Amazon has been making Fire TV streaming devices for over five years now, and for most of that time, they have had a streaming stick available. Currently, there are three Fire TV sticks to choose from, so which one should you get? We’ve played with them all and want to share our thoughts on which is the best option for you.
Best Overall: Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote
Let’s not mince words here; this is the Fire TV stick that you want to get. Period. Yeah, the others work just about as well, but with the Fire TV Stick 4K, you are future-proofing yourself. As more and more video content is available in better formats like 4K, UHD, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision, you’re going to want to have a device that can support and stream that content, especially if and when you upgrade your TV to match.
Even at full-price, this device is a bargain, but it is often offered at a discount, which makes it an incredible buy. You get almost all of the same high-end specs of more premium devices like the Fire TV Cube or Nebula Soundbar for much less. With that savings, you can pick up an Echo Dot for hands-free Alexa control, or subscribe to one of the fantastic Amazon Channels. And because this is a stick that plugs into the HDMI port behind your TV, it can hide out of sight and out of mind.
- Amazing value with top-of-the-line specs
- Often discounted for an even better bargain
- Alexa access on voice remote is a killer feature
- Alexa is not hands-free
- Remote buttons don’t glow in the dark
Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote
- $50 from Amazon
Stick to this one!
This stick comes close to matching Amazon’s other top streamers like the Cube and Nebula Soundbar. It is an incredible device for the money.
Best Value: Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a mouthful of a name! If the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition is good, and the Fire TV Stick 4K is best, then they should call this device the “better” Fire TV stick. The reason? For less than the price of a week’s worth of lattes, you get a fantastic HD streaming device with built-in access to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Not too shabby!
This product was initially released in 2016, but it is still one of the better HD streaming devices you can purchase. It supports content up to 1080p, which is considered high-definition. With access to all of the excellent streaming content on Fire TV, you’ll never be bored. You can also connect an HD antenna, and a Fire TV Recast to be a true cord cutter!
Perhaps most importantly, because Alexa voice control is built-in to the remote, you can use this device to power and control your smart home devices, navigate the TV interface, and request content. You can even ask Alexa any question that you would if you had an Echo device nearby.
- Same storage and processor as 4K stick for less money
- Alexa Voice Remote for easy Alexa access
- Doesn’t support 4K, UHD, or HDR 10
- Dolby Audio but not Dolby Atmos
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
- $35 from Amazon
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is 95% of the way there to the top of the heap. If you won’t miss 4K UHD visuals, this is a great pick up.
Best of the Rest: Fire TV Stick Basic Edition
This was the first Fire TV Stick I ever owned, and even in 2014, I got a better deal on it than this via an exclusive offering for Prime members. Even though it doesn’t compare to its siblings in terms of specs or performance, this is still a pretty decent little streamer. It can play video up to 1080p, and you can access just about all of the content you can on the other sticks, including Prime Video, Netflix, Amazon Channels, and even many of the Fire TV games. You can also get on the web through the Silk and Firefox browsers. The biggest downside IMO is that you do not have access to Alexa, as this comes with just a simple remote without voice control.
The Fire TV Stick Basic Edition is really mainly marketed to an international audience, but you can still get it in the U.S. However, I’d keep an eye on it to see if it goes on sale before you pick one up. At this price, it’s more expensive than the much better versions and doesn’t make sense for the U.S. market. But if you can find it for under twenty bucks, then I’d say go for it. My five-year-old Fire TV Stick Basic Edition still works great in the guest room!
- Easy to set up
- Access to all of Fire TV’s great content
- Doesn’t support above 1080p
- No voice control
- Lower specs than other sticks
Best of the Rest
Fire TV Stick Basic Edition
- $50 from Amazon
This was Amazon’s first stick, and it’s showing its age. If you can’t pick up one of the Alexa Voice Remote sticks, you can still get a decent streamer.
Amazon makes some of the best streaming devices around, and its Fire TV operating system is beloved for its ease of use and hooks into Amazon’s media ecosystem. Even though the lineup of streamers is not too confusing, there are still some choices to be made when distinguishing between these devices.
Our pick is the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote. It has all of the specs of higher-end streaming boxes but comes in a modest size and at a fantastic price. The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Remote (no 4K) is also a good option, but the price is so close to the 4K version that it only makes sense right now if you don’t have, or don’t plan to get, a 4K enabled TV. Even though it is a perfectly functional streamer, we don’t recommend the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition unless, for some reason, you do not have access to the other two models.
If you do choose to pick one of these Fire TV Sticks up, we can guarantee you that you’ll enjoy your streaming media experience!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about Amazon products and services, he’s defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.