Best Alexa speakers: enjoy great music, podcasts, voice control and more

Our edit of the best Alexa speakers includes designs the whole household can enjoy

best Alexa speaker: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Smart Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The best Alexa speakers provide exceptional sound quality that makes dancing to Fleetwood Mac loudly in the kitchen that much more fun. With Amazon’s voice assistant built-in, Alexa speakers also make accessing your favorite podcasts and audiobooks easy, letting you pause and pick up where you left off at any time.

But what we love most about using an Alexa speaker – and we’re sure you’re well aware of how useful this can be – is its ability to make quiz masters of us all. Swotting up on your general knowledge by asking Alexa to access internet info has never been so simple. And you can ask anything and, usually, get a decent reply:

'Who had a number 1 hit with Titanium in 2011, Alexa?' 'David Guetta'. Correct. 

'Who plays the young Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark, Alexa?' 'Michael Gandolfini'. Job done. And so on...

But it doesn’t stop there, of course. If you have Alexa-compatible devices in your home such as a video doorbell, smart lightbulb, or smart alarm, you can use your voice to control the devices rather than using separate apps. This makes it easy to build up a smart home network, where the fixtures and fittings in your home are easy to control from one central place and work in harmony with one another. That's the dream after all, wouldn't you say. 

But which Alexa speaker should you choose for your home? To help you get the best Alexa speaker that works for you, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favorites. Our edit includes Alexa speakers from Amazon and a third-party option from the likes of Bang & Olufsen, too.

The best Alexa speakers 2021

AMAZON Echo StudioLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Amazon Echo Studio

Best for excellent sound quality

Specifications
Color: Black
Dimensions : 8.1 x 6.8in
Weight : 7.7lbs
Reasons to buy
+Uber stylish design +Excellent audio +Useful features 
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky compared to the Dot -No screen view 

With five speakers built-in, the Echo Studio gives you an impressive immersive sound quality. It even automatically adapts to the space to provide the best acoustics for your room.

How it performs

With a focus on great sound quality, the Echo Studio does a great job at making music, podcasts, radio, and anything else you’re listening to sound crisp, clear, and enjoyable. With the Alexa voice assistant built-in, it’s ready to play any tune of your choice and access music from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, or any other platform you use. 

To get the best from the Echo Studio you need to subscribe to Amazon Music HD, where you can play music from the library of 50 million + songs and music mastered in 3D – for a truly incredible listening experience.

Good to know

You can use the Echo Studio to take control of compatible automated home devices using your voice. But what we love most about the Echo Studio is the fact that you can use it to drop in like an intercom and make announcements such as: ‘Dinners ready, get to the table NOW”.

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars

AMAZON Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. AMAZON Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

Best Alexa speaker for video display

Specifications
Color: Charcoal fabric or Glacier White fabric
Dimensions: 9 x 9.8 x 6.7in
Weight: 5.6lbs
Reasons to buy
+10.1 HD screen+Designed to move with you+Suitable for video calls, recipes etc
Reasons to avoid
-Large design takes up room-Price -Need compatibility to receive calls

The Echo Show 10 is Amazon’s largest Echo Show speaker to date. The Amazon Echo Show 15” has been announced but at the time of writing, Amazon has yet to set a release date. 

The Echo Show 10 has a 10.1” HD screen, which is a great size for viewing recipes, displaying photos, watching TV including Netflix, Prime Video, and accessing generally useful and silly internet content. You can also find your favorite music on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more music platforms. 

How it performs

Very sleek in its movements, the screen is designed so that it automatically moves with you around the room to make it easy for you to see. This comes into its own when you’re following a recipe and moving around to prepare food – it really is a must-have modern kitchen device. 

If you're looking to protect your home with smart security, it also works well as a hub, so you can remotely access the camera using the Alexa app on your smartphone and see what's going on in your living room, for example. 

The Echo Show 10 is particularly good for making video calls to friends – provided they also have the Alexa app, an Echo Show, or Skype. At 10.1", the display gives you an ample view, which means you get a clear picture and one that lets you stay in frame using the 13MP camera. 

Good to know

This Amazon Echo Show 10” doubles up as a digital photo frame when you use Amazon Photos. To protect your privacy, you can disconnect the camera and microphone by sliding the switches and disabling the motion at any time.  

We particularly love the fact that you can use The Echo Show 10" screen to instantly display Peppa Pig on YouTube and keep the kids quiet and eating at the table when they're playing up at dinner – but don’t tell anyone we recommended that. 

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

AMAZON Echo Dot Kids (4th gen)

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. AMAZON Echo Dot Kids (4th gen)

Best Alexa speaker for children

Specifications
Colour: Orange tiger or black and white Panda designs
Dimensions : 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5in
Weight : 0.75lbs
Reasons to buy
+Fun tiger or panda design +Parental controls +2-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Basic features -No video screen 

The Echo Dot Kids comes in two fun designs that will blend into a kid’s room decor. You can choose from a cute tiger and panda face. It’s designed to help kids with their homework. Kids can also access their favorite music so they can dance around the room to their chosen beats whenever they want, while still giving parents some control of what they hear.  

How it performs

The Echo Dot Kids comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+, so little ones can listen to audiobooks, stories, play interactive games, and learn educational skills. They can also use it to make phone calls to approved family and friends. You can set up the Echo Dot Kids to say 'Alexa, call Nanna", for example. 

The most appropriate feature of the Echo Dot Kids is that you can use it to set parental controls. This means you can set daily limits so you know kids can’t access the speaker whenever they want – such as at bedtime, when you're trying to get them to brush their teeth, for example. 

Parental controls also allow you to filter explicit lyrics on the content they play and review any of their activity all via the Amazon Parent Dashboard. You can also press the 'mic off' buttons to disconnect the microphone as and when you like. 

Good to know

Kids can sometimes be a little heavy-handed, so you’ll be pleased to know that as it has a two-year warranty, the speaker can be replaced if damaged.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

BANG & OLUFSEN Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen)


(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

Best smart speaker for portability

Specifications
Color: Gold, Anthracite (Black), Grey Mist, Pink, Green & Nordic Ice
Dimensions : 1.8 x 5.2 x 5.2in
Weight : 1.2lbs
Reasons to buy
+Great for on the go and inside +Bluetooth included +Incredible sound
Reasons to avoid
-Uses phone data on the go -No screen 

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 claims to be the world’s first Bluetooth-only portable speaker with a built-in Alexa voice assistant. It’s great for on the go, but equally useful for listening in any modern living room.

How it performs

We love the design of the Beosound A1, which feels super sleek and slim enough to pop in your handbag for when you’re on the go. It gives you up to 18 hours of play on a single charge, which is more than enough to see you through the day and into the early hours should you wish to party on. 

With three microphones built-in, you’ll get very clear sound quality too. It uses Far Field technology, which means that Alexa can be activated for up to five meters away depending on your room conditions and will remain responsive for up to three hours after that. 

As it uses Bluetooth for voice assistance – rather than rely on your WiFi – it means you can still access Alexa on the go using your phone’s data connection.  

Good to know

You don’t have to worry about getting wet when you’re out and about as the casing is dust and waterproof. It comes in a range of eye-catching colorways including this super stylish green. There’s gold, anthracite black, grey mist, and a unique pale pink finish, too.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen)

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Smart Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

5. Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Smart Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker

Best Alexa speaker for stylish design

Specifications
Color : Midnight grey and pearl grey
Dimensions : 8.2 x 26 x 7.3in
Weight : 14.3lbs
Reasons to buy
+Beautifully designed +Built-in Alexa+
Reasons to avoid
-Large -No screen -Price 

If style is as important to you as functionality – and we’re sure it will be – then the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is an excellent choice. Not only will it look uber stylish on your sideboard, but it gives you the convenience of Alexa built-in. It also makes your music sound pretty amazing too as it offers high-resolution sound that is detailed and dynamic and really very impressive.

How it performs

With AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth technologies, the Zeppelin makes it easy for you to stream music from your mobile, tablet, or computer. It’s also compatible for both iOS and Android users, and its functionality can be controlled via the intuitive Bowers & Wilkins Music app, which gives you immediate access to streaming services such as Last.fm, SoundCloud, TIDAL, and TuneIn.

Good to know

As it has Alexa built-in you won’t need to fuss around setting it up. Just ask Alexa to play you your favorite tune and it will oblige. There are controls on the top too, should you wish to operate it manually.  

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Which Alexa speaker should I buy? 

When it comes to design, sound quality, and useful capabilities, there are many Alexa speaker options to choose from that each come with their own special features. Amazon offers a range of its own designs including those that come with kid-friendly covers and those with large screens for accessing video content. 

There are also a number of third-party brands offering super stylish speakers with amazing sound and the Alexa voice-controlled virtual assistant built-in too.

It's worth noting that all the Amazon Echo Show speakers also let you access video content from YouTube, Netflix and Amazon prime, and more and are great for enjoying video calls.

Soon to be released is the recently announced new Amazon Echo Show 15"  with a large 15.1inch Full HD (1080p) screen and 15mp camera built-in. Unlike its predecessor it can be hung on the wall, making it a convenient choice as it frees up valuable worktop space. It's currently available on pre-order, with a release date yet to be set, but do check back for our in-depth review when it launches soon. 

But there are a number of Alexa speakers you can buy right now including those with a video screen. The latest smart speakers include the Alexa Echo Show 10", which is ideal for those who love to cook and want to access recipes online. 

Securing a home? It also doubles up as a great security camera.

For kids, you may want to choose a smart speaker without a video such as the Echo Dot (4th generation), which comes with a fun design on the outside and useful parental controls.  

Amazon Echo Show 15

(Image credit: Amazon Echo Show 15)

Is there a new Amazon Echo show coming out?

The Amazon Echo Show 15" is the newest Echo Show to join the Amazon family, but its release date has yet to be announced. You can expect to buy it later on in 2021. 

As Amazon's largest smart speaker with a video screen, the Amazon Echo Show 15" has a 15.6” Full HD 1080p smart display and features a 5MP camera. You can use the Alexa-powered widgets inside to create calendars, to-do lists, set reminders, and more. 

You can link it to your Alexa-compatible smart gadgets around the house – to see who’s at the door via your video doorbell, for example. It also doubles up as a photo frame to display all your family snaps and is flat so it can be neatly displayed on the wall.

The latest Amazon devices are Echo Show 8" and Echo Show 5", while the Echo Show 10" has the largest screen.

You can pre-order The Amazon Echo Show 15" now at Amazon. 

Emily Peck

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.