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Best Buy Guides Find the Best Smart Speakers for Your Smart Home in 2022
Find the Best Smart Speakers for Your Smart Home in 2022
Best Buy Guide

Find the Best Smart Speakers for Your Smart Home in 2022

Voice assistants are a handy technology for controlling your home with just your voice, be it for managing devices or running automations. However, voice assistants are especially useful when they're embedded into a smart speaker that supports hands-free control and fills your house with your favorite tunes. There are some features and limitations to keep in mind when shopping for a speaker, so let's discuss the pros and cons of the most popular devices with high-quality audio playback.

Getting the Most out of a Smart Speaker

So you've finally decided to get yourself a smart speaker. Congratulations! But now the question is, which one should you buy? With so many different devices on the market, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. We'll help you figure out which one to buy based on your needs and budget. So let's get started!

Obviously, the most important feature that makes a speaker smart is a voice assistant. For a couple of years now, Alexa and Google Assistant have been available on third-party smart speakers and displays. Whichever you choose, it can usually do many things for you, from answering simple questions to playing music to controlling your smart home hub.

Speaking of which – smart home integration is another crucial aspect of smart speakers. This is where Homey comes into play. Homey Pro and Homey Bridge are versatile smart home hubs that support both voice assistants, be it on your smartphone, computer, or embedded into any smart speaker.

Homey can work as the bridge between your smart home accessories and the voice assistant, allowing control for pretty much any smart device in your house. As another plus, Homey can also integrate some smart speakers and provide control for them directly in the Homey mobile app, so that you have all of your devices under one roof.

With your speakers connected to Homey via a dedicated app, you'll be able to adjust volume, control playback, and much more. The most obvious example is the Sonos speaker ecosystem with its Sonos App for Homey.

There are also other players who have entered the smart speaker market recently and offer various levels of integration. The best examples are Bose, Sony, or Xiaomi. So let's take a good look at all of these brands.

Choose Your Voice Assistant Wisely

Most smart speakers available today sound amazing, but their built-in voice assistants are not made equal.

Offering complete ecosystem integration, Siri comes pre-installed on various Apple devices. While HomePods are the right choice for people deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem, those who own a Windows PC, an Android phone or an Android tablet won't be able to use Siri in any way.

Fortunately, both Amazon Alexa and Google Home can run on any modern phone or computer, including iPhones and Macs. You should choose a smart speaker that supports one of these two assistant to ensure maximum compatibility across various ecosystems and brands.

With the voice assistant integration set up on Homey, your smart home accessories can be controlled via dedicated smart speakers and smart displays with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. This is possible thanks to the Homey Skill for Alexa, Homey's Google Home integration, and the HomeKit Experiment for Homey Pro.

The Most Popular Smart Speakers

We’ve reviewed five popular smart speakers that would make a great addition to any smart home. There are major differences between these products, so check out the detailed reviews below.

BrandModelPriceDimensionsPortable360-Degree AudioAudio PlaybackVoice AssistantsDedicated Homey App
SonosOne€239120 x 120 x 162 mmNoNoAirPlay, Bluetooth, Sonos, Spotify Connect, Wi-FiAlexa, Google HomeYes
SonySRS-RA300€299155 x 146 x 247 mmNoYesBluetooth, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Wi-FiAlexa, Google HomeYes
SonosRoam€16960 x 60 x 170 mmYesNoAirPlay, Bluetooth, Sonos, Spotify Connect, Wi-FiAlexa, Google HomeYes
BosePortable Home Speaker€419104 x 119 x 192 mmYesYesAirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Wi-FiAlexa, Google HomeYes
XiaomiMi Smart Speaker€39131 x 104 x 151 mmNoNoBluetooth, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Wi-FiGoogle HomeNo*
* Control possible via the Google Chromecast App

Sonos One

Available at EUR 239

Sonos One
  • Great bass for its size
  • Multiple streaming services available
  • Not quite suitable for audiophiles

The Sonos One is one of the most popular smart speakers, competing with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Nest devices. The One can play music from various online sources such as Spotify or Apple Music, as well as from local files on your computer or an NAS drive.

Even though Sonos speakers are known to have great sound quality, the One doesn't quite reach the audiophile level. However, it's definitely ahead of cheaper competitors.

Most people get into Sonos for its smart home integration, and the One won't be an exception. It's compatible with other Sonos speakers, and it can be included in a home theater speaker setup, offering surround sound. With Sonos devices, you will also be able to get all of your smart speakers grouped for multi-room playback. And of course, you can control any Sonos speaker from the comfort of the Homey mobile app.

Moreover, there's an array of nine microphones in total, including six at the top, two at the side, and finally one at the bottom. These are used for adjusting the sound to the space where the speaker is located, as well as calling your smart assistant – be it Google Assistant or Alexa. You can select your preferred one in the Sonos mobile app or disable the functionality altogether.

Sony SRS-RA3000

Available at EUR 299

Sony SRS-RA3000
  • Great design with lovely color options
  • 360-degree audio
  • Sizeable
  • No AirPlay

Be it headphones or sound bars, Sony has been a major audio equipment manufacturer for many years. With the advent of smart technologies, Sony is trying new things, and it seems to be working in the company's favor.

Sony's SRS-RA3000 smart speaker offers a design that's modern and elegant. Sound-wise, the speaker rocks 360-degree audio support, delivering an immersive experience. With this feature, the SRS-RA3000 fills every corner of your room so you can enjoy music everywhere.

The smart speaker works with Alexa and Google Assistant to play songs, give you weather updates, set alarms, answer questions, and much more. Of course, it allows you to control your smart home via Homey, either thanks to the Homey Skill for Alexa or via the Google Home integration.

With SRS-RA3000, it only takes one touch to connect a device for wireless music playback thank to built-in NFC. You can also connect wirelessly to other speakers for multi-room audio throughout your home using Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, while it does have a built-in Chromecast, Sony doesn't support AirPlay, so you won't be able to achieve multi-room playback with Apple Music or devices like Apple TV.

Sonos Roam

Available at EUR 169

Sonos Roam
  • Portable
  • Wireless charging
  • Multi-room audio
  • Great price
  • Water-proof
  • Only plays in mono by itself
  • Duller sound than other speakers

The Sonos Roam is an amazing little speaker with its own unique features. It does exactly what the name implies – the Roam makes Sonos available anywhere, even when there's no electricity in sight. When you buy this speaker, you get a great mix of Sonos features in a portable speaker form factor.

No matter where you are, you can carry the speaker with you and enjoy your music playing via Bluetooth. It connects to your Sonos account using any mobile device or computer, which means that every song from your favorite streaming service will be at your fingertips. You can charge the Roam via USB-C or wirelessly on any Qi-compatible charger, and the battery will provide up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a full charge.

At home, the Roam functions like any other Sonos speaker, since it connect to you Wi-Fi network and offer AirPlay services. While it's only a mono speaker on its own, it can be used in multi-room and stereo/surround playback.

Of course, this speaker packs in Alexa and Google Home, so you can use it to control your smart home with Homey. Should you need some privacy, Sonos always provides a physical button to turn off the microphones, so fortunately, you don't have to worry about Amazon or Google snooping in on you 24/7.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

Available at EUR 419

Bose Portable Smart Speaker
  • Well-designed
  • Amazing sound
  • Great bass performance
  • Portable
  • Expensive

Bose continues its line of audiophile-friendly products with a new smart speaker, the Bose Portable Home Speaker. This smart speaker is unique because it's one of the few smart speakers that can be carried from room to room. It rocks 360-degree audio and supports both Alexa and Google Home for convenient playback and smart home control.

In terms of design, the Bose Portable Home Speaker sports a clean minimalistic look with a mid-sized body. The design allows the speaker to seamlessly blend into any home environment, and the handle comes in handy when you want to take the speaker on a trip. The battery lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge, so you can easily party for hours even without a power supply.

There are two speakers at each end of the cone shape which gives the speaker its surround sound capability. It can easily fill up any room with rich audio and powerful bass.

In terms of smart features, you can stream any audio over Wi-Fi including music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn radio, and more. In addition, you can play music directly via Bluetooth or simply by connecting to it via an Aux cord or USB port.

Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker

Available at EUR 49

Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker
  • Well-designed
  • Affordable
  • OK sound quality
  • Alexa not available as an alternative

The Mi Smart Speaker is an affordable speaker from the Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi. It has been available for a couple of years now, but surprisingly, it doesn't feel outdated. It offers acceptable sound quality and an integrated Google Assistant for a surprisingly low price. AirPlay has been obviously left out to cut production costs, but you can achieve similar functionality with the built-in Chromecast Audio.

This speaker is otherwise capable of playing music through a Bluetooth connection directly from your mobile phone, but it also connects to Wi-Fi to access Xiaomi's library of songs that you can play for free or purchase.

Thanks to Google Assistant, you can use voice commands and give this Xiaomi smart speaker any order including turning up/down the volume, changing tracks, and so on. What it's also good for is controlling your smart home via the Homey integration with Google Home.

One of the main selling points of this speaker is its design. The device is portable and lightweight, weighing less than one kilogram.

The Best Smart Speaker for You

Voice assistant functionality might not be crucial for controlling smart home products, but it's still nice to have.

There’s no one-size-fits-all smart speaker, but if you’re looking for the most versatile product with Alexa or Google Assistant support, the Sonos One is a great option. It has excellent sound quality and can be connected to other Sonos devices in your home for a surround-sound or multi-room experience.

On the other hand, the Sonos Roam is perfect for people who travel often. It's lightweight and portable, and it has great sound quality.

The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is a great option for people who are on a tight budget. It's the cheapest of the devices listed here, and it performs well enough when it comes to sound quality.

Conclusion

Whether you decide to get a device with Alexa or Google Assistant, any of them can provide a great way to control your smart home built with Homey. Each device has its pros and cons, and we hope we’ve made the options easier to understand in this article.

There are many uses for voice assistants – the most obvious one is running your favorite Homey Flows or creating a dashboard for your Homey accessories.

The setup of communication between smart speakers and the new Homey, Homey Bridge, or Homey Pro doesn’t take much time. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a smart home newbie, go ahead and try it yourself!

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