Smart speakers give you total control over heating, lighting and even security in your home, but as the name suggests, truly come into their own by bringing music to every room in your house.
With access to a streaming music service, you can can play millions of songs through apps on your smartphone tablet or even by using your voice.
The speakers are compatible with services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Amazon Prime, and you can even bring your CD player and turntable into the mix using special adapters.
Google, Amazon and Apple offer competiing devices in this field, so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing smart speakers and the audio technologies that go with then. Here's our complete guide to mastering the music in your home.
The Modern Family
Yours is a busy modern family which means that any one time there could be six different types of music playing under the same roof.
If you want to avoid the inevitable arguments over who gets to play what where and instead create a world of smart home harmony, Google's Chromecast is about to become your saviour.
Priced from £20, they’re an affordable and easy way to start streaming music around your home.
In addition, hundreds of speakers and products already support Google’s Chromecast built-in technology. If you see the logo on an app, an ad or a product box, it means you can stream audio from your phone or tablet straight to those speakers at the touch of a button.
And Chromecast loves old technology as much as new, so if you're still rocking that vinyl turntable, you can bring it into the smart home mix using Google's Chromecast Audio adapter.
Finally you can also bring your TVs into the mix with the Chromecast Ultra. It plugs into any TV and instantly lets you stream music, TV shows and films, again at the press of a button.
The Style Conscious
You want your music to sound amazing but you also want your speakers to make a visual statement.
Thankfully plenty of companies value design as much as audio quality, creating beautifully crafted speakers that feel as much at home in an art gallery as they do in your living room.
Bang & Olufsen is a great place to start. Every B&O speaker has its own idiosyncratic style, and yet all its units connect to your music hub using either Google Chromecast or B&O’s own smartphone app.
The star of the range is the A9, a huge minimalist disc floating on top of three wooden legs. The A9 is capable of filling even the largest room with stunning high-quality audio and floor-shaking bass.
Despite its smaller size, the B&O M5 is just as capable thanks to its high-quality 360-degree speakers that mean it’s equally at home on a kitchen counter as it is taking centre stage in the living room.
Alternatively, if you want to give your home the look of an Abbey Road recording studio then opt for KEF’s stunning LSX models. The self-proclaimed benchmark for audio quality, this British company has created a pair of wireless speakers that look as professional as they sound.
These smart speakers can again stream music straight from your Spotify app on your phone or through any Apple device.
You are an audio purist and want the best possible sound from your speakers whether you’re in the living room, bedroom or even the bathroom.
You want speakers that can reveal the hidden depths of your favourite tracks and can let you switch off from the outside world.
Thankfully there are some clear choices here and one of them is Sonos. The Californian company has created a family of speakers that blend exceptional audio quality while also being truly wireless.
Many of its speakers have been personally tuned by producer Giles Martin, the son of renowned Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
What makes the Sonos range so powerful is that thanks to a large range of speakers of all sizes, it can become the single brand you use across your entire home. Even better, all your Sonos speakers can then all be controlled through a single app.
If you've got a pair of beautiful old speakers that you can't say goodbye to, then don't panic. Sonos also has gadget called the AMP that connects to older speakers, CD players and even turntables.
Alternatively Bose now offers its own range of smart speakers, with the Bose Home Speaker 500 being a stand-out model. Despite its small size, it has a remarkable ability to fill a room with wide, crystal-clear audio. For multi-room audio it’ll connect to other home speakers and two of Bose’s own smart soundbars.
Finally, family-owned British audio company Ruark has its own superb smart speaker in the form of the MRx. Capable of being paired with other MRx speakers or other Ruark models, this all-in-one unit can stream audio over wi-fi or Bluetooth and like the rest of Ruark’s speakers it offers exemplary sound.
You're a person who loves travelling, which means that while you want a smart home you also want to be able to take your music with you when you leave.
You want speakers that sound great but can also survive a spot of weekend camping, being dropped in the pool or the inevitable bumps of being used by kids in the garden.
For you Bluetooth speakers are the answer. This simple technology is still one of the easiest and most effective ways of sending music to every part of your house and beyond.
Bluetooth works with the largest range of music services as you're simply sending the audio directly from your smartphone or tablet to the speaker. That means you can use Bluetooth speakers to broadcast audio from Soundcloud, iPlayer Radio, YouTube, Apple and more.
The UE Megaboom 3 is the perfect embodiment of this indoor/outdoor attitude. Despite looking smart enough for your living room this Bluetooth speaker is almost indestructible and comes with a huge 20-hour battery life.
JBL’s Charge 4 on the other hand was designed for the great outdoors from the start. Its rugged design means it can handle everything from a pool party to a weekend’s camping. It also comes with an added feature which lets you charge your phone from the speaker.
For those that want that festival feeling the Sony XB41 has been designed to stand out. LED strips surround the speaker’s powerful speakers, giving you something that’s as visually striking as it is audibly loud. Naturally for a speaker like this it’s waterproof and even rustproof so it’ll survive a close encoutner with the sea too.
Using your hands to control your music is so last century. You're part of a new breed and want to use technology to make your life easier and simpler. For you, voice assistants rule the home.
Voice assistants are the ultimate DJ who’ll take any request - just ask for a song and they'll play it. Want to move it to another room in the house? Easy, simply tell it where to send the audio stream and the voice assistant will obey.
The two clear giants here are Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, both of which are compatible with a huge range of speakers.
They work with Spotify, Google Play Music and Amazon Music Unlimited and can even broadcast your favourite radio stations and podcasts.
Both Amazon and Google have their own range of dedicated speakers ranging from the small Echo Plus and Google Home to the Google Home Max, a large high-quality speaker that’s perfect for a living room.
Sometimes music is best enjoyed alone and for you nothing beats popping on a pair of headphones, closing your eyes and losing yourself in your favourite tracks.
The world is a noisy place, especially if you’re sharing your home so the latest noise-cancelling headphones give you that precious piece of peace and quiet.
For those who want silence, Bose is the master of making you feel like it’s just you and the music. The QC35’s are the benchmark in noise-cancelling, whether you’re connected via a cable or wirelessly over Bluetooth.
You can fine tune the sound using the Bose app on your phone, while holding down the action button on the side of the headphones will instantly launch either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
If high-quality audio is your goal then look no further than Bowers & Wilkins’ P9 Signature headphones.
Each pair of headphones uses the finest materials, from Italian leather to space-grade aluminium, and their sound quality should be as wide and as detailed as any pair of professional speakers.
What the BeoPlay H4’s lack in noise-cancelling they more than make up for in style and comfort. With huge fluffy lambskin leather pads they’re enormously comfy to wear, making them perfect for even the longest of symphonies.