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Best smart speaker

Our expert team has put in months of testing to choose the top 11 smart speakers in Australia for a variety of uses and budgets.

Since their inception and launch into the Australian market, Finder's team of experts has spent years testing a wide range of smart speakers to help determine the best models for most people.

We tested each model by setting it up in our homes and using it regularly. We've asked the speakers thousands of questions, from news and calendar updates to home control in a variety of environments ranging from silent rooms to noisy kitchens during dinner preparation. Each device was tested in Australia, with Australian software and functionality.

The best smart speakers in Australia

How did we pick this list?

Our editorial team selected the products in this list based on our own reviews, customer reviews and professional reviews weighted against each other. This accumulated data was used to determine our overall winners for each different category or type of wireless keyboard. For each category, we carefully selected parameters based on our research and identified the products with the highest review score within those parameters.

Google Nest Audio

Best overall smart speaker

Google Nest Audio
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Affordable price point
  • Good audio quality


  • Can't get every colour in Australia
  • Design is very plain

Why we chose it

We've seen a shift in recent years towards more affordable smart speakers designed for everyone, and Google's Nest Audio strikes a near-perfect balance between general audio quality, microphone pick-up and actual smart speaker features. Google's recently discontinued the fancier and pricier Google Home Max speaker as it lines up under its Nest branding, and while the Nest Audio won't fill the biggest rooms, its output for home offices and smaller spaces is excellent.

Google's also in a good position for smart home integration, with most IoT devices including Google Assistant support, making it a good all-rounder if you're more into home automation than music or podcast playback.

At its asking price, the Google Nest Audio is a real bargain, just narrowly edging out the HomePod Mini and Echo 2020 as our pick of the best smart speakers.

Learn more in our full Google Nest Audio review.

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen

Best budget smart speaker

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Low price
  • Line out so you can use better speakers


  • Relatively weak speaker output
  • Audio is highly directional

Why we chose it

In the budget smart speaker space, it's essentially a battle between Amazon and Google with the Echo Dot and Nest Mini respectively. We'll tip the hat towards the Echo Dot 4th Gen, which has a décor-friendly design, line-out functionality so you can use it to make even better speakers into "smart" speakers and very good microphone pick-up. You can even opt to pay a little more for a unit with an LED clock embedded in its mesh frame, which sounds gimmicky, but actually works really well for both time telling and when you need a visual timer in the kitchen, study or office.

It's worth checking for Amazon's pretty frequent deals on the Echo Dot line because they're quite often on sale.

Check out our full review of the Echo Dot 4th Gen.


Up to 63% off Amazon devices

Sonos One

Best for streaming music support

Sonos One
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Works across basically every streaming service
  • Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility


  • No Alexa calling
  • Bulky design

Why we chose it

Every single smart speaker will support its own maker's music service, and some expand out to popular options such as Spotify or Tidal, but Sonos's commitment to working with just about everyone really puts it in the driver's seat in terms of overall music app compatibility. It's all run from the Sonos app, which allows you to pick your music sources and then set to enjoying whatever it is you want to listen to.

As an added bonus, the Sonos One can be configured to work with either Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant, although in the latter case, it can be a little tricky getting it set-up and working all of the time. As a Sonos speaker, you can, of course, use it as part of a wider mesh of Sonos products for smart multi-room audio as well.

For more information, check out our full review of the Sonos One.

Sonos One

Best for speaker quality

Sonos One
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Works across basically every streaming service
  • Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility


  • No Alexa calling
  • Bulky design

Why we chose it

Sonos's commitment to sound again puts the Sonos One in the driver's seat here, although there's also a case for the Google Home Max (if you can find one) or the full-sized Apple HomePod if you're an Apple Music user exclusively. Still, Sonos's Trueplay software, which analyses the room and adjusts audio automatically, makes the Sonos One a good speaker for just about any room at all. The one catch here is that Trueplay adjustment is done via iOS only, so Android users will need to borrow their friend's iPhone to get the most out of the Sonos One.

For more information, check out our full review of the Sonos One.

Google Nest Hub Max

Best for smarthome integration

Google Nest Hub Max
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Large display that works with a wide array of services
  • Can act as a remote Nest camera hub


  • No physical switch to disable camera only
  • Limited range of colour choices

Why we chose it

If your interest in smart home speakers is more driven by how they can make your home smart, then a smart display is the wisest option. Google's Nest Hub Max edges out its Amazon competition and the smaller array of smart displays from the likes of Lenovo and others with a large display, inbuilt camera that can recognise you and change its daily recommendations on the fly and decent audio output to boot. That large screen doesn't go to waste either, with the ability to not only hook into Google's own video services such as YouTube but also Netflix and others if you want to do a little binge watching from a kitchen or study-based Nest Hub Max.

Google again scores highly for the wide array of devices that it will talk to via the Google Nest Hub Max and Google Home app, with most large brands and a decent number of emerging ones providing support to work through the Google Nest Hub Max. In its own right, it can act as a Nest Hub camera for home security purposes as well. Google's consistently updated the software on the Nest Hub Max since its inception, which has made a good smart home display into a really great one.

Learn more in our full review of the Google Nest Hub Max.

Google Nest Hub Max

Best Smart Display

Google Nest Hub Max
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Large display that works with a wide array of services
  • Can act as a remote Nest camera hub


  • No physical switch to disable camera only
  • Limited range of colour choices

Why we chose it

Your choices when it comes to smart displays aren't wide, with only a handful of models on the market. Google's premium offering is pretty easily our favourite because it does the widest range of "smart" things with its 10-inch display. That not only covers the basics of displaying your calendar information, the weather or your Google Photos reel in an AI-led way, but also video playback. Initially, this was YouTube and Google Movies only, but it's since expanded to cover a wide array of popular streaming services including Netflix. Suddenly, it's not just a smart speaker that works like a picture frame, but it's also a full-on tiny TV that can work via hand gestures without touching the screen, detect individual enrolled users to show them their own calendars and quite a lot more.

Read more in our full review of Google Nest Hub Max.

Sonos Arc

Best Smart Soundbar

Sonos Arc
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Great audio quality
  • Even better with a Sonos Sub and surround speakers


  • Expensive
  • Best features may not work if your TV isn't new enough

Why we chose it

Soundbars with integrated smart assistant capabilities are still also a bit of a nascent market, but Sonos staked its claim early with the Sonos Beam before upping the ante with the truly exceptional Sonos Arc. Like other Sonos products, it uses Sonos's proprietary Trueplay technology to precisely balance its sound output – although you'll need an iPhone to get that working – and once it does, it can not only supercharge your TV's audio but also work as a fully-fledged Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant speaker. The one caveat here – and it's true across all of Sonos's lines in our experience – is that Google Assistant pick-up can be a little slower than on a comparable actual Google Speaker, and set-up can be tricky.

Speaking of set-up, you can also supercharge the Sonos Arc experience with the Sonos Sub and a pair of Sonos One or One SL speakers to act as a full surround sound system. This sounds superb, but then it should because the one big catch here is that a full 5.1 Sonos surround sound system isn't cheap.

Check out our full review of the Sonos Arc.

Sonos Move

Best Portable Smart Speaker

Sonos Move
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Weather-resistant
  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control


  • Not cheap
  • Not as portable as some other options

Why we chose it

The Sonos Move is perhaps best explained as "like a Sonos One, but portable and with Bluetooth", although that's not quite giving Sonos's engineers quite enough credit. You can integrate it with an existing Sonos system in your house just like any other Sonos speaker, and it'll talk to the same range of music streaming services and work across Alexa or Google Assistant, although not both at once.

Lift it up – and it is pretty heavy, although that's what gives it the music capabilities it has – and you can take it portable with Bluetooth connectivity to send audio of your choice to it while out and about. Its IP56 rating means that it can survive a little dampness if it rains, although not being fully submerged. As a Bluetooth speaker, it is just a speaker – Google Assistant and Alexa don't travel with it – but it's an exceptional unit if you want public music playback wherever you are.

Amazon prices last updated on 5 December, 2023 at 08:01 am
eBay prices last updated on 5 December, 2023 at 09:13 am

Best Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri smart speakers

One of the most important details to keep in mind when choosing your first smart speaker is that it's essentially going to dictate the assistant that you're going to use for every other smart speaker you buy. Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are smart, but they're not smart enough to talk to each other, so it's wisest to pick one lane and stick with it in terms of your smart speakers, soundbars and displays.

You can get Amazon's Alexa assistant and the Google Assistant on third-party speakers and devices, but for now, Siri remains locked in an Apple-dictated ivory tower on just a couple of smart speakers as well as Apple's iPhones, iPod Touch, iPads and Mac computers.

If you're still trying to figure out the distinction, read our full guide to smart speakers.

Alexa: Amazon Echo 2020

Amazon's Echo 2020 has a pleasing design, an affordable price and some of the best microphone pick-up we've seen in a sub-$200 smart speaker to date.

Best Google Assistant Speaker: Google Nest Audio

The Nest Audio combines some great audio output, solid microphone pick-up and an affordable price point to take the top marks for Google Assistant speakers.

Best Siri Speaker: Apple HomePod Mini

This is only a field of two speakers, but Apple's done something remarkable with the HomePod Mini, delivering exceptional audio at a good price, which doesn't feel very "Apple" to us. It's limited to Apple Music only, but if that's your jam, it's a great option.

How to choose a smart speaker

Like a mobile phone, the biggest deciding factor when choosing a smart speaker should be the operating system. There are currently three different platforms available for smart speakers, each developed by a different giant of the technology industry:

Best smart speaker Echo


Amazon kickstarted the smart speaker industry when it launched Alexa-enabled speakers in the US. Alexa has a wide range of core functions built in, from calculations to translation to weather reports. But what makes it really impressive is the way Amazon opened up the platform to third-party integrations, known as Skills. The process for a business to build a Skill for an Alexa-enabled speaker is fairly straightforward, and there are over 10,000 Skills on offer for Australian users on the platform.

Best smart speakers Google Assistant

Google Assistant:

Google's digital assistant has the superpower of being able to leverage the power of Google to help answer your questions, and that's no small advantage. While Alexa can give you the weather forecast for Fiji in general, Google will give you the local weather for Nadi. Google also offers Actions as a way for third-party developers to integrate with the Google Assistant voice search, but it's not as elegant a solution as Amazon's Skills.

Best smart speaker Siri


Apple's smart assistant is the latest to make the jump from smartphone to smart speaker, but its functionality as a useful tool is severely limited. Apple has decided to pursue its strategy of a closed system, without support for third-party applications for music streaming or even multi-room audio. It can be used to control HomeKit-enabled smart home devices if you have them, but there's no open app marketplace for Apple's voice assistant.

In addition to the operating system, there are a few other key factors to consider when choosing your smart speaker:

Music streaming service

If you have a Spotify account, you'll want to make sure you can stream from your speaker before you hand over your money. And if you use Tidal, you're all out of luck.

Speaker quality

High-end audio quality isn't a common feature of most smart speakers so far (although some models bank their reputation on it), so if you insist on listening to music at the best possible quality, this will influence your purchasing decision.

Microphone quality

How well does the smart speaker hear you when you talk to it? Do you need to shout over background noise to be heard or can you use your normal voice? And when you speak, does it understand what you're saying? These are the questions that need to be answered when comparing the microphone functions of a smart speaker.

Water resistance

Planning on placing your speaker next to the kitchen sink? You may want to consider a model with an IP water-resistance rating, which should help protect it from accidental splashes.


Most smart speakers require a wired power connection to work, but there are some models that can operate off battery power, allowing you to take it around the house for convenience.

Smart home integration

If you plan on using your smart speaker as a central control hub for your smart home devices, you'll need to check that your smart home devices will work with your platform of choice.

Embedded screen

Not all smart speakers are purely speakers – there's a new breed of options that incorporate a screen into the device, allowing for things like video calls and Internet browsing. It's still relatively small, but expect it to grow massively in the near future.

App control

Each platform has its own mobile app for setting up the system as well as pairing streaming services and setting manual voice commands, so comparing the options is recommended to avoid disappointment.

What are smart speakers and how do they work?

At its most basic, a smart speaker is a voice-activated audio device that will listen for voice commands and execute them to the best of its abilities. This can be something as simple as playing the song you requested, or it could be as involved as you asking for the quickest route to the airport and the speaker determining it for you based on current traffic conditions.

The first smart speaker, Amazon Echo, launched in the US back in 2014. Since then multiple manufacturers have come to the table with smart speakers of their own. There are currently over 30 models to choose from, ranging from entry-level speakers that fit in your palm to bulky entertainment hubs with inbuilt LCD displays.

The brain - and voice - of a smart speaker is delivered by its inbuilt virtual assistant. This is a sophisticated form of AI software that responds to your commands with appropriate actions and responses. Thanks to cloud learning technology and frequent software updates, virtual assistants are becoming increasingly adept at understanding spoken language. You no longer have to talk slowly and robotically to get them to do what you want.

As they rely on cloud technology, smart speakers require a constant internet connection to provide voice-activated functionality. Without the virtual assistant, a smart speaker is just a regular speaker. Inside its body, your average smart speaker packs one or more audio speakers, usually in the form of woofers and tweeters, along with an array of microphones for detecting voice commands.

With an increasing number of options out there, not to mention the frequent updates to existing devices, figuring out which smart speaker to buy can be a little confusing. To help you make an informed decision, we've collected and compared the key features of smart speakers available here in Australia. We've also tracked down the best smart speaker deals to save you money.

What can smart speakers do?

Despite what the name may suggest, smart speakers can do a whole lot more than simply play music. Thanks to the impressive voice-recognition software powering Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri, smart speakers that run on these virtual assistants can perform a wide array of tasks including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Read the latest news headlines
  • Report on current traffic conditions
  • Deliver a weather forecast
  • Answer fact-based questions
  • Entertain children with stories and games
  • Manage your personal calendar
  • Find local services
  • Make a booking at a restaurant
  • Order an Uber
  • Host interactive quizzes and trivia tests
  • Place a hands-free voice call
  • Take notes
  • Set an alarm
  • Interface with other smart devices in your home
  • Spoken recipe instructions

And of course, they can play music from a variety of online streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music.

What makes smart speakers so compelling, though, is the fact that their capabilities aren't limited to those they come with out of the box. Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri are constantly developing new skills, allowing them to access a broader range of online stores and services, to deliver more accurate and more detailed answers to your questions and to connect with a wider variety of smart devices.

These skills don't just come from Google, Amazon and Apple, either. All three provide a means for app developers to build smart-speaker functionality into their own apps and services. Because of this, skills can be built and updated quickly without the bottleneck of a single company's approval process.

The decentralised nature of these skills also means they're less bound by hardware than a lot of modern devices. The smaller, cheaper Echo Dot, for example, can do everything the bigger Echo can – the only concession is the Echo Dot's less-powerful speaker. From a functionality standpoint, this means you don't have to worry about upgrading to a newer model to get the latest software features.

What are your main options?

The three key names in smart speakers are Amazon, Google and Apple. You can buy physical smart speakers from other manufacturers, but they all use virtual assistants developed by one of the aforementioned companies. (The Sonos One uses Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, for example.) Both Google and Amazon offer multiple models of their speakers, which feature smaller or larger internal speakers and different designs.

For the most part, the actual hardware matters less than the virtual assistant it plays home to. As such, you only need to consider three main options: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri.

Google Assistant

As the first of the big three to reach Aussie shores, Google Assistant has a strong foothold in the Australian smart speaker market. Since its launch, it has steadily expanded its repertoire with features like hands-free calling, audiobook support and the ability to act as an intercom when you own two or more Google Assistant devices.

Google hasn't been shy about getting Google Assistant out there, either. Numerous devices, including select smartphones, smart TVs and Google's own Chromecast HDMI dongles, are compatible with Google Assistant, allowing them to link up and respond to your voice commands even if they don't support it on their own.

By default, Google Assistant activates with the command phrases "Ok Google" and "Hey Google", and you can tie it to your Google Account for more personalised responses along with the ability to distinguish your voice from anyone else who uses the same device.

Google recently re-branded some of its Google Home range as 'Google Nest'. This is to align it with the company's other smart home products which include smart displays, WiFi routers, smoke alarms and security systems. Apart from the name change, the products remain the same.

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Amazon Alexa

Despite enjoying a two-year head start in the US, Amazon Echo was late to the party in Australia – it launched six months after Google Home. On the plus side, this meant we received a matured version of Alexa, which is arguably the most intelligent of the three main virtual assistants. (Although a case could be made that Google has surpassed it.)

Along with the standard retinue of smart functionality, Amazon Alexa boasts the largest array of third-party skills of any assistant on the market. There are already thousands of apps available for extending Alexa's abilities beyond what it includes out of the box, and many are tailored specifically for Australia. Unfortunately, a large number of Alexa skills aren't currently available on the Amazon Australia website which may cause compatibility issues with your device.

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Apple's Siri is unarguably the most famous virtual assistant thanks to the iPhone version. However, it's still a ways behind the competition in the smart speaker game. In traditional Apple style, Siri is only available on Apple's own devices, leaving you with just a single option for a Siri-enabled smart speaker: the Apple HomePod.

As the flagship device for Siri on smart speakers, the HomePod doesn't make the greatest first impression. Its support for basic functionality is lacking not only when compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but even compared to what Siri can do on the iPhone as well. For instance, Siri can only play songs from Apple Music, with no direct way of linking your Spotify or Google Play Music account. Also, it only supports a single user, and its ability to understand and answer your queries is decidedly limited in comparison to Google and Amazon's assistants.

On the plus side, Apple HomePod provides a superior audio experience to other first-party smart speakers and is very simple to use. If you're already ensconced in the Apple ecosystem, the lack of compatibility with other services may be less of an issue.

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Which smart speaker is best for you?

Like most products and services these days, there is no "best" smart speaker for all situations. Your brand affinity, budget and how you're going to use it all influence which speaker will best serve your needs. Even the decor in your house might dictate which speaker will fit you the best. The standard white design of Google Home looks fine when paired with a similarly light-coloured room, but it can seem a little out-of-place when stationed amidst darker furniture.

Nevertheless, if you're after a quick overview of what each speaker does best and worst, take a look at the comparison below:

Google Home
  • Good sound quality
  • Easy setup
  • A growing range of supported platforms
  • No support for Google Play Movies
  • Can't answer a lot of queries
  • Occasional quirks with language
Google Home Hub
  • Unobtrusive design
  • Works seamlessly with YouTube
  • Easy operation of smart home appliances
  • Small display
  • No camera means no video calling
  • Can't cast video to its display
Amazon Echo
  • Great value for money
  • Well-balanced sound
  • Improved speakers
  • No built-in smart home hub
  • Commands can feel unnatural
  • Zigbee smart home hub missing
Amazon Echo Plus
  • Voice detection is top-notch
  • Thousands of skills on offer
  • Able to control smart home devices without other hubs
  • No support for multiple voices
  • Audio quality is pretty poor
  • Smart home hub still has limited opportunity
Apple HomePod
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Very simple to set up
  • Attractive design
  • Siri isn't as smart as it should be
  • No external input
  • No native support for anything but Apple Music
Sonos One
  • Superb audio quality
  • Alexa and Google Assistant integration for smart home control
  • Sonos app works well across streaming services
  • No Alexa calling
  • Bulky design
  • No Bluetooth compatibility

How to compare smart speakers in Australia

When choosing a smart speaker, consider the following factors:

Voice detection accuracy

Your new smart speaker won't do you much good if it can't understand your accent or has trouble converting your voice commands into useful answers. If you can, test out prospective speakers at a store or a friend's place before plonking down your cold hard cash. If you don't, you might be left with nothing more than a stubbornly ignorant and expensive paperweight.

Audio quality

Along with the varying audio capabilities of the three main speakers, Google and Amazon both offer smaller and cheaper models that cut back on audio quality even further. If you only plan on using your new speaker to issue commands and ask questions, these cheaper options are an excellent choice, but if you want to crank up your favourite tracks so you can hear them clearly down to the other end of the house, you'll want to opt for a speaker with more audio oomph.

Smart home compatibility

New smart home devices seem to crop up every other week, and this can make it tricky for hub devices like smart speakers to maintain compatibility with them all. If you've already kitted your house out with a bunch of smart devices, you'll want to make sure that your new smart speaker supports them – preferably through native support. Otherwise you'll have to spend hours devising hacky work-arounds or simply abandon the effort and miss out on voice control altogether.

Hardware extras

Apart from speaker quality, are there any other hardware features you might need? Premium specs like touch screens and wireless portability usually cost extra, so consider if you actually need them before making your purchase.


Tech is rarely cheap, and while Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot offer an affordable entry point into the smart speaker market, you'll want to be aware of their concessions before discounting their more expensive brethren. Audio quality and voice detection suffer in these cheaper models, so be sure to manage your expectations along with your budget.

Future support

Because the virtual assistants powering all three smart speakers are stored in the cloud, they're able to constantly evolve with new skills over time. This means it's worth considering not only the features a smart speaker has now, but the features it could get in the future when deciding which one to buy. See what the major manufacturers are promising and what their track record for supporting older devices is like.

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