HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot vs Nest Mini: Which is the best mini smart speaker?

HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot vs Nest Mini: Which is the best mini smart speaker?
(Image credit: Apple, Amazon, Google)

Welcome to this three-way showdown between the HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot vs Nest Mini, as we help you choose the best mini smart speaker for your home. 

Smart speakers are all the rage these days. Whether it’s for simply pumping out music or a podcast, adding items to your shopping list, or getting a recipe while your hands are full in the kitchen, they’re all as flexible as you make them. 

Apple’s HomePod Mini, Google’s Nest Mini, and Amazon’s Echo Dot are undoubtedly three of the most popular options for kicking off your smart speaker setup, and while there’s plenty of crossover, each excels in its own way. 

These diminutive speakers are the smallest, and most affordable options that each of these companies offer, which makes them perfect if you're short on space, cash, or both. You can get all the benefits of a smart speaker, without having to shell out a couple of hundred bucks for the privilege. 

But which of the three is the best between the Apple HomePod Mini, Amazon Echo Dot, and Google Nest Mini? To make your purchasing decision easier, we’ve put all three head-to-head to see which one is the smart speaker to rule them all.

HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot Vs Nest Mini - Design

While a smart speaker is usually something to be heard and not seen, design is important whether you’re looking to tuck it into a bookshelf or perch one on a windowsill. 

A quick glance at the latest version of the Echo Dot and the HomePod Mini and you may think they're one and the same, just with one upside down. That’s because they’re both almost spherical, with the HomePod Mini looking like a slice has been taken off of the top, and the Echo Dot looking more stable with a flatter base.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd gen smart speaker

(Image credit: Amazon)

The differentiator is the top of each device. While the Echo Dot’s traditional ‘blue ring’ of light is on the base, its touch controls are on the top. The HomePod Mini, however, has a clear, ‘magic 8-ball’ like surface that acts as a display for Siri when activated.

If you’re looking for the smallest option, though, the Nest Mini has its taller competitors beat. A flatter, puck-like design, it’s a little lower-profile (unless you opt for the orange color variant). It doesn’t have any obvious controls on the top, save for a series of dots that light up when it’s working and the ability to change volume by tapping the sides.

Winner: Nest Mini for size, a tie for preference

HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot Vs Nest Mini - Audio Quality

Here’s where the HomePod Mini really stretches its legs over the competition, with Apple’s small speaker borrowing a few tricks from the larger HomePod - namely its ability to adjust the audio based on the room it’s in.

If you have an Apple Music subscription and can take advantage of the service’s increased audio quality, you’ll be able to fill your room with crisp audio that Google and Amazon’s efforts can’t match. Sadly, there is no support for Spotify on the Homepod Mini at this time, so Spotify users should look elsewhere.

Apple Homepod Mini smart speaker

(Image credit: Apple)

The new, spherical Echo Dot is improved over its predecessors in terms of audio quality, but distortion is common at higher volumes.

Finally, the Google Nest Mini lacks in bass, but can adjust its audio to match a room’s ambient noise. It’s still punchy, though, and doesn’t distort like the Echo Dot once it gets louder.

Winner: HomePod Mini

HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot Vs Nest Mini - Price

When it comes to price, there’s only one winner. Google’s Nest Mini is just $34.99, and can often be found for less. The Echo Dot costs $49.99, but there’s a version with a clock display for $10 more.

The HomePod Mini is the more expensive of the bunch, at $99. For that price, you can find one of the big versions of the other two - the Echo and the Nest Audio.

Winner: Nest Mini 

Google Nest Mini smart speaker

(Image credit: Google)

HomePod Mini vs Echo Dot Vs Nest Mini - Which should you buy?

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to jump into a smart home setup, the Nest Mini is an excellent option. It's small, stylish, and offers decent sound quality for what you pay. 

The Echo Dot is a little pricier, but does offer a larger set of possibilities for your home setup. You can usually pick it up on offer during Amazon's many sales events too.

Finally, Apple’s HomePod Mini charges a premium for its unmatched audio quality, but unless you’re in Apple’s ecosystem it’s not likely to be for most users - particularly for Spotify users. 

Lloyd Coombes
Customer Advisor, Computing

Lloyd Coombes is Top Ten Reviews' Computing Customer Advisor, and a freelance writer with a specialism in tech, gaming, and fitness. Since starting out as a blogger, he’s written for sites like IGN, TechRadar, and more.

An expert on all things Apple ever since he got a second-hand iMac, Lloyd can regularly be found testing software on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac — when he’s not testing the platforms themselves, that is. He’s also Dexerto.com’s Games Editor, and a podcaster.

When he’s not writing, you can probably find him running after his son, playing Destiny 2, or at the gym.