Best Google Assistant Speaker Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Google speakers you can buy in 2021.
Google may have been late to the smart speaker party but it's doing its level best to catch up. Adoption of Google voice control and Chromecast is becoming more common, meaning you might want to go for Google Assistant when it comes to picking a smart speaker, especially if you're using other Google devices, from Pixel phones to Nest devices.
Thanks to Google's class-leading Search and the latest Google Home app, there's no denying the best Google Assistant speakers deliver excellent results when trying to test general knowledge. The tricky bit is making sure you get a Google speaker that delivers good sound quality for your music as well as delivering on the voice assistant promise.
Whether you want Bluetooth or wi-fi, an aux input or compatibility with a certain streaming service, we can help you find the best Google Assistant speaker for your needs.
How we choose the best Google Assistant speakers
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year – and that includes plenty of speakers. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency.
All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.
Arguably the best all-round smart speaker you can currently buy, the Sonos One sounds superb for the money and has all the functionality you're likely to need. There's Spotify and Tidal integration, the ability to chat with Google Assistant (and Alexa), and the option to build a multi-room system around it using other Sonos speakers or AirPlay 2. This is now the best Google speaker on the market.
Read the full review: Sonos One
This portable wireless speaker is powered by Google Home and delivers great sound and performance on budget. It's a little heavy for taking everywhere you go but otherwise ticks all our boxes for a Google Assistant speaker.
As well as Google's smart features, you will also find the latest Bluetooth 4.2 and AirPlay 2, and there's a battery life of up to 8 hours. There's a charging cradle and a standard USB-C port.
In terms of the sound quality, the JBL Link Portable presents a detailed, musical, spacious and cohesive listen. You can control Spotify with your voice and of course get random questions answered at the drop of a hat. Undoubtedly one of the best Google Assistant speakers we've tested at this price.
Read the full review: JBL Link Portable
Another Sonos speaker but this one is a little different. The Sonos Move is the first Sonos speaker to be portable and the first to offer Bluetooth streaming. It still offers everything you'd expect from Sonos, with full multi-room streaming functionality and access to Google Assistant, but if you were expecting a battery-powered, Bluetooth version of the Sonos One, think again.
Physically, the Move towers over the One. Compared to the majority of portable Bluetooth speakers, and indeed anything Sonos currently offers, it is relatively tall (24cm) and heavy (3kg). So while it certainly has a battery, we're not sure how many people will be taking it on holiday or to the park.
Sonically it's weighty and full-bodied, and the Move can carry a tune as well as the next Sonos speaker, but it's big and expensive, which brings it up against some more capable speakers. Still, for the portable Sonos experience, look no further.
Read the full review: Sonos Move
We didn't know what to expect when IKEA and Sonos released a bookshelf that could sing... but the results are actually quite impressive. The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is the cheapest Sonos multi-room component on the market, half the price of a Sonos One and two-thirds that of the other IKEA speaker in the new range (the Sonos IKEA Symfonisk lamp speaker).
It’s also fully integrated into the existing eco-system, and will link to any other Sonos kit you have. And you’re not going to get a better-sounding multi-room speaker with Sonos’s sonic signature for this price – not to mention one that you can use as a floating bookshelf. A Sonos x IKEA bookshelf speaker? It’s a thumbs up as far as we’re concerned.
Read the full review: Sonos IKEA Symfonisk bookshelf speaker
The LG WK7 is LG’s first foray into the smart speaker market and the first product to emerge as part of the new partnership with British audio specialist Meridian. There's nothing special about the design but it looks smart enough and the top features touch-sensitive controls for volume and playback. There's a Google Assistant button, too, and a function button that allows you to switch between wi-fi and Bluetooth.
There are no other connections - no analogue input or 3.5mm connection - but a smart speaker such as this doesn't really need one, especially when there's also Chromecast built-in and Android Things support.
And it sounds pretty good by smart speaker standards, not least thanks to the support for hi-res audio. A little too much bass is apparent at times and music doesn't sound quite as, well, musical, as on the HomePod, but there's impressive scale, clean and clear vocals, and plenty of punch to drums and bass. The LG WK7 is one of the best Google speakers, especially now it has a healthy discount.
Read the full LG WK7 review
The Google Home Mini is, basically, Google's spin on an Amazon Echo Dot. It's a dinky device that comes with Google Assistant and can be used purely as a wireless speaker or as a smart hub, through which you can control other Google Home or Chromecast-enabled speakers around your house.
It's cheap as chips, but you get what you pay for. The Mini is low on frills and features – the lack of Bluetooth or an aux input is a shame and the sound quality is average for music. But if you simply want hands-free access to Google Assistant voice commands and some occasional background listening, perhaps for the kitchen or a kids room, then the Home Mini is a fine choice.
Read the full review: Google Home Mini
It looks like your average smart speaker, but the Citation 100 produces bass by the bucket-load and can play extremely loud without strain. It is great for parties, though perhaps not so much for purists.
This Harman Kardon speaker has a pretty standard, minimalist design, and it keeps connections to a minimum, too, with no aux input. Control comes via the Google Home app and Google Assistant, and commands work well enough, though it seems slightly more prone to wi-fi drop-outs than rivals.
Sonically, while the Harman Kardon Citation 100 isn't exactly balanced, it is otherwise a tasteful-sounding smart speaker with enough scale to fill most rooms. If you don't mind that bassy over-exuberance, there's a lot to like.
Read the full review: Harman Kardon Citation 100
Google Home is looks a bit like a large white air freshener. It’s a minimalist design, with a touch-sensitive circle on the top for adjusting volume and pausing/playing music. There are also a series of coloured lights that illuminate when the device is active, and a mute button if you want to turn the two microphones off. To personalise the device, you can add one of the optional coloured bases, either fabric or metal.
Set up is simple and there are now plenty of compatible apps and devices, including Chromecast, though still not as many as on the Amazon Alexa platform. Bluetooth, multi-room and stereo pairing are all supported, too. The let down is the sound, which while OK for dialogue is underwhelming for music considering its size and price, and the much-improved performance of the new Echo devices. If you're still tempted for this rather than the Home Mini, we'd wait until you see a good deal.
Read the full review: Google Home
If you have a bit to spend and you want something bold, fun and wireless, the Harman Kardon Citation Towers are certainly worth an audition. They might not match up to the kind of traditional hi-fi system you could build for two grand, but then that was never the attention.
Subtlety is their main issue – these stereo towers like to play loud, with a lot of energy – but if you're hoping to get a party started then they will most happily be of service. Google Assistant being built-in only sweetens the deal.
Read the full review: Harman Kardon Citation Tower