Best Alexa Speaker Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Amazon Alexa speakers you can buy in 2021.
Thanks to the arrival of a number of voice assistants, backed by big-hitters such as Amazon, Apple and Google, wireless speakers have never been smarter.
Amazon Alexa has led the way for smart products, finding its way on to a vast array of speakers and smart devices, making it one of the best choices of voice assistant if you want to start controlling multiple devices around your home with your vocal cords.
Do you want something small and discreet to kick-start a smart system, or do you want a proper wireless speaker with built-in smarts that sounds up to the job too? Allow us to run you through our pick of the best Alexa speakers you can buy.
Perhaps the smartest way to bring Amazon's Alexa voice assistant into your home, the latest generation of the Dot also doubles as a simple (and cheap) wireless speaker. The fabric-covered puck-shaped device looks smarter than previous versions and it's easy to get up and running, either over wi-fi or Bluetooth. And as a device for playing background music, there really is little to fault, especially at this price. It's the best Echo speaker if you're on a budget.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot 3 review
The Echo Plus (2nd Gen) saw a step change from smart speaker to music speaker, with a device that delivers an impressive sonic performance for the money. At the time, it was a first. Just under 10cm in width and standing almost 15cm tall, the latest Echo Plus’s cylindrical body does not quite offer room-filling sound, but certainly has the presence and power to make itself heard.
This is still a cheap-ish wireless speaker, far from ready to take over from your main system, but we’re now talking in terms of the best performances you can get for this kind of money. If you want the best of Alexa and good quality sound, the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) is a fine choice.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
Arguably the best all-round smart speaker you can currently buy, the Sonos One sounds superb for the money and has all the functionality you're likely to need. There's Spotify and Tidal integration, the ability to chat with Alexa and Google Assistant, and the option to build a multi-room system around it using other Sonos speakers or AirPlay 2. Arguably the best Alexa speaker on the market.
Read the full review: Sonos One
The Audio Pro Addon C5A is almost identical to the Addon C5, which was our wireless speaker Product of the Year in 2017. So adding Alexa voice control to an Award-winning speaker is the icing on the cake.
Available for the price of an Addon C5 plus the cost of an Amazon Echo product bolt-on, it brings the whole package into one tidy, easy-to-set-up box. And with that same Award-winning sound, this is the ideal combination for those who want an excellent Alexa wireless speaker that can be expanded into a full-blown multiroom system.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C5A
If you want an Alexa speaker that combines sound and vision, then you'll want to give the Echo Show 5 a go. The 5.5in LCD touchscreen brings an added dimension- it's tilted, responsive and nice to use.
Sound quality is limited, given its size, but this is so much more than a standard wi-fi/Bluetooth speaker, allowing you to stream audio and video from compatible services with just a few simple spoken commands. It's still a pleasant and enjoyable listen, though, with a warm midrange that lends itself well to vocals and dialogue alike. For the money, it's a clever box of tricks that manages to merge the worlds of audio, video and virtual assistants in one easy-to-live-with package.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Show 5
The Megablast is Ultimate Ears’ loudest and smartest speaker yet. With Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in, it can answer your questions as well as play all your favourite tunes.
More crucially, the Megablast joins the brand’s portfolio of five-star Bluetooth speakers that are simply fun to use and listen to. Good-looking and great-sounding, the Megablast is an absolute treat.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Megablast
Amazon has given its original smart speaker a futuristic makeover and added a built-in Zigbee smart hub. In other words, Amazon went back to the drawing board this time – and the fourth-generation Echo is all the better for it.
The cylinder design has gone, in favour of a sleek sphere. There's an impressive selection of third-party support, too. Once you’ve linked your streaming service accounts, it'll play music from Apple Music, Spotify or Deezer over wi-fi, and even if you don’t link any music-provider subscriptions, the Echo will play from Amazon Music by default.
Alexa feels present and useful but not imposing, the Alexa app support makes placement and multi-room configurations a breeze, and the sound quality, while a step down from "superb", easily passes the sound-per-pound value test for a smart home hub of such modest price. All in all, this is a fantastic budget smart speaker.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo (4th generation)
This 2019 version of the Amazon Echo might have been trumped but the 4th Generation version above, but it still offers plenty of appeal. It apes the dimensions and driver configuration of the Echo Plus, and remains one of the best-sounding compact Echo speakers around. Sadly it doesn't sound as good as the aforementioned Echo Plus – timing and dynamics, in particular, are questionable – but it's still a decent performance from a very well-equipped smart unit.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo (3rd Generation)
The Echo Spot is a small, round speaker, that looks like a clock, with the built-in Alexa voice assistant features and functions of the other Echo devices. The differentiator here is that it comes with a screen (for information ‘at a glance’, according to Amazon) and a camera for video-chatting. As well as all the Alexa voice features, you get trending video news, access to Prime videos and YouTube.
The video and audio performance is impressive, allowing for the size and price, so while watching anything of any length might be excessive it's fine for quick videos and calls, and for using as a bedroom smart clock radio. For the money, it's a bit of a bargain and a tempting alternative to other Alexa speakers.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Spot
The biggest speaker currently in Amazon's Echo line-up, the Echo Studio delivers lashings of bass and a large, spacious and room-filling sound. If you're an Amazon Music HD subscriber, you can also take advantage of its compatibility with 3D audio tracks.
On top of this, you've got all the other features that an Alexa-powered speaker offers, including setting reminders and alarms, playing music and controlling other smart home devices. You can pair up Echo Studios into a stereo system and even combine them with either a Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV (3rd Gen) to create a Dolby Atmos-supporting home cinema set-up.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Studio
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