Which Amazon Echo should you buy?

If you’re a fan of Alexa’s soft tones and like using voice commands around the house — including setting smart routines or activating Alexa Guard for extra security when you’re out — then you might consider purchasing an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Or maybe you want to give Amazon Show to a family member or friend to make it easier to communicate with them. But what should you get?

There are several Amazon Echo models available, and more are coming all the time, so we know it can be confusing to know which model is the newest and which might be the right choice for you. Don’t worry. Our guide is here to help choose the best and newest Echo available, along with details on who it’s right for.

Echo 4th generation

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This The larger Echo speaker is the flagship model for the Amazon Echo line and is a great place to start if you’re not sure which one to choose. For the fourth generation, Amazon changed the Echo’s design to a ball-shaped speaker with 360-degree audio and an indicator ring around the base.

This Echo sounds better than ever, able to fill an entire room with sound, and is available in three different colors to match your home. This makes it a great choice for a central location where it can play music in the house or control various smart gadgets with a few targeted voice commands. It also supports Zigbee devices in addition to newer protocols, making it one of the better speakers for those who still have one.

If you’re concerned about privacy, the 4th generation Amazon Echo (and all the other Echoes on our list) come with the ability to manually turn on the microphone at any time, and you can always customize how Alexa listens for and saves your voice commands. .

Lastly, the 4th generation Echo is affordable compared to other smart speakers, which might make it a good go-to device for someone who knows they love music while also wanting to get comfortable with Alexa.

Echo Dot 5th generation

Echo Dot 5 in the kitchen.
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The Echo Dot is already in a great position, carefully emulating the 4th generation Echo with a smaller ball design, but The 5th generation remake takes it to another level, especially in terms of better bass and overall better sound. This little speaker can put out a surprising amount of music and makes a great companion for desktop computers, etc.

But sound isn’t the only thing Amazon updated with this model. It now has temperature and motion sensors, which you can link to certain smart devices, such as automatically turning on the thermostat if a certain room gets too cold or turning on smart lights when someone comes into the room. And if you use an Eero mesh router, this little speaker can even act as a satellite router to help you extend your reach in areas that might be poor.

This makes the 5th generation Dot the perfect choice for those who already have an Echo or want one specifically for their workspace, from desks and craft tables to workbenches in the garage. It’s also a good choice for people who like smart homes in general and enjoy connecting their smart devices.

Echo Dot with 5th generation Clock

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock.
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There are several different types of 5th generation Echo Dot, each with its own quirks. This one, for example, comes with an LED clock display on the front. This makes it a great choice for use as a bedside radio and alarm (the alarm, morning routine, and LED brightness can all be adjusted via the Alexa app) or anywhere you want the clock to be visible. All the other capabilities of the 5th generation Echo Dot are also still there, meaning it has plenty of audio power and can help manage your smart home (plus the privacy features we mentioned that come with all the latest Echoes).

Echo Dot Kids 5th generation

Echo Dot Kids 5th generation on the table.
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This kids model also does a few things differently. Firstly, it’s available in fun alternative skins like a round owl or a happy dragon (hey, if you like those colors better than others, we won’t judge you for getting them yourself either). You can also pair it with the Echo Glow, which is a fun little night light bulb to play with or to light up the bedroom. Lastly, it comes with one year of free Amazon Kids+, a subscription to kid-friendly content on a platform designed for safety. Parents can exert a wide range of controls over what their kids can access or do, and it comes with a two-year guarantee in case of accidents.

Echo studio

Amazon Echo Studio Alexa Smart Speaker on the table.
Amazon

Those who take their audio seriously will definitely want to turn to Echo Studios. It takes up more space than other models but comes with unmatched sound thanks to five built-in speakers and automatic tuning to adapt the sound to the room you’re in. The studio also continues to receive important updates, such as The latest firmware update adds support for Spatial Audio powered by Dolby Atmos, available with an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. This is the best choice to pair with a home theater setup or for serious audiophiles.

Echo Dot 3rd generation

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen, 2018 release) on a table with a lamp and a book.
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Yes, the puck-shaped Echo Dot has been out of style for a few years. But it’s also very affordable, at around $18 when it was last on sale, and it’s still widely available at places like Target and Best Buy. This makes this Echo a good choice for those on a budget, especially if you’re just getting into the world of voice assistants and want to start small. Amazon also sells them as a bundle with the smart bulbs, so you can use that to get them start making a smart home!

Pop Echo

Amazon Echo Pop in four colors.
Amazon / Amazon

Echo Pop is one of the newest additions to the Echo family. It is also the most affordable. Costing just $40, it doesn’t seek to replace the Echo Studio or compete with premium smart speakers. Instead, it’s a great way to get access to the smart assistant Alexa without spending too much money.

It’s also a great-looking device, designed with front-facing speakers, a unique light bar, and several available colors. However, the forward-facing design is a bit limiting as it can’t spread the sound throughout the room as well as the 360-degree Dot. But considering it’s $10 cheaper ($20 versus the Dot with Clock), it’s a small trade-off. If you need a closer look at both, be sure to check us out comparison of Echo Dot and Echo Pop.

Our review of the Pop found it to be a very well-rounded little device. The sound gets muddy if turned up too loud, but it will serve you well as an entry point into the world of smart homes. As an added bonus, it also works as an extension of Eero — giving you better wireless coverage throughout your home.

Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show 8 lies on a wooden table.
Nick Mokey / Digital Trends

Of course, there’s another option for Echo fans: the Echo Show device, which adds a touchscreen to the mix and enables a variety of streaming options, including events, face chat, and slideshows. We’re big fans of models like the Echo Show 15, which is big enough to be a mini TV in places like your kitchen. The new one The Echo Show 8 is also a great choice, earning high marks for its impressive audio quality and bright screen.

There are several different Echo Show models to choose from, so you might want to check out our list of the best smart displays to further narrow down your choices.

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