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Roku vs Firestick vs Chromecast: What’s the Best TV Device in 2022

If you need a streaming device in your life but aren’t sure what each brand has to offer, this guide is for you. In our Roku vs Firestick vs Chromecast comparison, three leading TV streaming devices battle it out for Cloudwards’ top spot.

Kit Copson
By Kit Copson (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-05-01T23:14:42+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

It’s 2022 and streaming content on an ordinary TV has never been easier. If you’re undecided as to which one to go for, our Roku vs Firestick vs Chromecast showdown explores whether one has an edge over the others. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Google’s Chromecast really shines with one model: Chromecast with Google TV, which is highly personalized and user-friendly, plus it has a sleek, modern design without breaking the bank. 
  • Roku offers multiple simple models to suit every budget and need, but it’s not the best choice for gamers and lacks its own virtual assistant. 
  • Firestick offers more models with better picture and sound quality than Roku and Chromecast, plus all models come with remotes and voice control, but its user interface is pretty heavy on Amazon Prime Video content. 

Streaming sticks like Roku, Amazon Firestick and Google Chromecast are popular because they give you smart TV functionality without breaking the bank. They’re affordable, easy to set up and give you access to thousands of movies and TV shows via free and paid apps. 

The fact that each streaming stick brand has several models on offer with different capabilities can make choosing one even trickier. Not to worry — we’ll weigh everything up fairly and squarely to help you decide which device is best for you. 

Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Pros:

  • Supports WiFi 6
  • 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
  • More powerful processor

Cons:

  • No Ethernet connection
  • You can watch thousands of movies and series on both devices, but Chromecast with Google TV has a user interface that feels much more personalized and intuitive. It’s also better for gaming, if that’s your thing. The one you like best mostly comes down to personal preference, though.

  • Roku beats Firestick in how many models are on offer at a reasonable price and its simple interface. Firestick beats Roku with the number of models on offer with better picture and audio quality.

Roku vs Firestick vs Chromecast: Best Streaming Device Showdown

To keep things as straightforward as possible, we’ll compare each device based on five different categories — pricing, ease of use, voice and remote control, streaming services and channels, and video and audio quality.

We’ll then announce the winner of each round or declare a tie if it’s too tough to call. The device with the most points will be the overall victor. Let’s kick off with pricing. 

Chromecast With Google TV
Roku Ultra
Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Pros
  • Streams up to 4K HDR, 60fps
  • Remote with Google Assistant voice control
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
  • Personal shortcut buttons
  • USB for local playback
  • Bluetooth, Long-range WiFi & Ethernet port
  • Private listening with earbuds
  • Supports WiFi 6
  • 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
  • More powerful processor
Cons
  • More expensive than normal Chromecast
  • Has to be powered via wall outlet
  • Not portable
  • No Ethernet connection
Basic Stats
Form factorPodCubeStick
4K
1080p HD
HDR
Dolby Vision
Portsmicro-USB, HDMIEthernet, USB, HDMImicro-USB, HDMI
Wireless & connectivityethernet, bluetooth, WiFiLong-range, ethernet, bluetooth, MIMO dual-bandWiFi 6
PowerTV USB port, wall outletwall outletTV USB port, wall outlet
Streaming
Netflix
Amazon Prime Video
Apple TV+
Hulu
HBO
Disney+
BBC iPlayer
Live TV ChannelsYesYesNo
Display mirroring
In-app streaming
Audio
Audio optionsDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital PlusStandard digital stereo, Dolby Atmos, DTS surroundDolby Atmos
Built-in speakers
Headphone-compatible
Speech clarity
Optical output
Accessories & Add-ons
Remote
Native voice assistant
Voice assist integrationNoAlexa, Hey Google, Apple HomeKitNo
Mobile appAndroid, iOS, macOS, WindowsAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS, Fire OS
Speakers
Remote Features
TV controls
Shortcut buttons
Personal shortcut buttons
Lost remote finder
Voice commands
Pricing
Buy on
More shops
Buy on Amazon
More shops
Buy on Amazon
More shops

1. Pricing

Whichever streaming device you choose, you won’t be short on options. That said, the number of devices can make things even more confusing. There are several different models for each device, so we’ll take into account both value for money and the number of models on offer in this round. 

Roku Pricing

  1. Roku Express ($24.99): The most basic Roku model, HD picture quality, remote control, no 4K, no voice controls 
  2. Roku Premiere ($30.99): The same as Roku Express but with 4K streaming and HDR10 support as well as HD, remote control, no voice controls 
  3. Roku Express 4K ($34.00): 4K streaming, remote control, no voice controls 
  4. Roku Express 4K+ ($24.99): Fast WiFi, voice and TV controls, HD, 4K and HDR10+ 
  5. Roku Streaming Stick+ ($42.00): Long-range WiFi for portability, voice and TV controls, HR, 4K, HDR 
  6. Roku Streaming Stick 4K ($29.99): Long-range WiFi, HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, voice and TV controls 
  7. Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ ($65.00): The same as the Roku Streaming Stick 4K but with hands-free voice controls and lost remote finder feature 
  8. Roku Ultra ($89.99): Better WiFi and Ethernet connection, HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, voice and TV controls
  9. Roku Streambar ($106.24): Built-in speakers and Dolby Audio, HD, 4K, HDR picture quality, long-range WiFi
  10. Roku Streambar Pro ($149.99): The same as the Roku Streambar but with a lost remote finder, private listening and personal shortcut buttons 

Roku Express

A HD-streaming media player with high-speed HDMI cable and Simple remote.
$ 29.99$ 17.99Save $ 12.00 (40 %)

Firestick Pricing

  1. Fire TV Stick Lite ($29.99): Most basic Firestick device, no TV controls, comes with voice remote lite, up to 1080p HD support, HDR10+ support
  2. Fire TV Stick 3rd Generation ($39.99): Support for 1080p HD and Dolby Atmos sound, Alexa voice remote with TV controls
  3. Fire TV Stick 4K ($39.99): Same features as its predecessors but with 4K support, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision
  4. Fire TV Stick 4K Max ($54.99): WiFi 6 support, 4K streaming, more memory and a more powerful processor than previous models
  5. Fire TV Cube ($119.99): Built-in speaker, hands-free Alexa control, ethernet connection, 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, most powerful hardware of all models

Fire TV Stick Lite

HD streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote Lite.

Chromecast Pricing 

  1. Chromecast 3rd Generation ($29.99): The most basic Chromecast device, support for 1080p HD, no user interface (users stream from apps on their mobile device to the TV) 
  2. Chromecast Ultra (price currently unavailable): Chromecast Ultra is sold as part of the Google Stadia package, similar to the 3rd generation Chromecast but supports 4K and Dolby Vision 
  3. Chromecast with Google TV ($49.99): 4K HDR and Dolby Vision support, Google TV interface and voice remote 

Chromecast, 3rd Gen

The best budget Chromecast option.

Pros:

  • More affordable option

Cons:

  • No remote control
  • No 4K, HDR

Both Roku and Firestick have multiple models available with different capabilities. Chromecast has only three models, but it’s definitely easier to make a decision if you’re a fan of what Chromecast has to offer.

That said, only one Chromecast model is on a par with what Firestick and Roku have to offer with the user interfaces and remote controls — Chromecast with Google TV.

As for the Firestick, we love that every model comes with a voice remote. By contrast, the three entry-level Roku models come with remotes but they don’t have built-in voice controls — only the more advanced models do.

Roku Ultra

Streaming Device with Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth streaming, and Roku Voice Remote.
$ 89.99$ 69.99Save $ 20.00 (22 %)

On the other hand, Roku has more models available, and many of them are budget-friendly. Getting a Roku model with voice controls and better picture quality doesn’t cost much more than those without. 

On that basis, we’re going to award this point to Roku. Though both Firestick and Roku offer plenty of choices for different budgets, the number of Roku models available at a reasonable price won us over in this particular category.

Pricing Verdict: Roku Wins

  • Roku: 1
  • Firestick: 0
  • Chromecast: 0

2. Ease of Use

If you’re looking for your first streaming device, you’ll want something easy to set up and use. The good news is that Roku, Firestick and Chromecast are all user-friendly. There are a few differences in terms of setup and the layouts of the user interfaces, though, so let’s take a closer look. 

To learn more about setting up these devices, check out our Roku setup, Chromecast setup and Firestick setup guides. 

Firestick: Ease of Use

The Amazon Fire TV stick is set up on the TV, for which you’ll need an internet connection. Once you’ve plugged the Firestick into the TV’s HDMI port, you simply follow the on-screen instructions using the Alexa remote. You’ll be asked to provide an Amazon account login or create one during this process. It’s all pretty straightforward and nothing to worry about.

Once you get access to the Fire TV interface, the first thing you may notice is that it presents you with lots of Amazon Prime Video content. This is great if you’re a fan of Amazon Prime, but could be a bit irritating for some.

Finding the channels and content you want to use is simple enough — as Fire TV gets to know you, it shows you your most frequently used apps and offers new recommendations. 

Fire TV Stick 4K

Streaming device with latest Alexa Voice Remote and Dolby Vision.
$ 49.99$ 39.99Save $ 10.00 (20 %)

Roku: Ease of Use 

Roku devices are set up similarly to Fire TV Sticks. To complete setup, you need to plug your Roku into an HDMI port, then use your Roku remote to follow the instructions on the TV. 

Things look a bit different in the user interface. The Roku interface seems pretty bare-bones in comparison to Fire TV, which you may or may not like depending on your personal preference. Finding your way around is a piece of cake — you’ll see all your installed apps on the right side. On the left is your menu bar where you can search for content or adjust your settings. 

If you head on over to “my feed,” you’ll see that Roku allows you to follow and get updates on your favorite shows, movies, actors and directors. This is a pretty cool feature, especially for die-hard movie or TV fans. If you’re a complete beginner, a Roku device might be a good choice for you because of its uncomplicated interface and how easy it is to find your way around. 

Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ (2021)

Streaming device with 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision and Roku voice remote Pro.
$ 69.99$ 65.00Save $ 4.99 (7 %)

Chromecast With Google TV: Ease of Use 

As the third-generation Chromecast is largely an app-casting device, we’re basing this section on Chromecast with Google TV. This is to keep things fair, as Chromecast with Google TV is the only Chromecast device with a user interface and remote control. 

Chromecast with Google TV is set up a little differently than Roku and Firestick. You set it up using the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device. There’s also the option to set it up without your phone if necessary, but setting it up on your phone is far more efficient. 

The best word to describe the Google TV interface is “intuitive.” It does a fantastic job of organizing your content and giving suggestions without being overwhelming. There are still ads, of course, but overall the interface has a more personalized feel than Roku or Fire TV. 

Ease of use is very personal, which makes this round difficult. However, because of the Chromecast with Google TV’s personalized feel, we’re awarding this round’s point to Chromecast. 

Chromecast With Google TV

The premium Chromecast option.

Pros:

  • Streams up to 4K HDR, 60fps
  • Remote with Google Assistant voice control
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • More expensive than normal Chromecast

Ease of Use Verdict: Chromecast Wins

  • Roku: 1
  • Firestick: 0
  • Chromecast: 1

3. Voice & Remote Control

firetv remote
Chromecast with Google TV’s remote is sleek and minimalist.

Many streaming devices come with a voice remote that allows you to give commands via a virtual assistant. For example, you may ask your device to “open Netflix” or “play Stranger Things on Netflix.” In this round, we’ll be reviewing what each streaming stick’s remote can do. 

Firestick: Voice and Remote Control 

Every Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with a voice remote. This remote is connected to Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa and allows you to control the Firestick and your other smart home devices like security cameras. 

All of the remotes except for the Fire TV Stick Lite come with TV controls. This gives you the option to turn your TV on and off and adjust the volume as well as give voice commands with the remote. 

The Amazon Fire TV Stick remote also comes with dedicated buttons for popular streaming services like Netflix. These can differ depending on your location and which services are available in your country. You’ve also got a circular “select” pad at the top as well as your standard rewind, fast-forward, mute, etc. buttons. 

There are two things we love in particular about the Fire TV stick remotes. The first is that every model has a remote with built-in voice controls. The second is that the remote’s face is a nice mix of modern and traditional. This makes it a good option for first-time users as it functions a lot like a standard TV remote. 

Fire TV Stick 4K

Streaming device with latest Alexa Voice Remote and Dolby Vision.
$ 49.99$ 39.99Save $ 10.00 (20 %)

Roku: Voice and Remote Control 

With the other Roku devices, the remote is pretty similar to the Firestick’s, with dedicated streaming service buttons and standard controls. It’s a little less cluttered appearance-wise and comes with an extra feature — a built-in headphone jack for private listening. 

Roku Ultra

Streaming device with Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth streaming and Roku voice remote.
$ 89.99$ 69.99Save $ 20.00 (22 %)

To sum it up, we’re impressed by Roku’s extra features like private listening and its compatibility with two virtual assistants. On the downside, Roku doesn’t have its own virtual assistant (Google Assistant, Alexa) like Firestick and Chromecast. By this, we mean that although Roku has a built-in voice command function, you can only ask it to stream content and open apps. 

For example, you can use Roku’s voice command function to ask it to “play The Crown” or “open Netflix.” You can’t ask it questions about the weather, sports results or information not related to searching and streaming. 

Like Firestick, all Roku devices come with a remote control. Roku Express and Roku Premiere’s remotes do not come with voice and TV controls. You can, however, connect them to your Alexa device or Google Assistant. 

Chromecast: Voice and Remote Control 

Chromecast with Google TV is the only Google Chromecast model to come with a remote and TV controls. To give voice commands, you simply press the Google Assistant button. You can also connect your Chromecast with Google TV to your smart home devices and control them with your voice. 

The voice remote itself is very simple and minimalist in appearance — something we really like. It comes in three colors — white, pink and blue. 

It has only two dedicated streaming service buttons (Netflix and YouTube) compared to Roku and Firestick’s four. You use the circular touchpad at the top to play, pause, rewind and fast-forward — there are no separate buttons for these functions. 

The fact that every Firestick has a remote with voice and remote control makes this an easy win, which brings this comparison into a three-way tie — for now.

Voice & Remote Control Verdict: Firestick Wins

  • Roku: 1
  • Firestick: 1
  • Chromecast: 1

4. Streaming Services & Channels

Roku, Firestick and Chromecast all give you access to a wide range of apps and channels. In terms of major streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, all of these devices have got you covered. (For more on compatible apps, check out our Chromecast apps and our Roku channels roundups.)

All of these devices are also compatible with popular free channels including Tubi and Pluto TV. All three devices also support Apple TV. 

how to use netflix on roku home select netflix
Netflix on Roku.

Roku is especially strong in terms of free content and has its own channel, called The Roku Channel. The Roku Channel is full of movies and TV shows that you can watch for free. It’s available on both Roku and Firestick.

However, Firestick and Chromecast beat out Roku in terms of gaming. Twitch is available on both of these devices but not on Roku at present. You can also game on Google Stadia (Chromecast with Google TV) and Luna (Amazon Fire TV Stick). 

Because Roku has the Roku Channel but Firestick and Chromecast offer better gaming options, we’re going to call this one a tie and all three get a point. This means the winner of the final round will determine the overall winner of this comparison. 

Streaming Services & Channels Verdict: Tie

  • Roku: 2
  • Firestick: 2
  • Chromecast: 2

5. Video & Audio Quality

The following charts will break down each streaming device’s audio and video quality for an easy evaluation.

Firestick Video & Audio Quality

Device:1080p4KHDRDolby VisionDolby Atmos
Fire TV Stick LiteYesNoYesNoYes (HDMI)
Fire TV StickYesNoYesNoYes
Fire TV Stick 4KYesYesYesYesYes
Fire TV Stick 4K MaxYesYesYesYesYes
Fire TV CubeYesYesYesYesYes

Fire TV Cube

Hands-free streaming device with Alexa, 4K Ultra HD, includes latest Alexa voice remote.

Roku Video & Audio Quality

Device:1080p4KHDRDolby VisionDolby Atmos
Roku ExpressYesNoNoNoNo
Roku PremiereYesYesYesNoYes (HDMI)
Roku Express 4K+YesYesYesNoNo
Roku Streaming Stick+YesYesYesNoYes (HDMI)
Roku Streaming Stick 4KYesYesYesYesYes (HDMI)
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+YesYesYesYesYes (HDMI)
Roku UltraYesYesYesYesYes
Roku StreambarYesYesYesYesNo

Roku Streambar

Streaming media player and premium audio, includes Roku voice remote.
$ 129.99$ 89.99Save $ 40.00 (31 %)

Chromecast Video & Audio Quality

Device:1080p4KHDRDolby VisionDolby Atmos
Chromecast (3rd Generation)YesNoNoNoNo
Chromecast UltraYesYesYesYesNo
Chromecast with Google TVYesYesYesYesYes

It’s unanimous — Amazon Fire TV devices take the gold when it comes to video and audio quality. Three Firestick models have a clean sweep in terms of 4K, HDR (high dynamic range), Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Only one Roku and one Chromecast model can match the Firestick on this count. 

Video and Audio Quality Verdict: Firestick

  • Roku: 2
  • Firestick: 3
  • Chromecast: 2

The final point for video and audio quality goes to Firestick, which means that the Firestick is the ultimate winner. 

The Verdict: Roku vs Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Chromecast

Each streaming device has something unique going for it. Roku has many device options to choose from at a range of prices and a wide selection of free channels. Amazon Fire TV Stick slays with picture and audio quality, and Chromecast offers an outstanding user experience. 

It’s a tough call, but as Firestick edged it out by winning two rounds and tying in another, we’ve picked Firestick as our overall favorite streaming option. 

This might come as a surprise because it lost to Roku in our Roku vs Firestick comparison and tied to Chromecast in our Firestick vs Chromecast showdown. However, the dynamic of three streaming devices caused enough push and pull for the Firestick to pull ahead by a single point and secure the win in this three-way comparison.

Our top recommendation for the best Firestick device would be the Fire TV Stick 4K, which provides excellent value at $39.99.

Fire TV Stick 4K

The best Fire TV Stick streaming device.
$ 49.99$ 39.99Save $ 10.00 (20 %)

That said, if there are things you like more about Chromecast or Roku, go with your preference and what you think will work best for you. All three are quality media streamers that give you smart TV functionality for a reasonable price. 

Has our guide helped you decide which of these three streaming sticks to get? If you already have a streaming device, which one do you use? Drop your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!