Watch CBS News

The 5 best Amazon Alexa smart home devices for 2024, including a really cute robot

The 5 best Amazon Alexa smart home devices in 2024

If you already have Wi-Fi, adding smart home devices that work with Amazon Alexa is super easy and more affordable than ever. Whether you want to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks on-demand; quickly get a weather forecast; turn on the lights; see who's at your front door from anywhere; reorder something from Amazon using your voice; start a call; or just get an answer to a question, the latest Amazon Alexa smart home gadgets are just what you need.

The best Amazon Alexa smart home devices

The great thing about Amazon Alexa is it works with a wide range of gadgets. Invest in a low-cost smart speaker, a home hub with a touchscreen, an Alexa-compatible smart TV, earbuds with Alexa built in, or even one of Amazon's Astro robots to access the Alexa digital assistant. 

Our in-house team of tech experts has curated this roundup of the five best Amazon Alexa smart home devices you can get right now. Any of them can access Alexa, letting you get a whole lot of tasks done -- using just your voice.

For more recommendations on smart home gear, be sure to check out our coverage of the five best video doorbells for 2024the five best smart home hubs for 2024the five best smart thermostats for 2024 and the five best home cameras for 2024.

Best Amazon Alexa smart home device overall: Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

The Amazon Echo Show 10 is a home hub with a wonderfully large display, as well as a high-quality audio speaker that can fill a room with robust sound that you can play on demand.

The Echo Show 10 gives you voice access to Alexa, plus an internet-connected touchscreen. So you can can either use voice or on-screen commands to control smart gear in your home. You also can ask Alexa play video from a popular streaming service like Netflix; or stream music, podcasts or audiobooks from a service like Spotify or Audible.

If you have a video doorbell, you can see who's at the door there by looking at the Echo Show's display and talk to that person without having to get up from your seat. Or, if you know someone with a compatible home hub use the Echo Show to start a video call.

While all of Amazon's Echo home hubs can handle the same tasks, this one gives you access to a 10.1-inch, full-color touchscreen, an integrated microphone, a 13MP camera and a high-quality speaker. 

The display on this hub can be used as an animated picture frame to showcase your favorite photos and video clips. It's an extremely versatile and easy-to-use device that all members of a household can take advantage of.

Best Amazon Alexa smart speaker: Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Echo Studio

An Echo smart speaker doesn't have a screen, but it does give you voice access to Alexa. Amazon offers a handful of smart speakers, but this one is the largest and highest quality for audio. Streamed music can be loud enough to fill a room.

Plus, if you want true stereo, you can set up two of these speakers in the same room. We recommend this smart speaker if you want to hear robust-sounding music, podcasts, audiobooks or other audio streamed from the internet.

If sound quality is not as important to you, but you want access to Alexa using voice commands, check out some of the smaller and less expensive smart speakers that Amazon offers. These include the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation): $35; Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation) with clock: $40; Amazon Echo Pop: $25; and Amazon Echo Pop Kids: $30.

Smart speakers, home hubs and smart TVs are not the only way to access Alexa. Amazon also offers the Echo Frames smart audio eyeglasses ($210) and the Echo Buds (3rd Gen) wireless earbuds ($40).

Best Amazon Alexa home hub: Amazon Echo Show 8 (3rd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show 8

This iteration of the Amazon Echo Show 8 can do everything the Echo Show 10 can do, but it uses a smaller touchscreen. The speaker is also smaller and doesn't generate the same caliber of audio. 

However, Echo Show 8 can be used to access Alexa, control your home's other smart gear, stream audio or video, handle video calls, take care of your Amazon shopping and much more. It's designed to be set up on any flat surface and connects to your home's Wi-Fi for internet access.

Best Amazon Alexa large display home hub: Amazon Echo Show 15

Amazon Echo Show 15

Designed to be hung on a wall, the Amazon Echo Show 15 offers a full-color, 15-inch touchscreen (that also comes with a remote control). It not only gives you access to Alexa and other smart devices, but also also serves as a family message center, digital picture frame, or a way to stream TV shows, movies, music, audiobooks or podcasts.

The biggest benefit to this home hub, compared to the other Echo Show devices, is its larger screen size. Lots of households hang the Echo Show 15 in their kitchen. It can add TV functionality to a room and offer on-demand videos from YouTube. If you need to access a recipe, the information you need is just a voice command or a few screen taps away.

Plus, you can showcase your favorite digital photos or video clips in an animated slideshow format while also displaying the weather forecast, news headlines and other information that's important to your family, including an interactive grocery shopping list that anyone can add to, or a shared family schedule.

Best Amazon Alexa household robot: Amazon Astro

Amazon Astro Household Robot

Astro looks like something from a sci-fi TV show or movie, but it's ready for you now. In addition to offering smart-home security features, it provides all of the functionality of an Amazon Echo home hub -- from a device that can travel around your home (or at least one floor of your home, since Astro can't climb stairs).

Using voice commands, tell Astro to visit a specific room and send a live video feed viewable from a Echo home hub or mobile device. Astro can also use motion and sound sensors to alert you if something happens at home when you're not there.

Astro has built in obstacle avoidance. It can also be controlled using voice commands or an app on your smartphone. And while Astro is a bit short when it comes to height, it has a camera that can be remotely raised and rotated.

On its own, Astro can perform a wide range of features, but when you subscribe to the Ring Protect Pro service, you can unlock many more home security functions. Astro will then work seamlessly with a Ring video doorbell and other home monitoring and security devices.

What can Amazon Alexa actually do?

If you're using a device such as a smart speaker, home hub or smart TV that has Alexa functionality, simply say"Hey Alexa" to wake up this digital voice assistant. Perform hundreds of tasks:

  • Answer a question on almost any topic, such as "What's the weather forecast?," "What's 15% of $356?" or "What was the score from last night's Boston Red Sox game?" 
  • Control a smart device by saying something like, "Turn on the living room lights."
  • Stream audio using a service like Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify or SiriusXM. Say, "Play 'Shake It Off' by Taylor Swift," or "Play the 'Abbey Road' album by The Beatles."
  • Order or re-order an item from Amazon by saying, "Re-order paper towels."
  • If you have a smart home hub, you can initiate a video call by saying, "Call mom."
  • Set an alarm by saying, "Remind me to start cooking dinner at 6 pm" or "Tell me when it's time to leave for my doctor's appointment today."
  • Instruct Alexa to play a specific show or movie on-demand.

You can also subscribe to the Alexa Together service, which for $20 per month offers hands-free, 24/7 response by trained agents; ongoing fall detection response; and a handful of other services designed for for people living alone to stay safe and in touch with remote caregivers and family members.

Is Amazon Alexa better than Apple Siri or Google Assistant?

All three of these popular digital assistants do pretty much the same things, but each works with different equipment. Alexa is operated by Amazon and offers some functionality that's exclusive to Amazon Prime members or users of Alexa-compatible equipment, including all of the devices featured in this roundup.

Siri is the digital assistant built into Apple equipment (iMacs, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and the Apple TV). It also works with a wide range of third-party gear and online services compatible with Apple Home. Google Assistant is integrated into Android mobile devices and devices that run ChromeOS. It can also be used with equipment that supports Google Home.

Some of the most popular smart gear that works with these assistants includes speakers, TVs, thermostats, lighting, home security cameras, video doorbells, locks, coffee makers, plugs, robotic vacuums, garage door openers, and all sorts of appliances -- from convection ovens to refrigerators.

For even more advice on choosing the best consumer technologies, such as a Google Home smart devices, a tabletAndroid-based tabletApple iPadtablet for kidsdesktop computerwireless headphones or earbudslaptop computerbudget-friendly laptop computerChromebookAndroid smartphone or cell phone, be sure to check out our extensive and continuously updated tech coverage.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.