How Do I Know Which Roku to Buy?

If you’ve decided to purchase a set-top streaming box so that you can watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or any of the other video streaming service out there, then you have surely come across the name “Roku.”

They’ve been a leader in the industry since before video streaming was very popular, and each new device has been a big step up from the previous one. But now there are many Roku models available, and choosing between them can be a little difficult.

The chart below lists the Roku models in order from the least expensive model (the Roku LT) to the most expensive model (the Roku 3).

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how do i know which roku to buy

Roku LT

Roku HD


Roku 2 XD

Roku 3

Wireless b/g/nYesYesYesYes
Dual-band wirelessNoNoNoYes
Ethernet PortNoNoNoYes
USB portNoNoNoYes
Access to all Roku channelsYesYesYesYes
One-stop searchYesYesYesYes
Plays 720p videoYesYesYesYes
Plays 1080p videoNoNoYesYes
Motion control for gamesNoNoNoYes
Headphone jack on remoteNoNoNoYes
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Personal factors to consider

There are a few other models of Rokus available, but the four above are the most popular, and the models currently for sale directly from Roku. They range in price from about $50 for the Roku LT to about $100 for the Roku 3. You can click any of the links above to see the current price for that model at Amazon.

To begin deciding which Roku is right for your situation, you should answer the questions below about your home network and entertainment environment.


What type of TV are you connecting the Roku to? An HDTV with an HDMI port? Or a TV without an HDMI port?

If you have a TV with an HDMI port, then you can purchase any of the Roku models. If you do not, however, then you will need one of the Roku models with the composite video connections, such as the Roku LT, the Roku HD or the Roku XD.

Do you have a wireless network?

If you do not have a wireless network, then you will need to purchase the Roku 3, as it is the only model with an ethernet port. But all of the Roku models above are capable of connecting to a wireless network.

If you do have a wireless network, how is the wireless reception by the TV to which the Roku will be connected?

If the reception is not good near the television, then you may want to get the Roku 3, as its’ dual-band wireless card has a much better range than the other models.

Do you have a lot of video on external hard drives or USB drives?

You will need to buy a Roku model with a USB port if you want to watch this content on your Roku. Currently that is only the Roku 3.

How much are you going to use the Roku?

If this is something that is going to be a primary source of entertainment in your home, then the improved performance, features and capabilities of the Roku 3 are well worth the higher price tag. But if you are just buying it to be able to watch video on a TV in a guest room or in an area that will not be getting a lot of viewing activity, then the lower price tag of the Roku LT will be much easier to justify.

Some additional factors to consider

None of the Rokus come with an HDMI cable. So if you are intending to purchase a Roku to hook up to your HDMI-capable TV, you can purchase a good HDMI cable from Amazon for much less than it would cost at a retail store.

HD video streaming requires a pretty hefty Internet connection, so it is important that your Internet service is capable of streaming video easily. If you can watch movies from Netflix on your computer without a lot of buffering, or if you know that your cable, DSL or fiber-optic Internet service is more than capable of video streaming, then you will be fine.

You will still need to pay the monthly subscription cost for whatever video-streaming services you are currently subscribed to. The Roku merely provides the device and means for watching that content; it does not replace the need to continue paying for it. Note, however, that there is no additional monthly or yearly fee for using a Roku.

You can click any of the links below to learn more about a specific Roku model, as well as read reviews from people that have purchased each of those devices.

Now that you know how to figure out which Roku to buy, you will be able to get the best streaming device at your preferred budget.

We have also written some comparisons of the Roku models, which you can find below.

Roku 3 vs. Roku XD

Roku LT vs. Roku HD

Roku 3 vs. Roku HD

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