Amazon, Apple And Google all make their own streaming devices, so you have a variety of options to choose from. But also with a number of competitors out there Rocus devices remain our clear favorites thanks to their practical functionsimpressive performance and affordable prices.
Devices range from the advanced Roku Ultra, which recently received some nice upgrades, to the affordable Roku Express, which you can snag for just $30. Roku also makes some of its own sound bars And speakerthat make it easy to build an all-in-one entertainment setup. To help you find the right one for your home, we’ve rounded up the best Roku streaming devices on the market below.
The Express 4K Plus is one of the most affordable 4K HDR streaming TV options. (Even if your current TV doesn’t support these formats, your next one probably won’t.) Thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the most affordable ways to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. It lacks Dolby Vision support, but we think most people will be fine without it.
This Roku streaming device is typically cheaper than the company’s Streaming Stick 4K and other 4K HDR streamers, so it’s usually our top Roku pick. It’s a great choice for those who want to get the most out of streaming without breaking the bank. Roku Express works with the popular voice assistants Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
Read our Express 4K Plus review.
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The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a very close runner-up to the Express 4K Plus. It has most of the same features as our top pick, but also includes Dolby Vision support. We don’t normally think Dolby Vision is worth the extra cash, but if you prefer the streaming stick design – or feel Dolby Vision is important – the Streaming Stick 4K is an excellent choice. If you are debating between the two, we advise you to go for the currently cheapest model.
Read our Streaming Stick 4K review.
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Roku’s most expensive streaming box is more than double the price of our top streaming device pick, but you might appreciate the extra features enough to want the upgrade. The 2022 model still costs $100 and is nearly identical to previous versions, except it now comes with the Voice Remote Pro.
But if you really love the remote and want to save a little money, you can try Roku’s other Bundle, the $70 Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus, which also includes the Voice Remote Pro. The Streaming Stick 4K’s processor isn’t quite as powerful as the Ultra’s, but it can do almost all the tricks like Dolby Vision HDR and costs $30 less than the 2022 Ultra.
Otherwise, the Ultra still delivers Dolby Vision video, faster responses than the Streaming Stick 4K, improved Wi-Fi, and a wired Ethernet port – especially welcome if your home Wi-Fi is congested.
Read our Roku Ultra (2022) review.
Looking for an audio upgrade as well as a new Roku? Check out the stream bar. This compact soundbar connects to your TV’s HDMI ARC port and enhances sound for all your sources, from cable boxes to gaming consoles. The best thing about this Roku player is that it’s also a 4K HDR-capable Roku streamer itself. We found the streambar to be easy to set up and sound good for the size, especially with dialogue. However, if you want more bass, consider adding Roku’s wireless subwoofer ($180).
Read our Roku Streambar review.
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The Voice Remote Pro isn’t a streaming service player, but it can give your Roku streaming device a nice boost. The Voice Remote Pro adds new features like a rechargeable battery and a 12-foot midfield microphone. The latter is particularly useful. You can say “Hey Roku, find my remote” and the device will beep so you can find it if it’s lost under the couch cushions.
It now ships with the 2022 Roku Ultra, but can be purchased separately and paired with any compatible Roku device.
Read our Voice Remote Pro review.
This is the only Roku model that we don’t recommend. Honestly, there are better entry-level streamers from Google and Amazon. We think the Chromecast with Google TV HD is by far the best choice for a $30 HD streamer. It’s fast and offers a remote control that doesn’t need line of sight to function and can seamlessly control your TV’s power, volume and inputs. It also has a built-in button to access Google Assistant. Even the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite offers better value than the Roku Express. At least this model’s remote has built-in voice search and control, powered by Alexa.
The good thing about the all-HD Roku Express is that it can use all of the apps on Roku’s platform. However, the included Roku TV remote is the bare-bones IR option, which lacks the Roku remote’s voice control and requires you to point at the tiny box. It also doesn’t control your TV’s power, volume, and inputs, so you’ll need your regular TV remote as well. And to add insult to injury, the Express doesn’t come with a power brick in the box. You’ll need to provide your own or plug it into your TV’s USB port to power the device. It’s best to just avoid this model if you can. Either spend a little more to upgrade to Express 4K Plus, or get the Chromecast with Google TV HD for the same price as this one. We promise you’ll be glad you did.
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How we test Roku devices
Every Roku we review is practically tested for hours. Typically, this involves installing the device on multiple TVs, evaluating the setup process, adding popular streaming channels, and using the product as if it were our own. We use all the main features available and see how they compare to other Roku models in the company’s lineup. To do this, we connect multiple Roku streaming devices to the same TV so we can easily switch back and forth to compare experiences.
Our metrics, which we use to evaluate a device, include hardware design, distinctive features that differentiate models, remote capabilities and design, overall usability, effective layouts and design, search capabilities, privacy settings, the number of apps and their performance, and overall speed and reliability of the system.
Frequently asked questions about Roku
Aren’t all Rokus kinda the same?
Yes and no. All Roku devices run the same software and therefore have the same access to screen search, channels, settings and layouts.
Roku models differ in the physical form of the device, its ability to offer playback at different resolutions and HDR formats – like 4K and Dolby Vision – as well as the additional hardware features on the device itself, along with the remote included in the package.
For example, the entry-level Roku Express is a small box that plugs into your TV but stands next to it. The device can access all of Roku’s content, but it only offers standard 1080p HD playback, not 4K. Also, the remote control is very simple and cannot turn your TV on and off. The remote also lacks other advanced features like voice control or remote finder capabilities. If you’re looking for 4K streaming, access to Dolby Vision or a more powerful remote then you’ll need to go for a more advanced Roku.
Do I need a separate Roku if I have a Roku TV?
No you do not. Roku TVs come with the Roku operating system built into the system. This means that the Roku interface will be presented to you as soon as you press the power button.
Roku TVs also come with Roku-branded remote controls. Depending on your TV model, you will either get a basic remote control or a voice remote control. Both allow you to fully navigate your TV, but voice remotes have a microphone button for voice activation. If you feel like you want to improve your remote experience, check out the Voice Remote Pro listed above.
Can I access all of my streaming services on my Roku?
Most likely, yes.
Known for a huge range of streaming channels, Roku has positioned itself as a service-agnostic platform. As a result, it offers all of the most popular streaming services, including Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Showtime, and Starz, among others. But it also has channels from smaller services and providers that are not available on every platform. For example, certain cable providers like Spectrum and Comcast Xfinity tend to only offer their apps on select streaming platforms, and Roku is almost always one of them.
If you’re looking for a specific streaming app, chances are Roku has it.