Smart speakers are dominating the smart home market, with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri basically becoming new members of the family. If you are part of the one in six American families who own one – you know what we mean.  These popular virtual assistants have become a family’s go-to when it comes to have questions answered, managing schedules, recording shopping list, playing music, and even being a go-to tutor for your kids – and that’s just some of the cool things these home automation devices can do.

If you’re considering getting into the market of smart speakers – I mean, they’re pretty handy – then you’ll have to think about which smart home device is right for you. Unfortunately, the device can’t choose one for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is the home of Alexa, Amazon’s voice-control system. Amazon has a few different models ranging from $50 to $230.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, the latest version of the Amazon Echo is a great choice. For only $100, this device can play your favorite tunes, order food, answer your questions, control other smart home devices, among 1,000-plus other things.

Here are some quick specs and features to consider:

  • Five- inch woofer and 0.6-inch tweeter
  • Duel speaker with room-filing sound
  • Multi-room music (you can play music on compatible Amazon Echo devices in different rooms)
  • Three color options for fabric shells
  • Free audio calls to most numbers in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada

Pros

A big advantage of the second-generation Amazon Echo is the speaker size. According to online reviews, the speaker is perfect for kitchens, offices, dens, and bedrooms. It has also been designed for 360-degree dispersion, which means when placed in the middle of the room the sound will bounce off all four corners, giving you surround sound. The device also has an audio range of 10 to 15 feet, so there is no need to be right beside the device for Alexa to understand you.

You can also pair the Echo with your smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows you to play all your stored music, even if it’s stored in a program that Alexa doesn’t support.

Cons

According to reviewers, the biggest downfall is that Alexa isn’t as intelligent as its other competitors – Google Assistant and Siri. To combat this shortcoming, Amazon has promised new upgrades to Alexa’s ability and intelligence are coming soon. Another complaint is that the Echo requires an adapter to work. The device, unfortunately, doesn’t have wireless charging which greatly limits its portability.

Most reviewers agree that the speaker has improved since Gen 1, however, it still doesn’t compare to the higher quality Bluetooth speakers and the technology remains limited.

Current Promotional Offers

The second-generation Amazon Echo retails for about $100 on Amazon.com, however, Amazon currently has a “buy two and save $20 dollars” deal when you buy an Echo (2nd Gen) and Amazon Dot (3rd Gen).

Google Home

Another popular smart speaker option is Google Home, which is home to the Google Assistant. There are currently three types of options available – the Google Home Mini, the Standard Google Home, and the audio-focused Google Home Max.

All these devices are great for Chromecast owners, but they’re also a popular choice among music-lovers. Google Home can truly become your own personal DJ, offering one of the largest song libraries. However, Google Home isn’t just for music, it can tell you the weather report, lower the thermostat, or answer questions.

Here are some quick specs and features to consider for the standard Google Home:

  • 79-inch by 5.62-inches
  • Available only in white
  • High excursion speaker with two-inch driver plus duel two-inch passive radiators delivers clear highs and rich bass

Some of the features include:

  • Google Assistant can control more than 1,500 smart home programs from more than 100 brands
  • Far-field voice recognition supports hands-free use
  • Family-friendly features such as stories, games, and trivia
  • Capable of speaking in five different languages (English, Japanese, French, Italian, and German)

Pros

Google Home has many advantages including that the device can recognize different voices. This allows the user to have a personalize experience. Another great feature is that you can send any information that you’ve given to Google Home directly to your home.

Cons

A few cons that reviewers have noted is that Google doesn’t have a model that automatically detects other gadgets – meaning you need to spend more money on a hub. Also, you can’t order as much by voice as you can from Amazon’s smart home devices.

Current Promotional Offers

The standard Google Home retails for about $180 and the Google Home Mini retails for $80. Google has some serious discounts on all Google Homes for Black Friday. Save $44 on the Home Mini, $90 on the Home, and $100 on the Home Max.

Apple HomePod

Apple HomePod not only offers a new way to discover and interact with your music at home, but it can also help you with everyday tasks. Equipped with six microphones positioned around the device, it can pick up your voice from around the room without the need to raise your voice – just say “Hey Siri” and you’ll have access to a personal home assistant.

Here are some quick specs and features to consider:

  • 8-inches by 5.6-inches
  • Color options include Space Grey and White
  • High-excursion woofer with custom amplifier

Features included:

  • Touch Accommodations
  • Offers support for non-Apple music services
  • Siri can hear you no matter what volume your music is playing at
  • Connect to multiple HomePods around your house
  • Control HomeKit-compatible devices

Pros

What makes the HomePod stand out against its competitors is that it can detect the size, shape, and contents of the room the device is placed in – I mean, how cool is that?

Cons

Some reviews have suggested that the sound quality could be better.

Another con to this advice is that Android phone users won’t be able to connect with the device, and the HomePod isn’t able to integrate with all your devices, something that the Echo can do.

Current Promotional Offers

The Apple HomePod is on the pricey side, retailing at $349. Currently, Apple is offering special financing and $50 in gift cards when signing up for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards.