Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022, 5th gen) vs. Echo Dot Kids (2020, 4th gen): Roaring fantastic speakers

Now on the 5th version of its smart speaker for kids, Amazon continues to find new ways to make these devices an enticing prospect for families. While the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) isn't featuring any experiences not found on the Echo Dot Kids (2020) model, it does offer some impressive upgrades. Let's go over those changes and whether they are worth upgrading from a 4th gen model or if you should stick with it.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022, 5th gen) vs. Echo Dot Kids (2020, 4th gen): All-around great speakers for kids

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Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) Dragon

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Right away, you can see that both the 2020 and 2022 models are quite cute. These speakers are Amazon's first time putting characters on their kid-focused smart speakers. Previously there were some pattern options but not the fun designs we now have. Aside from being the cutest options, they are also just flat-out some of the best smart speakers for kids.

No, it isn't just because of how they look but because of the fantastic Amazon Kids+ software that keeps them safe for kids. I'll give a brief explainer of what you get with the software, but we have a helpful guide for a full breakdown. At its core, Amazon Kids+ is two things — a curated library of over 20,000 kid-specific games, apps, books, and videos, and it's full of parental controls.

While the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) and 2020 models offer the same Amazon Kids+ software, the hardware differences can alter how it is enjoyed.

When you buy any Amazon Kids device, it comes with a free year of service. After the first year, the service is $7.99/mo for non-Prime members and $4.99 for those that are. If you choose to pay annually, it is $79/yr or $48/yr. But the service isn't locked to a single device. So, if you purchase an Amazon Echo Dot Kids speaker, the subscription that comes with it can be used on a Fire TV or Fire tablet, like the new Fire HD 8 Kids Pro.

Along with gaining access to a massive library of content for kids of all ages, parents also get a suite of excellent parental controls. You can set when the speaker responds to commands, volume levels, what content is accessible, and more. These don't change whether you have the 4th or 5th gen Echo Dot Kids device.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Android Central)

As for the hardware, these two speakers have the same overall size, the same buttons, and a light ring on the bottom. But the actual speaker inside is slightly larger on the Echo Dot Kids (2022), and I could notice the improved sound during my review of it. As noted in the review of the Echo Dot Kids (2020) model, it was a big jump in sound quality from the 3rd gen, but not as big going from 4th to 5th.

Amazon also brought many of the new hardware improvements from the new Echo Dot with Clock (2022). This includes a temperature sensor that not only lets you see the temperature of the room the speaker is in via the Alexa app but it can also act as a trigger for smart home automation.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Echo Dot Kids (5th Gen)Echo Dot Kids (4th Gen)
Size3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight10.7 OZ12 oz
ProcessorAZ2 Neural EdgeAZ1 Neural Edge
Speaker1.73-inch speaker1.6-inch speaker
3.5mm port🚫✔️
Bluetooth✔️✔️
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz)802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz)
ButtonsVolume up and down, Mic off, Action buttonVolume up and down, Mic off, Action button
Pair for stereo sound✔️✔️
Light ringRuns along base of speakerRuns along base of speaker
ColorsDragon, OwlTiger, Panda
Retail cost$60$60
Compatible with eero routers ✔️🚫
Built-in temperature sensor ✔️🚫
Tap-to-control✔️🚫
Amazon Kids+ 1 year included free and two-year worry-free warranty1 year included free and two-year worry-free warranty

Speaking of home connectivity, Amazon also enabled the new Echo Dot Kids (2022) to act as a Wi-Fi extender for the excellent eero mesh routers. When using this feature, the speaker can help expand your Wi-Fi coverage by up to 1000sqft.

The tap-to-control option is a new feature you and your child will appreciate in the new smart speaker. The familiar physical buttons from the Echo Dot Kids (2020) model are still present, but now you can also simply tap the speaker's top to pause a song, stop a timer, snooze an alarm, and more. For some kids, it can be difficult to remember what phrase is necessary to control some speaker functions, but bopping the speaker can come naturally.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022, 5th gen) vs. Echo Dot Kids (2020, 4th gen): Should you upgrade?

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) Dragon

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

The answer isn't as clear as some may think. If you already own an Echo Dot Kids (2020) but aren't interested in smart home automation or plan to use an eero mesh router, then you probably don't need to upgrade. However, any Echo Dot Kids prior to the 2020 model is worth the upgrade.

Improvements in the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) are tangible and can offer an improved experience for the whole family. Better sound, easy touch controls, expanded smart home features, and more, are meaningful. So if you are in the market for a new smart speaker for the entire family, then the newest speakers are definitely the way to go.

Chris Wedel
Senior Editor - Smart Home
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.