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The best Alexa speakers in 2021

best Alexa speakers
(Image credit: Future)

The best Alexa speakers are all excellent, but which one you should buy depends on your needs. Amazon and other third-party audio companies offer a large range of Alexa-enabled smart speakers and displays that cater to different use cases. 

All the best Alexa speakers will listen to your voice and can carry out different kinds of tasks. Whether you’re looking to stream music from Spotify, control your smart home devices, change the channel of your smart TV, create a home communication hub, get a report of the weather or order food hands-free, Amazon’s voice assistant can help. 

When you know how to use Alexa, having a smart speaker (or three) will let you take advantage of all the best Alexa skills and features. But not all the best smart speakers are made the same — that’s why we’ve spent hundreds of hours testing dozens of options for your buying convenience. 

See all of the best Alexa speakers below. 

What are the best Alexa speakers?

The best Alexa speakers come largely from Amazon itself. The Echo device lineup benefits from the deepest assistant integration, and you shouldn’t find anything that an Echo can’t do as far as Alexa’s powers are concerned. That's why several Echo speakers were recognized in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards for Smart Home.

The redesigned Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo are available now. All are good choices for new and veteran Alexa users alike, although we're particularly fond of the $60 Echo Dot with Clock for the visuals.

For a total visual experience, the Amazon Echo Show 10 is the best Alexa display yet. The screen can follow you around the room to keep you in frame, which comes in handy for video calls or running around the kitchen.

If you take home audio seriously, take a look at the Sonos One. It’s a bit pricey at $199, but you won’t find a better-sounding Alexa smart speaker out there. The Sonos One works with hundreds of streaming sources through the company’s massive library as well. And if you want something portable, the UE Megablast is both wireless and waterproof, meaning you can take Alexa with you wherever you please. 

The best Alexa speakers you can buy today

Echo Dot with Clock reviewTop Pick

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

The best Alexa speaker overall

Specifications
Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Speakers: 1.6 inch speaker
Ports: 3.5mm line in/out
Wireless: 2.4/5 GHz, Bluetooth
Smart assistants: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Affordable +Useful LED display+Sounds good for the price+Seamless Alexa integration
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Of all the best Alexa speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock is our favorite. Not only does the spherical shape of the device improve the fullness of the Echo Dot's sound compared to the 3rd-generation model, but it makes the display a bit easier to read, too. More than just the time, though, the Echo Dot with Clock's display can also show you the current temperature, and functions as a timer.

An added LED display brings more functionality to the Echo Dot, beyonds Alexa's superpowers. In fact, we wish more smart home companies took Amazon's cue and make minor —yet effective — enhancements to already excellent devices. That's why the Echo Dot with Clock is also one of the best smart home devices overall.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review.

best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

2. Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Best Alexa speaker under $100

Specifications
Size: 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches
Speakers: One 3-inch woofer, two 0.8-inch tweeters
Ports: 3.5mm line in/out
Wireless: 2.4/5 GHz, Bluetooth
Smart assistants: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Sounds great for the size+Affordable+Seamless Alexa integration
Reasons to avoid
-Wish it had a clock

The 4th-generation Amazon Echo makes a big visual statement with its new sphere-shaped design, but it’s what’s on the inside of the Echo that makes it one of the best smart speakers, and the overall best smart speaker under $100. 

Compared to the 3rd-generation Amazon Echo, this one not only has improved audio, but a host of other features that make it one of the most convincing smart home devices around. The inclusion of a Zigbee hub lets this Echo lay a foundation for the rest of your connected products. So if you’re looking for a smart speaker that will not just play tunes, but act as a central smart home hub, the 4th-generation Echo is the best choice.

Read our full Amazon Echo (4th gen) review.

Best Alexa speakers: Sonos One

Sonos One (Image credit: Future)

3. Sonos One

The best-sounding Alexa speaker

Specifications
Size: 4.8 x 6.4 inches
Speakers: Dual amplifiers, 1 tweeter, 1 mid-woofer
Ports: None
Wireless: 2.4/5 GHz
Smart assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
Reasons to buy
+Excellent audio quality+Lets you control lots of music sources+Can pair more speakers for whole-house audio+Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't support all Alexa features

That's right. The best Alexa speaker when it comes to audio isn't made by Amazon. The Sonos One delivers exceptional sound in a compact, yet powerful package. What's more, you can pair two Sonos Ones for true stereo sound, and group multiple devices together for whole-home audio.

But what also makes the Sonos One great is its ability to stream audio from hundreds of sources across the company's library: Not just Spotify and TuneIn, but SiriusXM, MLB, and much, much more. And, you can control it all using Alexa. Should you tire of Amazon, you can also switch the Sonos One to use Google Assistant, which makes this speaker even more versatile. The one caveat is that the Sonos One lacks two of Alexa's features: The ability to use Drop-In and make phone calls. 

Read our full Sonos One review.

best alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

4. Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)

The best Alexa speaker under $50

Specifications
Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Speakers: 1.6 inch speaker
Ports: 3.5mm line in/out
Wireless: 2.4/5 GHz, Bluetooth
Smart assistants: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Good audio for the size+Lots of Alexa smart home skills+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Large power brick

With the 4th generation Echo Dot, Amazon has once again delivered an inexpensive smart speaker that doesn’t skimp on features or quality. The new spherical shape is an interesting deviation from the hockey puck, plus it lets audio sound fuller despite this Echo Dot having the same speaker hardware as the previous one.

The Echo Dot’s purpose is to be more of a personal smart speaker. For $50, this isn't the solution for controlling all your connected home devices or filling your space with sound. But if you have a couple of smart lights, or want a soundtrack in your bedroom, it's the best smart speaker you can get. It makes a great gift, too.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) review.

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen) review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen)

The best Alexa speaker with a display

Specifications
Size: 9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inches
Weight: 90.3 oz
Speakers: Dual one-inch tweeters, one three-inch woofer
Display: 10-inch 1280 x 800
Camera: 13 MP
Battery Life: n/a
Audio Out: Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Cool rotating display+Excellent audio+Built-in smart home hub
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The Echo Show’s 10-inch display is the same size and resolution (1280 x 800) as previous models, but this new model has a trick up it's sleeve: the screen rotates so that you’re always the center of its attention. This way when you're taking video calls with the 13MP camera, bouncing around the kitchen following Alexa's recipes or managing multiple people in a single household, the display stays in your line of sight.

This might sound a little creepy, but our experience felt more intuitive than we expected. It's not following you all the time — just when you use your assistant's wake word. The large display also acts like a hub for your collection of smart home devices, so you can control them easily on a single interface. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen) review.

Best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot (Image credit: Future)

6. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

This previous-gen Echo Dot is $30 while supplies last

Specifications
Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Speakers: Single built-in speaker
Battery Life: n/a
Audio Out: Bluetooth, 3.5mm
Reasons to buy
+Smart and helpful Alexa assistant+Easy to set up+Works with or without an additional speaker
Reasons to avoid
-Speaker quality not great for music

The third-generation Echo Dot has vastly improved sound over the previous generation and, with a fresh, cloth-covered design, looks better too. Although it was once higher on this list of the best smart speakers, it's been replaced by the spherical Echo Dot. You can still get this puck-shaped model for the great price of $30 (and often less,) which is why we think it's still worth recommending.

Amazon is continuing to sell this Echo Dot until it runs out of stock, which will likely happen during the holiday season. If you're looking for an even cheaper smart speaker, the $25 Echo Flex is an excellent variant. The plug-in Alexa device doesn't sound the best, but its useful nonetheless. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) review.

best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

This smart display proves size isn't everything

Specifications
Size: 7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 36.6 oz
Speakers: Dual 2-inch neodymium drivers
Display: 8-inch 1280 x 800
Camera: 13MP
Battery Life: n/a
Audio Out: Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Display feels more responsive+Auto-framing works well+Good sound for size+Comes with Amazon Sidewalk
Reasons to avoid
-Annoying to play YouTube videos

Although the Echo Show 10 might be the best Alexa display we’ve ever tested, it costs $249. For half the price, the Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) now has the same camera and Alexa features. It's compact design makes it more counter-friendly, too.

The Echo Show 8 delivers visuals and audio far better than its price would suggest. And, for the same price as the first version, the new Echo Show 8 has an upgraded 13-megapixel camera for higher-quality video chats. It also adopted the digital pan-and-zoom abilities of the Show 10. While the display can't physically rotate to keep you in frame, the new wide-angle lens can center you like the Google Nest Hub Max and the Facebook Portal can.

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) review.

Best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (Image credit: Amazon)

8. Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

Best Alexa speaker for kids

Specifications
Size: 3.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 6.7 ounces
Speakers: Single built-in speaker
Battery Life: n/a
Audio Out: Bluetooth, 3.5mm
Reasons to buy
+FreeTime Unlimited is a good value+Lots of kid-friendly content+Strong parental controls, per kid, across devices
Reasons to avoid
-No FreeTime Unlimited app for iOS-Not always easy to discover content

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is the best Alexa speaker for children not because of its hardware, but for what extra features comes with it. When you purchase an Echo Dot Kids Edition, you get a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited ($69/year), which gives you access to an exciting collection of kid-friendly content, such as audiobooks, and skills from sources such as Disney and Nickelodeon. 

A parental dashboard also lets you keep track of what your child is doing with the Echo Dot, and allows you to restrict access or certain skills. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes in six colors, but we think the rainbow model is the best of the bunch. And, it comes with a 2-year warranty, in case junior spills milk all over the device.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition review.

Best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Echo Studio (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

9. Amazon Echo Studio

The best sounding smart speaker made by Amazon

Specifications
Size: 8.1 x 6.9 inches
Weight: 7.7 pounds
Speakers: 1-inch tweeter, 5.25-inch woofer
Battery Life: n/a
Audio Out: 3.5mm
Reasons to buy
+Can be paired with another Studio+Good price for quality+Automatically adjusts audio
Reasons to avoid
-Large size-Mids and vocals tend to get lost

The booming Echo Studio is Amazon's first premium audio hardware product in a never-before-seen package. While it's a notch below the Sonos One in terms of sound quality, it's one of the best Alexa devices for audiophiles that lets you use Alexa calling. It's designed to support Amazon HD Unlimited, Amazon's 3D audio platform, and even has a bass aperture to ensure the fullest possible sound. 

One thing the Echo Studio has that the Sonos One lacks is a 3.5mm audio-in port. So, for example, you can connect a turntable directly to the Echo Studio to elevate its sound. It might not be the best entry-level Echo, but we found that it's worth the $200 price tag if you're looking for a great speaker that makes use of all Alexa's features.

Read our full Amazon Echo Studio review.

best Alexa speakers: UE Megablast

(Image credit: UE)

9. UE Megablast

The Alexa-packed UE Megablast is wireless and waterproof

Specifications
Size: 9.3 x 3.5 inches
Speakers: 2 amplifiers, 1 tweeter, 1 mid-woofer
Ports: None
Wireless: 2.4/5 GHz, Bluetooth
Smart assistants: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Alexa inside+Excellent all-around sound+Waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-Can't do everything an Echo can

If you're looking for a portable smart speaker that's not as pricey as the Sonos Move, the UE Megablast is a great option. It costs half as much, weighs even less, yet sounds great for its size. Plus, the Megablast is water-resistant, so you can dunk it in a pool for up to 30 minutes, and it should come out just fine. 

The UE Megablast's battery is good for up to 16 hours of playtime, which makes it an excellent companion for a backyard barbecue or a day at the beach. As with most third-party speakers, the Megablast has almost all of Alexa's capabilities, but Amazon reserves some features, such as drop-in, messaging, and calls, for its own devices. But if all you're looking for is a smart speaker that can crank out some tunes, then check out the Megablast.

Read our full UE Megablast review.

best Alexa speakers: Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

10. Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)

A budget smart display with a Kids Edition

Specifications
Size: 5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 14.5 ounces
Display: 5.5-inch, 960 x 480-pixel
Speakers: One 1.7-inch 4W
Camera: 2 MP
Wireless: 802.11ac (2.4 & 5GHz)
Reasons to buy
+Cute, compact design+Sounds decent for its size+Kids Edition has good privacy and warranty options
Reasons to avoid
-No 3.5-mm audio jack-Limited camera quality

The Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is a small smart display you can use to make calls and video chat, browse recipes, watch videos using NBC and Prime Video visual skills, check the feeds from your security camera, dim your lights and more on its 5-inch screen. 

However, due to its small size, it looks and feels a bit more like a clock than a full-sized smart display. It also isn’t much of an upgrade compared to the original. But if you find yourself smitten with the Echo Show 5’s adorably compact design, and like the idea of being able to ring up loved ones before you go to sleep, the smart display is worth considering. Not to mention, the Kids Edition is a strong sell, providing a stationary Amazon Fire tablet alternative that doesn’t need to be recharged all the time. And that comes with warranty. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) review.

How to pick the best Alexa speaker for you

The key decision you’ll have to make while shopping for one of the best Alexa speakers is whether you’re looking for a standard, grilled speaker or a speaker with a display. If this is your first smart home purchase, you’ll want to opt for the 4th-generation Echo, Echo Dot or Sonos One. All are simple to set up and lay a foundation for getting your other gadgets connected. 

If you have a large family or spend a lot of time in the kitchen or other shared space, a smart speaker with a display is a better choice. You can check in on your security cameras and video doorbells, get recipe advice and make calls. Video calls can only be made with the Echo Show 8, second-generation Echo Show or Echo Show 5, though.

How we test the best Alexa speakers

When reviewing any of the best Alexa speakers (or any of the best smart home devices, for that matter) we consider several different factors before assigning it a final rating. Here are some things we look for, after spending hours testing available buying options:

Ease of setup: How simple is the device to install? Can anyone, even a first time smart speaker owner, set it up themself?

Features: What features does the device have relative to others in its price range? 

Performance: Does it actually work as advertised? Is its app easy to use, with a sensible layout?

Price: How expensive is it when compared to similar devices? While this isn't the most critical criteria, it is a factor in its final rating.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.