From budget to premium
Update: Amazon Prime Day is almost here. The Prime member exclusive sale (sign up for a free 30-day trial here) is likely to occur sometime in mid-July and will likely bring a variety of deals on multiple Alexa-powered devices. While Amazon itself makes seven smart speakers, there are also plenty of third-party Alexa-powered devices, some of which are better than the ones Amazon itself produces. One important thing to note is that most third-party speakers lack all of Alexa's capabilities, such as Drop In and voice calling. If those features are important to you, then you should stick with Amazon's products. We tested more than a dozen speakers with Alexa built in; here are our 16 favorite models.Make sure you check out all our favorite smart speakers powered by Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri on our best smart speakers page.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot is a marked improvement over previous models. Our biggest criticism has been addressed, as the new Echo Dot has a much larger speaker that produces much better audio, with stronger bass and a much fuller sound overall. Plus, we like the design of the new Dot; its cloth-covered exterior and softer edges are more attractive - it no longer looks like a hockey puck. When we reviewed the Dot, we liked it so much we gave it a perfect rating of 5 stars.
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Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
The Echo Plus is slightly larger than the original Echo and packed with features. The audio is far superior to that of the Echo, bringing excellent bass and treble tones in particular. It also has a built-in smart-home hub, and can control your smart devices even when it's offline.
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Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen)
This smart speaker is a big reason why Alexa is as popular as it is. While the audio from the Echo Dot is not great — you'll want to connect it to a separate speaker to play music — it's one of the least expensive ways to get Amazon's voice assistant in your home. Now that there's a new Echo Dot, the second-generation model is being phased out, but it's also being discounted; if you already have a speaker to connect it to, it's even more of a bargain than before.
Our favorite-sounding Alexa speaker, the Sonos One combines excellent audio in a compact design. Plus, you can sync two Ones for true stereo sound, and they work with a huge number of streaming music sources, including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, MLB Gameday Audio and Napster. At $199, it's the best price-to-performance smart speaker around. And now, you can even control Apple Music using Alexa.An update to the Sonos One now lets you use it with Google Assistant. While you can’t run both assistants simultaneously, you can switch the Sonos One from Alexa to Google Assistant in the Sonos app. However, at the outset, some features not available include: calling, voice match, purchases, interpreter mode, and setting routines in the Google Home app.
Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)
The second-generation Echo is smaller and much better-looking than the original, and you can customize its look by swapping out the exterior shell. Sound quality is also somewhat improved, making it good for casual listening. You can often find it for less than its list price of $99, too.
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Amazon Echo Input
So technically this isn't a speaker, but you can make your home stereo (or any "dumb" speaker) smart by connecting it to the Echo Input. It's about half an inch thick and the diameter of a hockey puck, but the Input has two mics that can pick up your voice from across the room and then stream audio to any connected speaker. Amazon Echo Input ReviewCredit: Tom's Guide
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
Amazon's second-generation Echo Show underwent a major redesign. Not only are the speakers moved to a cloth-covered back, but it has a larger 10-inch display with a higher resolution than its predecessor. The result is a device that looks a heckuva lot better. In addition, the second-gen Echo Show brings with it new capabilities (which will also be coming to the older Show) including the ability to watch YouTube via a browser, the ability to watch live TV with Hulu and NBC, and the ability to make Skype calls using the Show's camera.
With rich bass and sharp treble, the Riva Concert rivals the Sonos One for best-sounding Alexa speaker. The 7 x 5 x 4.9-inch Concert also has several features the One lacks: you can make it portable by adding a $49 battery which offers up to 15 hours of play time; it’s splash resistant; it has an auxiliary input; and it even supports Alexa calling. You can also connect to it via Bluetooth and AirPlay. However, Riva’s software isn’t as intuitive as Sonos, and it can’t yet handle multiroom audio (though Riva says this is coming).
Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition
A kid-friendly version of the Echo Dot, this model comes with a protective rubber shell, a year of FreeTime Unlimited for up to four kids — normally $119/year ($83 with Prime) — and a two-year guarantee against damage to the Dot. Alexa can also respond to your tot in a child-friendly way.
Ultimate Ears Megablast
This portable Alexa speaker can not only last up to 16 hours on a charge but also withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. In our tests, it produced excellent, rumbly bass and blasted out music at 95 decibels. However, while you can stream Spotify and other music services, the Megablast lacks all of Alexa's capabilities, such as Drop In, voice calling and notifications.
Credit: Ultimate Ears
Probably the best-looking of all the Alexa speakers we've tested, the Cavalier has aluminum-and-leather accents that will make it stand out wherever you place it. It also has programmable touch controls, and its built-in battery will last for up to 9 hours. While it turned out quality audio, it wasn't as strong as the less-expensive Megablast (especially when it came to bass). And, like many third-party Alexa speakers, you can't use it to make calls.
Amazon Echo Spot
A smaller, rounder Echo Show, the Spot is a great bedside companion, showing the time, weather and upcoming calendar appointments on its small circular display. Its speaker quality falls somewhere between the Echo and the Echo Dot. Like the Show, it can also be used for video calls.
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Anker Eufy Genie
An even cheaper alternative to the Echo Dot, the Eufy Genie sounds even better than Amazon's smallest speaker, yet costs $15 less. Still, there are some trade-offs: It lacks Alexa calling and messaging capabilities. We also found that the Genie's microphones weren't quite as sensitive as the Dot's — we had to raise our voices more to be heard.
Fabriq's small smart speaker comes in a variety of colorful skins — including red plaid — and you can pair up to 10 for multiroom audio. This wireless speaker lasted about 5 hours on a charge, and it delivered good bass for its size. We weren't impressed with its treble, though, and wish it were waterproof. Still, for something that's the same price as the Echo Dot, it's not a bad alternative.
First Alert OneLink Safe & Sound
How about a smart speaker and a smoke detector in one? When it's not alerting you to a smoke, fire or carbon monoxide condition, the OneLink's surprisingly powerful speaker can be used to play music as well as access Alexa's thousands of skills. However, this device is pricey and has to be hardwired to work, limiting where you can place it in your house.
Amazon Echo Show 5
The Echo Show 5 is a smaller, pared-down budget version of Amazon's premium Echo Show. It has a number of nifty features, including phone and video calling, video skills and recipes. However, the device is more expensive than than other budget smart devices such as the Lenovo Smart Clock and the Echo Dot, but doesn't offer superior audio quality -- and while it's got a variety of uses, it doesn't excel at any particular one.
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