Best smart speakers 2019

Thanks to the arrival of a number of virtual assistants, backed by big-hitters such as Amazon, Apple and Google, wireless speakers have never been smarter.

No matter if you want to know what the weather's like, find out the name of the track you're listening to, catch up on news headlines or just can't be bothered to get off the sofa to adjust your lighting, AI assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are standing by to help you out.

But the very best smart speakers aren't just clever so-and-sos, they also sound excellent when listening to music over Bluetooth or wi-fi. And, depending on the brand, you also have access to a number of different music streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify.

And these are the best smart speakers around right now...

Best smart speaker under £50

1. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)

For not a lot of money you get a whole load of smart voice functionality and decent sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Alexa | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Outputs: 3.5mm | Dimensions (hwd): 4.3 x 9.9 x 9.9cm | Weight: 300g

Reasons to Buy
Clear, solid sound
Budget price
Improves Alexa skills
Reasons to Avoid
Alexa intelligence is limited

Perhaps the smartest way to bring Amazon's Alexa voice assistant into your home, the latest generation of the Dot also doubles as a simple (and cheap) wireless speaker. The fabric-covered puck-shaped device looks smarter then previous versions and it's easy to get up and running, either over wi-fi or Bluetooth. And as a device for playing background music, there really is little to fault, especially at this price.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot 3 review

Best smart speaker under £100

2. Amazon Echo 2

Smart, affordable and a very sympathetic listener.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Alexa | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Outputs: 3.5mm | Dimensions (hwd): 14.8 x 8.8 x 8.8cm | Weight: 821g

Reasons to Buy
Alexa voice control
Improved hearing commands
Affordable
Reasons to Avoid
Average sound quality

Moving up a size (and price category), the Amazon Echo 2 does everything you'd reasonably expect of smart speaker at this level. There are lots of smart features you can play with and the speaker goes loud enough and sounds capable enough to fill small or medium-sized rooms without too much fuss.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo 2

Best smart speaker under £200

3. Sonos One

A typically excellent Sonos smart speaker with Alexa voice control.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Alexa | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Outputs: N/A | Dimensions (hwd): 16.1 x 11.7 x 12cm | Weight: 1.85kg

Reasons to Buy
Stylish and unobtrusive
Solid, sophisticated sound
Alexa well integrated
Reasons to Avoid
Lacks full Alexa control
No hi-res audio

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 Alexa (Google Assistant is also on the way) and the option to build a multi-room system around it using other Sonos speakers or AirPlay 2.

Read the full review: Sonos One

4. Apple HomePod

The best-sounding, most music-centric smart speaker we've heard to date.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Siri | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Outputs: N/A | Dimensions (hwd): 17.2 x 14.2 x 14.2cm | Weight: 2.5kg

Reasons to Buy
Compact, solid and stylish
Siri and Apple Music works well
Weighty, authoritative sound
Reasons to Avoid
Over-reliance on voice control
Mid-range a little muddled
Too Apple-centric

Apple was late to the smart speaker market, but the HomePod was well worth the wait. Aimed squarely at Apple users, it helps if Apple Music is your go-to music streaming service, but this is a clever, capable and desirable device. There's multi-room and stereo pairing support, plus a Siri voice assistant that works extremely well in this musical context. Very impressive.

Read the full review: Apple Homepod

5. Ultimate Ears Megablast

A fun and energetic portable speaker with nicely controlled performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Alexa | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Battery life: 16hrs | Dimensions: 23.7 x 8.8cm | Inputs: Micro USB

Reasons to Buy
Dynamic, detailed sound
Goes really very loud
Excellent build and design
Reasons to Avoid
Presentation is slightly lean
Not fully featured just yet

The Megablast is Ultimate Ears’ loudest and smartest speaker yet. With Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in, it can answer your questions as well as play all your favourite tunes..

More crucially, the Megablast joins the brand’s portfolio of five-star Bluetooth speakers that are simply fun to use and listen to. Good-looking and great-sounding, the Megablast is an absolute treat.

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Megablast

6. Audio Pro Addon C5A

A class-leading wireless speaker with Alexa is a winning combination.

SPECIFICATIONS

Virtual assistant: Alexa | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth 4.0: Yes | Inputs: Ethernet, 3.5mm stereo, RCA | Amplifier: 40W digital Class D | Audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless | Dimensions: 13 x 25 x 15cm

Reasons to Buy
Detailed, dynamic sound
Brilliant sense of timing
Alexa voice control
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

The Audio Pro Addon C5A is almost identical to the Addon C5, which was our wireless speaker Product of the Year in 2017. So adding Alexa voice control to an Award-winning speaker is the icing on the cake.

Available for the price of an Addon C5 plus the cost of an Amazon Echo product bolt-on, it brings the whole package into one tidy, easy-to-set-up box. And with that same Award-winning sound, this is the ideal combination for those who want an excellent Alexa wireless speaker that can be expanded into a full-blown multiroom system.

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C5A

MORE: Best wireless speakers 2019: portable, multi-room, smart speakers