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    The best Amazon Echo devices of 2024

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    The best Amazon Echo devices include smart speakers and displays with Alexa built-in.

    Business Insider/Lisa Eadicicco

    When it comes to welcoming Alexa into your home, you’ve got a lot of devices to choose from. Amazon’s own selection of Echo products is a great place to start, and the lineup is versatile, catering to every kind of user and budget. It can be overwhelming to find the right fit for your setup, so we’ve gathered the best Amazon Echo smart speakers and displays all in one place.

    Our top pick is the standard Amazon Echo, which offers the perfect balance of features, price, and capabilities for most smart-home needs. However, if you’re on a tighter budget, the Amazon Echo Dot is half the price. Though its sound quality isn’t as good, the Dot is still packed with convenient features, and its more compact design is great for smaller rooms. 

    But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more Echo models to choose from, including smart displays with touchscreens and even a high-end speaker with Dolby Atmos sound. Keep scrolling to see all our picks for the best Amazon Echo devices.

    Our top picks for the best Amazon Echo devices you can buy:

    Best overall: Echo (4th Gen) – See at Amazon

    Best on a budget: Echo Dot (5th Gen) – See at Amazon

    Best for audiophiles: Echo Studio – See at Amazon

    Best with a display: Echo Show 8 (3rd Gen) – See at Amazon

    Best overall

    The fourth-generation Echo feels like a realization of everything Amazon has been building toward in previous models. It’s an Alexa speaker that finds just the right balance between audio performance, price, and smart-home capabilities. 

    The device has a modern look and takes the shaped of a six-inch orb, eschewing the cylindrical style of older Echo devices. It’s available in three colors and looks good on any counter or shelf. With its three-inch neodymium woofer, dual tweeters, and support for Dolby audio, the Echo is a solid device for general music listening and an ideal smart speaker for larger areas like living rooms and dining spaces.

    As noted in our Echo review, the fourth-generation Echo sounds better than its predecessors in every way, with louder, deeper, and more full-bodied audio. During our testing, it beat every other member of Amazon’s smart speaker family, save for the more expensive Echo Studio, which steps things up with more powerful drivers, Dolby Atmos playback, and high-resolution music support.

    The standard Echo is a great all-around smart speaker.

    Matt Monath Photography for Business Insider

    Of course, the device includes all of the smart-home capabilities that Echo speakers are known for, including built-in Alexa support for voice control and a suite of digital assistant functions. It also supports motion detection for activating routines, temperature sensing, and even an integrated Zigbee hub along with support for the Matter protocol to directly link other compatible smart-home devices together for seamless control.

    Whether you’re just starting to build an Amazon smart home or simply want a stand-alone smart speaker that does it all, the Amazon Echo is our top recommendation for the best Alexa speaker you can snag right now. It offers everything most people could need without being exorbitant in price.

    Check out our Amazon Echo review

    Best on a budget

    Though it’s no longer the cheapest Echo speaker you can buy, the fifth-generation Echo Dot is still our favorite budget pick. It offers the best balance of features for its price, and it’s even on sale regularly to bring its cost down lower.

    At just under 3.5 inches high, the Echo Dot is one of the most compact Alexa smart speakers, making it ideal for smaller rooms or for placing out of the way. In exchange for its tiny size and low price, it does make some compromises in sound quality compared to the regular Echo. It also lacks that pricier model’s built-in Zigbee smart home hub and 3.5mm port for wired connections. 

    The Echo Dot offers many of the capabilities of its larger counterpart, but for only half the price.

    Sarah Saril/Insider

    However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly speaker to supplement, not spearhead, an Alexa smart-home setup, these shortcomings shouldn’t matter much. After all, the Echo Dot still offers all of the digital assistant features and extra perks that most users seek, including hands-free voice control, motion detection, temperature sensing, and built-in Eero support for extending Eero-compatible WiFi systems. And while it doesn’t support Zigbee, the Dot does still support pairing with devices that use the Matter smart-home protocol.

    During our testing, we noted that the Dot’s smaller speaker drivers result in less impressive audio performance than its larger siblings. But the Dot is still more than capable enough to suit smaller spaces like a kitchen, bedroom, or dorm room. While it’s not something we recommend as a device dedicated to playing music, it works fine for casual listening.

    We also think the Echo Dot remains a better value when compared to Amazon’s newest budget speaker, the Echo Pop. Though the Pop is $10 cheaper and performed well enough during our tests, the Dot looks more premium, fills space better with audio, and comes with temperature and motion sensing features. It’s easy to see why it’s the brand’s most popular Echo speaker. Buyers who want a little something extra, should also consider the Echo Dot with clock. For $10 more, this model adds an LED display that can show the time, temperature, and song titles. 

    Best for audiophiles

    If you want an Alexa smart speaker with the chops to deliver great music playback in a large space, the Echo Studio is the model for you. The largest of the Echo lineup, this speaker packs a punch with clear audio that far surpasses the quality of our other picks. 

    As soon as you set it up, the Echo Studio balances its sound to match the acoustics of your space, making for a personalized auditory experience. It automatically recalibrates when you move its location, too, so you never have to worry about finessing the details yourself.

    The Echo Studio delivers the best audio quality of any Echo.

    Sarah Saril/Insider

    For a smart speaker, the Echo Studio sounded shockingly good during our testing. Bass is rich and weighty, with highs and vocals that don’t get lost in the mix. Music fills the space, and rather than just a device for background noise or casual listening like some smart speakers, the Echo Studio’s audio becomes the main attraction. When paired with a good-quality source, the Echo Studio makes other Echo speakers sound weak.

    It even supports playing Dolby Atmos tracks from Amazon Music, which is a spatial audio format designed to spread sound effects and instruments in all directions, including above your head. It also has an optical port to connect to a TV so it can serve as a mini home theater speaker. And if you have one of Amazon’s latest Fire TV models, the Echo Studio can connect wirelessly to your streaming device to serve as your audio system. 

    However, it’s important to note the Echo Studio is older than most models in Amazon’s lineup. It came out in 2019, and it still uses the older cylindrical design of past-generation Echo speakers. It also lacks some extra features found on other Echo models, like motion detection and temperature sensing, and it’s huge to boot. The Echo Studio isn’t designed to fit in the background like other smart devices. You need a dedicated space for this speaker. But if you’re looking for an Alexa device that puts audio quality first, the Echo Studio is the best Amazon Echo you can buy.

    Best with a display

    Amazon offers a wide range of Echo smart displays, from the huge Echo Show 15 to the tiny Echo Show 5. However, if you’re looking for the best all-around display to cover most needs and use cases, the midsize Echo Show 8 is the best Amazon Echo to get. 

    Its screen is just the right size for poking around menus and reading internet recipes while remaining compact enough to fit on most shelves and counters without getting in the way. During testing, it was the one smart display that never felt “too big” or “too small” for any of its features, whereas the other Echo Shows often fell into one of those categories. 

    The Amazon Echo Show 8 is the perfect size for most smart display uses.

    Sarah Saril/Insider

    The Echo Show 8 also matches the more expensive Show 10 with its 13-megapixel camera and 1280 x 800 resolution touchscreen. Though it lacks the Show 10’s automatic rotating feature, the Show 8’s HD display and camera combo make it ideal for streaming clips and video-calling friends and family. 

    In contrast, the cheaper Show 5 has a smaller, lower-resolution screen and a camera with just 2MP, which makes it difficult to recommend for video chatting. With dual two-inch speakers, the Show 8 also offers a nice upgrade in sound quality over the cheaper Show 5, and it has the bonus of Zigbee smart-home hub support. And like all Echo devices, it features hands-free Alexa digital assistant functionality.

    If you absolutely need something smaller, the Echo Show 5 is still a solid alternative, and if you want a larger screen that can automatically follow you during calls, the Echo Show 10 has you covered. But if you’re looking for the best Amazon Echo smart display that’s “just right” for most needs, we recommend the Echo Show 8 over other options.

    What to look for in an Amazon Echo smart device

    The Echo Dot is a good choice for smaller spaces.

    Christian de Looper/Business Insider

    Amazon offers a wide array of Echo devices for various needs. When selecting the best Amazon Echo for your home, we recommend settling on a few priorities first.

    The first major decision to make is whether you want a speaker or a display. If you need to visualize recipes, browse your smart home devices, or video call, an Echo Show display is a better fit than an Echo speaker. You should then consider the space it’s going in and how often you plan to video call with it. These factors will help narrow down which size you should get: the 5-, 8-, 10-, or 15-inch Echo Show. 

    If you don’t need a screen, an Echo speaker should do the trick. Each offers Alexa capabilities and at least decent audio quality to help smarten your space. All that’s left is to determine where you’d like to place it, how much you prioritize speaker quality, and whether you need it to connect directly to other smart devices in your home. Once you’ve got those questions answered, you can narrow down which Echo speaker has the features you need most.

    Lastly, we recommend keeping in mind whether this is your first Echo device or an additional purchase you’re making to add to an existing smart-home ecosystem. If you already have Alexa products in your home and you’re just adding supplemental devices, you can probably go with budget models that forgo some features. For example, if you already have a standard Echo or Echo Show 8, you likely won’t need an additional Zigbee-capable model. In that case, opting for a smaller Echo Dot or Show 5 can save you money and space.

    For details on Amazon’s entire lineup of Echo devices, check out our full guide to Amazon Echo products with a breakdown of key features for each model.

    Amazon Echo device FAQs

    Alexa is available on all Echo models.

    Lisa Eadicicco/Insider

    Should I wait until Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday to buy an Amazon Echo? 

    The best Amazon Echo devices get big discounts during deal events like Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. If you’re planning to buy an Echo but don’t mind holding off for a few weeks, you should wait until Prime Day 2024 kicks off on July 16.

    For more details, check out our full Amazon Prime Day guide. 

    How do I set up an Amazon Echo device?

    Setting up an Amazon Echo device is simple. All you need is a smartphone or tablet with the Alexa app and an Amazon account (no Prime membership necessary). The process is very similar for all of the speakers and displays: just turn on the new device and follow the instructions in the Alexa app.

    Are Amazon Echo and Alexa the same thing?

    Amazon Echo and Alexa are closely related but they’re not the same thing. Echo is the brand name for Amazon’s series of smart products, while Alexa is the name of the company’s digital assistant. 

    All Echo devices support Alexa, so it’s best to consider Alexa the primary feature of an Amazon Echo.

    What does an Amazon Echo do?

    The best Amazon Echo devices offer many useful features. Most notably, Echo smart speakers and displays feature built-in support for Amazon Alexa, the company’s popular digital assistant. 

    Alexa enables voice commands so you can ask questions, set timers, check the weather, get news updates, play music, and control other compatible smart devices through hands-free commands.

    Do I need to have an Amazon account to use Echo?

    You need to have a basic Amazon account to set up and use an Echo device with Alexa. 

    That said, Echo products don’t require a paid subscription to Amazon Prime. You can just use a free Amazon account to get started with your Echo and access its main features.

    Best Amazon Echo overallAlexa is available on all Echo models.

    Lisa Eadicicco/Insider

    The fourth-gen Amazon Echo features an updated design, improved sound, and Amazon’s super-smart Alexa digital assistant built right into it.

    Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inchesWeight: 34.2 ouncesColors: Charcoal, Glacier White, Twilight Blue, and Red (limited edition)Mute button: YesRead our Amazon Echo (fourth generation) review

    Pros: Impressive sound quality, affordable, integrated Zigbee hub, 3.5mm port, attractive design

    Cons: Amazon still saves your voice recordings by default, Google offers more color choices for its speakers

    The fourth-generation Echo feels like a realization of everything Amazon has been building toward in previous models — a smart speaker that finds just the right balance between audio performance, price, and smart-home capabilities. 

    Unlike the cylindrical design of older models, the latest Echo is shaped like a sphere with a flat bottom, making it look more like a glowing orb than a typical speaker.  

    Audio quality has been improved thanks to the addition of a second tweeter and new front-firing placement. Our reviewer notes that the fourth-generation Echo sounds better than its predecessor in every way, with louder, deeper, and more full-bodied audio.

    The new Echo also features an integrated Zigbee hub, which was something previously included only in the more expensive Echo Plus. Zigbee is a smart-home standard that accessories use to pair with one another. A third-generation Echo would have to talk to a separate smart-home hub to access and adjust some devices, like light bulbs. The new Echo can create a direct link without another hub. 

    Alexa capabilities are built-in as well, enabling easy access to Amazon’s reliable digital assistant. A blue light glows on the bottom when Alexa is listening. A handy microphone mute button is included for buyers concerned about privacy.

    On the downside, Amazon still uses your voice recordings by default to help improve Alexa’s functionality. Thankfully, you can disable this from the Alexa app, under the Alexa Privacy section in the settings menu.

    Best budget Amazon Echo

    Amazon

    The third-gen Echo Dot may be the cheapest option on this list, but it’s still just as smart as its siblings.

    Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inchesWeight: 10.6 ouncesColors: Charcoal, Heather Gray, Plum, and SandstoneMute button: Yes

    Pros: Small, smart, affordable, works just as well as all the others

    Cons: Audio quality isn’t as good as the standard Echo

    Though there’s a newer fourth-generation model on the market, the third-generation Echo Dot is still the best budget Echo you can buy, thanks to its lower price and frequent discounts. For less than half the cost of the standard Echo, you get a hockey puck-sized gadget that can help you control other smart devices with your voice, answer questions, and connect to external speakers through a Bluetooth signal. 

    The Echo Dot’s best feature is definitely its small size. You can stick it just about anywhere, and because it has a similar microphone array as its bigger siblings, it won’t have a problem hearing your requests. Whether you’re going for subtlety or just want the cheapest option available to dip your toes into Amazon’s Echo ecosystem, this is your best choice.

    If you don’t mind spending a bit more, however, you should also consider the fourth-generation model. The latest Dot features a spherical design and slightly improved sound quality, but overall performance is essentially the same. Ultimately, choosing between the third- and fourth-gen models mostly comes down to your budget and whether you prefer the orb-shaped look.

    Best Amazon Echo with a big screen

    Amazon

    The Echo Show 10 can display information that its screenless siblings can only read to you, making it extra useful for timers and calendar events.

    Dimensions: 9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inchesWeight: 90.3 ouncesScreen size: 10.1-inch HD touchscreenMute button: Yes, along with built-in camera shutterRead our Echo Show 10 review

    Pros: 10.1-inch screen, the ability to see Alexa’s responses to you, ability to follow you as you move in your home

    Cons: Not entirely accurate in facing the right direction, higher price than the screenless options

    Simply put, this is an Echo speaker with a 10-inch screen. It can do anything a standard Echo can, but it can also show information and play videos on its display.

    For instance, if you set a timer you can watch it count down. You can also see your calendar when you ask Alexa about upcoming events, and you can even watch Prime Video, Hulu, and more.

    The Echo Show 10 is a particularly handy companion in the kitchen. If it helps to see a measurement conversion instead of just hearing it said out loud (there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, by the way), the Echo Show is a really good option. You can also visually follow recipes, which is sometimes easier than audio. 

    The latest third-generation Echo Show 10 was released in February 2021. The device is a step up from its predecessor as its screen now has the ability to automatically turn toward you. Its 13-megapixel camera can also center you in its frame for video calls. Though beneficial in some cases, this new following feature is not always the most accurate and it takes some getting used to.

    Best Amazon Echo with a small screen

    Amazon

    The Echo Show 5 has a smaller, 5-inch screen than the original model, making it perfect for use as a smart alarm clock on your bedside table.

    Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inchesWeight: 14.5 ouncesScreen size: 5.5-inch touchscreenMute button: Yes, along with built-in camera shutter

    Pros: 5-inch screen, the ability to see Alexa’s responses to you

    Cons: Camera is lower resolution than more expensive models, screen isn’t HD

    The Show 5 is the smallest Echo with a screen that Amazon sells. It has a 5-inch display, so it can show video content, security camera footage, and visual representations of Alexa’s answers. 

    It can also display the time, and you can use it to set alarms to wake you up in the morning, making it a great smart alarm clock for your bedside table.

    If you love the idea of seeing Alexa’s responses to your questions and requests, but you want a smaller device, the Echo Show 5 is a great option. 

    The latest second-generation Echo Show 5 launched in June 2021. Not much has changed compared to the first-gen version except for the camera. The new device has a 2-megapixel camera, a step up from the older model’s 1-megapixel camera.

    If you can find the original Show 5 in stock and on sale for a good deal price, it’s still a solid buy. But since they’re usually priced about the same, the second-gen model is the one to get.

    What else we consideredThe Echo Dot is a good choice for smaller spaces.

    Christian de Looper/Business Insider

    Echo Dot (fourth generation):  Like the standard Echo speaker, the latest Echo Dot swaps out its old puck-shaped design for a new spherical shape. Despite the updated look, however, the new Echo Dot still uses a single 1.6-inch speaker driver. 

    Though the new Dot is an impressive smart speaker in its own right, the less expensive third-generation model sounds very similar and is actually easier to wall mount. With that in mind, we still recommend the older Echo Dot as our top budget pick. 

    Amazon also has a fourth-generation Echo Dot with Clock. As the name implies, this version adds a built-in digital clock, enabling customers to easily see the time or temperature. 

    Read our Amazon Echo Dot (fourth generation) review here.

    Amazon Echo FAQs

    Amazon

    Are Amazon Echo and Alexa the same thing?

    Amazon Echo and Alexa are closely related but they’re not the same thing. Echo is the brand name for Amazon’s series of smart products, while Alexa is the name of the company’s digital assistant. 

    All Echo devices support Alexa, so it’s best to think of Alexa as the primary feature of an Amazon Echo.

    What does the Amazon Echo do?

    Amazon Echo devices offer many useful features. Most notably, Echo smart speakers and displays feature built-in support for Amazon Alexa, the company’s popular digital assistant. 

    Alexa enables voice commands so you can ask questions, set timers, check weather, get news updates, play music, and control other compatible smart devices through hands-free commands.

    Do I need to have an Amazon account to use Echo?

    You need to have a basic Amazon account in order to set up and use an Echo device with Alexa. 

    That said, Echo products don’t require a paid subscription to Amazon Prime. You can just use a free Amazon account to get started with your Echo and access its main features.

    Should I wait until Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday to buy an Amazon Echo? 

    Amazon Echo devices get big discounts on Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. If you’re planning to buy an Echo but don’t mind holding off for a few months, you should wait until one of these deal holidays to snag one for the best price.

    Outside of major sales events, deals also pop up throughout the year, so be sure to check our deals section to see if there are any worthwhile discounts on Echo devices.

    Best deals on Amazon Echo smart speakers from this guide

    Amazon’s Echo smart speakers are some of the most affordable and most widely-compatible smart gadgets on the market. As with all of Amazon’s products, Echo speakers see discounts of $10 to $20 regularly and can sometimes be bundled with other smart home gadgets.

    The best deals crop up during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as on Prime Day, Amazon’s yearly sales event. During the holiday shopping season in 2021, the fourth-generation Echo was down to $60, an all-time low.

    There are no deals on any of our Amazon Echo picks right now, but we’ll update this section with discounts when they’re available.

    Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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