If you are ready to expand your smart home system of Alexa-compatible devices, start buy inventorying the best place for Amazon Echo smart speakers and smart displays. We searched for the best available deals on Amazon Echo smart speakers and smart displays for all major smart home platforms, especially Amazon Echo and Google Nest. Amazon changes prices on Echo devices frequently, so check back often as we update this post with the latest Amazon Echo deals.
- — $40, was $50
- — $50
Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker is the most popular device in the entire Echo product line, primarily because it is the least expensive fully functional Alexa-compatible smart speaker. The current, third-generation Echo Dot is available in three versions: Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Dot Kids Edition.
All Dots support voice interaction with Alexa, the Amazon Echo smart home platform’s digital voice assistant. You can ask Alexa to play your favorite songs or playlists, set timers and alarms, or tell you the current weather, sports, or news. You can also use an Echo Dot as a command center for a houseful of smart home devices. As mentioned above, there are more than 100,000 Amazon-certified Alexa Skills, the term for special-purpose programs that respond to voice commands. In addition, you can use Dots to make calls to other people with or without Dots.
The standard Echo Dot has microphones and a speaker. The current version has better music playback quality than the first two generations, but it won’t fill a room with sound for a party like the larger Amazon Echo or Echo Plus.
The Echo Dot with Clock adds LEDs on the side of the fabric-covered puck-shaped device. The LEDs can display the time, outside temperature, or the time remaining on a countdown timer — which makes it handy in the kitchen.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is a uniquely rugged version of the Dot available in several colors and a rainbow pattern. The Kids Edition software includes a parental control panel and restricts access to age-appropriate content like games, songs, and books. The Kids Edition also includes a one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, a service that provides curated content each month.
- — $85, was $90
- — $110, was $130
Smart displays have all the functions of an Echo smart speaker but they add touchscreen displays. You might not want to watch a full movie on an Echo Show, especially the Show 5 or Show 8, with 5.5-inch and 8-inch displays respectively — the second-generation Echo Show has a 10.1-inch HD screen that makes watching longer video content more feasible.
Amazon recently announced the new Echo Show 15. As you may have guessed, it has a 15.6-inch screen and mounts to your wall. It’s designed to be the visual hub for all your smart home tech.
More common uses for the various Echo Show models are for showing news clips, step-by-step recipes or song lyrics, digital photos, weather and news reports, your calendar, and other visual content. All Echo Shows include a microphone, speaker, and a video camera. You can use software settings or physical controls to block the camera lens for privacy, but the Show camera’s primary use is for video calls.
Echo Show smart displays also work with Alexa-compatible video doorbells and security cameras with support for a two-way talk with compatible security devices so you can see and talk with visitors without opening your door. Echo Show smart displays automatically adjust the screen brightness based on ambient light, which makes then appropriate as digital bedside assistants, ready at all times for your voice request.
Choosing between the Echo Show models is a linear process: a larger screen size also means higher image resolution, sound quality, and price. If the Show is too expensive and the Show 5 display is too small, the Show 8 may be the right fit for most users with the best compromise of all four factors.
Unless you want to jump in with a fully configured smart home, the best way to choose an Echo device is to pick a single smart speaker or smart display. Set the device up in a central spot in your home and start talking to Alexa. If you have a family, a quick introduction on how to use the device and how to make requests of Alexa usually suffice.
Because many households eventually buy more than one Echo device, there’s no reason to buy one of the most expensive Echoes or Show devices at first. If you start with an Echo Dot or an Echo Show 5 and later want to add more devices or choose another device with better sound or a larger screen, the first device will surely find a home quickly in another room. If, on the other hand, you don’t use your Echo device much or at all, by buying a less expensive model, you limit your investment.
The most significant difference among the Echo smart speakers is audio quality. The Echo Dot is fine in the kitchen or a home office for background music, but if you want to fill a room with sound or use Echo smart speakers for a party, choose a full-sized Echo or even an Echo Plus. You can pair two same models of Echo smart speakers for stereo sound and also connect them with an Echo Sub to act as a subwoofer. If you hook up your TV for Fire TV video streaming, you might even decide to equip your audio-video setup with Echo smart speakers.
The Echo Show displays, as mentioned earlier, vary in screen size, video resolution, and sound quality directly proportional to price. Note that you can also use a Fire TV setup, with a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV 4K Stick or an integrated Fire TV as an Echo smart display. Newer-model Fire TV remotes are Alexa hands-free capable, so you can ask Alexa to show you the front door camera, for example, to see who’s on your porch on a large screen.
Amazon continues to add new Echo devices, including more powerful or capable versions of existing models or entirely new form factors, such as Echo Buds and Echo Auto. We recommend that you start slow, and then, as you become comfortable with using Alexa, add new devices for the smart home platform for entertainment, security, and convenience.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.