Google’s Chromecast technology has changed the way we play media across devices in our home. Whilst initially limited to Google’s own speakers and the trusty Chromecast Audio, there’s now a range of third-party manufacturers making speakers with Chromecast and Google Assistant built-in.
My home is full of Chromecast-enabled devices so I know exactly what to look for. In this guide, I’ll share my favourite smart speakers that you can use for casting music, podcasts, and radio stations around your home.
- Google Assistant vs Chromecast Built-In: What’s the Difference?
- Best Smart Speakers with Chromecast Built-In
- Related Questions
Google Assistant vs Chromecast Built-In: What’s the Difference?
If you’re looking to buy a device that supports Google Cast (aka Chromecast), it’s easy to be fooled by devices that support Google Assistant.
There’s a big difference between Google Assistant and Chromecast. A device with Google Assistant built-in will allow you to issue voice commands to the device, for example, you can ask it for the weather or tell it to set a reminder. However, you cannot cast audio from other devices on the network as you can with a Chromecast device.
All of the recommendations below have Chromecast built-in, however, not all of them have Google Assistant support.
Best Smart Speakers with Chromecast Built-In
The best speakers with Chromecast built-in are:
- Best Overall: Google Home
- Best Small Speaker: JBL Playlist
- Best Audio Quality: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay M3
- Budget Pick: Google Nest Mini
- Portable: JBL Link Portable
- Best with Screen: Nest Hub
Below are my full reviews of each recommendation with some helpful tips so you can choose the best one for you.
Best Overall: Google Home
Google’s own Google Home smart speaker has been sat in my kitchen for years and still deserves consideration. Where this speaker stands out is its extremely sensitive microphone array that seems able to hear the wake word if you mutter it under your breath.
My Google Home is very reliable and speedy to recognise what I’m saying and react to it. It doesn’t have as many buttons as some other speakers here, however, given that you can do everything with your voice this isn’t too much of a downside.
Overall, the audio quality tends to be bass-heavy with poor performance at the high-end, this difference is even more pronounced at higher volumes so it’s best suited to casual background listening. If you want something with better quality, keep reading below.
Best Small Speaker: JBL Playlist
The JBL Playlist is a small Wi-Fi speaker and the cheapest third-party Chromecast speaker. It has a 30W speaker that provides good sound quality for its size, with clear bass. However, the treble isn’t great and there are no options to change the EQ settings.
When you don’t want to use the Wi-Fi connection, there’s also Bluetooth and an AUX input. However, it doesn’t have any built-in battery so isn’t suitable for use as a portable speaker.
The Playlist is ideal if you’re looking for multi-room audio for general listening, however, it doesn’t have a microphone or Google Assistant support.
Best Audio Quality: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay M3
If you need something that puts audio quality high up the priority list, the B&O Beoplay M3 is an obvious choice. It has both Airplay and Chromecast built-in so you have your choice of ecosystems to use, this is ideal if you have both an Android and iPhone user in the same household.
The M3 isn’t the biggest speaker in the Beoplay range but offers a good compromise between price and sound. It does lose some of the crisp audio quality at the higher volumes so it’s not ideal for parties or larger rooms.
Despite its small size, the speaker is quite heavy which is a reflection of the high-quality build. The device is wired and relies on Wi-Fi so can’t be used on the go.
Keep in mind that although it has built-in Chromecast, there is no Google Assistant support so voice commands aren’t available.
Budget Pick: Google Nest Mini
My budget pick is another one direct from Google, the Google Nest Mini. It’s an upgrade on the original Google Home Mini with a faster chip inside and made from recycled plastic. This speaker is very cheap considering the tech inside.
It’s not designed for audiophiles, it’s a simple 360-degree sound speaker with no stereo. The audio quality is fairly acceptable at lower volumes and it’s ideal for day-to-day background listening, but once you try turning up the volume for a party, the bass and treble aren’t too impressive.
Of course, coming directly from Google, it has Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in. The speed at which Google Assistant responds is a step above many third-party devices, this is because much of the natural language processing is done onboard which is also good for privacy.
All in all, it’s a sub-£50 speaker with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and three far-field microphones that can pick up your voice from across the room, so you can’t really complain.
Portable: JBL Link Portable
Now, if you need something that’s a bit more portable that still has Google Chromecast built-in, this JBL Link Portable speaker is perfect. As well as casting, it also has Google Assistant built-in for use when connected to the Wi-Fi via the built-in microphone array.
For use on the go, it has Bluetooth connectivity and a battery life that will last 8 hours on a single charge. Google Assistant can still be used on the go, however, you won’t be able to Chromecast music without Wi-Fi.
Although it’s only small, the speaker has crisp sounds across the EQ spectrum. It includes an IPX7 waterproof rating that means it could survive up to 30 minutes of submersion in water.
When you’re not out and about, the speaker comes with a convenient charging dock with a battery indicator to let you know when it’s full.
Best with Screen: Nest Hub
Speakers are evolving all the time. First, we had smart speakers but now you can pick up a smart display with includes both a speaker and a handy screen.
My top pick in this category is Google’s own Nest Hub smart display. Its capabilities and speaker are near identical to the Google Home shared earlier, however, the addition of a screen means you can stream YouTube videos, pull up recipes, or check in on your smart cameras.
It has similar pros and cons to the Google Home too, with the pros being its outstanding microphone sensitivity and voice recognition, and the main con being its lack of bass at higher volumes.
The Nest Hub has a 7” screen, there’s also the Nest Hub Max which offers a larger 10” screen and the addition of a camera with facial recognition and video calling capability.
The Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max have full Chromecast support for both audio and video casting.
Does Sonos Support Chromecast?
No, Sonos have still not added Chromecast support to their latest speakers. This is despite the addition of Google Assistant, Alexa, and Airplay support in 2020.
The decision not to include the technology in such a high-end speaker is odd as it will put off a huge proportion of the market. Sonos have not mentioned whether they intend to add this in future speaker releases, but at this point, I assume they won’t be adding it.
Can I Chromecast to Regular Speakers?
There used to be a device called a Chromecast Audio which connected to your dumb speakers so that you can cast to them. Unfortunately, Google discontinued this device, however, a great Chromecast Audio alternative is to use a regular Chromecast with an HDMI splitter (such as Neoteck) to plug it into your speaker’s AUX or RCA socket.