- Smart speakers keep you organized by hosting lists, tasks, and reminders, and can sync with your phone or computer’s calendar.
- Smart speakers can complete tasks like shopping, getting weather updates, and writing lists, making them both productive and entertaining.
- Smart speakers can be connected throughout your house, allowing you to play music in sync and move from room to room without adjusting the volume.
- Smart speakers can connect to other smart devices in your home, allowing you to control things like temperature and lighting.
- Top smart speaker options include the Amazon Echo (4th Generation), Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation), Sonos Era 100, Amazon Echo Pop, and Bose Home Speaker.
It seems like these days everything is “smart.” Appearing as speakers, phones, thermostats, and even refrigerators, “smart” technology promises increased convenience and an inherent status symbol that’s difficult to pass up.
Smart speakers are among some of the most practical smart tech products that you could buy. There are many ways they drastically improve your home, especially if you’re tech-savvy and enjoy taking advantage of the latest technology.
In today’s article, we’re breaking down the five primary reasons you should consider adding one of these handy devices to your home’s tech ecosystem. At the end, we’ll also provide a few recommendations for our top smart speaker picks. Let’s dive in!
A Little Background on Smart Speakers
We can trace the proliferation of smart technology in the home all the way back to 1997. That’s when tech pioneer Bill Gates originally made headlines with his $63 million smart mansion, decked out as a geek’s paradise, with all manner of voice-activated technology, including an early prototype of the smart speaker.
Gates claimed that “Music was able to follow visitors, and it will seem to be everywhere.” Fast forward to today, and you don’t need to spend millions on futuristic technology to enjoy the smart speaker experience.
In 2014, Amazon introduced the concept of smart speakers to the world, probably unsure of the massive impact they’d leave. At the time, Siri and Google Assistant were the top of the vocal assistant market. That is, of course, until Alexa came to town, completely changing the game forever.
It was a relatively slow growth period, despite the initial boom in excitement after Amazon’s first Alexa model, the Amazon Echo smart speaker, dropped on their website late that year.
This was intentional; the Echo and Alexa devices were meant to be exclusive to Amazon Prime members, presumably to generate more hype around the products. Now, though, it’s more surprising to visit someone’s house and find out that they don’t own an Alexa-powered device.
Amazon has since capitalized on its innovation, creating dozens of products with Alexa’s smart voice assistant capabilities. After other companies saw Alexa’s success, they implemented their own takes on voice-capable speakers.
Now that other manufacturers have taken a shot at their own version of Amazon’s Alexa, smart speakers are a common household accessory.
Reasons to Buy a Smart Speaker
There are so many reasons why you should buy a smart speaker. We’ve broken down the top five to spark some inspiration.
Reason #1: It’ll Keep You Organized
A voice assistant’s primary job is to keep you organized. It can host lists, tasks, and other alarms without you having to do much more than set a command. You’ll never have an excuse to forget a meeting, birthday, or appointment again because your smart speaker will remind you.
Your smart speaker usually has the ability to sync up to your phone or computer’s calendar, so you don’t have to remind yourself to set a reminder. The goal of smart devices is always to lighten the load for you, and smart speakers do a really good job of that without being too flashy.
They’d be a good option for you if traditional planners don’t work out most of the time. There’s no need to refer back to any lists; the smart speaker will simply announce the event for you, and you’re good to go!
Reason #2: You Can Get Questions Answered Easily
We’ve all been there–you’re stuck in your bedroom, with the name of something on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t remember it. A smart speaker can answer most questions for you, even if they’re relatively vague.
Any question that can be answered via Google search tends to be viable for modern smart speakers. Even older models were really savvy, answering questions like “Who was that one guy in the one movie where they did that one thing?” effortlessly (or at least getting you closer).
Many people use their smart speakers to ask what song is playing, but you can get more creative. Try asking your Alexa device, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”
You can be as serious or silly with it as you please. You’d be surprised at the sense of humor your speakers might have.
Reason #3: You Can Use it to Complete Tasks For You
Every new smart speaker model gets smarter; that may seem like a no-brainer, but the innovations that are coming from this niche market are seriously impressive. With each passing year, smart speakers have been able to do more than ever anticipated.
You can use them to shop, hear the news, get weather updates, write lists, and more. These multimedia devices are equally productive as they are entertaining. Sure, you’ll probably use them for streaming most of the time, but you may surprise yourself with the other features you discover.
Keep in mind that this technology is less than a decade old in the format we recognize today. Yet, it is so versatile that we consider it to be as commonplace as an iPhone or laptop. Few would be brave enough to consider smart speakers to be “just speakers.”
Reason #4: You Can Keep The Party Going Throughout Your House
These days, people own multiple smart speakers that they place strategically throughout their house to receive different audio quality at various vantage points. For example, they have a bathroom speaker, a bedroom speaker, and a kitchen speaker.
If these devices are the same, like three Amazon Echo speakers, they can be connected to each other, playing the same music perfectly in sync (or playing NSYNC in sync if you’re into that). That way, you don’t have to bother much with volume control.
Plus, you can enter and exit rooms as you please, knowing your media will follow you instead of you following it. All you need to do is ensure each device is connected to the same wifi.
Gone are the days of lugging around a gigantic boombox to jam out. Although we are a little nostalgic for those days, smart speakers are the future.
Reason #5: Gain Control Over Your Home
Of course, smart speakers can help you accomplish daily tasks like making lists or getting groceries. However, more impressively, they can connect to other smart devices and appliances in your home, like smart lightbulbs or thermostats.
You can tell your smart device to change the temperature in your home with a few simple commands. Or, you can set mood lighting with the perfect brightness and color.
The possibilities are endless with most smart speakers. You simply need to ensure that your smart speaker comes with features you’d use most often when you’re on the hunt for a new one. On that note, let’s talk about some of the best smart speakers on the market today.
Best Smart Speaker Options
After considering all of the reasons to use a smart speaker, you’re probably itching to get your hands on one. But there are so many to choose from. There are far more smart speakers on the market than there were just five years ago.
So, it can be a little confusing to pick out which ones are actually worth getting, and which ones you should skip. We’ve picked our top five favorite smart speakers based on reviews and real-world use. These are the winners that check all of the boxes and criteria you should look for in a good smart speaker.
Amazon Echo (4th Generation)
- Sound automatically adapts to any room
- Supports lossless HD audio
- Built-in hub to voice control compatible lights, locks, and sensors
- Privacy protection
The Amazon Echo is a classic. Its first generation pioneered an entire industry, making smart speakers a permanent fixture in millions of homes. This model takes the well-known features of the Echo speakers and improves upon them even more.
Its minimalistic appearance allows it to maximize its potential while minimizing its presence in your home. In other words, you don’t even notice it’s there. Instead, you hear it first and see it second. The small sphere can be heard all across the space you place it in, even if you have a large kitchen or living room.
Alexa is perhaps the most popular voice assistant out there. Her recognizable voice becomes a comfort, guiding you through your day and favorite playlists. The Echo speakers tend to be relatively affordable, too, with Amazon running deals frequently.
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation)
The Echo’s younger sibling deserved its own segment because it offers a significant number of differences compared to its larger counterpart. It’s not as robust in terms of audio quality; the music you play from it won’t follow you throughout your space.
However, you get all the benefits of owning a smart speaker without paying a premium. This option is great for small spaces if you’re not solely seeking out economically friendly smart speakers.
For apartments, you can get decent sound quality without disturbing your neighbors. Though, you can crank this little guy up pretty loudly. So, don’t underestimate its size when you’re starting out with it.
There is even a version of the Echo Dot for kids. It features an owl face; honestly, some adults might find some joy in adding a tiny owl smart speaker to their home.
Sonos Era 100
Sonos has been making high-quality audio systems for 20 years, impressing its audience with its ability to adapt to the times. Their smart speakers are state-of-the-art; these models are what keep us excited about the evolution of these kinds of devices.
Previously, the Sonos One model let users switch between Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Now, it operates solely via Amazon’s Alexa. That’s not a huge drawback; Amazon’s Alexa is one of the most advanced voice assistants out there.
Featuring Bluetooth connectivity and a USB-C port, the Sonos Era 100 creates a steady flow of entertainment across your whole home. You only need one app to control the whole sound system, doubling down on its convenience factor. Plus, it has improved sound quality compared to the Sonos One.
The only downside to the Sonos Era 100 is that it’s a bit pricey. For an entry-level device, this may be a deal breaker. However, it’s worth considering even if the $250 price tag is a bit steep for your budget.
Amazon Echo Pop
- Compact smart speaker with Alexa features
- The fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled yarn and the aluminum is made from 80% recycled aluminum
- Supports 2.4 and 5 GHz networks
The Echo line is a great starting place if you’re shopping for your first smart speaker, generally. However, the Echo Pop takes the cake for first-timers. We cannot recommend this tiny powerhouse enough.
It has amazing sound quality for such a tiny package. You don’t lose out on much despite its compact build. Amazon does a wonderful job at creating their smart speakers with sound quality in mind, understanding that this is one of the first factors people will consider before purchasing a smart speaker for their home.
Plus, the Echo Pop keeps a smaller carbon footprint thanks to its portability. You can tuck it away on a shelf or in a corner, still getting maximum use from it. Its sleek build ensures that it looks stylish wherever you place it, even if it is visible to the naked eye.
Bose Home Speaker
- Impressive wall-to-wall stereo sound
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
- Supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network connections
- Control speaker with voice, music app, or touch presets
- Make or take calls hands-free
This is our favorite luxury smart speaker. It is the most expensive on our list, but it’s earned the right to have such a steep price tag. Bose is famous for making luxury products, with their noise-canceling headphones being among the most popular available today.
It features the Alexa voice assistant, a 3.5-mm aux port, and Bluetooth connectivity. Of course, its sound quality is primarily what earns its position as a luxury smart speaker, but it has other impressive features, too. For example, you can toggle a few buttons to create playlist presets. It can also show album art during playback.
|Reasons to Buy a Smart Speaker||Best Smart Speaker Options|
|1. Itâll Keep You Organized||Amazon Echo (4th Generation)|
|2. You Can Get Questions Answered Easily||Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation)|
|3. You Can Use it to Complete Tasks For You||Sonos Era 100|
|4. You Can Keep The Party Going Throughout Your House||Amazon Echo Pop|
|5. Gain Control Over Your Home||Bose Home Speaker|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Marc Zimmermann/Shutterstock.com.