When it comes to smart home ecosystems, Amazon Alexa is at the top of the class. Not only can you create incredible routines and automate hundreds of tasks, but the number of Alexa-compatible gadgets seems to grow larger by the day. Better yet, Amazon is committed to making many of its hubs (including just about everything in the Echo lineup) work seamlessly with the Matter standard — which should only make things more exciting throughout 2023.
In this guide, we review some of the best interactive Alexa hardware in the way of speakers, displays, lights, wall plugs, thermostats, smart locks, cameras, and appliances. You can make your life easier with an Alexa-powered home, and we’ll show you where to begin.
The best Alexa smart speakers and displays
If you’re going all-in on the smart home, you’ll want a good speaker or smart display. The best Echo device for you depends on your situation. What budget are you working with? Do you want a smart speaker or a smart display? Do you want an Echo device with a hub built in? Do you want an Echo with exceptional sound quality, or do you plan on connecting an external speaker for music playback?
If you’re simply looking for basic Alexa functionality and the ability to control your smart devices with your voice, the latest Echo Dot is an ideal choice because it’s cost-effective and it has a small profile. You can also opt for the Echo Dot with Clock, so you can see the time, the weather, or a countdown timer right on the front of the device.
But if you’re more serious about getting a smart speaker that can really fill the room with sound, then you should take a look at the regular Amazon Echo speaker (4th Gen), which is designed to broadcast 360-degree sound around the room, while using Alexa to control any smart devices around the home (and it’s compatible with Zigbee, too).
Or maybe you’re looking for a smart display that adds a useful touchscreen to show updates, internet searches, or videos while you work. These displays can also connect to compatible security cams and give you live feeds if you receive any alerts! The Echo Show 8 is a smaller model that can happily fit on a kitchen counter or desk, while the Echo Show 10 is a bold update with a swiveling base.
And for keeping up with the family via digital sticky notes and shared calendars, there’s also the Echo Show 15. You can display this bad boy in either landscape or portrait orientations, and it can even be mounted to a wall.
The best Alexa-compatible lights
LEDs are taking over the world, and they represent one of the easiest ways to start smartening up your home. Some smart lights require an external bridge to connect to Alexa, but others just need to be screwed in like an ordinary bulb. When you purchase a smart light bulb, the manufacturer will usually state whether or not a separate bridge is required. Typically, you can schedule most smart lights to turn off at a certain time every night. But with Alexa integration, you can easily ask your speaker to turn them back on if you have one more Netflix episode to get through before you turn in.
Philips Hue has one of the most versatile lighting systems around and makes some of our favorite LEDs. Whether you’re opting for white bulbs, color, or light strips, there are a variety of Hue options — we are partial to this combo starter kit. The company also sells individual bulbs with options that don’t always require the Philips hub.
If you want to explore other brands, we also highly recommend Kasa smart bulbs, which are both reliable and affordable as an alternative. Sengled bulbs are another excellent bridgeless option, plus you can often find single bulbs for less than $20.
It takes a bit more effort, but Lutron Caséta in-wall dimmers are a reliable way to turn your lights on or off or get varying degrees of brightness. You can do all that with voice commands through Alexa and group them so you don’t have to turn off individual switches in succession. You will need to install an included smart bridge for these bulbs to work.
The best Alexa-compatible smart plugs
Smart plugs are great for turning non-connected devices into things you can control remotely. Whether you have a lamp with a busted or hard-to-reach switch, or you just tend to leave your coffee maker on, a connected plug can turn them on or off for you. Alexa compatibility is especially nice because you can ask her to turn on your reading lamp without having to get up from your chair.
The Amazon Smart Plug smart plug has a slim design, so you can fit two on a single outlet. Using the Alexa app, you can set schedules and you can even set up If This Then That functions to make its capabilities more robust. When it comes to finding a smart plug that’s both affordable and powerful, it’s hard to beat Amazon’s first-party product.
The best Alexa-compatible thermostats
Some of the most popular smart thermostats of 2023 are also Alexa-compatible, and Amazon even makes a thermostat of its own.
Billed simply as the Amazon Smart Thermostat, this cost-friendly device uses Alexa to automatically adjust the temperature and build customized schedules for powering your HVAC on and off based on when you’re home or away. It’s a great first step into the world of smart thermostats, although consider taking a look at our list of the best thermostats when you’re ready to up your game.
The best Alexa-compatible smart locks
Smart locks are no doubt convenient for letting in the dog walker when you’re not home, but they make some people nervous. We recommend the August Smart Lock, which works with your existing lock, making it a great choice for renters who have landlords that need access to their units. (It’s also our pick for best smart lock.) For a more traditional smart lock appearance that also works great with Alexa, check out the Wyze Smart Lock.
Pairing with Alexa means you can check the status of the lock, lock it, or even unlock it with voice commands. Getting it to unlock your door requires a vocally recited pin, so you probably don’t want to shout at your speaker from outside your house.
The best Alexa-compatible security cameras
One big reason people start getting smart devices for their homes is security, so there is no shortage of security cameras that let you do DIY monitoring of your property. As we mentioned, the newest Echo Shows can also tap into security cam feeds whenever you want
The Arlo Pro 4 cam is an impressive security product that gives you access to 30 days of cloud recording, night vision, weather-resistant options, and fully wireless installation. Plus, because Arlo is one of the brands that work with the Amazon devices above, you see the video feed on-screen.
Some of our other favorite security cameras can also do the same: The Blink Mini is a great indoor option with two-way audio, while the Zmodo outdoor security cam pack is a great option for more professional needs. If you need a floodlight with Alexa support, consider springing for the new Blink Wired Floodlight Camera. It clocks in at just $99, yet can capture HD video and light up your entire yard with its 2,600-lumen LED lights.
The best AV devices with Alexa
Even those who don’t have a Bluetooth speaker may be interested in an Alexa-controlled speaker that can play your music or function as part of your entertainment system, or perhaps even both. If this description sounds like something that’s up your alley, the Sonos brand is an easy recommendation.
If a soundbar that functions as part of a larger entertainment system and fits below a TV is more your speed, you should check out the Sonos Beam or the Sonos Arc.
The Sonos One is a great solution for those looking for a central speaker for your next party or other gatherings. Amazon’s Echo Studio is another attractive option that delivers a fully dynamic 3D sound that is sure to get the good times rolling at your next party.
But what about when it comes time to stream your favorite shows? Can Alexa help with that too? The answer is yes, thanks to the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube. Once connected, both streamers unlock hundreds of hours of entertainment content, ranging from movies and TV shows to music and arcade-style games. Not to mention if you’re running an Echo speaker ecosystem in your home, you can pair the speakers to the Amazon streaming devices for expanded surround sound — no speaker wire required!
The best Alexa-compatible appliances
We plan on seeing more and more appliances with added Alexa support. Whirlpool has led the charge, practically going all-in on Alexa a few years back. A large number of its fridges, dishwashers, wall ovens, ranges, and microwaves come equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and voice activation. Bosch also offers a full line of Alexa-enabled appliances. You can even have Alexa make your morning coffee with this Hamilton Beach coffee maker.
The iRobot Roomba 675 and Shark IQ 101AE Robot are Alexa-enabled vacuums. They even go so far as to empty themselves after they finish sweeping your home for you.
- The best Amazon Alexa smart speakers
- The best smart light bulbs
- The best outdoor security cameras for 2023
- The best smart locks for 2023
- There’s a big sale on Ring cameras and security devices today