple Music
  • Smart home integration limited to HomeKit

Best for Apple

Apple HomePod

Best for Apple

The HomePod offers beautiful design and beautiful sound. This smart speaker allows you to play your music with a shout using Siri.

Best for Alexa: Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo 3rd GenSource: Jeramy Johnson / iMore

The Amazon Echo connects to Alexa, allowing you to listen to the latest news, the hottest albums, ask important questions, and so much more, with beautiful great sound quality. The 3rd generation has vastly improved speakers and a more pleasing design that makes it a true showcase device.

You can play Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and a host of other services natively on the device with Alexa without special voice commands. Once you set up the respective Alexa Skills, all you have to do is ask Alexa to play whatever artist, song, playlist, or genre you like, and it will instantly start playing directly from that service.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Improved speakers and design
  • Can play Apple Music and Spotify natively

Cons:

  • Sound quality doesn't match Sonos or HomePod
  • No longer includes smart home hub capability
  • Doesn't support AirPlay 2

Best for Alexa

Amazon Echo

Best for Alexa

The Echo is built for better sound with a softer, plusher look that comes in four colors, including the soft new Twilight Blue.

Best for Google Assistant: Google Home Max

Google Home Max in a kitchen settingSource: Google

Google's Home Max smart speaker delivers premium sound with a set of dual 4.5-inch woofers and tweeters. Smart sound technology uses machine learning to automatically match the speaker to the acoustics in the room to provide a personalized listening experience.

In addition to great sound, the Google Home Max includes the Google Assistant, enabling it to play tunes from services like Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora. If that weren't enough, smart home voice commands can turn on the lights with ease.

Pros:

  • Premium sound
  • Built-in Google Assistant
  • Works with Chromecast and more

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Larger size
  • Doesn't support AirPlay 2

Best for Google Assistant

Google Home Max

Best for Google Assistant

Google's Home Max emphasizes sound with dual woofers and tweeters. Convenient voice controls play tunes with ease.

Smart sound

Smart speakers have come along away since the original Amazon Echo, with expanded capabilities, and of course, better sound. Whether you are all-in with Apple, Alexa, or the Google Assistant, there are now high-quality options for everyone.

The Sonos One is the best for most with its great sound quality, design, and built-in Alexa. This flexible speaker can fill a room up on its own, plus it can pair with other Sonos speakers to create a completely wireless home theater experience.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Christine Romero-Chan is a Sonos speaker expert and knows everything you need to know about crystal clear tunes.

Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in his Fitbit-covered hand. When he's not outdoors, he's tinkering with his various Apple and Amazon devices. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw

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