The best voice assistants: Summed up

How We Chose the Best Voice Assistants


The value of a voice assistant hinges on the number of things it can control. On your phone, it should be able to access apps and accomplish simple tasks. At home, it should be able to complete household commands, like switching the light bulbs on and the thermostat off. Voice assistants that boast broad compatibility give you seamless control over disparate technology, and, by extension, over the comfort and security of your home. It takes a major platform with a broad range of compatibilities to create a truly worthwhile voice assistant. Other, lesser-known options exist, but can’t compete when it comes to controlling devices or responding to queries. Third-party developers are flocking to a handful of well-known platforms. In order of their popularity with developers (according to a study by Adobe Analytics): We focused our research on these five voice assistants. All are available via smartphone, but we also highlight the best smart speakers that feature voice assistants.

Correct information, completed tasks

Affiliated smart speakers

The best voice assistants

Guide to the Best Voice Assistants

Remember that voice assistants are still developing

Voice assistants are evolving quickly, but they’re still in the early stages of development. Adam Fingerman, Chief Experience Officer and co-founder of ArcTouch explained that, at the moment, “Voice assistants are best for simple and quick answers or tasks. They are undeniably useful, but at the kindergarten level in terms of potential uses.” In other words, voice assistants aren’t yet able to complete exceedingly complex tasks or respond correctly to every request. But they’re still capable of adding convenience to the day-to-day.

IntelligentSmart home supportEasy shopping


Inaccurate answersNo mobile experience

Why we chose it


Smart home support

“Voice assistant technology is still in the early stages and requires a learning curve.” Lee Mallon Founder, Rarely Impossible

Easy shopping

Points to consider

Inaccurate answers

No mobile experience

AccuracyExpanding the range of capabilitiesGoogle compatibility


Second-best in device compatibility

Why we chose it


Expanding capabilities

Google compatibility

Unsurprisingly, Google Assistant has better compatibility with Google brands. Due to a May 2019 merger, those brands now include the Nest smart home suite. When asking questions, your assistant will look for the answer on Google – the most popular search engine in the world. Alexa, on the other hand, uses Bing.

Points to consider

Second-best in compatibility

Apple integrationHomeKit compatibilityLanguage support


Limited voice applicationsLimited device control

Why we chose it

Apple integration

When choosing a voice assistant, it makes sense to consider the technological ecosystem of your home or the brands and devices you use. Opting for Siri-enabled products can lead to a more streamlined tech experience for those who are loyal to the Apple ecosystem. Apple’s products excel at leveraging each other’s strengths – iPads, HomeKit devices, and the HomePod smart speaker are specifically designed to work better together.

HomeKit compatibility

Language support

Siri’s main advantage over competitors is the ability to understand multiple languages. The voice assistant currently understands 21 languages, compared to Alexa’s three and Google Assistant’s four. It’s important to recognize that Siri only supports English when using the Apple HomePod smart speaker. Still, her multilingual capabilities on the iPhone make her a strong option for those who speak a language outside of Alexa or Google Assistant’s limited options (English, French, German, Japanese).

Points to consider

Limited voice applications

The biggest drawback of Siri is that it doesn’t have many voice applications. The tight focus on the Apple ecosystem means popular services like Spotify or Pandora aren’t accessible through Siri. Having an iTunes account and skipping other music services isn’t an issue for those loyal to Apple. But for those who enjoy third-party services, a more flexible voice assistant is the better bet.

Limited device control

While Siri will allow you to control basic home automation features through HomeKit devices, other devices with the voice assistant aren’t quite as versatile. For example, the HomePod smart speaker won’t allow you to add events to your calendar through Siri and cannot identify different voices. There’s no reason not to use Siri for those with Apple products, but for those who want more versatile voice assistant devices for their kitchen or living room, Alexa and Google Assistant devices are the way to go.

Stay up to date with advancements

Choose the voice assistant to match your needs

Be proactive about privacy

Tech companies are responding en masse to public concern with privacy. A lot of it is lip service – talking up dedication to privacy in keynotes and press releases. But we have also seen promising, practical changes, like Google’s introduction of the kill switch in the newest Google Nest Home Hub. Innovations like this one affect smart home technology, an obvious focus in the privacy debate. We talked to Dr. Florian Schaub, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies human-computer interaction. He wants to see tech companies make more changes to the design and function of smart home tech in the interest of user privacy. In the meantime, his advice is to keep aware: “A smart speaker is a listening microphone.” Turn smart speakers and hubs off for private conversations. And think about where you place them in your home. A 2019 study conducted by Adobe on voice assistant use found that consumers are most likely to place their smart speaker in their living room or bedroom, but consider locating yours in a more public location, like the kitchen or foyer, to give you a clear delineation between where you will and won’t be heard. Leading tech companies are introducing more and more privacy measures to help consumers feel comfortable bringing smart devices home. Google is figuring out ways to accomplish more computing within the device, rather than exporting work to the cloud. As the big names jostle to establish themselves as privacy-friendly rather than privacy-invasive, we look forward to seeing more user control over voice assistant functionality.