Google may have arrived late to the speaking speaker party, but the tech giant is certainly making up for lost time. Adoption of Google voice control and Chromecast is becoming much more common and opting for Google's own inbuilt assistant when picking a smart speaker might be especially sensible if you're using other Google devices such as Pixel phones or Nest products – or Google services such as Gmail, Google maps or the Google Calendar to organise your life.
There are other competitors on the market right now, most notably in the shape of Amazon's Alexa devices and Apple's Siri-powered HomePod range, so choosing a Google product is very much a sign of committing to a specific brand. Admittedly, there are slightly more devices that come with either of those rivals baked in, yet that's no reason to dismiss Google Assistant out of hand. If you love the Google set-up and want to keep your home in line with the rest of the Google range, we'd happily recommend any of the items we've tested on the list below.
How to choose the best Google Assistant speaker for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
Thanks to Google's class-leading Search and the latest Google Home app, there's no denying that the best Google Assistant speakers deliver excellent results when trying to test your 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.
But we're here to help. Whether you want Bluetooth or wi-fi, an aux input, compatibility with a certain streaming service, a screen for visual answers as well as verbal ones or even help with getting a good night's sleep from Google (yes really), we can help you find the best Google Assistant speaker for your needs.
The second-generation Sonos One might have been superseded in recent times, but let's not forget just how impressive Sonos' five-star performer remains. The integration of Amazon's Alexa smart assistant for voice controls alongside Google Assistant took the smart speaker to the next level, while its room-filling sound helps the One stand apart from the glut of models that are smart first and actual speakers second. Throw in Apple's AirPlay 2 tech and the fact that the One fits seamlessly into a multi-room set-up, and you've still got a real winner on your hands.
Yes, the newer Sonos Era 100 has rather stolen the One's thunder of late, but that doesn't diminish the qualities of one of Sonos' most popular wireless speakers, especially when you factor in the One's compatibility with Alexa and Google, perfect for anyone who wants the choice of the two smart assistants for households that mix and match ecosystems. The new Era range doesn't have Google assistant integration anyway, so if you want to combine the two, you'll need to step back a generation to the One model.
The arrival of the Era range is also good news for Sonos bargain hunters, as it has meant a significant price drop for slightly older models like this One. A five-star Sonos speaker at a discount is nothing to be sniffed at, after all...
Read the full review: Sonos One
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 provides 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. Think more in terms of a speaker you'd stick in the back of the car for a picnic rather than something you'd actually carry around with you while trail walking.
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 with Google Assistant on demand, look no further than the Move.
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 + IKEA bookshelf speaker (with added AI assistants)? It’s a thumbs-up as far as we’re concerned.
Read the full review: Sonos IKEA Symfonisk bookshelf speaker
There's no denying how competent the Google Nest Hub is, as both something to be heard as well as played with. To put the Nest Hub’s 7-inch (1024 x 600) touchscreen into context, by the way, the display real estate is only marginally bigger than the 6.7-inch one sported by the largest iPhone 12 Pro Max when measured on the diagonal – even if there's no camera for selfies, video calls or security duties.
There are, however, plenty of music streaming and TV services available, including All 4, Deezer, Netflix and Disney Plus. The headline-grabber, however, is Sleep Sensing, a motion-tracking system that analyses your slumber, with the Nest Hub including Google’s Soli sensor for motion detection, plus light and temperature sensors to get a handle on what's going on when you're getting some shut-eye.
The Amazon Echo Show 10 provides a similar smart-speaker-with-screen alternative, but it's almost three times the price of the Google Nest Hub. Thanks to Disney Plus, Sleep Sensing tech and the delivery of a solid soundscape, the Nest Hub is a worthy proposition if it meets your criteria.
Read the full review: Google Nest Hub (2nd Generation)
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 while it's to be expected from something so small and inexpensive, the sound quality for playing music won't blow you away. Still, 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
How we choose the best Google Assistant speakers
The What Hi-Fi? team tests hundreds of products every year – and that includes the newest smart speakers. How do we come to our review verdicts and why should you trust them? Give us two minutes of your time...
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, UK, where our team of expert reviewers handles every step of all independent testing process. This gives us complete control, ensuring consistency and impartiality.
All products are tested in comparison with rivals in the same price category (often What Hi-Fi? Award-winners) and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure neutrality and avoid any personal preference.
Finally, we choose the culmination of our efforts – the best products from all of our in-depth reviews – to feature in our Best Buys, which is where you are now. If you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.
Prefer Alexa? See our pick of the best Amazon Alexa speakers
Or check out our guide to the best wireless speakers fot all budgets
See also: the best portable speakers