The name Alexa has become ubiquitous over the years since Amazon first released its virtual assistant in 2014. We now live in a world with an expansive ecosystem of smart home products thanks to Amazon, and that list of devices is growing every year with Alexa-compatible smart speakers, smart displays and much more.
In 2021, Amazon released several new gadgets and Alexa features at its annual product event in September, including the Echo Show 15, the Amazon Smart Thermostat, the Amazon Glow for kids, the Halo View fitness band, several new Ring products and the much-anticipated Astro robot. The corresponding event in 2022 brought fewer new devices, but Amazon did update a lot of older ones, including the brilliant idea of letting Echo speakers act as mesh extenders for its Eero routers.
That’s not to mention the countless Alexa-compatible devices made by companies other than Amazon on the market right now. To put it simply, Alexa dominates in terms of smart home integration.
And with recent developments, Amazon’s voice assistant allows even more impressive integration, from smart TVs to smart thermostats to smart bulbs to home security systems and cameras.
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. You’ll find plenty of these devices on sale right now, too.
We update this list periodically, so check back for the most up-to-date recommendations. Here are some of the best Alexa devices.
Best Alexa devices
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, though 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 to play music among other things, without the need for an additional piece of hardware to get those devices online.
Read our Amazon Echo (2020) review
Setup Moveable, outdoor/indoorResolution 1080pStorage Cloud, local storageGoogle/Alexa Compatibility BothField of View 130 degrees
The third-gen Wyze Cam, like its earlier iterations, only costs around $30, 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. 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.
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 $80 Smart Thermostat is hard to beat in terms of value, and that’s at full price.
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 our Amazon Smart Thermostat review
Wyze is well known for its super-cheap prices, and its Wi-Fi-connected smart lightbulb is no different. If you’re looking for a smart light that works with voice commands, this is the best Alexa-enabled one out there.
A two-pack of standard, white-light bulbs can be had for just $23, but the fully color-changing versions only cost a few bucks more at $27 for a two-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 our Wyze Bulb review
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 our Ring Alarm Pro review
The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini is a big name for a tiny smart plug that costs about $30.
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
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 Amazon keeps transcripts of your voice conversations, even after you’ve deleted the Alexa audio recordings, led to concerns over user privacy. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seeking answers about Amazon’s Alexa user data and how it’s stored.
Amazon has since introduced the “Alexa, delete everything I said today” feature. The tech giant says it’s also working on new ways 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. Facebook, Google, Ring 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.
#Amazon #Alexa #Devices