I did the math and the final figures may surprise you.
Amazon Alexa devices are everywhere. Since 2014, with the release of the original Echo smart speaker, the tech giant has been at the forefront of smart home innovation with over 100 million devices sold. Alexa is the premier voice assistant that runs smart home automation, and Amazon has steadily introduced more new devices and features each year.
With so many products on the market, you might consider pulling out all the stops to completely Alexa-fy your home. Turning your regular, basic home into a vast Alexa-run smart home will cost you -- but it doesn't have to break the bank.
Since Alexa pricing varies, the total amount will depend on the number and type of devices you want. One Echo Dot will cost you just $50, but a sprawling ecosystem of Echo Dots, Echo Show smart displays, smart plugs, smart lights and security devices could add up to thousands of dollars -- trust me, I broke out my calculator and did the math.
You might not be in the market for every type of Alexa-compatible device -- though don't let me stop you if that was what you had in mind -- so I'm going to break down the cost of three Alexa-centric smart home setups, ranging from the simplest and cheapest with Amazon essentials, to an expensive arrangement decked out with a full array of Amazon gadgets. (For more Alexa tips, read about these setting you'll want to change ASAP and five of the most useful Alexa features.
If you're building your Amazon smart home from scratch, I recommend starting with an Echo smart speaker, specifically the fourth-gen Echo. Not only is this our favorite smart speaker -- it's our favorite Alexa device overall.
While the $100 price tag makes this Echo speaker more expensive than the smaller Echo Dot, it's worth it. The fourth-gen Echo has noticeably better audio quality than all the Echo smart speakers, and the built-in Zigbee receiver allows the Echo to act as a smart home control center for compatible devices. This one Echo speaker, with its voice control features and connectivity ability, is a great option since it serves as a control panel for the rest of your connected devices.
Cost so far: $100
Once you have that central hub established, it's time to connect smart home devices. Security and smart lights are a good next step when going with the basics.
For lighting, I recommend the Wyze Bulb. For $15, you can buy a 2-pack of white LED bulbs that produce better brightness than many other bulbs on the market. They can be set up in no time -- just screw the bulb in, connect the light to your internet via the Wyze app and you can begin your Alexa commands.
Cost so far: $115
For Alexa home security cameras, I recommend starting with the Wyze Cam v3. Not only does its $36 price tag make it a stand-out affordable choice among all home security cameras, but it's packed with top-shelf features: sharp night vision, a functional siren, 14-day video clip storage, weatherproof housing and a wide field of view. No wonder it's our favorite home security camera overall.
So for just close to $150, you can build a functional Amazon smart home that will cover all your basic needs.
Not too much, not too little. That's where a midrange smart home can come in. It will satisfy all your basic needs, while also adding a bit of flare to your smart home.
Keep your Echo speaker where you listen to music most, but now add an Echo Show 8 where you might watch YouTube videos or video chat with your family. For $110, this display will respond to your voice commands while also incorporating tablet-specific features so you can play games, watch movies, browse recipes and make video calls. The display combines solid sound quality, a high-resolution screen and a privacy shutter, making it a great second control center (I recommend putting the Echo Show 8 in the kitchen and your Echo smart speaker in your living room).
You can often find the Echo Show discounted. It's currently on sale for $70 on Amazon.
Cost so far: $261
As of now -- in this hypothetical Amazon smart home we're building together -- you only have one home security device. But adding another, like the Ring Video Doorbell (Wired)z, will help fill out the system.
It's great for homeowners and apartment dwellers, and the $60 price tag makes it one of the best deals on the market. It's easy to install, Alexa-compatible and packed with features: 1080p HD video resolution, two-way talk, night vision and fast notifications, including motion alerts and person-only alerts. If you don't have doorbell wiring, check out the $100 Ring Video Doorbell. It has many of the same features, but has a battery.
Cost so far: $321
Finding ways to save money on your energy and utility bills is a great way to save money long term, and a smart thermostat can help.
Of course, controlling the temperature of your home or apartment with a simple voice command is cool, but the $60 price tag might just be the coolest thing about the Amazon Smart Thermostat. It's hard to beat in terms of value. Whether you want to connect the thermostat to your Echo speaker or Echo Show, or you just want to manually control the device, it's simple and straightforward. Plus, it can save you about $50 each year with its energy saving settings.
Pro tip: If you purchase on Amazon, you can get the thermostat packaged with an Echo Dot or an Echo Show 5 for a small discount. Learn more here.
Cost so far: $381
A smart home isn't complete without a few smart plugs to connect and control "dumb" devices like lamps or fans. I recommend the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini. With smartphone app controllability, Alexa compatibility and a sleek design, it's one of CNET's favorite smart plugs on the market. I recommend starting with the $17 2-pack and adding from there if need be.
And there you are. For just under $400, you can have a thoroughly connected smart home, driven entirely by Alexa.
Maybe midrange isn't enough for you. Or maybe you've read our stories on the best things you can do with two or more Echo devices or our story showing why putting an Echo in every room is actually a good idea. Either way, sometimes you just need an upgrade that goes beyond the fundamentals.
I can help with that, too.
If you're cool with shelling out the big bucks to create a home entirely controlled by Alexa, then there are plenty of devices to add to your shopping list on top of or in place of those above. I'm going to recommend the best Alexa products to build your loaded, Alexa-centric home from the ground up. Let's review some of the ones I've already mentioned that you should start with:
With these products, our cost comes to $192.
Echo Show 10: This $250 10-inch smart display is great for video chatting with family. It's the first smart display with a built-in motor and cameras that can track you moving around to keep you in frame during video chats or keep streaming media in your field of view.
Cost so far: $442
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock (fourth-gen): It's a little pricey at $199, but with the ability to control your smart lock remotely via phone -- and of course, by Alexa command -- in addition to its many safety features, the August Lock is an excellent option for extra security.
Cost so far: $641
Ring Alarm Pro home security system: With DIY installation and unique built-in Alexa integrations, the Alarm Pro is a solid choice for your Alexa smart home. What's really cool about it is that it includes an Eero Wi-Fi 6 router, and it supports backup internet in case of power outages as well as encrypted local video storage for your Ring devices. Plus, it works with your Echo devices to monitor your home for break-ins. I recommend the $300 eight-piece kit, which will cover all of your home security needs while still costing less than many other options on the market. You can also pay a little more to get packages with cameras and Echo devices bundled in at significant discounts.
Cost so far: $941
Echo Dot (third-gen with clock): These puck-sized faves will never go out of style. At $40 -- and you can often find them on sale -- these devices combine an unobtrusive design with all the best elements of a smart speaker: impressive sound and easy usability. Since these devices can often be found for half-price, I recommend buying two: one for upstairs and one for the master bedroom.
Cost so far: $1,021
Fire TV Stick 4K Max: It's the best Fire stick on the market. The $55 Max is speedy and supports Wi-Fi 6 and nearly all the latest playback standards, including Dolby Vision. If you get a second Echo smart speaker, you can even pair them with the Fire TV Stick to get stereo sound for all your favorite shows.
Cost so far: $1,076
Ring Pro 2: At $250, this video doorbell is more expensive than its $60 and $100 predecessors, but the new built-in bird's-eye-view feature is innovative and unique to Ring products. The Ring Pro 2 also showcases 1-to-1 aspect ratio, solid resolution, various push alerts, encrypted video and Alexa-compatibility.
Cost so far: $1,326
Ring Floodlight Cam Pro: This is another excellent addition to your home security. In addition to being equipped with two LED bulbs, this device also comes with 3D motion tracking and bird's-eye-view mode. It's currently $250 on the Ring website.
All in all, your Alexa smart home system cost will be slightly over $1,500. This means building a smart home that's almost fully-automated by Amazon's voice assistant is just $73 more than a full-fledged Google smart home.
You could spend thousands more if you wanted to purchase more Alexa-compatible devices or put an Echo in every room, but I've only listed the top devices to purchase at three different levels of spending. If you want to overload on Alexa, hey, go right ahead. Just be sure to read about the four places to avoid putting your Echo devices and these Alexa privacy tips while working from home.