Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
The best Alexa speaker
This smart speaker can play music, order pizza, answer questions, control popular smart-home devices, and much more, all through the sound of your voice.
May be out of stock
*At the time of publishing, the price was $60.
All three smart-speaker platforms (Alexa, Google Assistant, and to a lesser degree, Siri) can control a variety of smart-home devices and add an extra level of convenience to your smart-home system. We think Amazon’s Alexa has a slight edge over the others because it works with more devices, and the wider family of Amazon Echo products makes it easier to fit them everyplace in your home. However, if you already have a Google Home speaker, the differences aren’t large enough for you to need to switch platforms. We have guides for the best devices to use with Google Assistant and Siri/HomeKit.
The Amazon Echo (or Echo Dot) offers a convenient interface for your smart home and provides functionality that an app on your phone can’t. If you already have some Alexa-compatible devices or one of the three major smart-home hubs (SmartThings, Wink, or Insteon), adding an Echo can make accessing those devices more interesting and convenient. Taking advantage of its near-instantaneous response time and reliable voice-recognition processing is significantly faster than pulling out your phone and opening an app just to turn the lights on or off. Some products, such as Philips Hue lights and Nest thermostats, have native Alexa support, while others require you to enable a third-party Skill. We tested plenty of both varieties to come up with the best-performing and most reliable recommendations, which we’re continually testing to ensure that each new firmware and app update meets our high standards.
Over the past several years, Wirecutter’s editors and writers have tested just about every smart-home device of consequence. As more people end up buying smart speakers and platform support gets more and more important, we wanted to provide one place where you could access all of our picks that are compatible with the devices you already own, across all of our smart-home recommendations. Because these devices receive regular updates with additional compatibility and new features, we are continually testing and reevaluating our picks in our own homes to confirm that they still meet our recommendation standards. We’ll update this guide as we learn new information, but be sure to read the full reviews if you’d like more details and test notes.
If you don’t yet have an Alexa-enabled device, or you want to learn more about what Alexa is and what you can do with these things, check out our full guide to Alexa and Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers.
Source: NY Times – Wirecutter