Not to state the obvious, butis everywhere. Since the release of the first-generation Echo speaker in 2014, Amazon has built an expansive landscape of , ranging from , and so much more — and it’s only growing every year.
Last year, Amazon released several new gadgets and Alexa features at thein September, including the , the , the , the fitness band and the much-anticipated . On top of that, we saw several new .
That’s not to mention the countless number of Alexa-compatible devices made by companies other than Amazon on the market right now. To put it simply, Alexa still dominates in terms of smart home integration. And with recent developments, Amazon’s voice assistant allows even more impressive integrations fromto to to and .
It’s a lot to navigate if you’re trying to put together an Alexa-powered smart home of your own. To that end, we’ve broken down the best of the best Alexa-compatible devices available right now. We update this list periodically, so check back periodically for the most up-to-date recommendations.
Amazon‘s third-gen Echo Dot with Clock was our previous favorite Alexa speaker, but with the 2020 product line, the flagship fourth-generation Echo speaker gets the nod. At $100, the spheroidal speaker is more expensive than the $50 fourth-generation Amazon Echo Dot, but it’s currently on sale for $75, and the improvements in sound quality and some intriguing smart home features justify the additional cost.
This smart device’s shape sets Amazon’s newer Echo speaker apart. Where the third-gen Echo offered a barely noticeable sound quality improvement over its predecessor, the ball-shaped fourth-gen version has noticeably better audio output, including respectable bass for a speaker in its price range.
On the smart home front, the fourth-gen Echo also gets a built-in Zigbee receiver, carrying over a feature from the now-defunct Amazon Echo Plus. The Zigbee receiver lets the new Echo function as a smart home connectivity point for compatible smart lights, plugs, and other Zigbee-based accessories. That means you can use the Echo itself as a hub, without the need for an additional piece of hardware to get those devices online.
The newest Echo Dot has the same shape as the new Echo speaker, but the improvement over the third-gen Echo Dot isn’t very apparent. It also costs $50, where you can regularly find the third-generation Echo Dot still on sale for $30 or less.
Read our Amazon Echo (2020) review.
The third-gen Wyze Cam, like its earlier iterations, costs only $36, but this smart home device is one of our favorite cameras overall, in part because of the low price. It comes with weatherproof housing, sharper night vision than its predecessor, a wider field of view, a loud siren and more — including 14-day video clip storage and a built-in microSD card slot for local storage.
If you have an Echo Show smart display, you can also throw the Wyze Cam’s feed onto the screen with a simple voice command.
Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.
The Amazon Echo Show 8 is Amazon’s latest smart display. At an asking price of $110, you get an 8-inch screen with the best resolution of any Echo Show yet, a camera shutter and all the smarts of previous Amazon smart displays. Plus, as of writing this, Amazon has it on sale for $70, saving you $40.
The Echo Show 8 has a built-in Alexa speaker. That means you can use this smart display to ask your Alexa digital assistant to do your bidding, whether that be asking it to play music, relay the weather or just tell you a joke. And, since it’s a smart display, it also offers advanced compatibility with Alexa-enabled security cameras.
Ask Alexa to “answer the front door” when someone rings your Ring Peephole Cam and you can see the live feed on your Show 8 — and actually talk to the person, straight from the smart display.
Read our Amazon Echo Show 8 review.
August’s Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a great smart lock. It retrofits to most standard deadbolts, so you don’t have to deal with a complicated installation. The built-in Wi-Fi makes it possible to access and control your smart lock remotely via the Android or iOS app without needing an August Connect module. And, as its spot on this list might indicate, it’s an Alexa-compatible device, too — that means you can lock and unlock your door from an Alexa-enabled smart speaker using your voice.
The lock also comes with an open/close sensor — called DoorSense — that attaches to the door in question. That way, the app can not only tell you whether the door is locked or unlocked, but also if the door is open or closed. That’s a nice touch of functionality from such a simple-to-use smart lock.
Read our August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review.
Amazon’s $60 Smart Thermostat is hard to beat in terms of value, and that’s at full price. Catch it on sale (it’s currently marked down to $48), and you’re looking at a smart home steal.
For starters, the thermostat works as well with Alexa as you’d expect given that it’s an Amazon product, so if you have an Echo speaker or Echo Show display, you should be in good shape to get the best value out of the device. Even for those who don’t, the thermostat offers a simple, straightforward design that looks great on a wall and feels great to use, and it could even save you as much as $50 per year with its energy saving settings.
Read CNET’s review of the Amazon Smart Thermostat.
Wyze is well known for its super-cheap prices, and its Wi-Fi-connected smart lightbulb is no different. A 2-pack of standard, white-light bulbs can be had for $23, but the fully color-changing versions only cost a few bucks more at $27 for a 2-pack, which is worth it even if you’ll only break those colors out on rare holiday occasions.
Either way, you’re getting a 2-pack of Alexa-compatible bulbs that connect directly to your home internet network via Wi-Fi. Screw them in, connect via the Wyze app and you’re ready to go.
Colors aside, the Wyze bulbs have a great range of white light, from candlelight-like to daylight-white. Plus, despite the low price, they produce better brightness than many bulbs that sell for more.
Read CNET’s review of the Wyze Bulb.
While other DIY home security systems work well with Alexa, the Ring Alarm Pro offers excellent performance with unique built-in Alexa integrations. In fact, with the higher-end Ring Protect Plus subscription, you even get Alexa’s security feature — Guard Plus — packaged in for free. That means Alexa will listen for glass breaking or footsteps while you’re away, and will alert you if it hears anything fishy.
Beyond its Alexa integrations, the Ring Alarm Plus offers fantastic features, like a built-in Wi-Fi 6 gateway, backup internet, local processing and storage (a first for Ring), cellular backup, professional monitoring and more. An eight-piece system costs $300, and subscriptions range from $3 per month to $20 per month — the most expensive of which still undercuts some of the best competition. In short, this system is a fantastic value.
Read CNET’s review of the Ring Alarm Pro.
The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini is a big name for a tiny smart plug that costs about $25. A smart plug like this one connects via your Wi-Fi connection directly to a wall outlet and converts your non-smart lamps, fans and other gadgets into smart devices.
Use the TP-Link app to connect and control devices — or enlist Amazon Alexa and use voice control. Say, “Alexa, turn on the reading lamp” to get the Plug Mini smart plug to control the devices connected to it with ease.
Read our TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini review.
Ring’s $150 Peephole Cam is a unique product for the Amazon-owned company. Rather than mounting to a door frame or somewhere else to the side of your door, the Peephole Cam replaces a traditional peephole.
That means this Amazon Alexa compatible device is perfect for folks living in apartments who want a smart doorbell, but don’t want to deal with a hardwired device — or otherwise mess up a door frame for the installation. None of Ring’s main competitors offer this sort of seamless solution for apartment-dwellers, making this doorbell particularly innovative alongside the other devices available today.
Not only that, but the Peephole Cam has the easiest installation of any doorbell I’ve tested to date. It also has advanced Alexa integration. Yes, you can pull up the live feed on an Amazon smart display, but you can also chat with whoever’s at your door via the built-in speaker on the smart display with the command, “Alexa, answer the front door.“
That two-way talk feature via an Alexa smart display is unique to Ring devices.
Editor’s note, Dec. 14: Ring has been called out for its partnership with local police departments in the US, leading privacy advocates to express concern about the data Ring shares with law enforcement and how they use that information. In December 2019, thousands of Ring users’ personal information was exposed, leading us to stop recommending Ring products.
Ring has since updated its security policies, from offering customers a Control Center dashboard to more easily access privacy and security settings to requiring two-factor authentication. We have resumed recommending Ring’s products with this caveat: If you have concerns about Ring’s privacy policies, make sure to familiarize yourself with its privacy statement. You can read more about how we factor Ring’s privacy policies into our recommendations here…
Read our Ring Peephole Cam review.
The Alexa landscape
Amazon’s voice assistant makes it easier to control the devices in your home, set timers and find out how long your commute to the office will take. But privacy has become an increasing concern as smart speakers and displays grow in popularity.
Reports that, even after you’ve deleted the Alexa audio recordings, led to concerns over user privacy. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, seeking answers about Amazon’s Alexa user data and how it’s stored. . The tech giant says it’s also for customers to delete their transcripts.
For example, the Echo Show 8 comes with a built-in camera shutter, unlike earlier Echo Show devices.
Amazon isn’t alone., , and other major tech companies have faced their own privacy issues, prompting questions about data usage.
Fortunately Amazon and others appear to be working to win back our trust. Have these privacy concerns kept you from buying a voice assistant (Alexa or otherwise)? Weigh in in the comments section below.
Still have questions? Read more about Alexa.