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Buying guide: How to choose an Amazon Echo for your home

The holidays are just around the bend. Are you ready? Finding the best gifts takes time, energy, and research, which is why we’re here to remind you to get the ball rolling early.

You’re not alone if you’re considering an Amazon Echo device for yourself or a loved one. When it comes to your next smart speaker, you’ve got plenty of models to consider. Amazon’s line of Echo smart speakers tends to rise to the top above all else. Tap or click for clever ways to use your Echo and Alexa.

Keep reading to find out which Echo is right for you or someone in your life.

Amazon Echo (4th generation)

It’s chic. It’s hip. It’s adorable. Yes, the latest Echo device would make the perfect holiday gift. It tops our list because it’s universally loved. It’s also currently available at a steep discount.

The Echo 4th generation will transform your home into the entertainment oasis of your dreams. This generation received many upgrades, including advanced integration with your entire smart home set-up. 

Smart plugs, smart locks, smart lightbulbs, and your home theater are most certainly included in these newfound capabilities. Its powerful speakers make chores, work, and playtime a breeze, leaving your hands free to take care of the rest.

RELATED: Ditch the soundbar and use your Echo as a home theater speaker

Who it’s for

Ordinary people looking to listen to music while in the shower or would like a no-display Echo in their bedrooms so they can ask it what time it is at 3 a.m.

Anybody hoping to add more smart features and devices to their smart home deserves this incredible device. If you want Alexa and all of her talents, the 4th-gen Echo might be the one for you or the person on your gift list.

Who it’s not for

While the bass is strong, any basic Echo simply can’t compete with higher-end speaker systems, smart or otherwise. As a dedicated entertainment speaker, you might be left wanting more.

Amazon Echo Studio

Is this the best Echo for audio performance? Arguably. As Amazon’s flagship luxury Echo device, it offers your booming bass, wavering treble and luscious fidelity.

A word of warning: the Echo Studio is, in fact, the priciest among Amazon’s no-display Echo devices. That said, it’s a great way to listen hands-free to the news, your favorite music, or anything else.

Who it’s for

Audiophiles or anybody who loves an immersive auditory experience. Podcasts, audiobooks, paired entertainment and other forms of sonic delight come alive. It’s not just the music, although we can confirm that every track sings through this smart speaker.

Who it’s not for

For those who don’t value the audio quality of the Echo device over everything else. The price tag reflects the richness of the experience, and it might not be worth it if you’re somebody who doesn’t care. Also, anybody who would prefer an Echo with a display.

Amazon Echo Show 10

The Echo Show has come a long way since the early days. As far as smart devices go, this might be one of the smartest. You’ll enjoy everything previous Echo Show generations had to offer, along with many newly-improved features, including motion tracking and smart home integration.

This thing pivots, allowing you to stream, chat, or otherwise interact with it comfortably, even in small spaces or situations that have you moving around a lot.

Who it’s for

Foodies, for one. The display makes following along to video recipes easy, keeping messy fingers off your laptop, smartphone or remote. Kids love Echo devices with screens, making this motorized delight a huge hit with families.

Who it’s not for

People who don’t need the screen. Why spend more when you could have an analogous smart speaker for less? Those with very little space to spare may also want to opt for something more compact. Amazon recommends at least eight inches of free space on either side of the rotating display.

Echo Show 8

Consider this Echo Show a slightly more modest version of the one above. You’ll be treated to a glorious Echo display with all the bells and whistles (except the rotating base).

With a 13-megapixel camera, the Show 8 can be a fun, interactive toy just as much as it can stand as a security device. You can watch YouTube, play games or listen to the radio, all for a much more affordable price.

Who it’s for

Shoppers who want the screen without the high price tag. It’s the best Echo display for those working with minimal counter space. If you want a fun, easy way to video chat with your friends or loved ones, this Echo is probably our favorite.

Who it’s not for

The audio quality suffers somewhat with this less upscale Echo model. So if that’s important to you, we recommend reconsidering. If a random screen floating around in the room is distracting, it’s best to stick with something without the built-in display.

Echo Dot (5th generation)

It’s hard to deny the appeal of this pint-sized smart speaker. Is it the pleasantly plump profile? The attractive time display? We would argue that it’s the entire package. It’s available in three tasteful colors, and this bestseller would feel right at home on any nightstand or desk.

Anyone shopping for an elderly parent or grandparent will undoubtedly get their money’s worth. Its simplicity only adds to its value for those less than technically inclined.

Who it’s for

The Echo Dot is so affordable that it may be a stocking stuffer. As the most affordable Alexa device, this is the option for you if you’ve got more significant, better gifts to buy or are simply working with a tight budget.

Who it’s not for

The Echo Dot is demure and fanfare-free. If you or the recipient is just a little bit “extra,” the Dot may not live up to the hype. With that being said, we love ours. As the lowest-end model on this list, the Echo Dot’s ability to perform speaks to the strength of the Echo family as a whole.

Most people on your gift list will love any of these devices. All that’s left is to figure out which will make the biggest splash for them on Christmas morning.

You may also like: Tech tip: Use an Amazon Echo as an affordable Life Alert alternative

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
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