If you want to upgrade your house into a smart-home, the first step is getting a hub that all your fancy new devices can connect to. Amazon’s Echo devices are perfect for that. There are a lot of different options in the Echo line, such as smart speakers and smart displays. Choosing which model is best for you will come down to your available space and what you intend to use the device for. We’ve broken down every model and generation of the Echo that is currently on sale, so read on to find out which one is best for you.
The Echo Pop is definitely what you could call a “cute snack of an Echo device.” Its small, semi-sphere body, low price, and four cute colors lend it to being in just about any home. Our Echo Pop review called it the perfect price for getting into Alexa. Furthermore it is great for small spaces and your bedroom will love the bonus Eero mesh inside. Oh, and if you’re worried about privacy in the bedroom (you should be) there is an easy mic off button on the top. You’ll also know when Alexa is listening because, as pictured above, the light bar at the top will turn blue once you’ve engaged Alexa. At 3.9 x 3.3 x 3.6 inches, it’s the perfect gadget to spruce up your bedroom’s smart gadget environment.
Kids are naturally tuned to wanting smart devices, but when it comes to the young, not just any smart device will do. The Echo Dot Kids is designed to give bedtime stories, have quickly accessible parental controls, and come with specialized owl/dragon (depending on the version you get) behaviors. For the best affect, use Alexa skills for kids. This device has the same microphone off feature as other privacy-concerned Echo devices. Parents concerned about safety and censorship should check out our in-depth comparison of the Echo Dot vs Echo Dot Kids to see an up close look of the device’s safety features.
The Echo Show 5 feels like a combination of a regular Echo Dot and a smartphone stand. It has a 5.5-inch display with a screen that is made for comfortable nighttime viewing. Since it has a camera, you can use it to check in with family at any time. This can be especially comforting for families that have an older, but not too old, kid that is staying at home alone after short days at school for the first time. Our Echo Show 5 review recommends getting this device if you intend to use the camera and visual features or if (like it is now) it is on sale.
The fourth generation of the Echo Dot arrived in 2020 with a complete redesign. Gone was the hockey puck, and in its place was something more akin to a softball. The sphere-shaped Echo Dot 4th gen was a delightful surprise and brought with it some welcome upgrades over the third-gen smart speaker. For starters, the sound quality is a noteworthy improvement. Amazon has done a good job of improving the audio output of its smart speakers with every new release and didn’t skip this when designing the fourth-gen Echo Dot. The spherical speaker design and internal driver deliver a surprisingly loud punch for such a small device, and while it’s a little bigger than its predecessors, the Echo Dot 4 still fits nicely in smaller spaces.
The Echo Show 8 has all the features you’d expect from an Alexa-powered smart display, including the ability to make video calls with friends and family (even if they don’t own a Show device themselves). It’s a great hub for smart home security devices, too, such as cameras and video doorbells. It’s pricier than the other Amazon Echo deals on our list, but for under a hundred bucks, the Echo Show 8 hits the perfect sweet spot in price-to-performance, in our opinion, and it’s the Echo device to get if you want a smart display and have the budget for it.
When are the best Amazon Echo deals?
Amazon typically joins the action during big seasonal and holiday sales (think July 4, Labor Day, and Black Friday), so any of these events are great opportunities to shop for Amazon Echo deals. However, since this is Amazon we’re talking about, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Prime Day, which is rivaled only by Black Friday and Cyber Monday as far as annual sales go.
Prime Day is a yearly celebration of Amazon’s birthday that typically takes place in mid-July. You can think of it as Black Friday in the summer, although Prime Day itself is exclusive to Amazon and the official deals are limited to Prime members. That said, other retailers compete with Amazon by running sales concurrent with Prime Day, although Best Buy is the only other place you’ll find Amazon Echo deals. If you don’t have a Prime membership, keep your eyes on Best Buy instead (or you could always take advantage of an Amazon Prime trial if it’s available to you).
How much should you spend on an Amazon Echo?
The short answer is: Not much. If you’re shopping for your first Echo speaker, we recommend sticking with one of the cheaper Echo Dot models, as this is an inexpensive way to give Alexa a spin and get a grip on all of the features. 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 right off the bat.
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 place, such as your bedroom. Your Echo devices will all sync together, too, so you can control everything with any of them. If, on the other hand, you find that you don’t use your Echo device much or at all, by buying a less expensive model, you won’t feel like you wasted a bunch of money.
If you’re still having trouble choosing which model you want, just know that they all boast the same features when it comes to the Alexa AI. 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. A smart display adds a lot of functionality to the original Echo smart speaker design, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if it makes sense to pay extra for that or if it’s overkill for a simpler smart home system.