Smart Speaker Shopping Guide: We Crunched the Numbers so You Don’t Have To

Compare smart speakers to find the best one for your needs.

Speakers are becoming more and more versatile. Originally just an apparatus for listening to music, you can now use smart speakers to talk to people, check the news, get updates on traffic or just shuffle through your music library — hands-free.

Take a look at an overview of some of the speakers with the best technology that you might want to buy as a gift.

Best Smart Speakers for Your Money
ProductSonos OneAmazon Echo (2nd Generation)Google Home MaxJBL Link ViewAmazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)
Physical ConnectionsNone3.5 mm3.5 mm, USB-CNoneNone
Multiple Room UseYesYesYesYesYes
Voice ControlAmazon AlexaAmazon AlexaGoogle AssistantGoogle AssistantAmazon Alexa
*Prices are subject to change.

Sonos One

The Sonos One’s Alexa capability allows you to control your music with just your voice. You can also use the speaker to help control your smart home — however, you cannot use Alexa voice calling. The speaker wirelessly connects to other speakers throughout your home and gives you multiroom capability to optimize your sound system. And if you don’t feel like raising your voice at a machine, the Sonos One can also be controlled via touch or an app.

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Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

The Amazon Echo allows you to control your music using only your voice. You can also dictate features throughout your smart home, such as dimming the lights or lowering the temperature. Furthermore, the Amazon Echo can act as a hands-free speaker with its Drop In feature, allowing you to speak through another compatible Echo within your home. If you’ve ever had trouble wrangling the kids for dinner, the Amazon Echo might be for you.

Google Home Max

This Google smart speaker automatically adjusts its sound to fit the acoustics of whatever room or area it’s in, balancing out different levels for a clear listening experience. You can create a multiroom sound system by using other Google devices such as Google Home, Google Home Mini or another speaker with a Chromecast Audio plug-in.

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JBL Link View

This speaker comes equipped with an HD display monitor that actually lets you watch programs or view images as you play music. Whether it’s your favorite YouTube creator or a collage of your last family vacation photos, the JBL Link View allows for a useful audiovisual experience. This also enables video calls from friends or family.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)

Like the JBL Link View, the Amazon Echo Show also comes with an HD screen for viewing capabilities. You can watch movies, see album art as music plays or set up video calls with your loved ones. You can also optimize the Show by making to-do lists, listening to the news and previewing weather forecasts.

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