Why you might want a Chromecast speaker

A Chromecast Audio speaker connects to your home Wi-Fi network, and receives Internet-based audio content from a Chromecast-compatible app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Chromecast’s main advantage over the more common Bluetooth standard is that it lets you play the same audio on multiple speakers throughout your home. You can also play music from a phone or tablet on a speaker in another part of your home, and can control it using voice-commands through Google Home. You can also add Chromecast to practically any speaker with a 3.5 mm analog input, using Google’s inexpensive Chromecast Audio dongle.

How we picked and tested

Panelist Phil Metzler contemplates the merits of the design of the various Chromecast speakers after the black cloth was removed to reveal their identities. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

When looking for the best Chromecast speaker, the only feature we insisted on was Google Chromecast (or in the case of our runner-up, the ability to incorporate a Chromecast Audio dongle).

There were a few other features that aren’t really necessary, but we appreciated seeing them anyways:

  • Supports for Bluetooth or AirPlay, in addition to Chromecast
  • Physical controls for functions like volume or play/pause, for times when you can’t find your phone or the phone’s in a different room
  • Ability to be used portably via a rechargeable battery

We ended up with 10 speakers that fit our criteria, at prices ranging from a little over $100 to almost $500. We started by using them in a casual manner, setting each up on our network, and…

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