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The best third-party Google Assistant speakers to spend your money on
If you’re on the hunt for Google Assistant speakers, it can be tempting to pick up a Google Nest product without a second thought. Why not turn to the company behind the software, right?
That’s certainly what Google encourages, but it’s worth considering third-party options. They can take substantially different approaches — that includes going portable, or offering far more power than a Nest Audio or Nest Hub Max.
The bottom line is that there’s plenty of variety if you opt for a third-party Google Assistant speaker. Below are some of the better ones we’ve found within range of the average person. Something like the Beosound Balance might sound fantastic, but at over $3,000, it’s a luxury for the rich.
Best third-party Google Assistant speakers:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Google Assistant speakers regularly as new ones launch.
1. Belkin Soundform Elite
The signature feature of the Soundform Elite is actually its charging cradle, which can deliver up to 10W of wireless power. You won’t be topping off your phone in a hurry, but it helps make the product an ideal office, nightstand, or endtable speaker.
Sound-wise, you may feel like using the Elite in a lot of places. It’s a high-powered speaker with audio technology by Devialet, best known for its Phantom models costing thousands of dollars. Here, that translates into both detail and heavy bass.
An important note though: be sure to buy the Elite specifically labeled for Google Assistant. There’s another version that’s exclusive to Amazon Alexa.
2. Bose Portable Smart Speaker
At $399, Bose’s Portable Smart Speaker is one of the more expensive options we’re covering, but it’s built for listening both around the house and on the road. It’s durable and IPX4 water-resistant, able to withstand bumps, drops, sprays, and splashes. Just don’t drop it directly in the pool.
The speaker offers 360-degree sound, and a battery good for up to 12 hours of use. When you’re outside of Wi-Fi range and can’t use Assistant, you can switch to Bluetooth for phone- or tablet-based control.
The speaker comes in black or white, and in addition to Google Assistant, it has Alexa as a voice control option. You can use SimpleSync to link it with other Bose products.
3. Bose Home Speaker 500
The Bose Home Speaker 500 isn’t portable like its sibling but makes up for it with a (slightly) better price tag, loud stereo sound, and even a built-in display so you can catch what’s playing at a glance. It’s intended to be a centerpiece of your home audio.
The 500 supports not just Assistant but Alexa, Bluetooth, SimpleSync, and Apple’s AirPlay if you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. As a bonus, people frustrated with the minimalist controls on modern speakers will be happy to find plenty of buttons on top.
4. JBL Link Portable
While the JBL Link Portable is a few years old, it’s extremely convenient, since it normally just rests on a charging base — whenever you’re ready to head out, you can grab it knowing it’ll be fully charged. Eight hours of battery playback is admittedly below the norm these days, but that should be fine for short trips or listening in the garage or backyard.
Audio generally sounds great, thanks to JBLs’ 360-degree Pro Sound tech. The speaker is also IPX7 waterproof, and can switch from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth whenever you’re outside of router range.
It’s hard to argue against the Link Portable when looking at its price, which is heavily discounted these days. It can be difficult to find, but it’s worth the hunt.
5. Ikea/Sonos Symfonisk Speaker Lamp
Easily the most unusual speaker in our collection, the Symfonisk is equipped to fit an E26/E27 bulb and a lampshade. While that might seem like a gimmick, it does save space, and the product is no slouch in the audio department. Its Assistant support comes by way of Sonos, which means you can also use Alexa or AirPlay, though you’ll need to use your phone or another mic-equipped device for voice commands.
The Symfonisk further supports Sonos grouping, and Trueplay tuning for room acoustics, the latter if you’ve got a compatible iPhone or iPad. It should be noted that the included bulb isn’t a smart one, and a lampshade costs extra.
6. Sonos One
The Sonos One may be the gold standard for third-party smart speakers. It has excellent bass and fidelity, and unlike the Symfonisk, there’s an onboard mic for Assistant or Alexa. If you want even more power you can link it with other Sonos equipment, including the cheaper One SL. Trueplay tuning is available.
If there’s a drawback, it’s just that the One isn’t as portable as it looks. It’s relatively compact, but still meant to be stationary — Wi-Fi is your only connection option, and it has to be plugged into an outlet for power.
7. Sonos Move
Should you want both Assistant commands and Sonos sound in something portable, the Move is Sonos’ best battery-powered speaker. It carries an IP56 waterproof rating, and is claimed to be drop-resistant and hardy against extreme heat and cold. Its battery is good for up to 11 hours of use. To top up power you sit the speaker on a wireless charging base, much like the JBL Link Portable.
Naturally the Move includes Bluetooth connectivity, though features like Assistant, Alexa, Trueplay, and AirPlay are still dependent on Wi-Fi. One perk over most Sonos products is that it supports Auto Trueplay, which works without an iPhone or iPad.
These are the best Google Assistant speakers, in our opinion, although there are certainly other good ones out there. We’ll update this post with new models as they hit the market.