The best Alexa speakers of 2021: the top smart speakers to control your home

Admit it: you’re falling in love with Alexa. From telling you the weather forecast and playing music to setting timers and switching on your smart lights using just your voice, there’s something irresistible about Amazon Echo’s proprietary voice recognition software. 

However, Alexa is changing. For years the smart assistant was confined to answering dumb questions and to weedy-sounding speakers made only by Amazon. But now Alexa is flourishing. Alongside a massively expanding Alexa Skills set and constant upgrades comes a new drive for sound quality. 

This can be seen in Amazon products, like the audio-focused Echo Studio to the latest versions of the Echo and Echo Dot – Amazon is increasingly focused on giving users a better-sounding experience.

But you don’t have to buy an Amazon product in order to bring Alexa into your home. Brands including Bose, Sonos and Yamaha all offer fantastic audio, as well as integration with Amazon’s smart assistant. 

There’s an incredible range of Alexa-enabled speakers on offer. But before buying, ask yourself what you really want. An alarm clock? A desktop gadget? An intercom-style video call device? Or a full-blown home cinema system? All of these products and more now come under Alexa’s control as the smart speaker matures. But certain devices are definitely geared up for different preferences.

In this guide you’ll find  the best Alexa speakers – Echo and otherwise – for your smart home that you can buy today:

UPDATE: New details have recently emerged about a new wall-mounted Alexa tablet that serves as a smart home command center that’s being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division, the same one that made the Amazon Kindle, Echo and Echo Dot.

The mystery device is reportedly still very much in development at this point, but the general idea is that it’d work as a central hub to control your smart devices, like the Amazon Echo Show. The device could potentially show upcoming calendar events and could also have a built-in camera for video calling.

sonos one

(Image Sonos)

1. Sonos One

A spectacular Alexa smart speaker with a warm, precise soundstage


Reasons to buy

+Fabulous sound quality+Hi-Res Audio

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Setup takes a while

Is this the best smart speaker? After years pushing its own multi-room home audio system, Sonos went and produced the spectacular Sonos One, complete with touch-sensitive controls, two Class-D digital amplifiers, one mid-woofer and one tweeter, its soundstage is punchy, energetic and bassy. 

It’s easy to set-up, with a nifty Trueplay Tuning process (which requires you to take your phone around the room while it plays test sounds), while a new update has just added Hi-Res Audio to the mix. It’s so good as a standalone speaker that you can even buy it without Alexa

Read more: Sonos One review

[Update: There could be a smaller, cheaper version of the Sonos Move on the horizon, and it might be a big rival for the Apple HomePod mini. The original Sonos Move is the company’s portable smart speaker, combining a choice of Alexa or Google Assistant smarts with the convenience of a Bluetooth speaker.]

Amazon Echo studio

(Image Amazon)

2. Amazon Echo Studio

Alexa for audiophiles


Reasons to buy

+Dolby Atmos immersive sound+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Large size won’t suit all-3D audio is so-so

Amazon’s first high-end smart speaker for home cinemas is its best-sounding Echo so far. One of the most powerful speakers you’ll find for the money at 330W, buy two Amazon Echo Studio speakers and you can set them up in the Alexa app to create an immersive home cinema system. 

It’s seriously impressive, though to get the best from it consider becoming a subscriber to Amazon Music HD. Our only complaint is that its up-mixing of stereo tracks to Dolby Atmos is inconsistent.   

Read more: Amazon Echo Studio review

amazon echo 2020

(Image Amazon)

3. Amazon Echo (2020)

A complete overhaul of Amazon’s flagship smart speaker


Reasons to buy

+Futuristic look+Improved, adaptive sound+Alexa responds faster

Reasons to avoid

-Max volume level isn’t loud enough

The new Amazon Echo is a serious step up from its predecessors, even if it still doesn’t have the best sound of any smart speaker. Add to that the built-in Zigbee smart home hub and a new AZ1 neural edge processor that will reduce the time it takes for Alexa to respond to commands, and you’ve got the recipe for the best Echo design yet.

Of course, while the hardware is all new, it’s still the same ol’ Alexa under the hood. Alexa will still be able to answer your basic questions or make calls within your country of residence, as well as control any number of smart devices you have around your home. 

Read more: Amazon Echo (2020) review

echo dot

(Image Amazon)

4. Amazon Echo Dot (2020)

A smart home gateway with improved audio quality


Reasons to buy

+Space-age aesthetic+Easy setup and integration

Reasons to avoid

-Directional, shallow sound-No Zigbee hub inside

The Amazon Echo Dot has always been the best option for those who aren’t sure about smart home tech and want to take the first step. It provides a place for Alexa to live inside your home and packs in enough sound performance to fill a room. All that for under $50 / £50 / AU$80 and it’s easy to see why it’s long been one of the most popular smart speakers on the market.

In some of those ways, the Amazon Echo Dot (2020) lives up to the legacy set down by all of the previous Echo Dot devices – it’s small, decently loud and, thanks to Alexa, it’s pretty smart, too.

Read more: Amazon Echo Dot (2020) review

echo dot with clock 2020

(Image Amazon)

5. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (2020)

We love the new-look Echo Dot with Clock


Reasons to buy

+Great design+Clear timepiece

Reasons to avoid

-Weak bass frequencies-No 360-degree audio

There’s not much to get excited about on this, the newest version of the Echo Dot. That is, unless the question you ask most frequently of Alexa is “what’s the time?”  

Like its predecessor, the Echo Dot with Clock can double as a bedside alarm, albeit one that comes with all the smarts of Alexa on board alongside the ability to control your smart home devices (via a separate Zigbee-supporting speaker). 

It has undergone a rather radical design overhaul over the previous Echo Dot with Clock, sporting a space age-esque spherical design that’s available in both gray and white color schemes. All the features of the previous Echo Dot with Clock remain, including a 3.5mm AUX-in port, and the blue Alexa light ring – although this is now located at the bottom of the smart speaker rather than the top. 

Read more: Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (2020) review

cheap Bose speakers deals sales prices

(Image Bose)

6. Bose Home Speaker 500

With microphones this good, Alexa will never mishear you again


Reasons to buy

+Sensitive microphones+Excellent sound quality

Reasons to avoid

-Pricey-Hit and miss Wi-Fi setup

If you’re searching for the best-sounding smart speaker, stop searching. With Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, the sleek anodized aluminum Home Speaker 500 has the smarts alongside room-filling sound. 

An eight microphone array, designed for near and far-field listening, lets you talk to Alexa even when music is playing loud. However, setting the speaker up on a Wi-Fi network using the Bose Music app is harder than it should be. 

Read more: Bose Home Speaker 500 review

echo spot

(Image Amazon)

7. Amazon Echo Spot

The best-looking Echo speaker so far is all about video chat


Reasons to buy

+Clear video+Quirky design

Reasons to avoid

-Video is cropped to fit screen-Expensive

Pitted against the Echo Show 5 for the title of ‘best compact smart display’, the mango-sized Echo Spot is the more affordable and better looking of the two. 

With a round 5.5-inch screen that’s about the size of a smartphone, it’s cute and quirky, and is designed for use anywhere in a home. Ideal to use for intercom-style video chat around the house and beyond, it crops widescreen video and zooms-in to fit faces to its circular screen, and its tiny speaker is surprisingly good. 

Read more: Amazon Echo Spot review


(Image Yamaha)

8. Yamaha YAS-209

A smart soundbar with an immersive sonic experience


Reasons to buy

+Big soundstage+DTS: VirtualX

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Not ‘true’ surround sound

Why shouldn’t Alexa get involved with home entertainment? 

Despite bringing Alexa to the living room, the headline act on this 2.1-channel soundbar is audio quality. It’s got a 100W driver and 200W of power for the entire system spread across two front-firing speakers, and a separate wireless subwoofer. Cue a big soundstage that also features crisp, clear vocals, well-integrated bass and – thanks to DTS Virtual:X processing – an immersive sonic experience. 

Read more: Yamaha YAS-209 review


Sonos Move

(Image Sonos)

9. Sonos Move

The wireless pioneer’s first portable speaker – and it’s ace


Reasons to buy

+Can integrate with a home Sonos speaker network+On-the-go tunes

Reasons to avoid

-Not as feature-rich when using Bluetooth-Cant be used as rear cinema speakers

The Sonos Move is the company’s first foray into portable Bluetooth speakers that launched in 2019. Since launch, it’s topped our list of the best Bluetooth speaker and is perfectly suited for both indoor and outdoor listening. 

The Sonos Move offers on-the-go Bluetooth play, as well as integrating with a multi-room networked speaker system over Wi-Fi. In this way, it’s got most of the functionality of a regular Sonos, along with the very appealing ability to untether it from a power supply, thanks to an internal battery. 

Since launch, we’ve seen a new and improved Sonos Move that brings improved battery life with an extra hour of charge to ensure those trips to the beach – or just out of reaching distance of a plug socket – are packed with quality sound as long as possible. Plus there’s a new Lunar White version of the Sonos Move gives a white/silver new look to the portable speaker, and should provide more variety.

Read more: Sonos Move review


Amazon Echo Show 10

(Image Amazon)

10. Echo Show 10

Amazon’s most advanced smart display yet


Reasons to buy

+Large, clear, responsive touch screen+Display can rotate 360 degrees+13MP camera can be used for home security

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-No YouTube app-Audio is bass heavy

Unlike any other Amazon smart display, The Echo Show 10 can follow you around the room when you move so that the screen and camera are always within your gaze, whether you’re following a recipe, making a video call or watching Netflix. 

The Echo Show 10’s 13MP camera pans with the screen, and also zooms automatically when you’re on a video call, making sure you’re front and center of the picture at all times. The camera can also be used for home security, with its live feed available through the Alexa app any time you want to check in on your abode. 

Like all Amazon Echo devices, Alexa is built-in and offers a hands-free way to set timers, shop online, follow recipes, get your burning questions answered and get the lastest weather and news. As well as an audible response, the Amazon Echo Show 10 will offer up extra information on screen, too: ask for the weather forecast, for example, and it’ll announce the day’s temperature while on screen an hour-by-hour breakdown, along with the wind speed and real-feel temperature, is displayed.

Previous iterations of the Amazon Echo Show 10’s have had a ‘voice first, touch second’ approach. This is still the case with the newest model, although the reliance on voice has been reduced somewhat. Swipe left from the home screen and you’ll find shortcuts for making calls, announcements and drop-ins, as well as for playing music and video services, setting routines and controlling smart home gadgets.

Read more: Amazon Echo Show 10 review

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