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Amazon Fire TV Stick comparison: How they stack up to each other

  • February 03, 2023
Amazon | ZDNET

Even though most new televisions are already smart out of the box, adding a streaming device to any non-Fire TV, like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, can elevate your viewing experience. 

The Fire TV Stick is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that connects to your TV’s HDMI port to let you stream content from your favorite subscriptions, such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu. 

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Considering there are four to choose from with different features and prices, there’s sure to be one for all TV-watching needs.

Fire TV Sticks compared

You should buy a Fire TV Stick Lite if…


1. You prefer a more affordable option

The Fire TV Stick Lite is Amazon’s most affordable streaming device; nothing more, nothing less. It’s priced at $30, but very often on sale for $20 to $25, so if a low price is a big deciding factor for you in choosing a Fire TV streaming device, then the Lite version is probably the one to go with.

2. An everyday streaming experience is all you need

Because the Fire TV Stick Lite is the bare-bones version of the Fire TV Stick, it’s best suited for everyday streaming rather than as the backbone of a full-blown home theater. 

The simple version will still give you access to the same operating system as the more expensive options, with all your favorite streaming services just a push of a button away, but the remote doesn’t come with TV controls. So you can’t program this remote to control your TV’s volume or turn it on or off. 

Also: You don’t have to break the bank for a great TV with these budget picks

Another difference in the Lite version when compared with the other three versions is that it doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, which can provide better audio clarity and a more immersive TV experience.

You should buy a Fire TV Stick if…

The remote included with the Fire TV Stick features TV controls.


1. You prefer an all-in-one remote control

Though this version isn’t all that different from the Lite model, the Fire TV Stick features the third-generation Alexa remote, which has volume and on or off buttons that can be programmed to work with your television. This makes it so you’d only need the Fire TV Stick remote most of the time, so you don’t have to worry about keeping both the Alexa remote and your TV’s remote controls handy.

The buttons can control your TV, soundbar, and receiver.

2. It’s for a 1080p television

If you don’t need 4K support, then there’s no need to get the more expensive versions of the Fire TV Stick, as the basic Fire TV Stick will do the job. The 4K versions require a 4K television to display ultra-HD content, so anyone with a Full HD 1080p-resolution TV can still enjoy all their favorite streaming subscriptions with the standard version, and it also supports Dolby Atmos.

You should buy a Fire TV Stick 4K if…


1. 4K streaming is more your speed

If you have a 4K television and want to add a Fire TV Stick to either give it smart capabilities or because you prefer Fire OS, then the Fire TV Stick 4K is a great choice. Because the Fire TV Stick and Stick Lite versions only support up to full HD 1080p resolution, the Fire TV Stick 4K stands out if you’re looking for better, cinematic picture quality. 

2. You want a 4K version but don’t need Wi-Fi 6

The Fire TV Stick 4K is priced at $50 and, like other models, sees frequent discounts in price. This is only $5 cheaper than the Max model, which supports Wi-Fi 6. But if you know you won’t be making the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 anytime soon, then the Fire TV Stick 4K is a great option for high-quality streaming.

Also: The best 4K TVs: Which TV brand is most reliable?

This version supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio, as well as HDR for crisper images. Compared with the Fire TV Stick and Lite models, the 4K version features 1.5 GB of memory, making for faster load times and snappier performance. 

You should buy a Fire TV Stick 4K Max if…


1. Wi-Fi 6 support is a must

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a future-proof version streaming device thanks to its support for Wi-Fi 6. If you’ve already upgraded to a Wi-Fi 6 router, then the 4K Max is a seamless fit, and you’ll benefit from faster speeds and more streams. 

2. You want the fastest Fire TV Stick available

Both 4K versions of the Fire TV Stick support 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and Dolby Sound, built to provide a high-quality, almost cinematic experience. But the Fire TV Stick 4K Max features a faster processor and 2GB of memory, which makes for a smoother streaming and gaming experience and improved speed compared with the 4K version.

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It retails for $55, and is the highest-performing, most powerful Fire TV Stick available.

Alternatives to consider

If you’re still looking to check out other options, these are some worthy alternatives to the Fire TV Stick lineup:


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Amazon Fire Stick vs Roku Streaming Stick: Which is right for you?

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