There are many Alexa Devices to choose from. There are also many smart devices available that connect to Alexa either directly or through specialized “hubs”.
Most of the connected devices are by function and I think it helps to look at what you want to do and choose easy to connect, high quality, reliable units.
Main Voice Controlled System Components (you need at least one)
For every room where you want voice control you will need an Amazon Alexa Echo unit. It can be a video unit, a speaker or simply a voice input port. You need at least one of these devices. If your rooms are separated by walls and or they are on different floors you will need more than one. Your choices are:
Video Control Units
Amazon Echo Devices with Video allow you to see the internet and information you are using. They do all the Alexa functions plus allow you to video chat, play games, see videos, see lyrics of songs, see the time and weather, see your door camera, the babies room or check your back yard.
If you are going for a fully interactive system with a lot of capabilities you need at least one of these.
- Amazon Echo Show
One of the newest additions to the Echo family, the Show adds a touchscreen and camera to the smart speaker, allowing you to make video calls, view security camera feeds, watch Amazon Prime Video and new video flash briefings, buy things off Amazon (of course), and more.
- Amazon Echo Spot
The newly announced Echo Spot is a hybrid of the Echo Show and Dot. It’s available for pre-order now and will begin shipping on Dec. 19, 2017.
The Echo Spot allows you to make video calls to other Alexa Show and Spot owners, view weather updates, news briefings, and skills like alarms and timers. It’s small enough to fit in any room, and features built-in Bluetooth as well as its own speaker and an audio-out to attach it to an external speaker.
You can interact with Alexa and listen to music too. They can control smart home products, play music from your phone, Amazon Prime, and Spotify, and even order products off Amazon just by listening to your voice.
With the Alexa app, you can customize the virtual assistant to your liking, with hundreds of Alexa Skills for everything from delivering more accurate weather forecasts to making fart sounds.
- Amazon Echo Plus (has an integrated smart hub inside)
In addition to all the features of Echo, the Echo Plus also doubles as a smart home hub. You can simply ask Alexa to discover existing devices in your home, and she’ll do it all for you. It reduces the complexity of adding smart devices to the Alexa System.
- Amazon Echo
The second generation Echo offers all the same features of its predecessor in a smaller, more affordable package. This device is Bluetooth speaker equipped with far-field, always-on microphones and internet-connected smarts.
The new Echo is about half as tall as the original and features a cloth-covered body.
- Amazon Echo Dot
Take the Echo, slice off the top, and you’ve got the Echo Dot. The Dot ditches the high-quality built-in speaker to cut down on cost, while still giving you all of Alexa’s smarts. A smaller built-in speaker does let you talk to Alexa, but it’s not good enough for streaming music. Instead, you can connect the Dot to speakers you already own via Bluetooth or an audio-out jack.
The Dot sells for $49, and Amazon offers a variety of bundles that package it with Bose speakers or other smart home products.
Smart Home Devices to add to your system
There are many devices in the home you can control. TV’s, Shades, Lights, Cable Boxes, Appliances, Security Systems, Door Locks, Video Systems, Thermostats, Telephones and many more. Since I am assuming you are just starting I am going to touch on only some of these. Here are the ones I am going to be recommending solutions for:
These devices come with Alexa Voice Remotes. However, this version of Alexa doesn’t have all the same features as Alexa on the Echo. It can still control smart home products and take advantage of Alexa Skills and Navigating between apps like CBS, NBC, Hulu, and Netflix. The main difference is the way you interact with Alexa. You need to have your TV on and speak to Alexa through the Fire TV Remote. There’s no always-on listening mode, but that might be a positive if you have privacy concerns.
- Fire Stick TV (HD)
This is the HD version and is a bit older technology. You get HD TV (1080P) but not ULTRA 4K content like the Fire TV 4K.
- Fire TV 4K (Ultra HD)
The new Fire TV 4K Ultra is compatible with 4K ultra HD and HDR TVs, and is 40% more powerful than the Fire TV Stick.
- Echo Connect (turns Alexa into a speaker phone with your land line)
Debuted with the second-generation Echo, the Echo Connect turns any Alexa device into a landline phone. This device will allow you to set up your home phone number with Alexa so you can make and receive calls through the smart speaker while keeping your existing number and provider. The Echo Connect is available for pre-order and will start shipping on December 13, 2017.
- TP-Link Smart Plug
- MJeck Wifi Smart Plug (available in 3 styles round, rectangular and octagonal)
- Yale Assure Smart Lock (Works with Amazon Key Service)
- Kwikset Convert Smart Lock (Works with Amazon Key Service)
- Kwikset Smart Code 914 (Works with Amazon Key Service)
- August Smart Lock (bundle with hub)
- Honeywell Lyric T5 Smart Thermostat
- Nest Learning Smart Thermostat
- Ring Video Doorbell
- Netvue Wifi Video Doorbell
- TP-Link Smart LED Dimmable Light
- Philips Hue White Light (requires Philips hub)
- Philips Hue White & Color LED Light (requires Philips hub)
- Amazon Cloud Cam (Indoor Only, compatible with Amazon Key Service)
- Logitech Circle 2 Camera (Indoor/Outdoor)
These are simply the components to your system. You still need to configure a system for your home based on functions you want and the size of your home.