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Roku vs Amazon Fire Stick: Which Streaming Device Is Better for You?

All everyone talks about is the "Streaming Wars", but what about the streaming device wars? Roku vs Amazon Fire Stick: let's see who comes out on top.

Beth Mahoney

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The best streaming devices allow you to instantly access all of your favorite shows on Netflix, Paramount+, Prime Video, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV+, and various other platforms. But, with lots of streaming devices to choose from, selecting the right one for you can get rather tricky - especially if you're choosing between the Amazon Fire Stick and Roku - the two top contenders. 

Roku vs Amazon Fire Stick

Roku vs Amazon Fire Stick

Amazon/Getty Images

When it comes to streaming, the Amazon Fire Stick and Roku are, without a doubt, two of the most popular devices on the market. They're especially popular due to their affordable price tags that start from just $30 for the cheaper models, which is music to our ears. Also, these products often go on sale for even less (we'd recommend keeping an eye on Amazon for price drops - we're looking at you, Prime Day).

One key factor of both streaming tool is that they offer access to the same streaming apps, including all of the most sought-after channels. And, of course, each of the newer models of Amazon Fire Stick and Roku are just as fast, reliable and responsive as each other. Both device types (apart from the least expensive Roku's) also come with a remote control that features volume and power buttons that work with most newer television sets. Not to mention the fact that each streaming device comes in various models, starting with basic streaming tools and ranging up to 4K-compatible models with built-in voice control. So, when it comes to selecting a new television streaming tool, setting the two devices apart can be a challenge.

With that in mind, how can you go about choosing between the Amazon Fire Stick and the Roku and is one actually better than the other? Let's find out.

Should I buy an Amazon Fire Stick?

Amazon Fire Stick 4K

Amazon Fire Stick 4K


If you're looking for a streaming tool that offers access to over 300,000 free movies and TV episodes, an Amazon Fire Stick could be a great option for you.


  • Fast navigation 

  • Speedy content launches

  • Supports almost all television apps 

  • Comes with a remote control 


  • Excessive promotion of Amazon content

What's great about the Amazon Fire Stick is that it's quick and simple to set up - all you have to do is take it out of the box, plug it in, connect it to the internet, and you're good to go. Plus, the on-screen interface is super easy to navigate. 

In terms of the quality of streaming content, it performs seamlessly. So, as long as you have a good internet connection you should expect great service. The content is easy to search for, thanks to the voice-controlled remote control, and is fast to launch and play, with zero buffering time. 

One downside is that the on-screen interface does seem very Amazon focused - the layout makes it feel like it's pushing you towards viewing Amazon content more than other channels, which means that third party apps get limited screen space compared to the Amazon apps. 

What are the best Amazon Fire Sticks for different budgets?

With a number of Amazon Fire Sticks to choose from, you might be wondering which one to opt for. 

For a television streaming tool that offers advanced 4K streaming, Wi-Fi 6 support, and 4K ultra HD, the Amazon Fire Stick 4K could be a great option for you. In addition, this stick - that's currently on sale at $29.99 (was $49.99) at Amazon - boasts a cinematic experience with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and immersive Dolby Atmos audio. When comparing to the Roku alternative, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, the Fire Stick 4K is the more affordable option for those looking for a fast streaming stick on a budget. 

Amazon also offers six months free to its subscription service MGM+, which the Roku alternative does not. Because the Fire Stick 4K is also directly connected to Alexa, folks with Amazon Echos and other Amazon Alexa-enabled devices can control everything collectively through any device. Though Roku devices have the capability to do this as well, the connection from Amazon device to Amazon device is a much simpler set-up process.

If you're looking for a more affordable option, the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite - that's currently on sale at $19.99 (was $29.99) at Amazon - could be a smart choice. This one can be directly compared to the Roku Express, the Roku alternative that's currently sitting at the same price. This has less storage and not as great of a picture quality as the Amazon Fire Stick 4K. In comparison, it has 8G storage instead of 16G and it's HD in comparison to the Fire Stick 4K's 4K. When comparing to the Roku Express, the major difference is that the Lite can control the actual TV, meaning it can turn the TV on and off, control channels, volume, and more without needing a second remote. The Roku Express cannot do this.

Should I buy a Roku? 

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku Streaming Stick 4K


If you're looking for a streaming device that offers fast, smooth television streaming that's simple to set up and boasts a 4K display and Dolby Vision, then you might want to consider buying a Roku.


  • Excellent 4K ready display 

  • Dolby Vision

  • Fast performance 


  • Lacks the level of live TV integration that Amazon offers 

One factor that sets Roku aside from other streaming devices is its interface. Unlike competing devices, Roku claims to take an unbiased approach to how it displays apps. That said, Roku does slightly push users towards the Roku Channel, while the device's screensaver has adverts for Roku content. However, the adverts aren't just exclusive to Roku, the device also shares adverts for other channels as well. 

Just like the Amazon Fire Stick, the Roku performs exceptionally well, streaming content without a hitch. Once you've plugged this handy little stick in, as long as you've got a good internet connection, content should play almost instantly, without needing to buffer. 

On the Roku remote control, which connects seamlessly to most television sets and can be used to control volume and power, there are buttons that advertise specific tv channels (which is similar to the setup of the Amazon Fire Stick remote), such as Netflix and Disney+. While this is helpful for quick access to these channels, if you don't watch these channels the buttons can't be customized to attach to another channel. 

What are the best Roku's for different budgets? 

For a streaming device that offers 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision, as well as voice-controlled remote and free live TV, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K - that's currently on sale for $34 (was $49.99) at Amazon - is a good option. Earlier, we compared this to the Amazon Fire Stick 4K. On the Roku side, this device has the ability to connect to Alexa, Siri, and Google, while Amazon devices typically only have the ability to connect to Alexa. When it comes to video and sound quality, both the Roku 4K and the Fire Stick 4K utilize the same operatives. 

If you're looking for a more budget-friendly Roku, then the Roku Express - that's currently on sale for $19 (was $29.99) at Amazon - could be one to consider. Although the Roku Express does not have TV controls, it does have the ability to connect to Alexa, Siri, and Google, something the Fire Stick TV Lite can't do. 

If you're looking for a premium streaming device, Roku offers a third, higher ticket option: the Roku Ultra. This one is currently on sale at Amazon for $89.99 (was $99.99) and is a fantastic buy. Why? Well, it's got a rechargeable remote that helps you say goodbye to batteries, a remote finder option if you're prone to couch cushion thieves, free and live TV, and the power of 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision/Atmos.

Amazon Fire Stick vs Roku: which is best? 

Each device type has its own pros and cons, as well as a range of unique features that makes each option best for meeting different streaming and viewing needs. Looking at Amazon Fire Stick vs Roku from a performance perspective, the differences are, quite literally, indistinguishable. They both perform exceedingly well; they're fast, efficient, and easy to use. 

One key difference between the two is the user interfaces - the layouts of the devices are completely unique. While the Amazon Fire Stick interface is geared primarily towards Amazon channels, the Roku setup is far more balanced, with the Roku channel sitting alongside the other apps, rather than dwarfing them. With that in mind, if you prefer a more diverse interface layout, Roku may be your best bet. However, if you tend to watch mainly Amazon channels, Amazon Fire Stick may be a smart choice. 

Both platforms feature ads, however Amazon Fire Stick incorporates far more adverts than Roku do. So, if you're someone who's not into ads, we'd recommend opting for Roku over Amazon Fire Stick.

Here's one thing we can say without doubt: if you're choosing one of the two cheaper options, maybe the Fire TV Stick Lite is best due to needing less remotes around the house. But, any more expensive device might have Roku's name written all over it due to the added smart home compatibility. All in all, the choice is really up to you.

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