Amazon Dash Wand review: Let Alexa get the groceries with this dirt-cheap scanner

I had less luck when I tried asking Alexa to add multiple things to our cart. Amazon's listing for the Dash Wand claims you should be able to do this, giving the example command, "Strawberries. Bananas," but that didn't work when I tried it out. 

Instead, the Wand added a single item to my shopping list that asked me to specify which kind of "strawberries bananas" I wanted. Here's hoping Amazon tweaks that in the near future, as ideally, you should be able to read off your whole shopping list to Alexa if you so choose.

I'd also like to see Amazon let you pair this thing with another Alexa product, like the Echo or Echo Dot smart speakers. That could be a potential workaround for the fact that the Dash Wand can't stream music or set kitchen timers on its own.

One last note: with its simple design and ease of use, the Amazon Dash Wand is definitely kid-friendly -- but perhaps too much so. I can just imagine my Star Wars-obsessed nephews using it as a makeshift lightsaber or laser blaster (and perhaps scanning every barcode in my brother's place in the process).

Chris Monroe/CNET

The bottom line

Alexa is a powerful, popular voice assistant, and it's hard to fault a device that'll get her into your kitchen as cheaply as the Dash Wand will. Easier online grocery orders aren't enough of a selling point on their own to make it a must-have, but Amazon is clearly working hard at changing that. Extending its AmazonFresh Pickup service to Whole Foods locations across the US would obviously be a good step in that direction.

Still, if the Dash Wand is trying to get us hooked on online grocery shopping, then Alexa's the bait. Even if you couldn't care less about Amazon's grocery games, the $20 Dash Wand still makes sense as an extra Alexa access point, or perhaps as a cheap way for newbies to take her for a test drive. If that gets more people on board with Amazon's grocery strategy, the Dash Wand will be seen as a success.

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