Updated December 2021
Are you thinking of investing in a fully-loaded TV box? One that promises to give you immediate access to all the latest content without having to pay to subscribe to a variety of premium streaming services?
These boxes might seem like magic, but they aren’t. In reality, they are just boxes that come pre-installed with Kodi and the necessary add-ons that get you access to content.
If you are a complete technophobe this can be great since you can just plug and play, but if you even have basic technical skills, you are probably better off buying a blank Android TV box and installing Kodi yourself. Why?
You’ll get a better quality TV box for less, you can tailor your installation for the content that you are interested in so you don’t have to wade through a lot of junk to find what you are looking for, and you can ensure that all the necessary security measures are in place.
In this article, I’m going to recommend the five best Android TV boxes that you can buy today if you want to run Kodi.
If you need to know about installing Kodi, read our complete guide here.
Best Android TV Boxes For Running Kodi
- Best with air mouse – WeChip V10 Plus
- Best storage capacity – QPLove Android TV Box
- Best Android 11.0 – X88 Pro 10 Android TV Box
- Best with keyboard – Longyi Android TV Box 10.0
- Most affordable – Sunnzo X96 Air
WeChip V10 Plus
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QPLove Android TV Box
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X88 Pro 10 Android TV Box
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Longyi Android TV Box 10.0
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Sunnzo X96 Air
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What Is A Kodi Box?
Any Android TV box can be a Kodi box. Kodi is software that you can install, just like any other application. Kodi can be used as simple media library software, but that is not what most people use it for.
If you install certain add-ons in Kodi, these will scrape the internet for content streams and make them available to you, regardless of the source of the content. As such, you can get free access to things that are streaming only on premium applications such as Netflix and Prime Video.
Is this legal? Probably not, though it is common practice. This is why you should always protect yourself with a VPN when using Kodi.
If you buy a box marketed as a Kodi TV Box, this simply means that Kodi is pre-installed. If it is a “Fully Loaded Kodi TV Box” the add-ons needed to access content have also been installed. You can download Kodi yourself onto any TV box for free, though, as it is open-source software.
Should You Buy A Fully Loaded Kodi Box?
The short answer is no.
Sellers will charge a premium for a fully-loaded TV box, when the reality is that you can download Kodi and install the add-ons that you need to access the same content for free. You will just spend time and energy figuring out how to do it.
In my opinion, you are better off getting a better quality Android TV box for less and doing it yourself.
What Makes Up The Best TV Boxes For Kodi?
If you do decide that you want to set up Kodi yourself, you want the best Android TV box for the job. While, in theory, you can install Kodi on any streaming device, some are better suited to it than others.
These are the key features to look out for.
Kodi can be a relatively heavy program to run, and can use quite a bit of space on your TV box, so there are some minimum technical specs that you will want to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you have space for everything that you will need.
Look for boxes that have:
- A decent Quad Core that will have enough processing power
- At least 4 GB of RAM
- At least 16 GB of ROM
If you go for a small stick with 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB of ROM you will probably find yourself with slow processing and insufficient space for all the add-ons that you want.
Anything I put my seal of approval on has to have a good support network. You won’t find any sellers that just sell the TV box and disappear. No eBay or Craigslist, fly-by-night sellers here. You need to have an active forum network with both company representatives and end-users who will gladly help out other users who have issues.
One other big thing: There has to be a warranty.
In short, you need to be taken care of after the sale. That should be a basic requirement, but surprisingly, most companies get this one wrong.
So, if you think a good support network is the most important thing on this list, then you’re right.
Regular Firmware Updates
Good firmware can make or break a device. If you’ve got crappy firmware, I don’t care how good the hardware running the TV box is – it’s just not going to save it.
To be considered, it needs to offer regular firmware updates. It doesn’t have to be monthly or even bi-monthly, but there has to be a history of firmware updates after a device is released.
I’ve written posts before about sellers who rip people off by marking up a $50 TV box to $300. Nothing pisses me off more than a company taking advantage of people like that.
So, one big criterion for me is that the device has to be within a “fair price range,” which is comparable to other devices with similar specs.
This generally means a price limit of around US$160 for a TV box. If something is more expensive than its competition, there better be a really good reason.
5 Great Android TV Boxes For Kodi
Based on the above specifications, we have chosen five Android TV boxes that work well with Kodi.
We have prioritized powerful and affordable boxes. We haven’t prioritized authorization to access Netflix in 4K (since presumably you will be watching on Kodi and not Netflix), or things such as voice command or smart home integrations, though some of the boxes have these features.
If you want all of these features, you will want to look for a premium box like the NVIDIA Shield. If you just want something for streaming from your favorite services, such as Netflix and Prime Video, then the Amazon Fire Stick 4K is a great choice.
For that price, you get a decent Rockchip Quad Core running the latest Android 11.0 operating system. It also comes with an impressive 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM. If you need more memory than that, there is also TF card expansion and USB 3.0 or fast external hard drive connections.
We also like that it comes with an air mouse as standard, which can make navigating a lot easier, plus a one-year warranty.
It comes with an Allwinner Quad Core and runs Android 10.0, but what is most impressive about this box is that it comes with 4 GB of RAM and 124 GB of ROM. That is a lot of space to play with!
This box will impress gamers and torrenters as well as anyone running Kodi.
It uses a Rockchip Quad Core chipset and is running the latest Android 11.0 operating system. It comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM, so it has the capacity for plenty of Kodi add-ons.
If you want more space, there is TF card expansion and USB 3.0 You might want to upgrade to a more usable remote control.
It uses a good Allwinner Quad Core and is running Android 10.0. It comes with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM, which is about twice what you would expect from a box at this price.
The inclusion of a backlit keyboard mouse is a nice feature that many will appreciate when searching for their favorite content.
It has a great Amlogic Chipset and is running the Android 10.0 operating system. Again, it comes with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM, which is about double what you would expect for the price.
The remote control that comes with it is pretty underwhelming, but you can always buy something more to your taste.
FAQs About Kodi Boxes
What’s The Best Dodgy Box?
“Dodgy box” can be another name for a Kodi box, referring to the fact that some Kodi boxes come “fully loaded” with applications that allow you to access illegal content. It is much harder to get a “dodgy box” these days than before, as selling boxes primed with pirated content is illegal, as is watching that content.
What Is The Best Android Box?
TV boxes using the Android operating system are considered among the best, as Android is an open source operating system that allows for flexibility and customization, unlike, for example, Apple.
Our favorite Android TV box for running Kodi is the SkyStream Pro 8K, but all of the boxes on our list are based around the Android operating system and are great TV boxes
Are Android TV Boxes Illegal?
Android TV boxes are completely legal. TV boxes are just machines that allow you to stream content from the internet directly to your TV. As a general rule, they don’t come with any content already included. Instead, you need to source the content yourself via free apps such as YouTube and paid-for applications such as Netflix.
Applications do exist for Android TV boxes that allow you to access illegal and pirated content. Accessing and watching this is illegal and is subject to local fines and punishments.
Which Is Better: Firestick Or Android Box?
Whether you should get a Firestick or an alternative Android Box really depends on how much you like Amazon. Fans of Amazon who are invested in their other products such as Alexa should go for the Firestick.
Android TV boxes are streaming boxes that work off the Android operating system. Amazon Fire TV boxes are also based on the Android operating system, but with additional refinements built on top to work seamlessly with other Amazon products, such as Amazon Prime and the Alexa Smart Speaker.
If you are heavily invested in Amazon as far as your home technology is concerned, a Firestick tends to be your best choice, as it can integrate with your Alexa speaker to respond to voice commands and you can also browse Amazon on your television.
But if you are looking for a more agnostic system that you can customize yourself, an alternative Android TV box is a better choice.
Should I Buy A Smart TV Or Firestick?
A Smart TV and a Firestick, or other TV box, pretty much achieve the same thing. They allow you to stream content directly from the internet to your television screen. With a Smart TV, you get something that is more integrated and you can control from one remote.
With a TV box, you have more options: if you want flexibility, you can get an Android Box; if you have an Alexa, you can get a Firestick that works with her voice commands; if you are an Apple-ophile, you can get Apple TV.
If you need to upgrade your TV, a Smart TV can be a great investment. If you already have a great TV that can deliver 4K, but isn’t “smart,” a TV box is an affordable way to make your existing set “smart.”
How Do I Choose An Android TV Box?
When choosing the right TV box for you, start by knowing what you want to use it for. There is pretty much no limit to the features you can get with a TV box, but you do need to pay for them. Ensure that you only pay for what you need.
When you have a standard TV and just want the TV box for streaming Netflix and your favorite cable channels, you can probably go with a very basic and affordable model, such as the basic Amazon Firestick.
But if you have a 4K TV with surround sound and want a cinematic experience while you are streaming, you will need something that has the power to stream 4K and deliver Dolby audible. In this case, you will be looking for a high-end device such as the SkyStream Pro 8K or the Nvidia Shield.
When differentiating between boxes, the primary things to look at are processor power, Wi-Fi speeds, their picture quality, and what version of Android they have. Many of the other features, such as voice control and design, are more about individual taste than the quality of streaming.
If you want access to a lot of entertainment content without having to subscribe to all the premium subscription services, then you are probably interested in Kodi.
However, we suggest resisting the urge to buy a fully-loaded Kodi box. Sellers charge a premium price for average TV boxes on which they have pre-installed Kodi and the add-ons that you need to access content, but the reality is that you can get a much better box for a fraction of the price and install Kodi and the required add-ons yourself, since they are free.
You will want a relatively powerful Android TV box to run sophisticated versions of Kodi, so we have recommended five affordable but powerful boxes that are ideal for running Kodi. Get one, and follow our simple instructions to get Kodi working for free.
Do you have experience setting up Kodi? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.