Roku vs Fire Stick: Full Comparison with Pros, Cons, and Features


Roku vs Fire Stick: Full Comparison with Pros, Cons, and Features

Key Points

  • Roku and Fire Stick both provide streaming services to customers.
  • Both the Roku and the Fire Stick are attempts at allowing users to access streaming apps like Netflix on a regular TV.
  • Roku and the Fire Stick only have an initial hardware cost (to purchase the device) and no subscription cost to keep using it. Although subscriptions to the streaming platform itself still has a fee.

The streaming wars have been waging for quite some time now. Generally speaking, people have settled into their personal favorites regarding their favorite services and hardware, but occasionally, it’s time for an upgrade. A quick Google search of “best device to watch Netflix on” shows just how convoluted things can be.

A simple solution is all most people are interested in, but marketing dollars can make it a bit tricky! Today, we are going to compare two of the largest players in the streaming hardware game: Roku and the Fire Stick. Both devices allow app downloads and unique streaming offerings to users, but is there a difference between the two? That’s what we are here to find out!

By the end of this article, you should be able to make an informed decision as to whether a Roku or a Fire Stick is better for your house. Let’s get started.

The Roku Ultra is the brand’s fastest and most powerful device yet.

Roku vs Fire Stick: Side-by-Side Comparison

RokuFire Stick
Initial Release:May 2008November 2014
Models:Six+ models and accessoriesFive models
Television Support:Supports most television models. Connects through HDMI.Supports most television models. Connects through HDMI.
Streaming Quality:Up to 4k, depending on the model.Up to 4k, depending on the model.
Price:Ranges from $17.99-$320.00Ranges from $29.99-$119.99
Voice Control:Compatible with Google, Alexa, and AppleOnly compatible with Alexa

Roku vs Fire Stick: What’s the Difference?

What is Streaming Hardware?

Both the Roku and Fire Stick are streaming devices that allow users to turn their televisions into “smart TVs.” Essentially, plugging in an HDMI cable allows you to stream things like Netflix and Disney+ over Wi-Fi, even if your television doesn’t have a built-in wifi connection already.

For many, hardware streaming devices are used as a replacement for satellite television packages as they offer access to the most popular apps for only a small entry fee. Others use these devices in tandem with a satellite or cable box, allowing them to stream as well as receive traditional television channels.

Both the Roku and the Fire Stick are attempts at allowing users to access streaming apps (Netflix, HBO MAX, and more), just from different companies. As such, there are more similarities between them than there are differences. Still, it’s important to know which one is best for you.

Here’s our comparison.

Content Availability

Both the Roku and Fire Stick have built-in app stores that allow users to select the apps they want to stream content from on their television. As far as the most popular apps go, both the Roku and the Fire Stick are identical. Both can stream the following:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Spectrum
  • Tubi
  • Paramount+
  • Peacock
  • YouTube TV
  • Pluto TV
  • Discovery+
  • Sling
  • Starz
  • Showtime
  • and more

If you are wondering whether you will be able to watch your favorite shows on the big streaming apps, both companies offer an extremely wide selection. There is a slight difference, however. In addition to the major streaming services, Roku also offers “channels” to its users. These aren’t traditional channels as you imagine them, but certain apps that have been created for extremely niche content needs.

In America, for example, large churches will often have their own streaming channels on Roku where you can watch their curated content. Additionally, these channels are free to use.

If the primary streaming apps are all you need, there truly isn’t a difference between the two. If you are interested in some smaller, niche apps, however, Roku may be a bit more expansive.

NOTE: Although an app is offered on either of the device’s platforms for free, there will likely be a subscription required to access the content. The cost is the same across both devices, but there is still a cost to access apps like Netflix or HBO MAX.

Pricing and Models

In the world of streaming, there are generally two costs to be aware of: hardware costs and subscription costs. Thankfully, both the Roku and the Fire Stick only have an initial hardware cost (to purchase the device) and no subscription cost to keep using it (keep in mind that many apps and streaming services within these devices DO require a subscription, i.e., Netflix).

Simple price comparison isn’t all that easy because both companies have multiple “tiers” of hardware, each with its own features and associated cost. Here’s a quick table to help you see which devices from each company compete against one another.

Roku Express – $17.99
Roku Premiere (4k) – $30.99
Fire Stick Lite – $29.99
Fire Stick – $39.99
– Only the Roku Premiere can stream 4k
– No TV controls on the Lite
Roku Streaming Stick+ – $43.00Fire Stick 4k – $29.99– Most popular and standard models for both companies
– Both can stream 4k
Roku Ultra LT – $50.00
Roku Ultra – $70.00
Fire TV Cube – $120.00– All three models have stronger processors (no glitching) and enhanced features compared to the “sticks”
Roku Streambar – $89.99
Roku Smart Soundbar – $320.00
No comparison– Streambar and Soundbar provide additional high-quality audio and act as smart home speakers
– Upgradable with subwoofers and further sound customization

Overall, Roku has more options than Amazon. There are small feature differences in the cheaper and middle models, but the main differences are evident in the high-end options. The Streambar and Soundbar both offer high-quality sound and act as the standard streaming stick, whereas the Fire Cube doesn’t provide high-quality sound and only acts as an additional smart speaker in your home.


There are two important things to consider when looking at streaming stick compatibility: smart home and television compatibility. The easier of the two is television compatibility.

All of the models from both companies connect to your television through an HDMI port, although some of the advanced models on either side offer connection through an optical cable. Additionally, all of the models can connect to Wi-Fi, with some of the advanced models allowing Ethernet connection for more stable streaming.

In addition to television compatibility, we have smart home compatibility. There are three main players in the smart home voice control category: Amazon Alexa, Apple, and Google. The Roku can be integrated and controlled by all three, while the Fire Stick is only compatible with Amazon Alexa.

If smart home automation or control isn’t important for you, then either one should work fine. If you happen to already be invested in the Google or Apple ecosystems, however, the Roku is probably better.


The interface of a device is the digital landscape on the screen that you interact with to select your content. Since both have their own software, the interfaces are distinctly different from one another. Ultimately, your interface preference isn’t a dealbreaker.

Roku is often regarded as a bit more user-friendly and offers some menu customization. Amazon is integrated into your Amazon account and allows you to purchase or stream content across various Amazon devices. Neither are dealbreakers but probably worth consideration.

Amazon Fire Stick
The latest Fire Stick is 50% faster than the previous generation.

Roku vs Fire Stick: 11 Must-Know Facts

Let’s go over a few of the must-know facts about the Roku and the Fire Stick.


  • Offers a wider variety of hardware options
  • Can use the most popular streaming apps, as well as free “channels”
  • Connects to almost any television and is easily installed
  • Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home
  • Comes with remote and voice controls

Fire Stick

  • Offers multiple hardware options
  • Can use the most popular streaming apps but doesn’t offer free channels
  • Connects to almost any television and is easily installed
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Compatible with Dolby Atmos
  • Comes with remote and voice controls

Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between Roku vs Amazon Fire Stick products mostly comes down to your preferences and your current compatibility. They are extremely similar, and both companies provide an array of options for almost every situation. Still, here are our choices, depending on your current situation.

Overall Winner: Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra | Streaming Device HD/4K/HDR/Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth Streaming, and Roku Voice Remote with Headphone Jack and Personal Shortcuts, includes Premium HDMI® Cable
  • Outrageously powerful: Enjoy a lightning-fast interface and channels like Sling, Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video that launch in a snap on the fastest, most powerful Roku player ever
  • Our best Wi-Fi: Enjoy fast, smooth TV streaming in any room in the house with our best Wi-Fi or choose to wire up over Ethernet
  • Cinematic streaming: Roku Ultra is the centerpiece of your home theater with spectacular 4K and Dolby Vision picture plus immersive Dolby Atmos sound
  • Find your lost remote: Simply press the button on your streaming device and your Roku remote will play a sound
  • No more juggling remotes: Power up your TV, adjust the volume, and control your streaming device with one Roku voice remote
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:58 am GMT

For most people, the Roku Ultra is the perfect combination of price, power, and features. It’s cross compactable with Amazon, boasts extra content, and has a slightly more intuitive interface. If we had to choose, we would say that the Ultra is probably best for anyone looking for quality 4k streaming.

Amazon Option: Fire Stick 4k

Best for Prime Video
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
  • Support for all major HDR formats with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+
  • Immersive audio through Dolby Atmos.
  • Stream content from leading services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more
  • Control your TV and other devices in your home with the Alexa voice remote
Test Field:
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

If you are a die-hard Amazon user, we don’t blame you! Keeping everything “in the ecosystem” is a great way to make sure that things stay simple and natively work together. The Fire Stick 4k has all the features that the Ultra does, even if it is slightly less powerful. Additionally, it’s portable and allows for high-quality 4k streaming of all your favorite services.

If You Want the Total Package: Roku Streambar or Roku Smart Soundbar

Best Budget-Friendly Option
Roku Streambar
  • Built-in 4K streaming
  • Massive selection of free, live, and premium TV
  • Dolby Audio calibrated for boosted volume and crisp dialogue
  • Customizable home screen
  • Advanced audio engineering within the Roku OS
  • Comes with a Roku remote
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/17/2024 09:53 pm GMT
Our Pick
Roku Smart Soundbar
  • Powerful 4K streaming
  • Calibrated for full, rich sound
  • Live TV without cable
  • Studio-quality sound
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 01:32 am GMT

If your television room is a blank slate and you want to have everything you need for a great movie or streaming night to arrive at your house in one box, the Streambar or Soundbar is for you.

With multiple options available, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great budget-friendly option.

They both offer upgraded sound volume and quality to standard television speakers, plus they come with the bonus of the Roku platform to stream and watch on. These aren’t the best soundbar options out there, but they are a total package.

Roku and Fire Stick in the News

On May 4, 2023, Amazon announced that it was releasing an update for its Fire Stick to fix several security issues. The update was to fix issues which could make the device susceptible to malware. The flaws were detected by a cybersecurity company which shared its findings with Amazon.

On March 9, 2023, Roku announced that it will be rolling out a new version of its operating system to its Roku devices. The new Roku OS 12 system will add new features to devices as well as new content and extras to the Live TV section. It will also update the Roku mobile app.

Next Up…

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better: Roku or Fire TV Stick?

Both companies offer similar devices, but Roku has more options and is slightly more compatible in some smart homes.

What Is the Difference Between Amazon Fire Stick and Roku Streaming Stick?

Depending on the exact models, the only difference between the Amazon Fire Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick is that Roku is compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit, while the Amazon stick is only Alexa compatible.

What free content is available through Roku and Fire Stick?

Both devices offer a plethora of apps, many of which feature free content. Roku also offers specialized free channels to stream niche content from creators.

Which is more expensive Roku or Fire Stick?

Overall, Roku and Fire Stick have competitive pricing and the exact cost depends on the model.

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