Siri vs Alexa: Which Assistant Is Best For You?

Which digital assistant is best at helping you with your life?

Both Siri and Alexa are well known and popular names in the smart digital assistant field for good reason. They're great tools on their respective devices, and a big help to enhancing your smart home as well as your daily life. Because of that, you can't really go wrong with either of them (and can even have both in your home), but they do take quite different approaches when it comes to how they work.

Siri is squarely there for Apple owners, meaning those without the relevant hardware will miss out. Alexa is a little more widespread thanks to Amazon offering a lot of its smart products at a low price to encourage uptake, such as the Amazon Echo Dot. Ultimately, they both enrich lives, even when you find yourself thinking 'Who is better: Siri or Alexa?'. 

An illustration of the Siri digital assistant versus the Amazon Alexa mobile assistant.

Overall Findings

Siri
  • Supports hundreds of smart home devices.

  • Privacy conscious interface.

  • Simple to use and set up shortcuts with.

  • Provides the funniest answers.

Alexa
  • Supports thousands of smart home devices.

  • Makes buying from Amazon a breeze.

  • Inexpensive to purchase.

  • Extensive music streaming support.

Both Siri and Alexa are great smart assistants. They both provide plentiful help throughout the day, whether it's asking the system to turn your lights on, look up your next appointment, or simply convert some measurements for you hands-free. If you can only have one smart assistant, to an extent, it doesn't matter which you choose. They're both solidly dependable and if you don't know any different, you'll be happy with either. 

Having said that, Alexa is a little bit more practical than Siri. It's not quite as intuitive to use at times and is a little finicky with how you phrase things, however, it's typically much cheaper to get involved with, doesn't require being part of the Apple ecosystem, and has more extensive music streaming support. Is Alexa better than Siri? It's hard to say yes confidently to this, but it's certainly cheaper to invest in. Although, Siri does have the benefit of better security and encryption. 

Current Versions and Prerequisites: Siri Is Apple Only

Siri
  • Only available on Apple devices.

  • Works on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, MacBooks, iMacs, HomePod speaker, Apple CarPlay.

Alexa
  • Works through many Amazon devices including Echo speakers, Fire HD 10 tablet, and Amazon Fire TV streaming stick.

  • Also available through many third-party speakers, and even appliances .

Siri is only available through Apple products such as iPhones, iPads, HomePod, and so forth. The number of Apple devices is slowly growing with even Apple CarPlay supporting Siri, but it can be a bit limiting compared to Alexa which is on many different devices like the Amazon Echo and Fire TV streaming stick, and it doesn't just stop at Amazon devices either with extensive support that means many speakers are effectively turned into smart speakers

While you might have an Apple device or two in your home, it's likely that you have far more gadgets that support Alexa, providing you've bought them recently, that is. 

Question Answering Skills: Siri Is Smarter and Funnier

Siri
  • Able to understand more casual speech.

  • Has a sense of humor.

  • Slightly quicker.

Alexa
  • Requires quite specific syntax sometimes.

  • Shopping support built-in.

  • New skills added every day.

Both Alexa and Siri do a pretty great job of answering all your questions. You can ask either of them to convert a measurement for you, to tell you the weather for the coming day, as well as connect them to your family calendar so they keep you informed of upcoming events.

They do respond a little differently though. Siri is generally better at understanding you if you're talking casually or quickly, while Alexa requires more precise sentences so that it fully understands what you mean. Also, Siri has a better sense of humor, often providing silly, lighthearted answers to things if you feel like asking something frivolous. 

Predictably, given its Amazon roots, Alexa is far better at helping you shop. There's a shopping list feature and you can easily order items through Alexa, providing you don't mind using Amazon, of course. It also seems a bit quicker at adopting new things like support for new hardware or online services, thanks to its Skills section where you add new services. 

Phone Support: Siri Wins by a Mile

Siri
  • Baked into all iPhones and iPads.

  • Can easily send SMS messages or make calls.

Alexa
  • Requires separate Alexa app to be installed.

  • Needs routines to be created.

  • No SMS support.

Siri was made with iPhones in mind. It started life as a standalone app before becoming a built-in feature on all Apple devices. That shows when you use it. It's far more convenient to use on your phone than Alexa which requires you to install a separate app. 

Siri is so well built into your iPhone that it feels natural to use, while Alexa takes a bit of practice and poking around the app to fully understand. In particular, setting up smart home routines can be fiddly with Alexa and require a bit of time to master. 

Interaction With Other Gadgets: Alexa Has the Edge

Siri
  • Supports hundreds of devices.

  • HomeKit support means it's encrypted and very secure .

  • Simple interface for routines.

Alexa
  • Supports thousands of devices.

  • Built into many non-Amazon devices.

  • Complex smart home routine setup.

Siri supports fewer devices than Alexa, but it's also more privacy conscious. It require special encryption to hook up via HomeKit meaning Apple is a little more particular about who can use its services. While Alexa has had issues with snooping on conversations, Apple keeps your smart home data separate from your personal profile so your activity can't be used to advertise things. 

Siri is also a little easier to set up smart home routines with, while Alexa can seem a bit unwieldy if you're not very well versed with technology. 

However, Siri only supports Apple Music for its music streaming service, while Alexa supports many different music streaming services including Amazon Prime Music and Spotify, making it easier to use.

Alexa also supports many, many more IoT devices than Siri, from things like a Nest thermostat to a Ring doorbell. That's fast changing with some workarounds making it possible to use Siri but, ultimately, Alexa has the edge here. It's simply more convenient. 

Final Verdict: Both Are Pretty Good

You can't exactly lose with either Siri or Alexa, but it does help to know what you want them for. If you're already an avid Apple user then Siri is kind of a no-brainer option. It's speedy, secure, and a little more likely to understand if you talk quickly or less precisely. It's also quite funny at times.

However, if you're a big smart home enthusiast and you want to guarantee support for all your smart home devices then Alexa has the edge here, even more so as it's cheaper to adopt. It simply supports more hardware, even if it might be listening in on what you're doing in a bid to advertise more appropriate products. That's not a certainty but paranoid folk may prefer the security of Siri instead. 

So, Siri wins on security and casual talking, but Alexa wins on flexibility and price. Either way, you'll be happy with both services.