Another Alternative: The Google Home Max ($299) is a cheaper alternative that can get incredibly loud and pump out some excellent bass, but its size and weight mean you’re likely not moving this speaker around the house much.
Bose’s Home Speaker 500 ($299) has Alexa, and a bit extra. It’s certainly not cheap, but this Bose speaker does sound pretty good (not as clear as a Riva or Sonos One, but great on the whole) and gets loud. It has hands-free Alexa, Bluetooth, a 3.5-mm auxiliary port to connect directly to your phone or MP3 player, and six useful preset buttons that you can assign to open a specific playlist or album from Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and TuneIn. The display on the front shows album art and a few other prompts but isn’t nearly as effective as those on true smart displays like the JBL Link View.
Amazon’s Echo Studio ($200) is the best-sounding Alexa speaker. Don’t buy it for music alone, but the Echo Studio is right up there with the Google Home Max in terms of bold bass and room-filling soundstage. Its odd shape keeps it from the top of our list.
The Harman Kardon Allure ($90) brings the bass. Harman Kardon’s shapely speaker (7/10) is not for everyone. It’s bulky, has lights on it, and looks like an egg … but it also spits out wicked bass. Just keep in mind that it’s an Alexa third-party speaker, so it may have some compatibility issues if you already own other Alexa speakers.
What About Siri?
Apple has released one Siri-powered speaker, the HomePod. It isn’t one of our top picks, but is it any good?
Apple’s HomePod ($299) is for Apple junkies. The one and only Siri speaker sounds fantastic, but it’s only for people who live a complete Apple life. It works only with Apple Music (though that’s changing soon) and can’t control as many devices as its competitors, yet it costs $299 on Apple’s store—and that’s down from its initial $349 price. Read our full review to see if it’s a good pick for you.
Why We Prefer Google Assistant Speakers (for Now)
There are a lot of reasons to love Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, and honestly, it works pretty well. If you want to use your voice assistant to shop or use Amazon services like Prime Music or Prime Video, chances are an Alexa-powered speaker is best for you.