Alexa Preferred Speaker Setup

Setup an Alexa Preferred Speaker
Setup an Alexa Preferred Speaker for better music on your Amazon Echo device.

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What is an Alexa Preferred Speaker?

A preferred speaker is a speaker in an Alexa Smart Home Device Group that is the default speaker for music. Music will automatically play through your preferred speaker.

For example, you can have an Echo Dot and a Sonos Play 1 speaker in a device group. All your music will automatically play through the better quality Sonos Play 1 speaker. No additional commands needed.

Why Should I Setup a Preferred Speaker?

Alexa Preferred Speakers are super convenient since the don’t require any additional commands for the music to play through the preferred speaker. 

Echo Preferred Speaker Example:

  • When you say, “Alexa…play music”, the music will automatically play on your preferred speaker.
  • When you say, “Alexa…what is the weather forecast”, the response will still be spoken through the Echo device that you asked.

Any commands related to your music will automatically be passed on to the preferred speaker that you create. This includes volume controls (volume up, set volume to 6, etc.) and music commands (next, pause, play rock music, etc.). Check out these Alexa commands for more music control options.

What Speakers Work as an Alexa Preferred Speaker?

Alexa Preferred Speakers can be an individual speaker or a speaker group.

Individual Speakers

The first option to setup an Echo Preferred Speaker is an individual speaker. You can’t just use any speaker as a preferred speaker. Amazon is constantly improving and adding more devices, but you have to use one of the options below for now:

1. Amazon Echo Devices – You can set any Echo device as the preferred speaker. This is a good option if you have an Echo and an Echo Dot close together. You could have the music always play from your Echo even if the music command was made to the Echo Dot.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

2. Sonos – You can use any connected Sonos speaker as the preferred speaker in your smart home device group. Your Sonos speaker does not have to have Alexa built into the device. This allows you to use your Sonos speakers without adding any additional commands.

​​​​​​​Sonos One SL – Amazon Price

3. Bose SoundTouch – The Bose SoundTouch speakers can also be used as the preferred speaker for you Echo device. This is a popular choice for fans of Bose.

Bose SoundTouch 10 – Amazon Price

Speaker Groups

The second option is to use an Alexa speaker group as the preferred speaker. The Alexa app has functionality that allows you to group and name multiple speakers together.

For example, you can group your Kitchen and Living Room Echo devices into a single group called “downstairs”. When you use the “downstairs” speaker group as your preferred speaker, then all devices in the group will automatically play when you ask Alexa to play music.

How to Setup an Alexa Preferred Speaker

Step 1: Navigate to Alexa Smart Home Devices

Open the smart home “Devices” section in the bottom right corner of the Amazon Alexa app.

Echo Smart Home Devices
Alexa Devices

Step 2: Add an Alexa Device Group

First, click the plus (+) sign in the top right corner in the Alexa smart home devices tab. Next, select the “Add Group” option in the menu. The Preferred Speaker is part of the device group and is NOT in the multi-room music option.

Select Plus Sign for Menu
Plus Button to Add
Select Add Group
Add Group

Step 3: Create Echo Device Group Name

Select a predefined device group name or create your own custom name. Then click “next”.

Create Alexa Device Group Name
Create Group Name

Step 4: Select Alexa Enabled Device

Select the Alexa Enabled Device to use is this device group. This is the device you will speak to when making commands. You can also add other smart lights and switches to this group if desired.

Select Alexa Enabled Device
Choose Alexa Enabled Device

Step 5: Add Alexa Preferred Speaker

The Alexa preferred speaker option is located at the bottom of the device group. Select the plus (+) sign to setup a preferred speaker in your group. A list of options will be shown including the following: 1) Other Echo Devices, 2) premium supported speakers (Sonos, Bose SoundTouch) and 3) Echo Multi-Room Music groups.

Select one or more devices that you want to play music on when you ask Alexa to play music in this room. When you have finished selecting the preferred speakers then click save.

Add Alexa Preferred Speaker
Add Preferred Speaker
Select Alexa Preferred Speaker
Select Preferred Speaker

Step 6: Edit Your Echo Preferred Speaker

The preferred speaker is now set up in your device group. Just click “edit” if you want to change or remove the preferred speaker.

Edit Echo Preferred Speaker
Edit Preferred Speaker

The Best Alexa Preferred Speaker

I use Sonos speakers in my home as the Alexa preferred speaker. The Sonos One SL speaker (without Alexa) is the perfect speaker to pair with your Echo Dot. You can’t beat the combination of sound quality and smart home functionality found in the Sonos speakers.

For clarity, I do not use the Sonos One which has Alexa built into the device. It isn’t necessary since the devices seamlessly integrate with the Sonos Alexa skill and the preferred speaker option.

The Sonos​​ One SL is a great speaker for your smart home and it is perfect for an Alexa preferred speaker. Great sound, great quality and a system you can grow over time.

What else can I do with my Echo Speaker?

Your Echo device is perfect for a smart home. Check out this list of Echo Dot accessories, the best speakers for Echo Dot (complete list) or learn how to control lights and other devices with the guides below:

  1. Create Light Groups – Control groups of lights or light bulbs with one command.
  2. “Turn on Lights” – Just say, “Alexa, turn on lights” and the lights you want will turn on.

P.S. Please leave a comment below to ask a question, help someone else or share your experiences. Thanks!

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Jason

Jason

Husband, father and Smart Home enthusiast. I look forward to discussing Smart Home products and projects with you. I have over 100 connected devices in my home, and I'm excited to share what I have learned to help you build a Smart Home that works!

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10 thoughts on “Alexa Preferred Speaker Setup”

  1. When I try to set up the preferred speaker, I’m only given the choice of speaker groups. Individual devices do not appear. Any ideas? Thanks

    1. If you are trying to make a specific Echo device the preferred speaker, then it needs to be in the same Room/Group to be in the selections. Otherwise, you have to use a speaker group. Sonos should always show up individually.

      1. Hi, I’d like to set up a group of two echo dots with their own preferred speakers. The echos are in two different rooms so I’d like their own preferred speakers to operate rather than the echos themselves……

        ALSO (in for a penny in for a pound!) I’d like to be able to give the “Group” commands to either of the two echos so that each will play the group music on their own preferred speaker.

        Any thoughts how this could be achieved please????? MANY THANKS!!
        Peter

        1. Hi Peter,

          You can group the two Echos and two preferred speakers together, but they will always play on the group and not individually. For example, I can put my Family Room, Living Room and Kitchen Echo dots in a group. That group can have my Family Room and Kitchen Sonos speakers as preferred speakers. If I play music on any of the 3 Echos, then the music will play on the two Sonos speakers.

          Not quite what you are looking for but I think that is close as you can get currently.

          Jason

  2. I have a stereo speaker set and I created a multi-room speaker set that includes the sterio set and the a third speaker (so basically 3 echos and a subwoofer) called “All”. It works when invoked by the multi-room name (“Alexa play “song x” on “All”). When trying to create a Group I can add all 3 echos (but not the sub) however when trying to set the “Default” group (so I don’t have to say, “…on All”) I can pick an individual Echo or the Stereo group but the Multi-Room group is always showing as offline (so I can’t pick “All”). Any idea why this is?

    1. Hi Todd,

      I don’t currently use the Echo Sub so I can’t test this directly. I did create a group called “All” in my setup and it was available as the preferred speaker. I’m hoping another reader can provide an answer. Do you see other groups available if they don’t include the Echo Sub?

  3. RUSSELL ZELLERS

    Your directions for connecting a “preferred speaker” on the Alexa cell phone app does not work. VERY UNHELPFUL.

    1. Hi Russell,

      Sorry you are having trouble. Let me know what type of speaker you are trying to setup and I can see if I can clarify the process for you.

      Thanks, Jason

        1. Hi Nate,

          I just checked and the Android version of the app is still the same on my phone. Can you confirm that you are in the US? Also, are you using Apple or Android?

          Jason

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