Despite its relative novelty, smart home technology has made its way into millions of homes. There are now a lot of options to choose from, mostly from major tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple. Smart home technology isn’t necessarily designed to totally transform your life — rather, it’s a way to make modern demands a little more manageable. From reminding you of meetings to turning appliances on and off, voice-controlled smart speakers add convenience to your everyday routines.
Amazon’s voice-controlled speakers kicked off the smart home boom, and their line of Echo speakers are still some of the best options on the market. Echo devices come at a pretty wide price range, which is why it’s helpful to know the differences between them. Read on for our guide to the best Echo devices for your home.
1. Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
The Echo Dot is Amazon’s most affordable smart speaker, and it has most of the same functions as the more expensive Echo. The major thing that’s compromised by the Dot’s compact and affordable design is sound quality; if you’re going to rely heavily on the speaker for playing music, you may want to spring for the Echo.
Pros: The Dot is Amazon’s most affordable smart speaker, and its compact and lightweight design makes it unobtrusive.
Cons: Limited sound quality, so may not be ideal if it’s primarily used for playing music.
2. Echo Spot
If you want a smart home device that you can talk to and look at, the Echo Spot has a compact circular screen that can be used for everything from video chatting to displaying weather to connecting to your front door camera. It can do all the same things as the Echo, plus it has video functionality.
Pros: Video display can be used for checking the time, video chatting, and watching the news.
Cons: Many reviewers found the “Things to Try” feature annoying, as it cannot be turned off.
3. Echo (2nd Generation)
The Amazon Echo has a tweeter and subwoofer for playing powerful high and low audio frequencies, making it a great option if you plan on using it for listening to music. The Echo is the largest device on this list, but it comes in a wide range of finishes, so it can seamlessly fit into the design of your home.
Pros: Improved sound over the Dot and the first generation of Echo, has built-in subwoofer and tweeter.
Cons: Some users found that the sound levels of the Echo were not equalized very well, so certain apps would be considerably louder than others.