The Google Assistant is Google's own digital voice assistant, and for many people, it's one of the best options out there for digital voice assistants. This is largely because Google has its own search engine backing the Assistant, so when you ask it a question, it is more likely to know what you are talking about. Google Assistant is also great for controlling your smart home.
However, since Google opened up the Assistant for use in third-party speakers almost two years ago, there are many Google Assistant-enabled speakers out there, and it's hard to tell which one is the best for consumers to pick up. This is the Best Google Assistant speaker that is currently available (note: we only considered smart speakers that were on store shelves at time of publication, not those that will be coming "soon".)
Best Google Assistant Speaker: Google Home Max
When it comes to smart speakers, first-party speakers are usually the best route to go. This is primarily because they do have better microphone setups, so that your speaker can still hear you even when there is a lot of background noise. That is part of the reason for Google Home Max being the absolute best.
Another reason is the sound quality. The Google Home Max is a larger Google Home smart speaker - as indicated by the name - but it also means that we are getting much better sound quality versus something like the JBL LINK 20 or Google Home.
Speaking of audio, Google's Room EQ is like magic. This will essentially adjust the way the music sounds coming out of the Home Max, depending on where you put it in the room. So if you put it in a corner, it'll sound different, versus placing it in the middle of the room. Media EQ will fine-tune the sound coming out, and make each song the Home Max plays, sound even better than it did before. Google does allow you to pair the Google Home Max with another, for a really awesome sounding stereo setup - that is also wireless.
This is a Google Home speaker, so the Google Assistant is included. Allowing you to play music from Google Play Music, Spotify, and much more. It can also be used to control your smart home.
The Google Home Max is not cheap, coming in at $399, but it is worth the price. As an added bonus, Google does give you a 14-day trial of YouTube Music Premium - which can then be extended to 30 days. Giving you a way to check out Google's latest music streaming service. You can pick it up from Best Buy.
Best Portable Google Assistant Speaker: JBL LINK 20
This is actually one of only two portable Google Assistant-enabled speakers, and both are from JBL. There's the LINK 10 and 20, with the LINK 20 being a bit better due to its larger size.
The JBL LINK 20 is a portable speaker with the Google Assistant built-in. It does have far-field microphones built-in, allowing the LINK 20 to actually be able to hear you while you are talking to it. Whether or not there is background noise making it more difficult for it to hear you. Which is a good thing here, especially since some third-party speakers can have trouble hearing you.
Since this is a portable smart speaker, it does not "always-listen" for the "OK Google" command. Instead you will need to either keep it plugged in and on for it to be always-listening, or you will need to press the Google Assistant button on the top. JBL did include four LED lights on the front to indicate that the Google Assistant is active, which is a big help. But the experience will be a bit different compared to a non-portable Google Assistant-enabled speaker.
As expected, the JBL LINK 20 also has some really good sound quality. It has JBL's iconic sound signature, which will provide for some really impressive bass, as well as some crisp mids and highs. This is a 360-degree speaker, which will allow you to fill the entire room with sound, and no matter where you are sitting, it will give you the same sound experience.
The JBL LINK 20 is not the cheapest smart speaker you can buy right now, coming in at $199.95. But like the Google Home Max, it is worth its price. You can purchase it from directly from JBL's website.
Best Budget Google Assistant Speaker: Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is both the smallest and the cheapest Google Assistant smart speaker you can buy, and it's actually worth buying. This is a smaller speaker, shaped similar to a hockey puck, but it will allow you to put the Google Assistant in more rooms in your home, so you can use the Assistant for everything.
Google Home Mini does not have the best audio experience, coming from such a small speaker, that should be no surprise. The good thing, however, is the fact that you are able to connect this to another speaker, say a more expensive speaker that outputs much better sound quality. Allowing you to smarten that speaker at the same time. Unfortunately, this has to be done over Bluetooth, so there can be a bit of lag, compared to Amazon Alexa which can do it with a 3.5mm cable.
With the Google Assistant built into the Home Mini, you are going to be able to set alarms, ask Google questions, use it to control your smart home and so much more. The possibilities with the Google Assistant are essentially endless right now. It is a great option to put in your bedroom or bathroom, as it is small and still allows you to play music and such. Speaking of which, Google does provide Home Mini buyers with a 14-day free trial of YouTube Music Premium, and that can be extended to 30 days as well. Similar to the Google Home Max offering.
The Google Home Mini is typically priced at $49.99, however it is currently still at its Black Friday price of $29.99 at Best Buy and many other retailers.