How sci-fi that we can talk to a plastic tube and have it talk back to us. Smart speakers are here to stay, and Amazon is leading the way with its Echo range and built-in Alexa voice assistant.

But the regular Echo smart speaker isn’t the only Alexa device available. Amazon sells several different ones and they all do things a little differently. Combined, they hold 75% of the UK smart speaker market, according to an April 2018 YouGov survey. 

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Most of them are smart speakers. These are devices suited to indoor home use that respond to voice commands when connected to Wi-Fi.

You can say something simple like "Alexa, what’s the time?" right up to "Alexa, turn the lights on in the kitchen" – the latter if you have set up a compatible product.

This is the cool thing about Alexa products. You can use them as simply or as intricately as you like.

In September 2018 Amazon announced many new and updated Echo devices. They sit in this chart next to the older Echo devices that you can still buy from Amazon.

This is a ranked chart of all the Echo products currently on sale, their main features and why you should buy them. They are in order of what we think is best for most people.

If you think you want a voice assistant smart speaker, one of these Echo devices is going to fit the bill.

All of the Echoes on this list can do basic things like answer web searches, play music and radio and even call other Echoes or smartphones. Read on to see what they all do differently.

Best Amazon Echo 2018

1. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen)

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

This latest Echo Dot sounds a lot better, looks a lot better and is great value at this price. You can even pair two Dots for stereo sound.

It's a great entry into the world of Alexa to listen to radio, podcast and music as well as ask queries. You can have one, or put several about the house. 

Read our Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen) review.

2. Amazon Echo (2nd-gen)

Amazon Echo (2nd-gen)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

You should get the regular Echo instead of the Echo Dot if you want to listen to music through it. It has better, louder, clearer sound. Otherwise the functionality is fairly similar.

It's a good choice for hands-free audio in a living room or kitchen as it's loud enough to be heard over the noise of daily life.

Read our Amazon Echo (2nd-gen) review.

3. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 November 2018

The second-gen Echo Plus is shorter, louder and nicer-looking than the original speaker while still boasting an integrated smart home hub to control ZigBee smart home tech (along with Alexa-supported devices). 

The audio is clear, vocals are warm and it has a strong bass presence, and thanks to Dolby Play 360 audio support, it does a great job at filling the room with music. 

If you've got ZigBee-supported smart home tech, the Echo Plus is the ideal option. 

Read our Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen) review.

4. Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen)

Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 19 November 2018

It's expensive, but the 2nd-gen Echo Show is a good upgrade on the original. If you want Alexa with a screen this is the way to do it. It lets you call other people with Alexa devices, look up stuff online and watch Amazon Prime video. Just remember that it needs to be plugged in, it's not a tablet.

Audio is decent and the screen is a good size but unless you really want the visual element or ability to call other Shows, you'd be better off with the Echo or the Echo Plus.

Read our Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen) review.

5. Amazon Echo Spot

Amazon Echo Spot
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 19 November 2018

The Echo Spot is another great piece of hardware from Amazon, and the screen adds genuinely useful information for most things you ask Alexa. It's also £100/$100 less than the latest Echo Show, making it the cheapest way to get an Echo with a screen.

If you don't want a screen though then the Echo Dot (3rd-gen) is your best bet as the functionality is the same minus the display.

Read our Amazon Echo Spot review.

6. Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

The sound quality on this older Echo Dot is not as good as on the 3rd-gen model. If you want the best sound from a Dot, buy the latest one.

But this older Dot is sometimes on sale for much less and if you want to buy a few to put in different rooms for voice commands for smart home appliances, it's the cheapest way to do it.

Read our Amazon Echo Dot review.

7. Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 November 2018

This is the original Echo Show and it's still available for less than the newer model. But this means it's inferior with less good sound, a smaller screen and a bulkier design.

If you want the calling feature with a decent size display and want to save a bit of money then it's an option, but if you're set on an Echo Show you should probably consider the newer one as it's a better product.

Read our Amazon Echo Show review.

8. Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon Echo Plus
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

The Echo Plus is a decent smart speaker, but it's still the same price as the Echo Plus 2 which is better in every area. If you prefer the design of this first-gen version then it performs the same functions but otherwise there's no reason to pick it over the newer one.

Read our Amazon Echo Plus review.