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How to figure out which Amazon Echo you should buy

The new Amazon.com Inc. Echo Spot, from left, Echo, Echo Plus, and Fire TV devices sit on display during the company's product reveal launch event in downtown Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017.
Daniel Berman | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The new Amazon.com Inc. Echo Spot, from left, Echo, Echo Plus, and Fire TV devices sit on display during the company's product reveal launch event in downtown Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017.
  • Amazon sells a lot of Echo voice assistants, so we break them all down to help you understand which is best for you.
  • The normal Echo is probably the best for most people, but the Echo Plus has a smart home hub inside while the Echo Show has a screen.
  • If you're not sure if you want an Echo yet, consider the fully functional Echo Dot, which costs just $50.

Amazon sells several different models of the Amazon Echo, and choosing the right one for you or a loved one this holiday season might be a bit hard to figure out.

CNBC will walk you through the differences between Amazon's different Echo products, from the Echo Dot to the Echo Spot, so you know what each one offers and what will fit your lifestyle the best.

Here's a quick rundown of each Echo and what they do.

Echo Dot

Handout: Echo Dot
Amazon

The Echo Dot is the most affordable of the Echo family and is the best bet for folks who aren't sure if they want to spend more. It offers a speaker and almost all of the functionality of the other Echo products, just in a slim package. You can use it for all tasks, from placing phone calls to playing music around the house.

The Echo 

I love the oak shell that was sent with my demo unit
Todd Haselton | CNBC
I love the oak shell that was sent with my demo unit

The new Echo replaces the original towering Echo and costs $99, down from the original price of $179. Amazon improved the audio quality of this model, and it's the one I think most people should buy. You can outfit it with different shells to match your decor, and it's a great solution for full-sounding music if you plan to place them around your house for multiroom music. Read our Echo review for more information.

The Echo Plus

The Echo Plus sounds better than the original, too
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Echo Plus sounds better than the original, too

The Echo Plus is Amazon's most high-end Echo speaker and includes most of what you need to start a smart home. With it, you can start buying Philips Hue bulbs and other products without the need for a stand-alone hub (which you'd need if you bought any other Echo). It can automatically detect your smart home products, with support for light switches, smart locks, sprinklers, thermostats and more. If you're not interested in creating a smart home, choose the regular Echo. Read our Echo Plus review for more information.

The Echo Spot

The Echo Spot is like a smaller Echo Show
Amazon
The Echo Spot is like a smaller Echo Show

The $129.99 Echo Spot is launching in December and is Amazon's second Echo to sport a touch-screen display. This can be used for anything from viewing photos to seeing the lyrics of a song that's playing. Given its compact size, it can also double as a smart alarm clock right next to your bedstand. It has speakers, though they're not as large as those found in the Echo or Echo Plus, so expect audio that's on a par with the Echo Dot. Like other Echos, it lets you place calls, check the weather, order goods from Amazon and more, though it also lets you watch video from Amazon Prime.

The Echo Show

CNBC Tech: Amazon Echo Show 5
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Echo Show is my favorite Echo of the entire family, since it has a nice large display that can be used for video calls, placing orders from Amazon — just ask to order soap and Alexa will show you various products available to order. Tap one and it's on the way. It also has decent-sounding speakers since it's larger than the Echo Spot, and can be used to play music, show song lyrics and more. It's also the most expensive Echo at $229. Read our Echo Show review for more information.

The Echo Look

Handout: echo Look
Amazon

The Echo Look is the weirdest Echo of the bunch. It's a hands-free camera and style assistant that costs $199.99 and is meant to sit in your bedroom or closet. It'll take pictures of you and each outfit you wear, allowing you to view your favorite styles, discover new clothes, get a "second opinion with Style Check" which uses machine learning to analyze your outfit selection and more. You can also tap into Alexa, in case you want to play music or check your calendar while you're getting dressed.