You just purchased a shiny, new Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home Mini, or HomePod. Congratulations! Now the fun begins. You spend a few minutes unpacking the smart speaker and admire it from outside of its box. Now it’s time to plug it in and start using it. But therein lies the problem. Where should you put it?
Choosing A Room With Data
Where do people usually put their smart speakers? Voicebot asked this very question to 1,000 smart speaker consumers in the U.S. in January, 2020. Here’s what the survey results found to be the most popular rooms, ranked from most to least popular:
- Living Room
- Home Office
A whopping 45.5% of consumers surveyed say they have a smart speaker in their bedroom, with the living room as the close runner up to being the most popular location. The survey did find, though, that if consumers only have one smart speaker in their home, they’re more likely to put it in the living room instead of their bedroom. So if you’re still deciding where to place your Amazon Echo, HomePod, or Google Home, are your best options limited to these two rooms?
Not exactly. Take this data with a grain of salt. The most popular rooms don’t necessarily mean they’re the best place to put a smart speaker. Instead, let’s use this room list as a starting point when considering what you can do with smart speakers.
A Better Way, By Usage
Instead of taking a tour of your home and deciding which room to put your smart speaker in, ask yourself this question: “what do I want to do with it?” Answering this question will help you figure out where you’ll get the most value out of your smart device.
For inspiration in answering this question, below are some ways a smart speaker is useful per room choice.
The bedroom is a popular choice, but it’s also such a general term. Which bedroom? The choice could be yours, your kids’, the baby’s room—and so on. It’s hard to say if one bedroom is better than the other, as all rooms could benefit from a smart speaker.
As an example, many people—including myself—use a smart speaker as an alarm. You can ditch the clock radio and use a HomePod or other smart speaker instead. Other popular uses for the device in the bedroom include listening to the news, or music such as ambient noise for sleeping, and even stories via audiobooks.
Overall though, the bedroom type is important. Depending on the specific bedroom, you’ll use your smart speaker differently. For instance, having a smart speaker in a nursery is ideal for when you’re changing diapers. You have features that track baby info like feeding and changing cycles, as well as white noise to soothe the baby to sleep (one of my favorite uses). You can also set your Smart Lights to the right color and brightness to make sure you can see while letting your little one sleep.
Contrary to popular opinion, the living room is my least favorite room for placing your smart speaker. While this location is decent for playing music, like if you’re entertaining guests, and for controlling other smart devices, like Smart Lights, I find the living room to be more challenging to get the most out of your smart speaker. After all, your TV competes with your attention, and you’re more likely to be watching TV than regularly engaging with your smart speaker.
That said, many people start with the living room first. The benefit is many people spend most of their time in their living room, and therefore, have easier access to their smart speaker in this room throughout the day. You can also utilize certain voice commands to help find multimedia to watch. So if you’re still getting a feel for all of the features and capabilities of your smart speaker, try placing it in the living room.
Personally, out of all five room options, I’d start with the kitchen. My favorite use for smart speakers in the kitchen are for setting up timers, hands down. You can ditch the clunky oven clock and rely on your Google Home or other smart speaker to be your timer instead. You can also set up reminders for kitchen chores throughout the day, like watering plants, making sure sure my house plants don’t turn brown.
What’s more, a smart speaker with a screen, like an Echo Show, works even better in the kitchen. Not only can you follow along to recipes by sound, but you can also use the screen to check instructions, all while being hands free. Using a smart speaker in the kitchen for cooking new meals has definitely saved me from burning dishes.
At first you might be thinking the bathroom is an unlikely place to get value out of your Google Home or other smart speaker. But turns out, if you plan on using your smart speaker for playing music, the bathroom is a surprisingly good choice. When getting ready in the morning, you can easily play music, catch the news, or start up a podcast—all without touching your device. I personally love the ability to play music and jump to different songs while in the shower, as I don’t need to fiddle with the device buttons with my soapy hands.
It might surprise you that the home office is ranked as the least popular choice out of the five room options. After all, survey respondents would rather put a speaker in their bathroom than in their home office. That sounds odd, right?
Turns out, they’re not wrong. Much like my thoughts on the living room, I think a home office proves difficult in getting the most value from a smart speaker. Many people have a sound system already in use, like with desktop speakers. And with a home computer already at your fingertips, the added benefits of using a smart speaker quickly get shadowed.
That said, if you have a smaller home, like an apartment or condo with fewer rooms, consider putting your smart speaker in your office. It’s likely to be reachable by voice throughout your home and can be useful for setting up notes, calendar invites, and meetings.
Finding the Right Spot
After weighing your options and choosing a room to place your smart speaker, you still have another challenge. What’s the right spot in the room itself to put your device?
When setting up smart speakers in a room, consider these points:
- Wifi coverage
- Open spaces
- Location of power outlets
Look for a fairly open spot that’s above the ground. The more visible it is, the more likely your smart speaker will be able to hear your voice commands. Shelves, tables, and windows are all good choices, especially if you can hide the power cord behind something.
Also keep in mind that smaller smart speakers, like Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, have wall mounts that allow you to attach the device right to the wall next to your wall plug. This works out great for some locations, like a bathroom or nursery bedroom, for getting wires out of the way that could pose a danger to you or someone else in your home.
So there you have it! Go ahead and plug in your new smart speaker with peace of mind knowing you’ve chosen the right room and spot to get the most out of it.