Best Alexa Speaker Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Amazon Alexa speakers you can buy in 2022.
Thanks to the arrival of virtual voice assistants effortlessly baked into our speakers from big-hitters such as Amazon, Apple and Google, wireless speakers have never been smarter.
Amazon's Alexa has led the way for smart products, finding its way cheaply and effectively into a vast array of speakers and smart devices, making it one of the best choices to control multiple devices around your home vocally (unless you're an avid Apple user, in which case you might want to read our Amazon Echo vs Apple HomePod Mini to decide which is the best smart speaker for you).
How to choose the best Alexa speaker for you
With plenty of Alexa speakers to choose from, including Amazon's own, ever-growing family of Alexa devices led by the Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Show and Echo Studio, which one is right for you?
The main question is this: do you want something small and unassuming to kick-start a smart system, or do you want a substantial wireless speaker with built-in smarts that sounds good to boot? Oh, and does the idea of spying on your cat while you're out pique your interest? It does? Good – check out the first product on this list, then allow us to reveal our pick of the best Alexa speakers you can buy. We're sure one will be right for you.
- See the best Amazon Echo deals
The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen.) is the priciest smart device Amazon has produced by a whole £20 ($20, AU$50). But when you consider that its 10.1-in Full HD screen can now tilt and twist to follow you around the room, and that both the speaker and camera performance have been significantly improved from the previous-generation model, that price hike begins to look entirely reasonable.
Physically, it's a bit of a beast (think CD-sized speaker barrel with tablet attached) and it needs some room to rotate (kitchen islands are ideal), but the headline grabber is of course is its ability to track around so you can always see the screen. At first, it is a little disconcerting, because the Echo Show 10 locates you via its camera as well as sonically – a bit like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey – but this neat perk also enables features such as 'dropping in' while you're out, to pan around your room (or simply spy on your cat).
Although the Echo Show 10 isn't about to become your new sound system (we expected a little more sonically) if it's a fantastic Alexa device with a touchscreen you're after, we enjoyed this one very much indeed.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Show 10
The question of which voice assistant to introduce to your home is largely a personal one, but by updating its most popular and affordable Echo device with this degree of skill, Amazon has laid down the most compelling case yet for choosing Alexa. Regardless of the Marmite aesthetic (yes, it looks like a little Magic 8-Ball) Alexa's responses are slightly quicker, the answers are much (much) clearer, and the sonic performance is better than ever.
Amazon’s entry-level smart device has come a long way in terms of sound quality since the arrival of the first and second Dots – so much so, you could say Amazon has come a 'full circle’ in the smart speaker arena.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation)
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, spherical Echo is all the better for it.
The cylinder design has gone, in favour of a sleek Magic 8 Ball-esque design. 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)
The slightly older generation of the Dot still doubles as a simple (and now ultra-affordable) wireless speaker. The puck-shaped device endures; it looks smarter than previous iterations 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 tight budget – after all, it has been superseded by the newer spherical entry-level model.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot 3 review
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 back in 2017. So adding Alexa voice control to update 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 on a budget, then you'll want to give the Echo Show 5 a look. 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’ 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
One of the bigger speakers 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
How we test Alexa speakers
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door.
What is important in our reviewing process is that each product is compared to the best in its price and class – whether that's one standout smart speaker or a few we favour the highest among the scores we listen to each year for reviews and What Hi-Fi? Awards judging. What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, so we keep our Award-winners nearby to enable unbiased comparisons between new products and ones we know to have performed highly in the category.
We are always impartial and do our best to make sure we're hearing every product at its very best, so we'll try plenty of different types of music and give each one extensive listening time – including time to run in. It's not just about sound quality, of course. If a product has noteworthy features (including smart skills) we'll ensure part of our testing involves trialling the claims made by its makers.
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the entire team, rather than an individual reviewer, to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we're being as thorough as possible. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdicts or star ratings in our reviews.
At What Hi-Fi? we are proud to consistently deliver honest, unbiased reviews – something we have been doing for over 45 years.
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