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Best Amazon Echo 2021: Which Amazon Echo speaker is best for you?

Ben Johnston
1 Dec 2021
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Our pick of the best Echo speakers from Amazon's range of Alexa-ready devices

Picking out the best Amazon Echo speaker is no easy thing. Amazon’s family of Echo smart speakers has been growing rapidly since its inception in 2015 – so rapidly, in fact, that it's becoming difficult to keep track of how many there are, let alone decide which one might be best for you.

There are currently seven different Echo smart speaker/display product lines, each bringing something distinct to the table. There are also a few other products that bear the Echo name, including wireless earbuds, in-car smart assistants and even smart buttons.

If you like the idea of having a home assistant waiting on your every command, then you've come to the right place. Here, we'll run you through the best Echo devices that are currently available, the differences between each model, and explain which are most suitable for particular tasks. Not sure which Echo is best for you? Then read on.

READ NEXT: The best smart speakers to buy

Which is the best Amazon Echo speaker for you?

1. Amazon Echo (4th gen, 2020): The best all-round Echo speaker

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

The spherical design of the new Echo is a departure from the towering cylinders of old, but it’s not the only new thing this 4th-gen smart speaker has to offer. By adding a second 0.8.mm tweeter, the new Echo can adjust more adeptly to the acoustics of the room it’s in, and produce something resembling stereo audio playback as well. Of course, Alexa is as helpful as ever, and all-new Zigbee support means the Echo has replaced the Echo Plus, and can now double as a smart home hub for your lighting or thermostat.

Who is it for?

This is the standard model for those who want a good all-round speaker with the advantages that Alexa brings. If you don’t need extra bells and whistles, like an extra screen or an integrated camera, but want something with some solid sound that won’t break the bank, then this is the Echo for you.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo (4th gen)

2. Amazon Echo Dot/Dot with Clock (4th gen, 2020): The best cheap Echo speaker

Price: £50 (£60 with clock) | Buy now from Amazon

Like its bigger sibling, the Echo Dot has had a stylish overhaul. The fourth generation of Amazon's smallest smart speaker is pretty much identical to its predecessor on the inside (with the same 1.6mm tweeter providing the audio) but is now spherical in shape, and comes with a built-in LED digital clock face if you spend £10 more. As per usual, Alexa is on hand to answer questions, set timers and control smart home devices (although there's no built-in Zigbee hub here).

Who is it for?

Those who want the Echo's Alexa functionality, but have a pre-existing sound system – or a tight budget.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)

3. Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen, 2021): The most affordable Echo speaker with a smart screen

Price: £75 | Buy now from Amazon

It might only represent a small upgrade over its predecessor, but the new Echo Show 5 remains the cheapest way to own a decent-sized smart screen with Alexa - and you’ll certainly notice the upgrades, no matter how small. The front-facing camera, for example, is now 2MP, up from 1MP on the previous model; it isn’t the last word in video conferencing technology, sure, but it’s more than good enough for video calls with friends or family.

On the speaker side of things, you of course get the usual suite of Alexa smart assistant functions - answering questions, setting timers, interacting with other smart devices, to name a few - and the sound quality is pretty good considering the size of the driver and housing. With plenty of body and clarity, this speaker works well for podcasts, radio shows and calls.

Who is it for?

Those who want video-calling and photo display functionality, but aren’t willing to pay more for larger screens and better-quality cameras.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen)

4. Amazon Echo Studio: The best-sounding Echo speaker

Price: £190 | Buy now from Amazon

If it’s high-quality audio you’re after, the Echo Studio is the Amazon speaker for you. It has a total of five audio drivers (three mids, one tweeter and one woofer) that work in tandem to produce the best sound of any Echo speaker we’ve tested. It helps hugely that the Echo Studio supports Hi-Res audio (24-bit/up to 192kHz) and Dolby Atmos as well as Amazon’s proprietary 3D Audio format, which takes full advantage of the five-driver arrangement.

The Studio is equipped with Amazon’s usual suite of Echo-specific features. The ever-helpful Alexa will answer questions, play music, set timers, store reminders and interact with your smart home appliances. It can also pair via Bluetooth with the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube to enhance your film-watching experience.

Who is it for?

Audiophiles who like Amazon’s ecosystem and don’t want to shell out vast sums for a great-sounding smart speaker.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Studio

5. Amazon Echo Show 10: The best Echo speaker for video

Price: £240 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon’s latest Echo Show device brings some interesting updates to the tablet-sized 10in touchscreen.

Instead of integrating the touchscreen directly into the speaker unit, Amazon’s engineers have attached the screen on the Show 10 to a motorised, pivoting base via a slim, curved bracket. It uses clever computer vision tech to follow you around the room, leveraging its 13-megapixel camera and beam-forming microphones to pinpoint your location and pivot the screen so it faces towards you.

Who is it for?

Those looking for a smart speaker that doubles up as a video-calling station or a smart home hub.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Show 10

6. Amazon Echo Dot Kids: The best echo for children

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

More than just a cutesy redesign (though that is most definitely a plus), this is a 4th gen Echo dot that is optimised for children. The restricted functions allow your child to play music, ask Alexa questions, and call approved friends and family. The easy to use parental controls allow you to set daily time limits, filter out explicit songs, and review activity via the Amazon Parent Dashboard.

Another great perk is the inclusion of one free year of Amazon Kids Plus, which gives children access to child-friendly Audible books, educational materials and interactive games. This will be set to automatically renew after the year is up, so be sure to cancel it via the Parent Dashboard before the renewal date if you don’t want it to continue.

Who is it for?

Anyone who would like their kids to have access to all the fun and educational material that Alexa can offer, but doesn't want to just let them loose in the untamed wilds of the internet.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot Kids review

7. Amazon Echo Spot: The best Echo speaker with a tiny screen

Price: £120 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon's Echo Spot is a ball-shaped alarm clock with a tiny 2.5in screen which displays text-based notifications as well as soothing pictures of clouds and other such niceties. There’s even a front-facing camera integrated into the Spot which allows you to make video calls and, like the rest of the lineup, Alexa remains at your beck and call. You can use all the normal voice commands that you use with the standard Echo products.

Who is it for?

People who see the Echo as the perfect alarm clock substitute, or want an Echo Show but can't justify the price.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Spot

8. Amazon Echo Sub: The best Echo subwoofer

Price: £120 | Buy now from Amazon

As the name suggests, the Echo Sub is a dedicated subwoofer. It connects to the Echo, Echo Studio and Echo Dot and bolsters the speakers' bass capabilities. On its own, the Echo Sub won't do much, other than play low-end frequencies – you'll need to pair it to Amazon's other speakers to reap the benefits. Unlike the others, this speaker is best placed on the floor.

Who is it for?

The Echo Sub is designed for those who love music. It'll drastically improve the low-end frequencies from your other Echo devices, creating a more engaging sound.

Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Sub