6 On Your Side, Consumer Confidence: Is it time for a smarter smart speaker?

(ABC 6 NEWS) – Many of us rely on our smart speakers for things like a quick weather forecast or occasionally that impossible math equation on your kid’s homework, and they’ve come a long way since Amazon’s Alexa first came on the scene.

Sound quality is important if you love to listen to music on your smart speaker. And CR says the second-generation Sonos One is among the best sounding speakers in its ratings. And it’s one of the few smart speakers that’s compatible with both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

If you’d prefer a smart speaker with a screen, the top performer is the Amazon Echo Show 10. It’s great in the kitchen because you can use voice control instead of your dough-covered hands.

However, it needs space—about the size of a beach ball—since the screen uses motion-sensing technology to follow you around. Without that space, it could pose a safety hazard.

“I put a bottle of cooking oil a little bit too close to it and when I walked around, the screen actually knocked over the bottle of cooking oil,” Allen St. John, Consumer Reports Tech Editor said.

If you don’t have room to spare, CR suggests the second-generation Amazon Echo Show 8, which has a stationary base.

If you prefer a Google smart speaker, the Google Nest Audio is a good option. Some users find its interface more natural and easier to use than Alexa. Its sound quality is better than earlier generations.

If you’re just looking for a smart speaker to listen to a podcast or the weather report, CR says you don’t have to spend a lot.

“Pretty much every smart speaker works the same. That’s because the functionality isn’t in the speaker itself. It’s actually in the servers that are up in the cloud,” St. John said.

For that, CR suggests the fourth-generation Amazon Echo Dot.