Smart Speaker for Music: Which One to Choose in 2023?

Smart homes are not a requirement to enjoy the benefits of smart speakers and smart displays. Digital assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri can assist you in numerous ways, without you even having to lift a finger, as all you need to do is call out their names.

A smart speaker is a multifunctional device that not only plays music but also provides a virtual assistant to answer your queries and control various smart home devices. It can offer a wide range of information, such as weather updates, traffic conditions, directions, and even act as a dictionary.

In addition, it can act as a home assistant by controlling household tasks like adjusting the thermostat, turning on/off lights, locking/unlocking doors, adjusting window shades, and even monitoring security. Essentially, a smart speaker expands the capabilities of a traditional music playback system by providing various useful features and making it a central hub for controlling your smart home.


Best Smart Speakers for Music Lovers

We have compiled a list of our top recommendations across different categories. If you need more detailed advice, please refer to our comprehensive buyers’ guide, which can be found further down the page.

#1. The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin not only sounds great, but also looks stunning. However, in today’s age of streaming, there are numerous tabletop speakers available that offer excellent sound quality, support more streaming services, and are available at a lower price point, such as the Sonos 5. Although, you would require a second Sonos 5 to achieve stereo sound, and it does not have smart speaker functionality.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to find any single-cabinet tabletop speaker that delivers superior stereo performance than the Zeppelin. Anyone who values looks and sound quality will not be disappointed with the Zeppelin, especially if they have already invested in B&W’s Formation product range. However, B&W must still fulfill several promises.

• Exceptional stereo performance for a tabletop speaker with remarkable industrial design
• Streams high-resolution audio

• Only supports Alexa as a digital assistant
• Control buttons are hard to see


#2. The Sonos Era 100

The Sonos Era 100 is a compact streaming smart speaker that delivers the best sound quality compared to others in its category, whether used individually, in a stereo pair, or paired with a Sonos soundbar as rear surround channels. If you’re looking for high-quality sound but limited on space, the Sonos Era 100 is the perfect choice.

• It produces stress-free, full-bodied sound with well-crafted bass, natural-sounding mids, and clean highs, all while staying true to the hi-fi code with insightful and entertaining performances.
• It’s great smart speaker with either Amazon Alexa or Sonos Voice and no one does multi-room audio better than Sonos.


However, there are a few downsides to consider as below:
• The speaker doesn’t support Google Assistant, and you may require two speakers to fill up your listening space.
• It lacks the channel preset buttons found on some competing speakers. An optional accessory is needed to get line-level input and/or hardwired ethernet connectivity.

#3. The Sonos Era 300

It is a versatile and fun addition to the Sonos speaker line, delivering an exciting and atmospheric take on surround sound. Whether by itself, in a pair, or as the surround channels for a Sonos soundbar, the Era 300 is a party animal that fully justifies its higher price point compared to the also-great Sonos Era 100.

• Its dramatic, embracing, and exotic sound is truly impressive
• It’s a great smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and Sonos Voice, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

• It lacks support for Google Assistant
• Its Trueplay Advanced Tuning feature requires an iOS device, while cross-platform Quick Tune is not as effective.

If you’re considering the Sonos Era 300, be sure to visit your local audio dealer for an in-person demonstration.

#4. The Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam is a highly portable smart speaker that delivers exceptional sound for its size. It features a waterproof design, along with all the networking and grouping features you’d expect from a Sonos speaker, as well as your choice of Alexa or Google Assistant.

• The Roam is a great option for those who want to take their music on the go and is significantly more affordable than the larger Sonos Move.
• The Roam’s Auto Trueplay now works over Bluetooth, and its Sound Swap feature lets you “swap” music with other Sonos speakers.

• Slow wireless charging (with third-party chargers)
• Sound Swap not working across Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2 modes.

#5. The Amazon Echo Show (3rd Gen)

The Amazon Echo Show (3rd Gen) is a top-notch smart display that boasts a 10.1-inch display that automatically rotates to face you and features an AZ1 Neural Edge processor that tracks your movement on the device to enhance your privacy. The display is of high quality and the audio system performs well.

Additionally, it features an integrated Zigbee smart home hub and a radio that utilizes Amazon’s new Sidewalk neighborhood network technology. It’s worth noting that there is an Echo Show 15 available with a larger display, but this model was not chosen in this category.

• Improved display brightness and image quality
• Strong smart speaker security features such as Alexa Guard and Alexa Guard Plus and great audio performance.

• Some may find the tracking feature to be intrusive, but it can be disabled. It has Wi-Fi and Zigbee radios, but it does not support Z-Wave or Thread.
• To fully rotate, it requires a minimum of 5 inches of clearance all the way around.

#6. Google Nest Hub Max

The Google Nest Hub Max is a strong contender in the smart display market, with features like built-in Google Assistant, Ambient EQ display technology, and a built-in Nest camera that make it a helpful and hands-free digital assistant for your kitchen.

Its audio quality is impressive and it also works well as a digital photo frame. However, it lacks a physical camera shutter and an analog audio output, and Google Assistant’s smart home compatibility is not as extensive as Alexa’s. While it may be the best option for those in the Google Nest ecosystem, Alexa enthusiasts may prefer the Amazon Echo Show 10 for its third-party smart home gadget compatibility.

Smart speakers are designed to be self-contained and are powered by built-in amplifiers. They can also be used to create a multi-room audio system by connecting multiple same-brand smart speakers together, allowing you to play music throughout your home simultaneously. This is similar to dedicated wireless multi-room audio systems like Sonos, MusicCast, Play-Fi, and HEOS.

Why Do You Want a Smart Speaker?

Smart speakers offer several compelling benefits that make them worth considering for many people. Here are some of the reasons you may want a smart speaker:

1. Flexible music listening

A smart speaker can replace several different devices, including clock radios, alarm clocks, and compact music systems. With a smart speaker, you can easily stream music to a self-contained powered speaker without running down your smartphone battery.

2. Convenience

Smart speakers can be placed anywhere in your home, and they can be operated with your voice. You don’t need to search for a remote control or your smartphone, and you can easily access the latest news, weather, sports scores, and other information that you may find important.

3. Interaction with other devices

Many smart speakers can integrate with other devices around your home, allowing you to control them with voice commands. While not as comprehensive as a custom-installed system, using a smart speaker for home control activities is less expensive.

4. Sound quality

Some newer smart speakers offer audio playback quality that rivals traditional compact music systems and other types of home speakers, making them a good choice for audiophiles. For example, the Apple HomePod is known for its impressive sound quality.

Smart Speaker for Music – The Buying Guide

Choosing the best smart speaker for music depends on several factors, including:

1. Sound Quality

If you’re looking for a smart speaker primarily for music playback, then the quality of the sound should be your top priority. Look for a speaker with a high-quality speaker driver, and consider the frequency range and overall volume of the speaker.

2. Connectivity

Consider the different ways in which you can connect your music to the speaker. Bluetooth connectivity is the most common, but some smart speakers offer additional connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, AirPlay, or Chromecast.

3. Compatibility

Make sure the smart speaker you choose is compatible with the music services you use, such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music.

4. Virtual Assistant

If you want to use your smart speaker for more than just music playback, then consider the virtual assistant built into the speaker. Some popular options include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. Make sure the virtual assistant is compatible with the other devices you have in your home.

5. Price

Smart speakers come in a wide range of prices, so consider how much you’re willing to spend. Higher-priced speakers typically offer better sound quality and more advanced features, but there are also affordable options that still offer decent sound quality.

Ultimately, the best smart speaker for music is the one that meets your specific needs and preferences. Consider your budget, desired features, and sound quality when making your decision.

Do You Really Need Smart Speaker for Music Only?

If music is your primary use, and you don’t care about the smart features or home automation integration, then investing in a dedicated audio system or a high-quality Bluetooth speaker may be a better option. A multi-room audio system can be more expensive, but it is designed to provide high-quality audio throughout your home and is specifically tailored to music listening needs. On the other hand, a Bluetooth speaker is a more portable and affordable option, but it can’t match the audio quality or multi-room capabilities of a dedicated audio system.

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