Alexa is the voice-controlled Amazon assistant that turns words into actions. If you’re looking for the best Alexa smart speaker for music, queries, and smart-home control, the latest Amazon Echo is the one to get. It answers most questions, controls most smart-home devices, plays your music on request, and works with all Alexa platform updates. The third-generation Echo gets a slight audio boost over any Echo speaker released so far but costs the same as previous models (and goes on sale all the time).
The Amazon Echo Dot, now in its third generation, is a mini version of the Echo, and it’s the best Alexa speaker for people who don’t want to spend a lot. It doesn’t sound nearly as good as the Echo, but it’s fine for talk radio and even for music if you’re not looking for a speaker that fills the room. And it includes an audio-out port and Bluetooth, so you can connect it to a Bluetooth speaker or to a larger audio system for better sound. More important, it listens just as well as the full-size Echo. A Dot is a great way to cheaply expand Alexa smart-home control around your house. The newer Echo Dot with Clock is essentially the same but includes a built-in LED clock display and costs $10 more.