Which Amazon Fire TV Stick should you buy in 2024?

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max with remote control held in front of a tiled wall
(Image credit: Future)

Amazon's Fire TV Stick range is one of the simplest ways to bring apps to your TV. They're a godsend for anyone with an older telly from the pre-smart TV era, or whose TV lacks certain apps. They're also handy if you can't stand your TV's interface (in the past, some have been pretty awful). But picking one is a bit less straightforward.

That's because Amazon sells multiple models, all with slightly different capabilities. Add in previous-generation models, and it all gets a bit confusing.

Or it would do, if we weren't here. Here we'll run you through Amazon's current range of Fire TV Sticks and what each model offers. That way, you'll be well-armed when it comes to deciding which is best for you.

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2023)?

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) standing vertically next to its remote on a white background

(Image credit: Amazon)

The second-generation Fire TV Stick 4K launched in 2023, and is 30 per cent faster than the old Fire TV Stick 4K (2018), and supports Wi-Fi 6. Like the previous version, it supports the major HDR formats (Dolby VisionHLGHDR10 and HDR10 Plus) and Dolby Atmos for more immersive audio with virtual height channels. And of course, as the name suggests, it's equipped for 4K visuals.

The Alexa Voice Remote means voice controls without touching a button, and it can control your TV, soundbar and AV receiver too.

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2023)?

We haven't reviewed this model yet, but the previous model picked up a five-star review along with a What Hi-Fi? Award to boot. Considering the similarities to the old model, we would like to think the new Fire TV Stick 4K could follow suit.

Is it the best streaming stick at its price?

Without testing it, we couldn't say. But competition is fierce at this end of the market. The Google Chromecast with Google TV is another Award winner, and Amazon's previous Fire TV Sticks can still be found at knockdown prices.

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023)?

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023) propped up on its remote control in front of a TV and next to a bowl of popcorn

(Image credit: Amazon)

Besides the standard Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon also launched a new version of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max in 2023. The Max is the biggest and most powerful Fire TV Stick that Amazon makes.

The latest model is even more powerful than the one it replaces, upping the processor to 2GHz, and supporting Wi-Fi 6E, which potentially means lower latency streaming and faster speeds (as long as you have a compatible router).

It's also the first Fire TV Stick with the Fire TV Ambient Experience, which displays artwork, info from your calendar, sticky notes, and controls for your smart home devices and music streaming services, all when you're not watching TV. (Previously, this feature was only on Amazon's Fire TV Omni QLED Series of TVs.)

The Fire TV 4K Max supports the same HDR and Atmos formats as the standard 4K model, and has double the storage (16GB) of its predecessor. It too ships with an Alexa Voice Remote that can also control your soundbar and AV receiver as well as your TV.

Should you buy the Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023)?

We haven't tested this second-gen model, but the first one fared well, earning four stars. It'll be interesting to see if Amazon has addressed the issue we had with sound quality on this model – the previous one lacked the soul and drive necessary to keep us entertained during testing.

Is it the best streaming stick at its price?

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is only £10 / $10 / AU$40 more expensive than the Fire TV Stick 4K. Again, Google Chromecast gives it a run for its money. The Apple TV 4K (2022) is still a fair bit pricier but does offer significant improvements in picture and sound quality.

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Generation)?

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Generation)?

(Image credit: Amazon)

The standard Fire TV Stick is now in its third iteration. It offers HD streaming (no 4K here) with support for the major HDR formats, Dolby Atmos audio for virtual height channels, and the Alexa Voice Remote for voice commands as well as buttons to control your TV.

It's also cheap. Very cheap. Not quite as cheap as the Fire TV Stick Lite below, admittedly, but considering its abilities, it's something of a steal.

Performance? It's very good for the money. The HDR is typically excellent and brings an enjoyable punch to lower-res material, while the audio makes for a very easy listen with high levels of clarity.

It runs an older version of the FireOS operating system and has a slower processor than the pricier Fire TV Sticks, but considering the price, those compromises are really very small.

Should you buy the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen)?

It's definitely worth a look. Its main competition comes from Roku, whose devices are a bit less hard sell than Amazon.

Is it the best streaming stick at its price?

Quite possibly. It earned four stars in our review – we praised the strong app offering, improved UI and excellent HDR performance. But with the 4K model only fractionally more expensive, why wouldn't you spend the extra to future-proof it?

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite?

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite with its remote propped up on its corner in front of a sofa and TV showing the Netflix app

(Image credit: Amazon)

There's not much to say about this one. It's basically the standard Fire TV Stick (above), but without Dolby Atmos. Its Alexa Voice Remote Lite also lacks the TV control buttons of its pricier brethren, so you can only use it to control the Fire TV Stick (and activate the Alexa voice assistant, of course).

We haven't tested it, so can't comment on its performance. It's £10 / $10 cheaper than the standard Fire TV Stick (Amazon Australia currently isn't selling it).

Should you buy the Fire TV Stick Lite?

If you want the bare-bones Fire TV Stick experience, then it will do the job. We would advise spending a little more to get 4K and Atmos, but if your budget really won't stretch, this could be a cheap way to access streaming services.

Is it the best streaming stick at its price?

It could well be, though without having tested it, we can't say. The main competition at this price comes from Roku, but if you can put up with Amazon's self-promotion through its FireOS interface, we would opt for a Fire TV Stick.

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.