At this point, Amazon is easily considered a household name. You’ve either used it, have a membership with it, or know someone else who does. Amazon was always a leading online marketplace, but they really came into their position when they started releasing their Echo products. What started with just the original Echo back in 2014 has now expanded to include everything from an Echo for your car (Echo Auto) to an Echo you can watch things on (Echo Show) and even a new Alexa microwave. And with the release of the new 3rd generation Echo Dot—among many other new products, you can be sure that people will be going Echo crazy once again.
More About the Echo Dot
When you think of the Echo (or even just Alexa in general), your first thought may go to the original Echo—the tall, cylindrical smart speaker that paved the way for so many “smart speakers” that followed. Back in 2014, the Amazon Echo began the Alexa craze, and it sure hasn’t stopped since. It’s convenient, easy to use, and it sure makes life easy—or at least, it makes some parts of life easy.
With that said, not a lot of people have $100 or more to spend on a special speaker. But this is where the Echo Dot comes in. Amazon listened to the public and released a much less expensive version of the original Echo—the Echo Dot. This new smart speaker basically just chopped the top off of the original Echo and called it a day. It’s the approximate shape of a hockey puck, but it still packs the same amount of punch—without the whole speaker, that is.
The Echo Dot takes up less space, and it’s far more convenient. With this smaller version of the Echo, it’s a lot easier to create a whole-home setup, since you don’t have to make room for such a large speaker in every room. Of course, you do miss out on the benefits of sound quality, given the capabilities of such a small device. Luckily, all you have to do is get an external speaker and you can upgrade the sound quality of your Echo Dot without having to go with a whole Echo.
How to Find a Good Speaker for Your Echo Dot
So you’re in search of a good speaker for your Echo Dot? Well, there are a lot of options out there, but you need to know a few things first before you go off looking. There are plenty of great speakers out there on the market, but not all of them will work well with your Echo Dot. Of course, any speaker could very well hook up with a wire or Bluetooth connection, but they won’t all give you the same results.
When you start looking for a speaker, keep in mind that there are some that were actually made specifically for the Echo Dot. These speakers often come with a built-in rechargeable battery to turn your Echo Dot mobile, which is a great feature that anyone would likely love. These speakers also end up taking up less space in the long run since you can just plug your Echo Dot directly into it, taking away the need for two separate devices (technically). With this method, you’ll essentially be turning your Echo Dot into an Amazon Tap (a portable Echo, basically)—but often for less money and far better speaker quality.
Of course, as mentioned, you could still use any old normal speaker and connect via an auxiliary cable or wireless Bluetooth connection. You just won’t get the extra features—like making your Echo Dot portable or playing Alexa’s responses through the speakers. With that said, there are a lot more options available on the market for “normal” speakers. If you know you’re pretty picky, you may be more likely to find something there than with speakers made specifically for the Echo Dot. In the end, it all comes down to preference.
The Best Speaker Made for the Echo Dot
There are plenty of speakers on the market made specifically for the Echo Dot, but nobody really seems to be talking about which of these is most worth your money. For the most part, these speakers all have pretty similar features, but there are some that may surprise you with their quality. Overall, you shouldn’t underestimate any of the speakers you see in this market. They may not look like much, but a lot of them can pack a pretty heavy punch.
- 20W audio power
- 360-degree omnidirectional fine audio
- DSP processor technology
- 10000mAh rechargeable Li-on battery
- 16 hours of standby time.
Overall rating: 4.0 out of 5
The Divoom ADOT is an incredibly underrated speaker that more Echo Dot owners should know about. Like most other speakers made for the Echo Dot, the ADOT has a built-in rechargeable battery to make your device portable, which is a big plus. Overall, the Divoom ADOT has been well-received—even if it hasn’t been received by a lot of people—and it adds a pretty great sound experience to the Echo Dot. It may not be the best general speaker, but it’s about the best you’ll get in this specific market.
It is important to note that the Divoom ADOT is specifically made for use with the Echo Dot and won’t be much good as a “smart speaker” without it, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck completely. Even if you don’t have WiFi and your Echo Dot is temporarily out of service, you can still connect your phone to the Echo Dot via Bluetooth and play your music that way, technically turning the ADOT into a “normal” speaker. You could choose to wire your phone to the ADOT with an auxiliary cable, as well.
The best part is that the sound quality of the Divoom ADOT could easily rival the quality of other “normal” speakers in its price range—maybe even some at double the price, as well. With minimal distortion, good bass, and crisp sound, it doesn’t matter that it’s not as refined as a higher-end speaker. In the end, this is still great quality.
- Sound quality matches that of higher-end speakers
- Makes your Echo Dot portable
- Long battery life
- Responsive customer service
- Won’t have “smart speaker” features without the Echo Dot
- Some reported issues with the connectors
- On the slightly expensive side
Depending on what you’re looking for, even the “best” speaker may not be right for you. With all the different options available out there on the market, it’s important that you know what features are important to you and that you look for speakers that match those specifically. Going with whatever people are saying is the “best” may not necessarily work out. For example, if you care more about special features than good sound quality, a lesser speaker may very well be better than one people consider to be the “best”.
- Rechargeable battery and dock for Echo Dot
- 8 hours of play time
- 5 color changing modes (slow blend, fast blend, preset pulse, pulse to music, favorite color)
- Passive radiator for better bass
- Passive subwoofer
- Bluetooth speaker can connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices
Overall rating: 3.7 out of 5
If you don’t care too much about sound quality, your options open up immensely. In fact, when you take sound quality out of the equation, there are a lot of cool features that some made-for-Echo-Dot speakers offer. The iHome iAV5, in particular, is a pretty cool speaker that a lot of people have expressed massive amounts of praise for. Of course, while it’s sound quality isn’t necessarily the best, it makes up for that with an awesome color-changing feature (and the fact that it’s also a Bluetooth speaker).
A lot of made-for-Echo-Dot speakers lack one great feature—the ability to pair to devices via Bluetooth. Most simply connect to the Dot with an auxiliary cable and include an additional port to connect other devices with a cable, as well. The iHome iAV5 connects via Bluetooth and allows other devices to be conveniently connected this way, too. It is lacking any auxiliary port, however, which could be inconvenient for those who prefer the reliability and quality of a physical wire connection.
Otherwise, the coolest feature that the iHome iAV5 has to offer is the ability to change color depending on what setting you’ve selected. There are five different settings available to choose—slow blend, fast blend, preset pulse, pulse to music, and favorite color. The “pulse to music” setting is probably the one that gets the most attention, since it can change colors to the beat of your music. Some people have expressed minor issues with this feature, but, for the most part, this is the crowning jewel of the iHome iAV5.
- Cool color-changing feature
- Also a normal Bluetooth speaker
- Allows Echo Dot to produce a louder sound
- Sound quality not quite as good as other speakers
- No auxiliary connection
- Sometimes has trouble hearing voice commands for Alexa
Because of how little competition there is in the “speakers made for the Echo Dot” market, it’s usually pretty hit or miss regarding whether one of them makes the cut. Not every speaker designed to accommodate the Echo Dot will be worth listening to, but a lot of them are still decent enough in their ability to make your Dot portable. So even if the sound quality is less than desirable, there’s still something to get from them.
Keep an open mind and be honest about what you’re looking for. If you want to extend the abilities of your Echo Dot, one of these speakers would be great. But if you’re looking more for better sound quality and some serious music listening, you may want to consider hooking your Dot up to some real speakers. Otherwise, a lot of the made-for-Echo-Dot speakers are still worth some consideration.
- 10W amplifier
- Passive bass radiator
- Connect other devices with auxiliary input
- 6 hours of play time
Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5
The Dox is advertised as a way to “unleash your Alexa” and “boost the sound of your Dot”, and that’s surely what it does. Of course, whether or not it does it particularly well is a different story. The only reason the Dox isn’t higher up on the list is that there seems to be a wide range of responses and reviews for this speaker. Some love it, and some hate it. There also seems to be some confusion with different models on the Amazon listing. But overall, the Dox is a pretty decent speaker released by i-box to enhance your Echo Dot.
Overall, a lot of the reviews seem to agree when it comes to the sound quality—it may not be that great, but it’s definitely better than just the Echo Dot by itself. Some reviews have mentioned that it lacks a lot of bass sound, but it lands somewhere in between the Echo Dot and the full Echo. It has more bass than the Dot and less bass than the Echo. If you’re an audiophile, you likely won’t be too happy with this one, though. The sound can get slightly tinny at times, and it can distort at high volumes.
In the end, the best part about the Dox is its price. At just around $40, this one is the least expensive of the bunch. You may be able to find some for less, but you’ll start to lose some key features if you go any lower. The i-box Dox is a good compromise between budget and quality, and it can definitely get the job done.
- Hard exterior material to prevent the speaker from getting dirty
- Provides a better speaker than the Echo Dot
- Conveniently makes your Dot portable with decent battery life
- Hear voice control responses through the speaker
- Some issues with connecting the Dot to the cables provided
- Sound quality not as great as other speakers
- 6 hours of play time
- Dual 52mm drivers
- Auxiliary connection for other devices
Overall rating: 3.0 out of 5
Ninety7 Inc. is a company that, from the ground up, has focused on providing good quality for low prices. And this has been noticed by many big players in the industry. The VAUX speaker has been featured by Business Insider, CNET, Yahoo, The Verge, Tom’s Guide, PC World, and more. When it comes to customer reviews, people have called it the best speaker to combine with your Echo Dot. It’s safe to say that, with how well-received this speaker has been on a general scale, it’s definitely something to consider.
What keeps the VAUX from ending up higher on the list, however, is the stark contrast of customer reviews on Amazon. Out of more than two thousand reviews, about 40% of them gave a five-star rating, while 30% of them gave a one-star rating. The average still comes out at three stars, but those one-star reviews are something to consider. A lot of them are due to charging issues that come up after a certain period of time. It turns out, however, that this was due to a wiring flaw, and Ninety7 Inc. fixed the issue with a redesign of the speaker. Any newly purchased VAUX shouldn’t have the same issue.
Otherwise, the sound quality of the VAUX has been given a mixed review. Some people aren’t too thrilled with it, and others consider it to be a rival to higher-end speakers, like ones created by Bose. With that said, the number of people praising the quality is far more than the number of those who are expressing any dislike. You should note, however, that the volume is quite loud, and some people have expressed that even the lowest volume is still too loud for playing things like environmental ambient sounds for sleeping. This will mostly come down to personal preference, however, so don’t let that steer you away from this great speaker.
- Great sound quality for its price
- Visually pleasing design and solid build
- Great customer service
- Some issues with battery life after prolonged use (issue may have been fixed with a redesign)
- Lowest volume is still a bit loud.
- Could have difficulty processing voice commands when the speaker is at higher volumes
Whenever any new popular device comes out, other companies will race to come out with other devices to complement its features. The Echo Dot is convenient and budget-friendly, and its need for a better speaker has been accommodated by many manufacturers now. At the price of most of these speakers, you’ll still end up paying less than what you would for an Amazon Echo or Amazon Tap, which are basically like the Echo Dot but with full speakers.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that, with the recent release of the Echo Dot 3rd Generation, some of these speakers may or may not need a redesign. If you do get a new Echo Dot with the 3rd Generation release, know that you may need to wait for newer models to accommodate the new Dot. With how new the 3rd Generation model is, however, it may be best simply to wait and see, as some people are saying that the 2nd Generation may still be a better choice.