Alexa (found most commonly on Echo devices, but also on other smart home products) is one of the most ubiquitous voice assistants, able to control a broader range of smart home brands than its competitors and enabling new connections all the time. That can lead to uncertainty when the time comes to pick the right Amazon Alexa devices for your home.
To help out, we’ve put together a list of the highest-rated Alexa devices available and why they really are the best around.
Alexa has expanded to a variety of entertainment center devices, including TVs and sound systems. However, for the best experience ever, you need to turn to Amazon’s own Fire TV Cube. It is indeed a cube, but one that offers far more entertainment functionality than a mere Echo. It’s compatible with soundbars, receivers, cable controls, and satellite channels, which means you can command Alexa to change settings on any of those. Alexa is also a great way to search through streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, HBO and more. Plus, it has all the additional compatibilities with your smart lights, security system, and anything else on Alexa’s list. For those worried about privacy or getting interrupted in the middle of the movie, the microphone can shut down whenever you want.
EcoBee found a unique approach to its thermostat line that’s proved to be a success for families that don’t have an Alexa device – Alexa is built into the thermostat itself. That means, without an Echo, you can talk to Alexa, have her schedule appointments or answer questions, and get full Alexa compatibility… all from a centrally-located smart thermostat. You can even play music from it, although the sound isn’t the best in the world. We’ve seen Alexa built into other devices before (even smoke detectors), but this is one of the best examples for more practical use.
A smart plug already offers a lot of functionality with the ability to control everyday appliances via an app just by plugging them in, as well as measuring your energy use and setting schedules. But this Wemo Mini version adds other immensely useful features. First, of course, is the Alexa compatibility, which makes it extra easy to shut off or turn on any plugged-in device with your voice. The Mini is also small and horizontal, which means it can fit on an outlet without obscuring the second port, something that smart plugs aren’t always great at.
Why would you want Alexa compatibility with a security cam? Well, cameras like the Arlo Q use audio for two-way connections to their security devices, so it’s possible to open up an audio channel on Alexa. But the real value comes if you have an Echo smart display (any of the Echo Shows will do), which allows you to connect with the camera video feed for a quick check-up. Plus, this cam is more affordable than a number of other options with similar capabilities.
Imagine the luxury of being able to lock and unlock your front door at will with just your voice, especially when your hands are already full or you’re halfway across the house. With this Yale smart lock, that becomes a welcome reality. You can also control the lock from afar with the app, and share temporary access with others whenever you want. Unlock some smart locks, this one also comes with a numerical keypad for typing in a code, a nice alternative feature for those who aren’t always comfortable with smart security.
Did you know Amazon has its own countertop oven? It can microwave, cook with convection, warm food, and even air fry on demand, taking the role of several different cooking tasks at once. It also comes with its own temperature probe, a scan-to-cook option via the Alexa app, and more than 30 presets customized for specific foods. That’s all in addition to voice assistant compatibility, which allows Alexa to notify you via Echo devices when your oven is preheated or when food is done cooking. You can also set any of the presets by voice, or start and stop the oven with just a phrase.
A Wi-Fi system may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to voice assistants, but this Eero 2-pack is notable for a few reasons. First, the mesh technology makes it great for covering a wider area like a house with dead zones without creating the problems a single router device may have. Second, Alexa allows you to manage Wi-Fi connections for specific devices, or the people using devices. You can turn off a connection for a device or a person with just your voice, which can be very useful when streamlining your Wi-Fi for better performance, or making sure that the kids really do get to bed on time.
How is your toilet? No, really – is it tough to clean and maintain? They usually are, but the Shine Assistant is here to help. This device sits on top of your toilet and monitors water usage and potential problems, plus creates an electrolyzed, non-toxic cleaning solution that flows into the toilet with every flush to keep it fresh. With the Alexa controls, you can command an impromptu toilet cleaning whenever you want. Oh, and it has a nightlight for dark bathroom visits, too!