Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Which Is Right for You?

Amazon's smart speakers do more than just stream music; they can control all of the smart devices in your home. We compared the two most popular options—the Echo and the Dot—so you can stop deliberating and start saying, "Alexa!"

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amazon echo dotvia amazon.com

From making calls and playing music to searching the Internet and checking the weather, you already know how handy it can be to have a virtual assistant on your iPhone. (Thanks, Siri!) A smart home hub can do all those same things for you—and more. Imagine being able to dim the lights from the comfort of your couch, lock the doors when your hands are full, or lower the thermostat once you’re in bed.

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Home automation, which once seemed like science fiction, is not only commonplace, it’s easier and more affordable than you might think. But before you start tricking out your home with high-tech devices, consider starting with voice-controlled smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot. Simply say “Alexa” and your device connects to Amazon’s virtual assistant for hands-free help around the house. With more than 90,000 skills, there are probably more than a few things you didn’t know Amazon’s Alexa can do, including telling jokes.

While the basic functions of the smart speakers are the same—both can stream music, make audio calls, and control a variety of smart home devices—they do differ in their size, sound quality, and cost. So when it comes to the Echo vs. Dot, which is right for you?

Echo vs. Dot: Size

If you want your smart device to be inconspicuous, the Dot is the way to go. At 1.7″ tall and 3.9″ in diameter, Amazon’s smallest speaker looks like a fabric-covered hockey puck, albeit one that’s available in dark and light gray as well as black. The Echo, by contrast, has a slightly smaller diameter but takes up nearly three-and-a-half times the vertical space. It’s also available in charcoal, heather gray, and sandstone fabric, plus a walnut finish that boast some serious mid-century vibes.

Echo vs. Dot: Sound

It makes sense that the larger the speaker, the better the sound. The Echo has two Dolby-powered speakers (a 2.5″ woofer for low frequencies and a 0.6″ tweeter for the highs) for room-filling, 360-degree sound; the Dot only has a single 1.6″ speaker. Here’s a fun fact: You can pair either two Echos or two Dots to create a speaker set offering stereo sound.

Echo vs. Dot: Cost

Currently about $50, the Dot is the more affordable option of the two. That makes sense given its smaller size and lower-quality sound. The Echo is now about $100.

Next, read: This Is the Smart Home Device People Trust the Least.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

PJ Feinstein
PJ Feinstein is a communications professional with 15 years of writing, editing, marketing, public relations, and digital content experience. She specializes in developing engaging, easy-to-read, and on-brand content for websites, blogs, social media, and newsletters. An editorially-minded writer, she has covered a broad range of topics such as beauty, home decor, parenting, pop culture, and technology for a variety of outlets. In addition to managing her own personal lifestyle blog for nearly a decade, PJ has contributed to sites like Better Homes & Gardens, Brides, Cool Mom Picks, Glitter Guide, Oriental Trading, Artfully Walls, and others. PJ has had the privilege of speaking twice at Alt Summit, a premier business conference for bloggers, has been interviewed on Sirius XM radio, and once had a fashion question printed (and answered!) in Lucky Magazine.