- Available for under $30, the Roku Express offers you the complete selection of Roku’s 700,000+ movies and TV shows, including its 300+ live free TV channels.
- The Roku Ultra features outstanding Wi-Fi with 50% more coverage area, and its Ethernet capability allows you to stream your favorite movies and TV shows with outstanding performance.
- Everything about the Roku Streambar Pro stems from the immersive audio experience it provides. Dialogue is crisp and clear, and the Streambar Pro is smart enough to quiet commercials.
When it comes to media streaming, there are a number of devices all vying for your attention. Between AppleTV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV, TiVo, and even Walmart’s “onn” house brand, there is no shortage of options.
Fortunately for Roku, their products continue to stand out (sorry Chromecast) thanks to budget-friendly pricing, strong performance, and a solid host of features. There’s truly something for everyone in their lineup. Whether you are looking to add some smarts to an existing TV or give yourself a whole new set of streaming options, Roku has a product for you.
After weeks of testing, we’ve put together a list of the 7 best Roku devices available today:
- Best Overall: Roku Streaming Stick 4K
- Best Budget Option: Roku Express
- Best Home Theater Option: Roku Streambar Pro
- Best Ethernet: Roku Ultra
- Best for 4K: Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
- Best Entry-Level Option: Roku Express 4K+
- Best TV: TCL 5-Series
Best Overall: Roku Streaming Stick 4K
- Hides behind your TV
- Streams in 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+
- Start streaming channels like Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+, and more quickly
- Long-range Wi-Fi
- Voice search and control with Alexa
The perfect combination of affordability and features, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is the best Roku device you can purchase today. Redesigned in 2021, the smaller design all but guarantees you’ll never see the stick while watching TV as it’s completely hidden from sight.
A quad-core processor adds 30% faster boot times than its predecessor and it shows, as the Roku interface is plenty snappy.
With Dolby Vision on board alongside HDR10/HDR10+, all of your shows and movies from your favorite streamers look beautiful. That’s especially true when you’re watching in 4K, as the quality of the Roku Streaming Stick 4K really shows off.
AirPlay 2 is built in and adds the ability to stream from any Apple device directly to your television. Movies, videos, and photos can all be displayed in real-time, thanks to the strong Wi-Fi connection.
There is also support for Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google’s Voice Assistant for the trifecta of voice control options.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Best Budget Option: Roku Express
- Watch what you love: Start streaming with a massive selection of free, live, and premium TV, including Roku Originals and 275 plus live TV channels for free on The Roku Channel
- Quick and easy setup: It’s easy to get started with everything you need included in the box, including a High Speed HDMI Cable—just plug it into your TV and connect to the internet
- Tons of power, tons of fun: Compact and power-packed, you'll stream your favorites with ease, including movies and series on HBO Max, Netflix, Disney plus, and Prime Video
- Simple remote: Incredibly easy to use, this remote features shortcut buttons to popular streaming channels
- The free Roku mobile app: Control your Roku device with a convenient second remote, search with your voice, enjoy private listening with wireless headphones, and more on your iOS or Android device
The budget-friendly price of the Roku Express might be the cheapest Roku product on the block, but it’s far from basic. Available for under $30, the Roku Express offers you the complete selection of Roku’s 700,000+ movies and TV shows, including its 300+ live free TV channels.
An included HDMI cable makes it easy to plug the Roku Express directly into your television, connect to your Wi-Fi, and have you streaming Netflix in just a few minutes.
HD streaming is smooth and with Roku’s ultra-minimal remote included, you can easily navigate the Roku interface quickly. There’s no voice control directly on the remote, but support for Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Voice Assistant still offer you voice functionality. Just say, “hey Google, play Cobra Kai on Netflix,” and you’ll be watching Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-Do in no time.
What the Roku Express lacks in more premium features it makes up for with a budget-friendly price and a snappy interface.
Get yours on Amazon here.
Best Home Theater Option: Roku Streambar Pro
When you mix a Roku player with a soundbar, you end up with the Roku Streambar Pro and one of the best Roku devices available today.
Everything about the Streambar Pro stems from the immersive audio experience it provides. Dialogue is crisp and clear but the best part is that the Streambar Pro is smart enough to quiet commercials. The soundbar itself is 32 inches long, so there’s plenty of space for four 2.5” full range drivers which can easily fill up a large room. You can even add additional Roku wireless subwoofers to give a complete surround sound experience at any time.
As a 2-in-1 experience, the Roku Streambar Pro also adds the full Roku experience with built-in 4K streaming and Roku’s best voice-capable remote. All you have to do is plug the Roku Streambar Pro into your TV through the HDMI-ARC or through an optic port.
Streaming is upscaled from 720p to 1080p with 4K ultra high-def, the best way to experience the best parts of the Streambar Pro’s sound.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Best Ethernet: Roku Ultra
- 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
As the top of the line streaming device, the 4K Roku Ultra lives up to its name as the most powerful product in the Roku lineup. Its premium price offers you the most comprehensive Roku experience available today.
On top of its outstanding Wi-Fi with 50% more coverage area, the Roku Ultra really shines with its Ethernet capability. Streaming your favorite movies and TV shows remains highly dependent on your Wi-Fi signal but, with the Ultra, connecting to Ethernet ensures outstanding performance.
Ethernet aside, the Roku Ultra also stands out as one of the few Roku products to include a set of headphones for private listening. Plug them directly into the Roku remote for totally private listening to whatever you’re watching.
And, if you ever lose the Voice Remote Pro remote, just hit the button on the Roku Ultra and say “hey Roku, where’s my remote,” and a sound will play until you find it.
Last but not least, streaming with Dolby Vision and Dolby Sound adds a truly immersive viewing experience regardless of your television.
You can get it on Amazon here.
Best for 4K: Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
- 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision
- The stick design plugs right into your TV with a simple setup
- Stream your favorite channels like Netflix, Apple TV+, Prime Video, and more in a snap
- Enjoy fast, smooth TV streaming in any room with a strong Wi-Fi connection
- The Roku Voice Remote Pro is conveniently rechargeable with TV controls and personal shortcuts
- Find your lost remote: Say “Hey Roku, where’s my remote?” and your remote will play a sound
A step up from our best overall choice, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ adds a few extras, which helps justify the slight price increase.
Starting off with its features is increased long-range dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is now 2x faster than previous generations of Roku devices. The Wi-Fi receiver is built into a USB power cable which hides behind your TV the whole time.
Support for a rechargeable remote control is the biggest differentiator over the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, ensuring you never have to worry about being out of batteries again. There is a definite convenience factor in recharging your batteries between binge-watching new episodes of Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ will deliver 4K plus upscales 720p to 1080p, all while providing terrific viewing quality with Dolby Vision and HDR10/10+.
Get it on Amazon here.
Best Entry-Level Option: Roku Express 4K+
- Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
- Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
- Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
- Voice remote control
A step above the best budget solution Roku makes, the Roku Express 4K+ adds a couple of nice features while maintaining a strong entry-level price tag.
Dual-band Wi-Fi with 802.11ac is a major factor over the single-band Roku Express, which makes for a stronger signal while streaming 4K movies and TV shows. Combine the strong Wi-Fi with high dynamic range (HDR) and you’ll find no complaints about video quality regardless of your favorite streaming service.
The basic remote adds all of Roku’s mainstream services all while keeping its minimalistic app plus four default shortcuts to Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Paramount+.
The Roku Express 4K+ is also the first product in the lineup to come included with an HDMI cable, which only adds to the great value.
Compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant plus AirPlay 2 support all help round out a terrific feature set.
Find it on Amazon here.
Best TV: TCL 5-Series
- 4K Ultra HD
- QLED (Quantum Dot technology)
- Up to 60 localized Contrast Control Zones
- Hands-free voice control
- 700,000 + movies and shows
The perfect mix between the TCL budget-friendly 4-Series and premium level 6-Series, the TCL 5-Series is the best Roku television for most people.
Right away the QLED quantum dot technology delivers a superior picture with excellent color accuracy and strong brightness. That’s good enough for more than one billion colors that match formatting used by cinema screens and Hollywood content creators.
Add in HDR Pro along with Dolby Vision and the picture quality makes you feel like the TCL 5-Series should be three times as expensive.
The included hands-free voice control enables you to turn on the 5-Series from anywhere in a room. Want to see the big game? Just say, “turn on sports,” and the TCL will instantly take you to the right channel.
Gamers will also appreciate the TCL’s VRR and Auto Game Mode for a more seamless gaming experience, especially on the newest consoles available.
You can buy it on Amazon here.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Roku Devices Today
If you’re buying one of the 7 best Roku devices, there is probably a very good reason. For starters, you might be upgrading to a smart TV or tired of your current smart TV’s limitations. Regardless of why you’re adding a Roku device to your home, there are a few important things to note.
The first is that with any Roku device or the TCL 5-Series, you’ll get the most out of your Roku by installing and signing into your favorite streaming services. It doesn’t matter if you only have one subscription or twenty different subscriptions. There is a more than good chance they all have a downloadable app in Roku’s marketplace and you should install it right away.
The second biggest thing to know before purchasing a Roku device is they are not all created equal. While a few might have similar names, there are some subtle and glaring differences between them. Most notable is the inclusion of 4K on all devices, save for the budget favorite, Roku Express.
Similarly, the Roku Ultra includes the Roku Voice Remote Pro which is the best Roku device that comes with the company’s best remote. You can purchase it separately but it’s only included with one device.
Fast(er) Wi-Fi is another big differentiator, as the inclusion of dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi on the more premium Roku devices is going to make for a better streaming experience overall. That’s not to say the Roku Express will be worse, but other devices like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K will definitely work better, especially if your router is not in the same room.
Using the Best Roku Devices Today: What It’s Like
After two weeks of testing different Roku devices on the lone non-Roku TV in my house, we can properly evaluate which are the best for each different category. We spent a lot of time moving through the Roku interface looking at how responsive each remote was, asking whether the interface froze at all and how far could we move away from our Router before we saw Wi-Fi signal degradation.
What you will find is that the Roku Ultra really lives up to its name. Its remote control is best in class, and for good reason. It’s the strongest plastic of all of the Roku models and feels more durable because of this.
One interesting discovery was that 4K wasn’t necessarily “better” on any of the 4K devices, but we do think the Roku Streaming Stick 4K saw the biggest jump over its less expensive siblings. The good news is that you’ll get excellent 4K quality out of any of the 4K-enabled Roku devices but you should not expect huge leaps in picture clarity.
Finally, with the TCL 5-Series TV, you get a lot of the best Roku features but not the best remote. That was a bit of a letdown, but that’s an okay tradeoff for one of the best values in the smart television market. Between streaming and gaming, everything looked and felt great and it even showed off solid viewing angles which was an initial concern at its price point.
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