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Smart speakers are quickly heating up to be the new tech battleground with all the big players throwing their foot in to the ring.
At the top end of the market, you have the likes of Sonos, Boss and Apple competing for the attention of audiophiles.
Down at the more affordable end of the market, it’s the tech giants offering the best value as they try to entice us into their ecosystem.
In this guide, we’ll breakdown the best smart speakers with a price under £100, ideal for those of us making our first foray into smart homes or anyone looking to add smart functionality in additional rooms.
Here are our top recommendations for smart speakers priced less than £100:
Google Home – best all round speaker
The combination of a crisp sound from it’s 10W speaker and the world’s smartest voice assistant makes this our top pick.
Most people will find themselves in either team Google or team Amazon when it comes to smart speakers, I’m firmly in team Google and love my Google Home which is why it’s my overall recommendation.
The voice assistant is far more advanced than Alexa, Google Assistant seems to have far more information at her fingertips, which is to be expected when it’s made by the world’s most advanced search engine. Alexa, on the other hand, is powered by Bing, which we all know isn’t as good as Google.
When it comes to sound quality, we think the Google Home just edges ahead compared to rivals. Of course, with it’s sleek size and a price tag under £100, it’s not a substitute for a HiFi and might even struggle compared to similarly priced dumb speakers, but compared to other budget priced smart speakers it has a good level of bass and crisp sound that’s perfect for general listening.
Echo Plus – best smart home hub
The only smart speaker to include both a smart home hub and voice assistant puts this at the top of the list for anyone setting up a smart home.
The Echo Plus was a new addition to the Echo range as part of the second generation of devices.
The major selling point of the Echo Plus is that it is also a functioning smart home hub, allowing smart devices that run on the Zigbee wireless protocol to connect directly to it.
Most major brands have adopted this technology, so you’ll be able to connect the devices from Phillips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Belkin WeMo, Hive and more, directly to the Echo. In doing so, it negates the need for a dedicated hub for these devices and means you’ll continue to have voice control of your home, even when offline.
You’ll also have access to Alexa skills, third party integrations that currently outnumber anything Google has managed to create. Many of these are focused on smart home devices, but there are plenty of useful and novelty actions that Alexa can now take.
Libratone Zipp 2 Mini – best with AirPlay
This mini portable speaker has mighty features, including AirPlay and Spotify Connect, plus it’s completely portable too.
If your embedded in Apple’s ecosystem, then having a smart speaker with Airplay will be high on your priority list. Unfortunately, finding a sub-£100 speaker that works with Airplay is a near impossible task. But there is one device that meets the requirements, that’s the Libratone Zipp 2 Mini.
This is the smaller sibling of the Zipp 2, but still packs a punch in terms of sound quality and integrations. It will work with both Spotify connect and Airplay 2, as well as having Alexa built right into the device. Many of the integrations don’t work straight out of the box, so you will need to update the firmware which can be a bit unintuitive.
This device is portable with a rechargeable battery that should last 12 hours so great for both in the house and on the move.
Google Nest Home Hub – best with screen
We love the idea of playing YouTube videos on your speaker with just your voice and this does exactly that. Plus it has loads of other integrations including voice calls and video doorbells.
If you’d like a smart speaker with a screen, yet again your options come down to Google or Amazon, but yet again I think Google edges ahead.
One of the things we love about this device is the YouTube integration, simply ask it to play something on YouTube and the video will start playing. In fact, anything that you can cast to a Chromecast, can also be cast to the Nest hub so you can watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more.
As well as being an excellent budget smart speaker, the addition of the screen means it can be used to display recipes, make video calls via Google Duo or even stream your video doorbell when it rings.
Google Home Mini – best under £50
For those on a very minimum budget, or anyone looking to add their second or third speaker, the Google Home Mini is a great buy.
The Google Home mini is all the best features of the Google Home, but packed in to a smaller, even more affordable speaker.
It lacks the bassy sound quality of it’s older sibling, but you’ll still have access to everything else that Google Assistant offers including music streaming, controlling connected smart home devices and the answer to any query you could imagine thanks to Google.
If you have a Chromecast Audio, or a speaker with this built in, the mini is ideal as you can connect it up and have the power of Google Assistant with the audio quality of your existing speaker set up.
Echo Dot with Clock – great for bedside table
This smart speaker is perfect for putting next to your bed so you can wake up to your favourite tunes.
If you’re looking for a great speaker for your bedroom, then the echo dot is your perfect companion. It has a handy clock on the front and Alexa also has whisper mode, allowing you to whisper to her and she’ll whisper back so you don’t wake up your partner or kids.
Alexa will also provide far more alarm options than your typical alarm, get her to wake you up to your favourite song simply by saying ‘Alexa, wake me up to [any song] at [any time]’, and mix in some smart lights for the perfect wake up routine.
During the day, you can use Alexa’s multiroom audio to connect with other Echo’s in the house and have a full home audio experience.