Sometimes you want a wireless speaker that can move from room to room (or go al fresco). Sometimes you want a bluetooth speaker so you don't have to leave your phone plugged in — or a speaker that you can control with your voice through Alexa or Google Assistant. Check, check, check! Here, the GolfHr Institute Media & Tech lab has a recommendation for every first-world desire.
Google Home Max boasts the full benefits of Google Assistant: You can check the weather, set a timer, and control smart items in your home. On top of that, you get next-level sound quality with which most smart assistant speakers just can't compete. Testers were big fans of the deep bass and powerful sound, but know it'll have to stay in one place since it plugs into the wall.
If you're not ready to shell out for the Google Home Max, the Google Home Mini gives you all the capabilities of a Google Home for 1/8th of the price. It still offers quality sound, too — enough to fill an office or bedroom for casual listening. Just like the Google Home Max, it plugs into the wall.
Pop this on your backpack for a hike, hang it in the bathroom for shower jams, or attach it to your chair at the pool. Its IPX7-rated, meaning it can handle water splashes and claims to have a battery life of eight hours. Last but not least, we were impressed with its sound considering its size.
This Bose speaker claims to have an eight-hour battery life and is water resistant (a bit of rain is fine ... but maybe don't risk a full-on thunderstorm). Pairing is easy with NFC-enabled smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy — all you have to do is tap.
Our testers were fans of this speaker's sound quality and look. It gives you the full benefits of Amazon Alexa, which can do things like set a timer, play music, or even give you stain advice from . You can kick-off a playlist with your voice, or connect through Bluetooth (as long as it's plugged in!).
This speaker is a must at your next BBQ. It packs powerful sound and a claims a battery life of up to 16 hours. It also works as an Amazon Alexa, so you can play music with your voice, order from Amazon, and even control your lights. The IPX7 rating means it can handle water from the pool after a cannonball.
The JBL acts just like a Google Home, with portable benefits. It claims to go up to 10 hours without needing to be charged, and you can pop it in the kitchen to help set timers, look up recipes, or play music as you cook. Bring it back to the living room to relax or control your Chromecast.
Set this up on your coffee table for your next get together. Without taking up much space, this speaker can still get loud enough to fill a room. It claims to have a battery life of 12+ hours, and if your parties tend to last all weekend, you can .
If you're looking to build a sound system throughout the whole house, the Sonos One is The One. Available in sets of up to four, these speakers are strong alone or can link together to create an immersive sound experience with easy voice control (it has Alexa built-in). It can also link up with other Sonos products, so you can customize to your heart's content.
Apple's flagship smart speaker packs incredible sound quality. It has a powerful bass and technology that analyzes its environment, adjusting the way it plays music accordingly. It integrates with Apple Music and uses Siri, iPhone's voice assistant (sorry, Android owners). Good to know: Instead of Bluetooth, you'll need to use Airplay to stream music from platforms outside of Apple Music. It's not portable, but rather is meant to be your main, stationary speaker for entertainment.