The best Alexa speakers: Smart speakers with Amazon's Alexa built-in

Our pick of the top Echo and third-party speakers with Alexa inside

The best Alexa smart speakers
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If you're looking for the best Alexa smart speaker, you have plenty to choose from. Third party Alexa speakers have often filled in the gaps not catered by Amazon's speakers, but there are now more official Amazon Echos than ever before, at great prices boasting excellent music quality and smart home tech.

The standard Amazon Echo, which now comes in a new spherical form factor, is a great smart speaker with a bunch of bonus smart home features, but there are also now multiple sized of the display-touting Echo Show.

The most popular Amazon Echo smart speaker is the Echo Dot, thanks to its insanely low price and this line has also been refreshed in a new ball-esque shape.

Essential reading: The best smart speakers

A lot of third parties focus on sound quality with their speakers with Alexa built in, which was once a major flaw in the Echo line-up.

But Amazon fixed that with the Echo Studio, which offers Sonos-esque sound quality at a very reasonable price. Pair two together and it's seriously good – and you'll still save money over single high-end speakers.

The good news is that, after a shaky start, Amazon's Alexa multi-room setup is getting better, meaning that it is now possible to group Alexa speakers together; not just Echo smart speakers but some third party brands as well. Read our comprehensive Alexa multi-room music guide for more information on that.

So, whether you're looking for the best Amazon Alexa speaker, or a great Alexa speaker from a traditional audio brand, read on for our guide to the best options on sale right now.

Best Amazon Echo speakers

In this section are the official, Amazon-branded devices where Alexa is onboard.

amazon echo 4th generation

Amazon Echo (4th-gen)

Buy now: Amazon | $99.99

The latest Amazon Echo - 4th generation, if you're keeping count - was announced in September 2020 and looks a heck of a lot different to previous models.

The all new spherical Alexa smart speaker has a 3.0-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters, Dolby stereo sound capabilities and can adapt its audio output to its surroundings.

With the AZ1 on board, Alexa is about to get a lot smarter. There will be a new, all-neural, speech recognition model that will process speech faster, making Alexa even more responsive.

Smart speaker showdown: Echo 4th-gen v Nest Audio

You can say, "Alexa, join our conversation" and you'll then be able to ditch the wake word and the voice assistants will be able to handle multiple participants in these more natural conversations.

As well as the usual Echo skills and smart home controls, the 4th-gen Echo also, like the Plus model (and some Show models), is able to act as a smart home hub, with Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy on board.

Check out our full Echo 4th-gen review.

the latest echo dot

Amazon Echo Dot (4th-gen)

Buy now: Amazon | $49.99

While the design of the new Echo Dot 2020 model features a 1.6-inch, front-firing speaker, which should help boost the slightly tinny Echo Dot sound we all know and love, all the other physical features stay the same.

There's also a new 2nd-gen Echo Dot with clock ($59.99) and the Echo Dot Kids Edition is also $59.99 and comes in the two animal faces.

Read our Amazon Echo Dot 2020 review.

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen)

Buy now: Amazon | $39.99

The 3rd-gen Dot is one of the cheapest tickets to the Alexa party.

While you get all of Alexa's features, the audio quality from this diminutive little Echo isn't really up to playing music.

You can use the 3.5mm jack to hook it up to an existing speaker system, but the Echo Dot is really about getting Alexa into more places in your home.

Check out our full Echo Dot review.

alexa show 10

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd-gen)

Buy now: Amazon | $229.99

Amazon Alexa's flagship smart display got a big upgrade at Amazon's annual Devices and Services event in September 2020. The new Echo Show 10 not only boasts an improved HD display and a better speaker - featuring dual, front-firing tweeters and a powerful woofer - but it's also got some moves.

The Show 10 can pan, tilt, and zoom, keeping you in frame wherever you are in the room thanks to a silent brushless motor and a AZ1 neural processor that can recognize the form of a human body.

This means it can physically pan and digitally zoom to keep you in the frame of the camera while on a video call, or keep the screen in your vision if you're following a recipe while moving around the kitchen.

Hardware features include a 13 megapixel camera, the motorized automatic swivel and a manual tilt function, as well as radios for Zigbee, Bluetooth LE, and Amazon’s new Sidewalk network, making it a pretty comprehensive smart home hub.

Have a read of our full Amazon Echo Show 10 review to find out more.

echo show 8

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd-gen)

Buy now: Amazon | $129

If you think the Echo Show 10 is more novelty than necessity then the newest Echo Show 8 could well be your sweet spot as the best Alexa smart display.

Looking a lot like the first generation 8-inch display from Amazon, It has the same 1280 x 800 resolution, 8-inch screen, and physical camera shutter that also cuts off the microphone.

On board is a new adaptive color sensor in addition to the adaptive brightness function, which helps adjust the color and light balance of the screen to better fit in with its surroundings.

The dual stereo speakers pack a pretty decent punch. They project out of the rear of the device, so it's not the kind of immersive sound you get from the spherical Echo speakers, but it's still good.

You can play music from Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify, but if you opt for Amazon you get a visual of the lyrics scrolling on the screen - perfect for an impromptu karaoke party.

Of course, the voice assistant Alexa underpins everything about the Echo speaker, which is a voice-first device despite the presence of a screen.

You can call up video feeds from connected cameras with a voice command, answer your video doorbell, and control lights and other smart home devices.

But the entire Show line also acts as a touch-screen control for your smart home. Swipe in from the right and access a card-based navigation screen that gets you quick access to control devices in groups or individually when you don't want to use voice.

Have a read of our full Amazon Echo Show 8 review for more details.

Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Echo Studio

Buy now: Amazon | $199

The Studio is an impressive attempt to woo audiophiles, with a price tag that makes the Studio a serious threat to Sonos, the HomePod and other rivals.

While the sound quality isn't quite audiophile level, it's big and expansive – and sounds especially great when combined with Amazon Music's new UHD music subscription tier.

Amazon isn't only matching its high-end music rivals, but punching above some of them. Throw in that Zigbee radio and Alexa, and you've got the most impressive Echo speaker yet.

Check our full Echo Studio review.

The best third-party Alexa speakers

You don't need an Echo speaker to get Alexa; there is also an ever-growing list of third-party Alexa speakers from some well known Hi-Fi brands.

Sonos One

Sonos One

Buy now: Amazon | $199.99

The original: Sonos and Alexa teamed up for the launch of the Sonos One a few years ago now, but it's still a strong contender.

By adding the voice-activated Alexa control into the mix (and the option of Google Assistant if you'd prefer), Sonos took its multi-room system to the next level.

The One is pretty much a fully-fledged Alexa speaker – with just a handful of features such as shopping and Drop In missing.

Otherwise, it sounds great, looks good, and is platform agnostic – and that's a potent mix.

Check our full Sonos One review.

great marshall voice speaker with alexa

Marshall Uxbridge Voice

Buy Now: | $199

A decent budget option, the latest (and smallest) Marshall smart speaker went live in 2020, with a Sonos One rivalling price-tag.

Designed to resemble the company's iconic amps, the Marshall Uxbridge Voice doesn't have the trademark vinyl covering of its more costlier siblings; instead it's a smooth finish alongside that all-familiar salt and pepper fret, with the Marshall logo front and centre.

Up top there are three rockers for physically customising the sound - volume, bass and treble and you can also tweak further using the useful, if somewhat basic, Marshall Voice app.

Once you've got it all synced up there's a wealth of wireless streaming options for you to make use of. The speaker itself is Bluetooth, as mentioned (4.2 if you're wondering) and is both Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect compatible.

Read our complete Marshall Uxbridge Voice review.

sonos move speaker with alexa

Sonos Move

Buy now: Amazon, | $399

Sonos fbuilt a Bluetooth speaker a couple of years back, bringing its expertly-tuned sound to the great outdoors.

As an indoor speaker, it connects to your Wi-Fi and behaves just like a Sonos One: there's Alexa and Google Assistant built in, AirPlay 2 support, and easily slips into your multi-room system.

But hit that Bluetooth button on the back and you're free to roam, with up to 10 hours of battery life to play with (so long as you're playing at a "moderate volume").

The Move also has Automatic Trueplay, which will automatically optimize its sound for its surroundings.

Have a look at our Sonos Move review.

Bose Home Speaker 500

Bose Home Speaker 500

Buy now: Amazon | $399.99

Bose has finally made an entrance in smart speakers - and it's landed with a resounding thud. The Home Speaker 500 puts Alexa (and now Google Assistant) on supersonic steroids, fusing Amazon's assistant with Bose's typically brilliant sound quality. It sounds far better than Amazon's own offerings - but that jump in quality comes at a price.

Bose's speaker is expensive - more expensive than the HomePod and the Sonos One - but in return you're getting outstanding sound, classy design, and - get this - a proprietary app we actually enjoy using. Apple AirPlay 2 is also onboard to help you ping across tunes from your iOS device without having to connect over Bluetooth.

Check out our full Bose Home Speaker 500 review.

Marshall Stanmore II

Marshall Stanmore II Voice

Buy now: Amazon | $399

A classic look combined with new-school smarts, the Marshall Stanmore II Voice is an ideal choice for those who want a smart speaker that doesn't actually look like one.

The downside to this look is that it doesn’t make it the most naturally usable smart speaker, which is doubly true when you also take into account its size, but the sound rivals the best in the space. If musical talent is your priority and you’ve got the cash to spend, you won’t find many better options than this Marshall speaker.

Read our complete Marshall Stanmore II Voice review.

Libratone Zipp II

Libratone Zipp 2

Buy now: Amazon | $299

Thanks to its portability, the Libratone Zipp 2 offers something that no other speaker on this list can. With Alexa, AirPlay 2, and ample sound quality, it's hard to find many faults with this option - unless, of course, you have a fear of zips.

The price is a bit of a drawback, since the sound isn't as strong as other third-party speakers, and it's not quite as portable as the Zipp Mini 2, but this is still one of the top speakers you can buy with Alexa housed inside.

Read our full Libratone Zipp 2 review.

sonos arc has alexa built-in

Sonos Arc

Buy now: | $799

The volume of soundbars with Alexa built-in now is huge but there's none better than Sonos' top dog TV speaker: The Sonos Arc (the much loved Sonos Beam soundbar is a much more entry-level proposition).

The Arc is a Dolby Atmos soundbar, designed to bring a taste of object-based home cinema surround-sound without the need for multiple speakers in multiple parts of your room.

It also functions as part of a wireless music system, and/or as part of a true surround-sound set-up (with the likes of Sonos Ones as rear speakers and perhaps a Sonos Sub for the bass-crazed), and/or as part of a wider Sonos multiroom set-up.

It’s easy to integrate Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice control, using the Sonos S2 app.

Read our full Sonos Arc review to find out more.

TAGGED    amazon alexa    smart speakers

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