This article was last updated by Digital Trends’ editor John Velasco on 3/25/2020.
Amazon’s smart assistant first came into existence back in 2014, and Alexa has gone on to power several smart speakers. From its humble beginning with the Amazon Echo, it’s been implemented into many other speakers both small and big.
Our pick for the best Alexa speaker is none other than the 3rd generation Amazon Alexa. It’s a wonderful center piece to any room with its reasonable price, punchy audio performance, and its ability to control various smart gadgets in the home.
Best of all, several third-party speakers leverage Alexa. While some folks may be content to have Alexa confined in a tinier, more personal package, others may prefer something more robust. There’s a wide array of Alexa speakers to choose from, but here are some of the best ones.
The best Alexa speaker: Amazon Echo
Combining size and performance, the 3rd generation Amazon Echo is our pick for the best Alexa speaker. Music aficionados will appreciate the sound quality this sizable speaker is able to churn out in a package that’s not overpowering when it’s placed among other decor. While it shares a similar cylindrical design as its predecessors, this 3rd generation model blends into more areas because of its fabric covering. Plus, there are five different colors to choose from!
Over on the audio side, the Echo’s speakers are powered by Dolby with 360-degree audio, while delivering crisp vocals and punchier bass to please just about any music lover. You’re paying more for it over the smaller Echo Dot, but at $100, it’s a wonderful centerpiece. Throw in all of Alexa’s expertise and home control functions, you have an Alexa speaker that offers a lot without breaking the bank.
The best budget Alexa speaker: Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
If you’re looking for a general Alexa speaker that can be discrete wherever it’s placed, then you’ll want to check out the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock. However, you may want to position it in an area that offers line of sight to it, because it proudly displays the time with its built-in LEDs.
Functionally, it doesn’t differ much from the previous model, but it still has all of Alexa’s features in a compact package. In addition to the time, it can display the temperature outside and countdown a timer. Priced at $60, it’s a small investment to quickly turn your home into a smart home.
The best Alexa speaker for music: Amazon Echo Studio
Amazon’s premier Alexa speaker is the Echo Studio. Armed to the teeth with an impressive array of hardware, and featuring a total of five speakers powered by Dolby Atmos technology, it ensures audio performance is dynamic for just about any situation. What truly makes it unique is the ability to tune itself to adapt to any room by analyzing the acoustics of the room, delivering optimized audio for exceptional music playback.
Despite the speaker that’s packing so much heat, all of the hardware is packaged snuggly into its cylindrical shaped body — making it the perfect centerpiece to grace any entertainment center. Plus, you still get all the same rich smart home controls as any Alexa speaker. You’re paying a pretty penny for the Echo Studio, but you’re receiving a premium speaker in return.
The best portable Alexa speaker: Ultimate Ears Megablast
Sure, it may be a couple of years old now, but the Ultimate Ears Megablast is one of the few Alexa enabled speakers meant for the great outdoors.
This portable speaker is perfect for road trips and outdoor activities because it’s designed for water and drop protection. You can certainly take a dunk in a pool without a worry about damage, especially when its IP67 rating allows it to be submerged under water for up to 30 minutes. Even though it’s largely meant to be a party speaker, you can still leverage all of Alexa’s abilities while you’re outside. That means you can still tell Alexa to turn off the lights in the kitchen from outside, or even turn on the lights outside when the sun goes down. It’s also accompanied by phenomenal audio as well, featuring 360-degree audio with low frequency drivers and passive radiators to deliver superb bass.
The best Alexa speaker with Bluetooth: Marshall Acton II Voice
The dawn of the smart speaker ushered in Wi-Fi connected speakers in favor of Bluetooth ones, but if you still have a heart for the latter, the Marshall Acton II will satisfy that desire. For those who host parties at home, the Bluetooth connectivity of the Acton II makes it simple for anyone to quickly connect to the speaker and stream music. While the iconic Marshall design is appreciable, complete with knobs, buttons, and a grill with the company’s branding, it’s exceptional at producing audio as well! In fact, it’s not too often you have physical controls on the speaker itself for adjusting the bass and treble.
Besides the signature design, Amazon’s Alexa is still accessible at any moment when you’re at home and have access to her plethora of functions. You won’t have to struggle for Alexa to listen to you thanks to its far-field microphone array and noise cancellation, so it knows exactly what you’re saying the first time around.