Gone are the days when there was just one Amazon Alexa device on the market. Now there are five different versions of Amazon’s smart speaker system, the Echo, as well as countless other devices, from car chargers to robotic vacuum cleaners, that are enabled with Alexa, so you can operate the product completely hands-free.
This makes it that much harder to pinpoint which Alexa device is right for you. But all you really have to do is think about what you need on a day-to-day basis.
Are you the kind of person who needs a virtual assistant at home that can keep track of cooking timers and read the news? Are you a fashionista who wants a second opinion on your outfit of the day? Or are you looking to cut back on the manual labor of household chores like watering the lawn or cleaning up after your pets?
To help narrow down which Alexa device fits your lifestyle, we’ve created this handy cheat sheet, which breaks down each product’s capabilities as well as what kind of person it’s best suited for.
Amazon Echo ($99.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Those looking to upgrade their home to a smarter setup
You’re ready to make the leap into the smart home place. If you’re building out your home setup from scratch, the Amazon Echo is a stellar starting point. With it, you can play music from Amazon Music or Spotify, call or message your friends and family, order an Uber or even a pizza delivery, and get updates on traffic or weather, all without ever lifting a finger. And with solid audio quality, it doubles as a room-filling speaker for your favorite audio content. But the real reason this is such a good starting point is that you can hook up a number of devices with your Amazon Echo for a fully integrated smart home. Sync your robotic vacuum or smart bulbs with the device so you can control daily tasks or appliances by using only your voice.
Amazon Echo Show ($129.99, originally $229.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Those who want all the perks of Alexa, plus love video content
So you love the idea of the Amazon Echo, but want an extra layer of video content attached, so you can view footage from your security camera, watch daily video flash briefings, showcase photos, or even watch programs from Amazon Video. For that, you’ll want the Amazon Echo Show. In essence, the device does everything the Amazon Echo does, but with video content. It’s great for new parents who want to use it as a baby monitor to a connected camera, video buffs who want to have their favorite content available no matter what room they’re in, or people who want to see who’s at the front door without having to get up and look through the peephole.
Amazon Echo Look ($119.99, originally $199.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Fashion fans who want a smarter way to choose their outfits
Want a second opinion while you’re crafting your outfit for the day? Echo Look has got your back. This hands-free camera and style assistant can take head-to-toe photos and six-second videos of your look with its voice-activated camera. With its Echo Look app, you’ll be able to browse and compare your outfits, get personalized pairing ideas to freshen up your wardrobe, and even get a second opinion if you’re stuck between two different looks, with Style Check, which will let you know which option is better based on fit, color, styling and current trends. If you’re the kind of person who fusses in the morning over finding the perfect outfit, the Amazon Look could save you time and money in the long run.
Amazon Echo Dot ($49.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Someone who wants a virtual assistant, but on a budget
You’re the kind of person who wants a little extra help around your home – whether that’s Alexa keeping track of a timer while you’re cooking or reading you the news while you’re relaxing – but doesn’t want to shell out a ton of money on smart tech. For you, there’s the Amazon Echo Dot. This tiny device rings in at just $49.99, and delivers the basics of Alexa capabilities. It can play your music from popular streaming stations like Spotify and Pandora, control smart home devices, and answer questions, read you the news and set alarms for you. The main thing to note is that with its smaller size, the audio quality is considerably limited compared with other speakers out there. So serious audiophiles should consider the Sonos One, below.
Sonos One ($199; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Audiophiles looking for a smart speaker for the house
For those looking for top-notch sound quality, the Sonos One speaker with Alexa integration is a solid option. As with Echo devices, you can ask questions, check news and traffic updates, along with other helpful features (since it has Alexa built in). But this speaker offers richer sound quality than the Echo devices. And for those looking for a multiroom smart speaker setup, the Sonos One can connect to another device, as well as Echo devices. The bottom line is that while it’s more expensive than the Amazon Echo, it delivers better audio quality. So for those willing to pay extra for more room-filling audio, the Sonos One hits the spot.
Nest Learning Thermostat ($217.97, originally $249.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Shoppers who want to save big on their electricity bills
Smart devices can save you money. Among the Alexa-enabled devices that can do just that is the Nest Learning Thermostat. This smart home device learns your habits and can help you save on your regular bills by automatically adjusting the temperature. Nest says you can save anywhere from $131 to $145 annually, meaning the device will pay for itself in about two years. The Nest also works with a number of other devices in addition to Alexa ones, meaning it can tell smart washers and dryers to run a load of laundry when energy demand is low, or can connect with smart light bulbs to alert you in an emergency situation. It is important to note that unlike the other devices, there’s no Amazon Alexa built in to the device, so in order to tap into that functionality, you’ll also need an Alexa device on hand.
iRobot Roomba 690 ($279.99, originally $374.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Those who want a spotless home with minimal effort
We’re big iRobot fans here at CNN Underscored. And that’s because it makes an arduous and tedious household task nonexistent. This robotic vacuum cleaner roams around your home picking up dirt and debris along the way. Its dirt-detecting sensors can tell the device to double down on certain areas that might need more heavy-duty cleaning, so it customizes its cleaning capabilities based on the task at hand. All you have to do is ask your Amazon Alexa device to start your Roomba 690 and then kick back, relax, and let the robot do all the hard work for you.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Conroller ($145.06, originally $199.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Those who want watering the yard to be a hands-free process
Another Amazon Alexa-enabled device that can help cut down on manual work for you is the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. Much like the Nest thermostat, the Smart Sprinkler Controller aims to help you save money in the long run. It does this by understanding what types of plants you have in your yard, as well as the sun exposure, so it can properly water them without overdoing it. In addition, the device uses weather data to know when to adjust your watering schedule based on your local weather. And with its Alexa integration, you can control the device while you’re inside the comfort of your home.
Polk Command Sound Bar with Alexa Voice Control Built In ($299; amazon.com)
Perfect for: Those who want to control home theater setup hands-free
Remember when you had to use a physical remote to control your TV? Now, with Amazon Alexa, all you need to do to pick a movie to watch, or turn the volume up or down, is to say so. For those looking to upgrade their television to home-theater caliber, consider Polk’s newest sound bar. This device has Amazon Alexa built in, so you can ask it to stream music, television shows or movies on your favorite platforms like Fire TV and Amazon Music, as well as control the volume of your TV using your voice. (But be aware, it can’t control your cable box for specific channels.) And Alexa capabilities aside, this sound bar packs a serious punch when it comes to audio. With a patented voice adjust technology, it can customize voice levels in the content you’re watching to produce clearer dialogue. That’s in addition to its deep, room-filling bass and booming audio quality. Think of this device as your gateway to a smarter, more impressive home theater setup.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.