by Jennifer Allen on
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The Echo from Amazon and the Home from Google are both pretty great as web-powered voice assistants. But they do have one fatal flaw: they’re tethered to a power supply. The solution is a battery base.
Stick your smart speaker on one of these gadgets, with an integrated battery that can power it for several hours, and suddenly you can take it anywhere in the house. Or anywhere with a Wi-Fi signal, for that matter—if your speaker supports direct input, it can even work as an amplifier for your phone or laptop. Just to round out the list, we’ve also selected the best low-cost, third-party smart speakers that include their own batteries.
Niche manufacturer Ninety7 has a few spots on this list, because they’re clearly the best in this oddly specific product category. The Loft is the crown jewel of their product line, offering a base that fits neatly in with the replaceable fashion covers for the Google Home itself.
And speaking of fashion, it comes in black, grey, and brass finishes to complement your choice of décor. The magnetic battery powers itself with the Home’s own adapter cable, so you can leave it plugged in when you’re not using it in portable mode, and it will last for up to eight hours on a charge.
This base is essentially the same design as the Loft above, albeit not quite as sleek-looking since it needs to hold the much less avant-garde Google Home Mini. That said, the Jot and the Home Mini make for a fetching little combo: slide the speaker in and plug in the USB charger and it’s good to go for eight hours.
Again, you won’t need an extra charger since it uses the one that comes with the Home Mini. The finish comes in silver or black to match your Home Mini, though to be honest, contrasting the colors looks pretty good, too.
For Amazon’s larger Echo and even larger Echo or Echo Plus, we’ve selected this design from Smatree. The extra-firm base is handy, since neither Amazon speaker is as bottom-heavy as their Google counterparts and you’ll want a little extra stability.
As a bonus, it comes with an extra USB-out power slot, so you can also use this base as a handy phone charger. Depending on how much music you use, the portable battery base will last somewhere between five and ten hours. Note that this is specifically for the second generation Echo (with the fabric cover) and the Echo Plus: if you have the older, original Echo, get this model.
We’re back to Ninety7 for the much smaller, cheaper Echo Dot. This fetching fabric cover works with the second-gen Amazon Echo Dot (sorry, the curvier third gen doesn’t have any options at the moment—they’ll certainly be along in a few months).
With the extra room in the cylindrical base, the DOX can last for up to ten hours on a charge. Note that, despite the look, this base doesn’t include a separate speaker—you’ll want the VAUX design for that.
Insignia is Best Buy’s budget in-house brand, but they hit it out of the park with this economical portable speaker design. While it’s not as loud or as hi-fi as the Google Home, it can do everything that the more expensive model can, and it includes both an integrated battery for portable use and an LED clock.
At the time of writing Best Buy is selling these Google Assistant-compatible speakers for less than fifty bucks, and you can pick up a refurbished one for under thirty. If you’re looking for an easy, cheap way to fill your house with Google’s CIA listening device smart speakers, this is it.
With the curvy build, white color scheme and rainbow LEDs, you might mistake this thing for an off-brand Google speaker. Psyche: it’s an off-brand Amazon speaker. The DOSS Assistant includes all the same features as the Alexa, minus some of the nicer sound (it’s only 20 watts after all), at about half the price of an Echo. The built-in battery will go for eight hours, and it’s available in grey, pink, or mint green bases.
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