Home Speaker Quick Compare: Emergency calls, reminders, pricing & set-up dependencies


Are you considering a home speaker for hands-free emergency calls, med reminders, kitchen timers, or some other reason? There are a few key differences you should be aware of before making a decision. Beyond price, the most important ones are:

  1. Device compatibility: will you be able to set it up through a SmartPhone or tablet you already own?

  2. Will you be able to call 911 (if calling 911 is a priority)?

  3. Will you be able to call family, friends or other regular telephones?

  4. Will you get named alarms (if reminders are a priority)?

See the answers at a glance with the quick comparison charts below.

Each chart compares 6 popular speakers:

  • The Echo Dot & Google Home Mini: Amazon & Google's most affordable Mini Speakers

  • The Echo Plus & Google Home: Amazon & Google's combination Speaker/SmartHome Hub controllers with the lowest price tag

  • The HomePod: Apple's only speaker, a combination Speaker/SmartHome Hub controller.

Click here for comparisons of products, features and pricing available in the U.S.

Click here for comparisons of products, features and pricing available in Canada.

Analysis: Which Home Speaker is Best for Seniors?

I'm often asked which speaker I recommend. The answer changes based on your needs, priorities and the country you live in! It can also depend on the devices you already own because we need a SmartPhone or tablet to set up the speakers and their digital assistant apps.

For example, an iPhone 6 or higher is needed to make voice calling work with Alexa on the Echo speakers. And you can only call 911 if...

  • you live in the United States AND

  • have an Echo speaker AND

  • add an Echo Connect to turn your Echo into a hands-free speaker for the home phone.

Google Home speakers, however, do not require a SmartPhone to make calling work! You have the option to do set up through a tablet or a SmartPhone. However, Google has no way to make it possible to call 911 in any country (yet).

More Resources

Which speaker is best for older adult needs? Is there a checklist?

Click here for the post "The Best Home Speakers for Seniors: Amazon vs. Google".

Click here to get a shopping checklist.

Wishing you the best,

Janice