The 7 Best Alexa Devices Actually Worth Using

Alexa has become one of the most widely used voice assistants since Amazon first introduced the technology back in 2014. Today, Alexa powers millions of devices from Amazon‘s own Echo line to third-party products like smart lights, thermostats, TVs, and more. With so many Alexa options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out which are the best and most useful in real life.

In this guide, we‘ll countdown the 7 top Alexa devices that are worth your money based on factors like functionality, convenience, practicality, and overall value. For each device, we‘ll overview the key details, benefits, and potential downsides to consider before buying.

#1 Best Overall: Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

The Echo Dot is the best entry point into Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem of devices and over 100,000 available Alexa Skills. The newest 5th generation model kicks up the quality over past Echo Dots in just about every way.

Key Benefits:

  • Better sound quality and volume over Echo Dot 3rd & 4th gen models
  • Built-in clock/display with customizable brightness
  • Included temperature sensor to trigger automations
  • Auxiliary audio port for wired devices
  • Same price as previous generation models

The latest Echo Dot still serves as an affordable way to place Alexa in nearly any room without hassle. You can use voice commands for everything from controlling smart home devices to listening to music and podcasts to getting answers about the weather, news, sports scores, and more.

When looking for your first Alexa device or to add Alexa access to another room, the 5th gen Echo Dot is undoubtedly the best Alexa device worth buying right now.

Potential Downsides:

  • Sound quality and volume still limited over premium Echo models
  • Requires wall outlet for power

#2 Best Smart Lights: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit

Smart lights rank among the most popular and practical ways to incorporate Alexa voice controls into your home. The Philips Hue lineup stands out as the best smart lighting system, and their White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit delivers everything you need to get up and running.

Key Benefits:

  • Includes (3) LED smart bulbs capable of over 16 million colors
  • 750 lumens brightness per bulb
  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
  • Automate lighting based on schedules, activities, routines
  • Sync lighting colors with music, games, and videos

For less than $200, the Philips Hue Starter Kit makes it simple to take lighting atmosphere and convenience to the next level. Use Alexa voice commands like “Alexa, turn the lights blue” or “Alexa, dim the bedroom lights to 50%”. You can even link lighting themes to smart home activities through services like IFTTT. The possibilities are nearly endless once you dive into everything Alexa can do alongside Philips Hue smart bulbs.

Potential Downsides:

  • Requires Philips Hue Hub for connectivity ($60 value)
  • Individual bulbs run ~$50 each

#3 Best Smart Display: Amazon Echo Show 10

The combination of Alexa voice controls with a vibrant 10” smart display opens up a world of convenient possibilities. That’s exactly what the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Show 10 delivers as our pick for top Alexa smart display available today.

Key Features:

  • 1080p touchscreen with adaptive brightness
  • Auto-framing keeps you centered on video calls
  • 13MP camera with built-in shutter
  • Zigbee smart home hub
  • Customizable Alexa responses

On top of all the usual Alexa smart controls for music, smart devices, information lookup, and everything else, the Echo Show 10 gives you a helpful visual component. See lyrics to songs, step-by-step recipes, video calls with friends and family, security camera feeds, and more.

Advanced connectivity options even allow you to use the Echo Show 10 as a Zigbee smart home to directly connect and control devices like Philips Hue lights without the need for a separate hub. For those heavily invested into the Alexa ecosystem, the Show 10 stands out as one of the most useful Alexa devices available.

Potential Downsides:

  • Most expensive Alexa device from Amazon
  • Display/form-factor not right for all spaces
  • Lacks native Google Assistant support

#4 Best Smart Thermostat: Ecobee SmartThermostat Premium

Controlling your home environment both comfortably and efficiently ranks among the best uses for Alexa connectivity. The Ecobee SmartThermostat Premium gives you enhanced control over heating and cooling alongside full Alexa integration.

Key Features:

  • Save up to 26% annually on energy costs
  • Monitor temperature, humidity, occupancy
  • Built-in Alexa allows hands-free control
  • SmartSensors track remote rooms
  • Works with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant

Rather than relying on older technology that uses fixed runtimes, the Ecobee SmartThermostat leverages a variety of data like local weather conditions and room occupancy to optimize heating/cooling operation. The end result is greater home comfort alongside reduced energy usage.

The built-in Alexa integration then takes things a step further by allowing complete voice control over setting a desired temperature, scheduling comfort settings, or activating special modes without ever leaving your couch. For advanced whole home climate control alongside Alexa convenience, the Ecobee SmartThermostat Premium is a worthwhile upgrade over standard programmable thermostats.

Potential Downsides:

  • Higher upfront cost over basic models
  • Requires C-Wire or included Power Extender Kit
  • Lacks more advanced features like humidity control or ventilation management

#5 Best Smart TV: LG C2 Series OLED Evo Gallery Edition

LG’s C2 Series OLED TVs rank among the best televisions money can buy thanks to their self-lit OLED technology paired with the a9 Gen5 AI Processor for upscaling and image enhancements. The Gallery Edition takes things a step further with Alexa built right into the TV.

Key Features:

  • Next-gen OLED Evo panel with brighter images
  • Dolby Atmos & Dolby Vision IQ support
  • a9 Gen5 AI Processor 4K for upscaling
  • Nvidia G-SYNC, AMD FreeSync, VRR
  • Works with Alexa & Google Assistant

If you want a premium TV viewing experience powered by Alexa voice controls, it doesn’t get better than LG’s C2 Series OLED Evo Gallery Edition. Ask Alexa to launch Netflix, control your smart home devices, check sports scores, manage shopping lists, and much more completely hands-free.

Paired with an immersive home theater audio system, it’s easy to get lost for hours enjoying brilliant picture quality and realistic sound as Alexa handles the rest. From a smart home control standpoint to a home entertainment centerpiece, the C2 OLED Evo Gallery Edition is worthy of consideration.

Potential Downsides:

  • More expensive than standard LG C2 models
  • Other sizes unavailable as Alexa Gallery Edition
  • Lacks full Google TV/Chromecast integration

#6 Best Smart Speaker: Sonos One (Gen 2)

As a pioneer in premium multi-room audio, Sonos smart speakers have earned their reputation for incredible sound quality. The 2nd generation Sonos One takes things to the next level with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built right into a compact yet powerful speaker.

Key Features:

  • Integrated Far-field microphones
  • Multi-room music integration
  • Apple AirPlay 2 support
  • Custom Trueplay speaker tuning
  • Choice of Alexa or Google Assistant

Despite its small size, the Sonos One Gen 2 can fill an entire room with rich, detailed audio perfect for listening to music, news, audiobooks, and more. Control is then handled seamlessly via integrated voice assistance from either Alexa or Google Assistant depending on your smart home ecosystem preference.

For those invested into Sonos products for whole home audio, the Sonos One makes an excellent addition for expanding Alexa/Google access. Alternatively, even just as a standalone smart speaker for a single room, the feature set and sound quality help justify the higher but still reasonable price point compared to basic Amazon Echo devices.

Potential Downsides:

  • Higher cost over entry-level Alexa speaker options
  • Multi-room setup requires additional Sonos speakers
  • Sonos Arc offers bigger sound as a soundbar option

#7 Best Smart Plug: Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip

Expanding Alexa connectivity into “dumb” appliances around your home is easy thanks to smart plugs. TP-Link’s Kasa Power Strip stands out as our pick delivering both smart features and energy monitoring.

Key Features:

  • Control up to 6 devices independently
  • Monitor real-time energy usage
  • Scheduled on/off automation
  • Works with Alexa & Google Home
  • UL certified surge protection

With six independently controllable smart outlets alongside two always-on USB ports for device charging, the Kasa Power Strip offers flexibility for connecting appliances, lamps, holiday lights, and more. The built-in energy monitoring then allows you to analyze the electricity consumption of connected devices to better understand usage patterns and identify ways to conserve energy.

Alexa connectivity enriches functionality further through the Kasa skill by allowing completely hands-free voice control. Turn devices on/off or check energy usage by simply asking Alexa. For those needing more smart plug connectivity behind a single device, the Kasa Power Strip hits a nice sweet spot both feature and value-wise.

Potential Downsides:

  • No power cycling restart function per outlet
  • Limited to 6 smart outlets
  • Lacks advanced automation features

What to Know Before Buying an Alexa Device

With so many options to choose from, what are the most important things to evaluate when choosing an Alexa device that best matches your needs and budget?

Intended Use Case – Consider where and how you plan to implement Alexa voice controls. Are you wanting whole home audio, enhanced TV viewing, easy smart home management, or just simple voice assistance? Matching the strengths of a particular Alexa gadget to your goals is key.

Supported Smart Home Ecosystems – Most Alexa devices support controlling popular smart home platforms like Philips Hue lights or Ecobee thermostats. However, some Alexa products offer tighter first-party integration or support alternative protocols like Zigbee for more flexibility connecting devices.

Audio Quality Expectations – While the tiny Echo Dot sounds decent for casual use, audiophiles will be disappointed. Consider premium Alexa speakers from brands like Sonos for richer room-filling sound quality for music listening.

Display Needed – Devices like the Echo Show allow Alexa responses paired with visual information. But without a screen, audio-only Alexa gadgets focus more on speaker performance.

Budget – Alexa products range from $20 Echo Flex plugs to the $750 Sonos Arc Soundbar. Set realistic expectations around what advanced functionality and hardware quality is viable at different price points.

The Alexa Experience: What It‘s Like to Use Voice Commands

Utilizing Alexa devices feels nothing short of magical the first time the AI assistant fluidly answers a question or controls another device entirely through voice commands. The technology has progressed tremendously over the past several years to the point where Alexa rarely mishears requests today.

However, Alexa isn’t without limitations. Strange phrasing for a question can sometimes confuse Alexa if it‘s not something commonly asked by others. Skills also vary wildly in terms of their capabilities with some offering deep control while others have very basic on/off functions.

Getting into the mindset of learning how Alexa prefers to receive commands takes a bit of practice. But once you get the hang of it by activating different skills and building routines around common daily activities, Alexa ends up feeling like an intuitive assistant. Just be sure to set reasonable expectations around what Alexa can actually help with so you’re not constantly troubleshooting unclear requests.

When used properly within its defined capabilities, an Alexa device becomes an indispensable asset for handling dozens of daily tasks. You might be amazed just how dependent on Alexa‘s help you‘ll become over time once you incorporate the voice assistant into your regular routine.

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