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The Best Smart Speakers of 2020

March 3, 2021 • Devin Partida

The connected home trend is here to stay, with a better range of available devices than ever before. If you want to make the most of your smart home, you’ll need the best smart speakers to run it. Making that decision is often easier said than done, though.

The smart speaker market is thriving. Some studies estimate that 24% of Americans already own one, and more options are emerging all the time. The market is saturated, making it tough to choose just one.

If you can’t make up your mind, here’s a list to help. Here are the five best smart speakers for 2020.

1. Amazon Echo (4th Generation)

The Amazon Echo line is the undisputed champ of smart speakers. Its newest iteration, the 4th Generation Echo, improves on everything that made the last generation great. It features better sound, a built-in Zigbee hub and a new attractive design.

More than 100,000 smart home devices feature Alexa support, making it the most versatile digital assistant. Alexa still isn’t as easy to talk to as Google Assistant, but that’s a small caveat. The Echo remains the best smart speaker on the market.

2. Google Nest Audio

While the Echo may be more iconic, Google’s smart speaker comes close in quality. This year, the Google Nest Audio took over as its flagship device, and it’s exceptional. It looks and sounds better than the Google Home, and costs less, now $99.99, like the Echo.

Google Assistant doesn’t integrate with as many devices as Alexa, but it’s a more functional assistant. With the Nest Audio, it’s more helpful than ever. If you prefer Google to Amazon, then this may be the speaker for you.

3. Google Home Max

For some people, the “speaker” part of “smart speaker” is more important than the “smart” part. If that’s you, then the Google Home Max might be the way to go. It costs quite a bit more than the Nest Audio, but it offers unmatched sound quality.

You’ll get the same functionality as the Nest Audio, but with louder, higher-quality sound. It can even work as part of a stereo or surround sound setup. While it may not reach audiophile levels of quality, it’s as close as a smart speaker will deliver.

4. Sonos One (Gen 2)

The second-generation Sonos One is a more affordable option for audio enthusiasts. It delivers quite the punch for its size and price and is wireless to boot. If you own other Sonos speakers, you can create a connected house-wide audio system.

The Sonos One offers both Alexa and Google Assistant support built-in. It doesn’t feature all the bells and whistles of either assistant, though. Still, it’s good enough to earn a spot as one of the top smart speakers this year.

5. JBL Link 20

Accounting for 34.2% of the market share, JBL is a world leader in portable speakers. It’s recently stepped into the smart speaker world, too. If you want something portable, the JBL Link 20 may be right for you.

There aren’t many portable smart speakers out there, but the Link 20 is one of the best. It has Google Assistant built-in, excellent sound quality, solid battery life and is waterproof. At $200, it’s not the cheapest option, but that’s not an unfair price, either.

The Smart Speaker Market Is Better Than Ever

2020 has been a rough year in a lot of ways, but not for smart speakers. This year’s lineup of devices brings some serious quality to the table. No matter what your preferences are, you can find something that works for you.

Amazon and Google remain the top brands on the market, but they’re not the only ones. These five options are also just a sampling of what’s available today. Whether you’re starting to build your smart home or looking to upgrade, you have some excellent choices.

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