Skip to main content

Apple HomePod Mini vs. Apple HomePod

Apple’s HomePod mini is one of the most popular smart speakers of 2023 — but the newly announced HomePod is going to give it a run for its money. While the miniature HomeKit hub can control your smart home gear and engage with Siri, the HomePod 2023 can do all of that while also pumping out some impressive audio. But does the HomePod do enough to warrant its $299 price tag? Here’s a closer look at both the HomePod and HomePod mini to help you determine which is best for your smart home.

Pricing and availability

One of the most common complaints about the original HomePod (released in 2018) was that it was one of the most expensive smart speakers on the market. That’s still true, as the HomePod 2023 clocks in at $299.

The HomePod mini, on the other hand, is priced more competitively at $99, the same as the fourth-generation Amazon Echo.

Winner: The HomePod mini wins easily. However, these two speakers are so different that it’s difficult to compare them solely on the cost.


HomePod Mini

The design differences between the two HomePods are stark: The HomePod 2023 is designed to have a central location with its large, cylindrical shape, and the focus on competing with past Amazon Echo devices is clear. The fabric material helps protect the internal speakers, while the solid 5.6-inch base needs a bit of space. There is a simple LED light at the top to serve as an indicator and enable somewhat confusing touch controls — tap for volume controls, press down for Siri, double-tap to skip songs, etc. It also features the S7 chip for advanced room-sensing abilities and can optimize its performance based on its surroundings.

The HomePod mini goes for a very different approach. This rounded speaker sports a bulbous design and is much smaller — only 3.3 inches high and 3.9 inches wide. This allows it to sit more comfortably on narrow shelves or bed stands, and you don’t have to find as much space on your desk to add a HomePod Mini companion.

Winner: HomePod mini. The little orb looks great and is easier to position in different locations throughout the home.

Speakers and sound

Two Apple HomePods (second gen).

The HomePod 2023 is equipped with a four-inch, high-excursion woofer and five tweeters, plus spatial awareness technology to adapt sound for the room it’s in. In other words, Apple has put some impressive tech into the HomePod, and it’ll sound great regardless of where you place it or what it’s streaming.

The HomePod mini is designed more for accessibility than for sound. It only has one full-range driver, plus a design that includes dual passive radiators for amplification (Amazon’s latest Echo does a bit better with a 3-inch woofer and dual 0.8-inch tweeters). In lieu of dedicated spatial adaptivity, Apple pairs its S5 chip with a feature called computational audio for the HomePod mini. While the speaker doesn’t exactly adapt to its listening environment, the computational function helps to balance sound output based on where the speaker is placed and what type of content it’s playing. In terms of highs and lows, the HomePod mini does a great job of delivering both without cutting off the bass, but it’s no HomePod.

The mini is designed more for up-close, personal sound for one person — it’s another indication that the HomePod mini is most at home on your desk while you work (or in a similar location). Apple suggests setting up HomePod minis around the house for better sound results, but this just raises the cost up to HomePod levels without as many benefits for audio quality.

Both speakers have multiroom audio options, too. That means that if you have two HomePods of either model, you can link them together and play the same music/sounds on both at the same time. This is a bonus for those who already have a HomePod but are thinking about getting a mini (and it also works with AirPlay 2). Apple has an Intercom mode that allows HomePods to act as two-way audio devices, too.

Long story short — HomePod is designed to churn out incredible sound, while the HomePod mini is meant to be a bit more accessible and is great for smaller spaces.

Winner: HomePod

Siri and smart features

There’s no battle between voice assistants here, as each speaker uses Siri and has all the same Siri capabilities. They can both act as smart home hubs for HomeKit home automation and support AirPlay 2 devices.

Likewise, both speakers offer the same services. Both are compatible with Apple Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and, as well as any Apple Podcasts.

Both smart speakers also support Matter, allowing you to sync with other Matter-enabled devices.

Winner: N/A

Apple TV compatibility

Apple HomePod second-gen in a stereo pair.

HomePod mini and HomePod both work with Apple TV. This makes it easy to enhance your audio or gain Siri smart controls. Of course, the larger HomePod is going to sound better than the HomePod mini when connected to your system, but it’s great that both products offer the feature.

Winner: N/A

Which should you buy?

For a personal smart speaker sitting beside you on your desk, the affordable HomePod mini is the best choice. For full-room sound and entertainment, as well as connections with your home theater, the HomePod is a better choice.

Considering the costs, if you don’t have any experience with HomePods, we suggest buying the HomePod mini (the same goes for giving it as a gift, too). This is a great entry-level pick, and you can add the larger HomePod later on if you want to build out your Apple collection.

Editors' Recommendations

The best video doorbells for 2023
A person pressing the Arlo Video Doorbell.

If you’re interested in monitoring your front porch while away from home, then you’ll want to take a look at the best video doorbells of 2023. Video doorbells have come a long way over the past few years, giving you unprecedented access to your front door regardless of location. Whether you’re looking for an affordable model with the basics or a premium model that can do it all, our list of the best video doorbells has you covered.

Don’t have time to wait through the full list? If you’re a newcomer to the smart home world, consider picking up the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen). And if you’re looking for a premium model, consider the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 or Arlo Video Doorbell, as both offer tons of features to keep your home secure.

Read more
The 10 best smart home products not made by Google or Amazon (or their subsidiaries)
The Arlo Pro 4 home security camera installed outdoors.

Amazon and Google might dominate the smart home market, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only companies churning out high-end products in that category. Companies like Wyze, Arlo, and even Apple have shown time and again they’re capable of competing with the two well-known companies — and they’ve got plenty of highly rated products to prove it.

If you don’t want to pick up smart home products from Amazon or Google (or their subsidiaries), here are the best smart home products to buy.

Read more
The best smart home devices for 2023
An iRobot Roomba 694 next to a wall, vacuuming pet hair.

With hundreds of incredible products available, it can be intimidating to piece together a smart home. From smart displays and smart thermostats to smart light bulbs and video doorbells, not only are there tons of categories to browse, but each category is filled with highly reviewed products that can be difficult to distinguish from one another. If you’re in the market for a new smart home gadget or are just starting your smart home journey, there are tons of factors to consider.

If you need help navigating all the products, here’s a look at the best smart home devices of 2023 across a wide variety of categories. It’s hard to go wrong with products from big names like Ring, Arlo, Amazon, and Google, but if you need a bit more guidance, here are some of our top picks.
Voice assistant

Read more