The Amazon Echo Dot is more versatile with Bluetooth speakers than wired speakers


The Amazon Echo Dot has been called “an Amazon Echo without the speaker” for good reason. While it does have an internal speaker, which can technically be used for all audio output as if it were a full fledged Echo, you’re going to want to connect the Echo Dot to an external speaker if you plan to use it to listen to anything beyond Alexa’s voice, news briefs, podcasts, and audiobooks.

An external speaker connection can be achieved wirelessly via Bluetooth or wired through the 3.5mm audio jack on the back of the device. The issue around using the 3.5mm jack is that, when a 3.5mm cable is connected to the Echo Dot, the internal speaker is completely bypassed, whether or not your wired speakers are turned on. This means that, when using a wired connection, your wired speakers must be turned on if you ever want to use the Echo Dot. On the other hand, with Bluetooth speakers, the Echo Dot switches back to its internal speakers when the Bluetooth speakers are turned off. Even if the Bluetooth speakers are on, you have the flexibility to sever the connection hands-free by simply asking Alexa, so you can switch back to the internal speaker at will. If you have your heart set on using wired speakers with the Echo Dot, there are things you can do to make wired speakers a lot more convenient.


Connecting a cable to the 3.5mm audio jack on the back of the Echo Dot will completely disable the internal speaker. This includes all Alexa communication, and not just music output. The Echo Dot has no way to know if there is an active speaker on the other end, so it must assume there is one if you connect the 3.5mm cable. If you want to use the Echo Dot with wired speakers and still retain the option to communicate with Alexa while those speakers are off, you have three options. The first is the obvious one that probably doesn’t need to be mentioned, but for the sake of thoroughness, your first option is to pull out the 3.5mm cable anytime you want to use the Echo Dot’s internal speaker. This is obviously not ideal, so let’s move on.

Your second option is to connect a Bluetooth Audio Receiver to your wired speakers and connect the Echo Dot to the receiver wirelessly via Bluetooth. This way, anytime you want to switch from using your wired speakers to using the Echo Dot’s internal speaker, all you have to do is say “Alexa, disconnect Bluetooth.” This command will work whether or not your wired speakers are on. Then, when you want to switch back to your wired speakers, simply say “Alexa, connect Bluetooth” and you’re back to listing to your Echo Dot through your wired speakers.

Your third option is to use a Bluetooth speaker in addition to your wired speakers. If the Echo Dot is connected to both wired speakers via the 3.5mm jack and a Bluetooth speaker simultaneously, all audio will go through the Bluetooth speaker. This means that, when you want to switch to using your wired speakers, all you need to do is say “Alexa, disconnect Bluetooth” and the Echo Dot will begin piping audio through the already connected 3.5mm cable. If your wired speakers are off or inaccessible, you can switch back to using the Bluetooth speaker by saying “Alexa, connect Bluetooth.” This option is essentially replacing the Echo Dot’s internal speaker with a Bluetooth speaker. Even the most basic Bluetooth speaker will likely sound better than the Echo Dot’s internal speaker, so there’s that added advantage to going this route.

The fact that the Echo Dot is capable of switching from a Bluetooth audio connection to a wired audio connection via a verbal command is good news. This likely means that it’s possible for a future software update to add the ability to switch between the internal speaker and a wired speaker via a voice command. Until that day comes, doing the Bluetooth shuffle described above is your only option to using the Echo Dot with wired speakers that are turned off.


  1. Douglas Pollock says:

    Thank you for a wonderful website. I enjoy it very much.

    I am amazed how good the speaker is in the Dot. While not stereo it is good enough to play my soft music at night without waking everybody in the house. At that low level it doesn’t matter to me if it is stereo or not. I love to go to sleep listening to my music. I am very happy with both the Dot and Tap.

  2. Mike B. says:

    With reference to your last comment about a possible software upgrade to allow you to switch between the internal speaker and a wired speaker. I wonder if this is hardwired and not possible. It could be that when inserting the hard-wired plug, it physically disconnects the internal speaker. This is a common design on a lot of products. We’ll need a tear-down to confirm.

    Keep up the great work. I follow this feed every day.

    • Matthew says:

      This is a good point.

      Overall, though, I think not being able to have separate “streams” of audio for the Dot’s internal speaker and audio-out jack is a grave mistake. At a minimum the user should be able to configure (maybe as an “Advanced” option) which speaker is used for the Alexa voice and which speaker is used for media playback.

      I don’t want to have to have my receiver on and set to the Dot input all the time in order to use my Dot. Good thing I have a couple of cheap BT receiver dongles I can add to my receiver, I guess.

    • AFTVnews says:

      That’s a great point. I didn’t include it in the article because I wrongfully assumed that being able to play audio via Bluetooth while a wired speaker was connected meant the device had full control over where audio was being sent, but the physical bypass of the internal speaker could still be a possibility.

      I did some further testing that backs the theory that the audio jack physically disconnects the internal speaker when a 3.5mm cable is present. If you play music through the internal speaker and then connect a wired external speaker, the music instantly switches to the external speaker. Then, if you disconnect the external speaker, the music instantly switches back to the internal speaker. There is zero delay in both instances, which makes me think it is a physical bypass since a software bypass would likely have a perceptible delay before making the switch. Similar to how there is a slight delay between pulling out headphones on a smartphone and the audio being paused.

  3. Bill says:

    Just to clarify, when you say “wired speakers” does that mean that the cable from the 3.5 mm audio jack can hook up directly to speakers or plug into an a/v amp’s audio input jacks?

      • Matthew says:

        It an A or B question. :-)

        • Ted says:

          I don’t own an Echo Dot yet, but a 3.5mm output is almost always line-level and will require powered speakers or an amplified sound system. It definitely will not be able to drive larger home speakers.

          There are some passive (non-powered) speakers available with 3.5mm plugs, usually cheaper computer speakers, but in my experience they are fairly weak.

          • tony says:

            A new revision has been announced and comes out soon in Europe. Hopefully this over sign of physical connection has been addressed.

            Great writeup I was looking for this exact info before hooking up to an amp which i rarely turn on.


  4. Matt Himlin says:

    I picked up a pair of Mackie CR 5 BT. They are monitor type speakers, made to hook up to a computer, but they have built in bluetooth. They sound amazing and work great with the echo dot. When I turn them on, the dot will connect and pump audio through them. When I turn them off, the dot switches back to it’s internal speaker seamlessly. The other interesting thing is that these speakers will support multiple inputs at once. I have them plugged in with a line out to my PC. So I get PC sound through them, and if I ask Alexa something, I get her voice through them as well (via bluetooth)
    See them here:

  5. Adar Nebioglu says:

    I want to buy something for listening music.But i cant use the phone.So i want alexa for it.I have hp’s 10 $ speakers.Which device i need to buy(tap-dot)? I will just listen music.(spotify pandora vs)Is amazon dot speakers enough for me.If i buy i will use it on my room.And room is quiet.Sorry for my bad English:D

  6. Averial says:

    We’re using 3.5mm Stereo Splitter in our DOT. Always on is a small pipe speaker that sits under our TV screen. Then If our receiver is off or on a different input, we can still hear the echo responses through the pipe speaker. When we change the receiver input, the larger speakers over power the smaller pipe speaker. If needed, we can turn the volume down on the pipe speaker, with it’s included remote, but that really doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    • Frank Branham says:

      Averial. Pipe speaker? I’m not familiar with the term. Also, are you using any kind of mini amp to drive that speaker?

      I do think that Amazon’s engineers really screwed up on the audio out for the Dot. One of the most obvious use cases is to hook to a proper with multiple inputs. The Dot doesn’t seem designed to support that at all.

  7. Nate says:

    The AmazonBasics Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Receiver that you linked will not work for this purpose. I just bought it for use with my Dot and when Alexa disconnects, the AmazonBasics unit automatically reconnects within seconds. This is a “feature.” I am looking now for a similar device that will stay disconnected until I ask Alexa to reconnect. Anyone have input, Let me know please :)

  8. Michael says:

    Look forward to hear what you find Nate

    • Nate says:

      I ended up getting the “HomeSpot NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Audio Receiver for Sound System” and it works exactly as desired — I tell Alexa to disconnect and it will use the internal speaker until I tell her to connect. Perfect! The AmazonBasics unit is going back.

  9. Sukho Song says:

    I want to buy echo dot. I was wondering if I can use cell phone headset.
    I want to use it privately in the office without disturbing others.
    Would it be possible?

  10. Alex says:

    OK…Maybe I can get some help here. I can’t believe i’m the first one with this need but I have not found anything online thats helping me out.
    Simple issue: I want to be able to play music in different rooms from the echo. For example, I dont want to blast the music in the kitchen in order to listen to it on the deck outside or I would like to play music i my garage and not subject the whole house to the music.

  11. Charles says:

    I followed the steps in this article to connect the Dot, through a bluetooth receiver, to outdoor speakers. The connection was successfully made, and I can work through the “turn off/turn on” Dot speaker issue. The problem that I am having is that volume is too low on the outdoor speakers, even when I turn the volume on the dot to its maximum level. There is no volume control on the outdoor speakers. Any suggestions?

  12. Skipper says:

    Charles. Just started using Dot. Maybe just verbally requesting Alex’s to “increase volume.”

    • Charles says:

      I have boosted the volume on the dot itself to its full capacity. Still, too quiet coming out of the speakers.

  13. Darren says:

    Hi I don’t see this asked so its probably a given and the answer is no. I have a dot and I have it hooked up to small little amp connected to some decent speakers in my kitchen. This way I can play some music and get some good sound out of it. I had the echo and returned it because I wanted a line out for better speakers. Anyway to my question, if I get Bluetooth speakers for my living room can I have both my 3.5MM output and the Bluetooth speakers play at the same time? This would be a huge plus to balance out my living room and kitchen

  14. Brian says:

    I have a whole house audio system I would like to use the dot to connect to, however the feed into that system is 2 floors below. I tried connecting the echo and the dot via Bluetooth and getting the audio to come through the dot with commands spoken to the echo which is on the main floor. This does not work. It seems that the dot will use the echo as an external speaker but not the other way around. Any suggestions?

  15. celiak says:

    I wonder if anyone has used a Bluetooth splitter with the dot in order to use multiple sound systems/speakers at the same time?

  16. rdlafleur says:

    Does the new Amazon Echo Dot still suffer from this limitation?

  17. Jordon Berkove says:

    Simply Jack in a nice pair of PC Speakers and leave it at that :-)

  18. Stella Pasion says:

    Can the dot and tap be connected to eachother

  19. Martin says:

    Its certain that the 3.5mm jack physically disconnects the internal speaker. If we could open up the Dot then it would be possible to bridge across the jack contacts so that the internal speaker’s on all the time. The problem with this is that the physical design may make this difficult to anyone without access to specialized equipment — these things are full of technology so the internal components are likely to be tiny and crammed together.

    I’m probably like a lot of people, I want to not only use the Dot with an audio system but also control that system. My system is a vintage vacuum tube system so I can’t leave in on 24/7 and, anyway, you don’t really want to carry out a conversation with Alexa through a large stereo system. Hopefully the Mk3 Dot will have separate mute controls for the audio outputs….but for now we’re stuck with workarounds, the best being the splitter cable and additional speaker.

  20. Gary says:

    Has anyone tried this? — Leave the dot connected to a receiver and external speaker; also have a small bluetooth speaker nearby. When the receiver is off, ask Alexa to turn on bluetooth, connecting to the small speaker.

  21. Gary says:

    Never mind. I see that my question is answered in the main post. Not sure why I didn’t see that the first time around.

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