The best Alexa speaker enables you to listen to your favorite albums and playlists on music streaming services, as well as access to Amazon’s voice assistant. Ask Alexa to control the playback of music, as well as information such as the latest headlines, the weather, or even recent sports scores, and the best Alexa speakers will oblige, serving up the information you requested audibly.
Many of the best Alexa speakers are made by Amazon – in fact there’s a model to suit every budget and room in your home. From the compact entry-level Echo Dot to the Echo Studio, which is an excellent-sounding speaker that will be right at home in your entertainment set-up.
And right now, it's worth noting that Amazon appears to be about to release a new range of Echo speakers, just in time for Prime Day 2 and Black Friday 2022.
However, a number of third-party brands including Bose and Sonos also offer some of the top smart speakers with Alexa built-in, on the market right now too. Alongside the best Alexa speakers, Amazon also now offers a range of smart displays. These build on an Alexa speaker with a screen that offers a visual interpretation of the information Alexa serves up.
Whichever Alexa product you opt for, you’ll be able to control an array of compatible smart home devices from different manufacturers at the same time. With just one command, you can ensure your smart lights illuminate, your smart thermostat boosts the temperature a few degrees, and lamps or radios connected to smart plugs and switches turn on automatically, creating a cozy atmosphere without reaching for your smartphone.
The best Alexa speakers can also be used to stay in touch with friends and family through audio, as well as doubling as an intercom for the house.
The best Alexa speaker of 2022
If you're looking for the best Alexa speaker, you'll be hard pushed to do better than Sonos’ debut smart speaker. Sleek and stylish, this speaker packs a punch when it comes to sound quality, but even though it's not manufactured by Amazon, it still brings the benefits of Alexa.
On test, we were impressed with the mic array, which ensured our voice was picked up, even from the other side of the room. It laso has both Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port, making it ideal for homes that struggle with a strong wireless internet connection. However, this is an expensive smart speaker when compared to the rest of the market.
If you're looking for a more portable option, check out the Sonos Move (opens in new tab), which offers a similar excellent sound quality but also lets you take Alexa on the move.
Read more: Sonos One review (opens in new tab)
With the ability to pair two Eco Studio's together for stereo sound, and a single output of 330W, this is the best Alexa speaker if you're looking to take your home cinema system (opens in new tab) to the next level.
On test, we were seriously impressed by the sound quality, and the fact it doubles as a Zigbee hub too. However, the large, bulky footprint won't suit everyone and to get the best from the Alexa speaker, you'll need to subscribe to Amazon Music HD (opens in new tab) to enjoy the 3D immersive sound that Amazon highlights as one of its best features.
That said, it's certainly more affordable than similar speakers from rivals such as Sonos.
Read more: Amazon Echo Studio review (opens in new tab)
Striking the right balance between price and smart home features, the latest Amazon Echo is the best Alexa Speaker for smart home control. The spherical design looks different from any Echo before it and is certainly pleasing to the eye. The audio has been improved too, but the fact that it acts as a Zigbee hub so you can control your smart home devices even when you're not at home, really makes it stand out.
The Echo’s only real issues are that its max volume level is a bit soft, especially compared to larger Alexa speakers such as the Echo Studio (above).
Read more: Amazon Echo (2020) review (opens in new tab)
If you're on a tight budget, the Amazon Echo Dot is the most affordable way to get your hands on an Alexa speaker. It's ideal for those who aren’t sure about smart home tech and want to take the first step, as it provides room-filling sound and the benefits of Amazon's voice assistant for under $50 / £50 / AU$80 (it can often be found discounted during online sale periods too).
With the same space-age aesthetic as the Amazon Echo (2020) it's better-looking than previous iterations, and on test, we found it extremely easy to set up and use. However, you do comprise the sound quality, with directional and shallow audio, and there's no Zigbee hub inside, unlike its more expensive sibling.
Read more: Amazon Echo Dot (2020) review (opens in new tab)
If you're looking for the best Alexa speaker for the bedroom, the Echo Dot with Clock (2020), is the ideal choice. It builds on the Echo Dot (above) with an illuminated display feature the current time - ideal if you wake up in the middle of the night and don't want to disturb your partner by asking "Alexa, what's the time".
It sports the same spherical design as the Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo, and the rounded styling certainly fits in with home decor better than previous iterations. As you'd expect, it's also extremely easy to set up and use. However, as we've already mentioned above, as it shares the same speaker as the Echo Dot, the audio is directional and shallow, and it also lacks a Zigbee hub inside
Read more: Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (2020) review (opens in new tab)
The Bose Smart Speaker 500 can certainly give the Sonos One (above) a run for its money when it comes to sound quality - making it our pick as the best Alexa speaker for audiophiles.
Its elegant design is backed up by room-filling sound while Alexa provides the smarts. On test, we were impressed with the eight microphone array, that picked up our commands to Amazon's voice assistant even when the speaker was playing music at a loud volume. We also loved the preset buttons that offer one-touch access to your favorite playlists, radio stations, or albums.
However, it's one of the most expensive smart speakers on the market, and we found setting the speaker up on a Wi-Fi network using the Bose Music app is harder than it should be.
Read more: Bose Smart Speaker 500 review (opens in new tab)
With a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours between charges, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Sonos Roam is our pick of the best portable Alexa speaker you can buy right now.
The rugged design is complemented by a bass-heavy audio performance, which makes it ideal for use outdoors, though audiophiles may dislike the overwhelming low frequencies and rhythmic handling. It's also expensive when compared to the other Alexa speaker in this list. However, we think its versatility and powerful sound will make it worth the investment for those that want the ability to use Alexa outside as well as indoors.
Read more: Sonos Roam review (opens in new tab)
As we've already mentioned, some Alexa smart speakers come with a screen built-in to provide a visual interpretation of the voice assistant's responses. If this is the style of smart speaker you want in your home, then the Echo Show 10 is the best Alexa smart display you can buy right now.
The screen rotates and follows you as you move around a roo, so it's always within your gaze and there's a 13MP camera too, which has since also been added to the Echo Show 8 (2nd generation) (opens in new tab), that uses the rotating screen to pan and zoom during video calls, so you’re always in the center of the frame.
On test, we found the microphone array meant Alexa was responsive when it came to recognizing voices. However, we found the speaker was too bassy and its also more expensive than most of the Alexa speakers in this list.
Read our full review: Amazon Echo Show 10 review (opens in new tab)
Love the idea of an Alexa speaker with a screen but you're on a budget? The Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd generation) is worth considering.
It's the most affordable Alexa smart display on the market right now, and certainly packs a punch when it comes to features. The camera is twice the resolution of the Amazon Echo Show 5 (2019) (opens in new tab), and like its predecessor, it has a physical camera shutter so you can be sure once and for all that you aren't be recorded or watched by accident. Even better, it doubles as a home security camera too.
There are some compromises to keep the price so affordable - the resolution of the screen is low, so don't expect a sharp, clear experience when watching video clips, and it lacks YouTube support, but we still think it's worth every penny.
Read our full review: Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd generation) (opens in new tab)
Amazon's most affordable Alexa speaker is also available in a kids edition, which comes with either a Tiger or Panda design. Slightly more expensive than the standard Amazon Echo Dot (2020) it comes bundled with a one-year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+ for unlimited access to a range of age-appropriate audiobooks, radio stations, and skills and games and is worth $99.99 / £79.99. However, some of the Amazon Kids+ content can only be used on a device that has a screen.
The Alexa speaker also supports Amazon's parental controls so you can set time limits in the Alexa app that restrict when, and for how long, the smart speaker can be used. However, this is the case for all Echo smart speakers so if you have an unused standard version languishing in your home, it will be better value to utilize this rather than buying a brand new speaker.
Read more: Amazon Echo Dot (2020) Kids review (opens in new tab)
How we test Alexa speakers
When it comes to putting the best Alexa speakers to the test, we evaluate the sound quality of the speaker and whether the audio is clear when listening to music, podcasts, and even the responses from Alexa.
We assess each model on its ability to pick up your voice when issuing commands to Alexa, as well as privacy features that help ensure the smart speaker isn’t constantly watching and listening, and how compact and durable the design is.
Best Alexa Speaker FAQs
What to consider when buying an Alexa speaker
There are a number of considerations when it comes to choosing the best Alexa speaker for you.
Do you want an Alexa speaker that just offers audible responses from Amazon’s voice assistant, or do you want a device with a screen, known as a smart display, that lets you see as well as hear Alexa’s responses? And if so, do you want a larger screen that can be easily seen in a quick glance when ou’re on the other side of the room, or do you want a smaller , more compact device?
Next, consider where you intend to locate the Alexa speaker. Large devices are best suited to rooms with bigger footprints such as a lounge or dining room, while for bedrooms, you may want a smaller Alexa speaker so it fits neatly on your bedside table.
If you intend to use the smart speaker as your main listening device, make sure you consider the number of speakers, and the sound output and quality it offers. Those with smaller speakers are best suited to background music, while larger smart speakers will offer a louder, more room-filling sound. Also look for models that can be paired together to create stereo sound if you’re planning to use a smart speaker as part of your home cinema set-up.
What do Alexa speakers do?
As we’ve already mentioned, Alexa speakers can be used to listen to music but there’s also a host of other things they can do thanks to Amazon’s built-in voice assistant. To start with, they can control the playback of music for you, rather than needing to reach for your smartphone. Just ask Alexa to pause the music, skip tracks, adjust the volume or even play a specific album, track, or playlist.
Alexa speakers can also offer up a range of information such as a weather report, the latest news headlines, or even sports scores, if you ask for them. The voice assistant can also provide trivia and answer your burning questions such as ‘who is the Queen of England’ or ‘what is the tallest mountain in the world’.
Alexa speakers can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends by letting you make audio calls, and if you have an Alexa smart display, video calls. It can even be a source of fun by telling jokes and playing games. .
Finally, Alexa speakers can also be used to control compatible smart home devices; for example, it can dim or brighten any smart lights you have in your home, turn the temperature up or down if you have a smart thermostat, and let you converse with anyone at your doorstep by connecting to your video doorbell.