Kodi has become the go-to streaming media center for everyone from cable cutters, to anyone wanting a great media experience.
The basic requirements to run Kodi are listed as 3D capable GPU graphics hardware controller for all rendering, a Dual-core 2 GHz or better CPU, and 1 GB of RAM.
Of course Kodi can be installed and used on slower machines but becomes laggy.
To give an example I have installed Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 3 and it does work but freezes up at moments.
When it comes to Kodi boxes there are many to choose from and can vary wildly in hardware.
As listed above they should have at least the basic specifications to run Kodi, but ideally faster.
In 2018 the minimum hardware specification for a Kodi box should be at least 2GB RAM and a S905 CPU or better.
Android TV Box CPUs
Here are the basic processors Android TV boxes currently use and what to look for.
Keep in mind some processors will be better at certain task even if they score lower. For example while the RK3399 beats the S912 at most task, it lacks support for features such as HDR (High Dynamic Range).
M8 family (M805): Obsolete
S8 Family (S805): Obsolete
S905: Low-end processor
S912: Slightly better performance compared to the S905 and a good low-to-mid range CPU.
RK3328: Good low-to-mid range.
RK3399: High Performance
NVIDIA Tegra X1: High Performance
After being sent boxes to review for the last few years here is our picks for the best options. The units come in all shapes sizes and price ranges.
In full disclosure these boxes have been sent to us from companies to review which we have done with our own honest opinion and results.
*This post contains affiliate links which at no cost to you allows us earn a commission on product purchases.
As always be sure to read reviews on Amazon, here, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is the right pick for you.
Our Picks For The Best Kodi Media Center Boxes
1. Beelink AP34 Mini PC
2. X99 Android TV Box
3. NVIDIA SHIELD
4. Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote
5. MX9 Pro
6. H96 PRO PLUS
7. Beelink GT1 Ultimate
9. R10 R-TV
10 M8S Pro L
… Best High-End Boxes
Beelink AP34 Pro Mini PC 6GB/64GB Dual HDMI Intel Celeron Apollo Lake N3450 HD Graphics 500 Gigabit/BT 4.0/Dual-Band WiFi USB 3.0 MINI PC
The Beelink AP34 is the only non Android TV box on the list.
It is a small mini computer that comes with Windows 10 installed, but can be loaded with Linux.
It has a Celeron N3450 4 core CPU that goes up to 2.2 GHz along with 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
It also has an internal 60GB SSD Hard Drive with 3 USB 3.0 ports and SD-Card slot.
The Beelink AP34 is a good unit that has the same hardware as a mid-range laptop at a lower cost.
The resolution can play up to 4096 X 2160 @60Hz, so it has no problems playing the new 4K Ultra HD videos.
While Android TV boxes are nice, the AP34 is a good box for those who like to use a familiar Operating System as a home entertainment system.
Read Here for a Full Review of the Beelink AP34
X99 4GB 32GB Rockchip RK3399 Android 7.1 TV BOX 2.4G&5GHz Dual WIFI BT4.0 1000M LAN USB3.0 Type-c Media Player With Wireless Mini Backlit Keyboard
Antutu Benchmark Score 76606
The X99 is a new Android TV Box built to play high resolution 4K UHD videos as well as games and other media.
It comes with some impressive hardware with the fast RK3399 CPU and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.
The WiFi test did very good at 163Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.
AnTuTu also gave it a very good overall score of 76606 which is higher than the Fire TV Box without the restrictions.
Read Full Review Here
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server
Antutu Benchmark Score 130766
The NVIDIA Shield is a very popular Kodi android TV box that has many nice features.
It has a NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, 3GB Ram, 802.11ac WiFi, and USB 3.0.
Two version can be bought 16GB and 500GB that give more internal hard drive space. Most Kodi boxes don’t give this option and have limited internal space. If you have a large video library you want to store and play a 500 GB hard drive version can be bought.
There is a new version of the Shield that came out in 2017, that is smaller than the old one and comes with a new redesigned controller.
While more costly than other options it is a nice box to run Kodi on. The NVIDIA SHIELD Pro combined with Kodi is definitely a cable TV killer.
… Best Mid-Range Boxes
Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (Pendant Design) | Streaming Media Player
Antutu Benchmark Score 72768
The Fire TV supports 4K Ultra HD with an Amlogic Quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM.
It also comes the 802.11ac dual band WiFi that makes it a good wireless unit.
Since it is made by Amazon the build quality is very good along with great support.
The one downside is that Kodi needs to be side loaded which isn’t too difficult as long as you have some technical ability.
Overall it is a very good box to use and run Kodi. Be sure to watch some YouTube videos on how to side load Kodi onto a Fire TV box before going this route.
Walmeck Android 7.1 TV Box,MX9 Pro,RK3328 Quad Core 64Bit 4G/32G H.265 UHD 4K VP9 HDR 3D Mini PC 2.4G/5G WIFI BT 4.1 US Plug
Antutu Benchmark Score 36169
The MX9 PRO did surprisingly well for a budget unit and a good buy for the money.
The RK3328 CPU does very well playing HD videos and basic game play.
The 4GB RAM gives it an extra boost as most Android TV boxes have 2GB of RAM.
If you are looking for a good box at a reasonable cost the MX9 PRO is a good unit that is worth a look.
Read Full Review Here of the MX9 Pro
EstgoSZ H96 Pro 3GB RAM 32GB ROM TV Box Amlogic S912 Octa-core CPU Android 6.0 Dual-band WIFI 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Bluetooth 4.1 1000M LAN 4K 2K Set Top Box 2017 Model
Antutu Benchmark Score 40191
The H96 PRO PLUS is a nice Kodi android TV box that performed very well in our test.
It uses the S912 CPU with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
The WiFi is also very good using dual band 802.11ac which during test gave download speeds of 142Mbps at 5GHz, and 47MBps at 2.4 GHz.
Many units now use the S912 CPU but most use less RAM and internal storage. The extra 3GB of RAM gives it a nice boost when needed.
Read Full Review Here of the H96 PRO PLUS
Beelink GT1 Ultimate TV Box with Android 6.0 S912 Octa Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2GHz(DVFS) DDR4 3GB Onboard eMMC Flash 32GB 1000Mbps LAN IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G+5.8G BT 4.0
Antutu Benchmark Score 39183
The Beelink GT1 Ultimate has similar hardware to the H96 PRO with 3GB of RAM and a S912 CPU.
It is a small box that has a diamond pattern on the top.
It performed very well in our test streaming HD 1080p videos and playing retro games.
There is 3 USB slots, a SD-card slot, and a remote control that can also control a TV which is a nice extra.
Read Full Review Here of the Beelink GT1 Ultimate
ESHOWEE TX92 Android 7.1 TV BOX Amlogic S912 Octa-core CPU DDR4 3GB RAM 32GB ROM BT 4.0 2.4/5 Dual-Band WiFi 4K UHD & LAN VP9 DLNA H.265
Antutu Benchmark Score 41373
The TX92 is a square box with a LED clock on the front that has some good basic hardware for streaming videos from online sources.
It runs a S912 CPU, 3GB of RAM, along with a built-in ROM and expandable storage.
During testing the WiFi did very well with a 163Mbps Download, and 22Mbps Upload speed.
It is a good mid-range box at a low price that will work well at streaming, watching HD videos, and basic game play.
Read Full Review Here
MXR PRO 4K TV Box RK3328 4GB RAM Android 7.1
Antutu Benchmark Score 35880
The MXR PRO is a low-to-mid-range Android TV box built for playing 4K Ultra HD videos.
It comes with the RK3328 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB internal storage ROM.
The RK3328 is comparable to the S912 with a bit more improvement for 4K Ultra HD videos.
During testing it did well at streaming 4K @ 30FPS but did start to lose frames at 60FPS.
Overall it is a good budget box to stream the new 4K videos or any HD 1080p video.
Read Full Review Here
R-TV BOX R10 4G DDR4 RAM 64G ROM Rockchip RK3328 Android 7.1.2 Quad-Core 4K UHD USB 3.0 Dual WiFi AC 2T2R BT4.1 H.265 TV Box Media Player
The R10 R-TV is an Android TV box with some good hardware.
It comes with a RK3328 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage.
The unit is round with the center having a light blue light that is also the power button.
It did very well during test with no problems running Kodi along with fast WiFi at 138Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload speeds.
The back has all the ports with 3 USB, SD card slot, HDMI, Ethernet, AV, and Optical.
Read Here for a Full Review of the R10 R-TV
… Best Budget Boxes
EASYTONE 2017 T95Z PLUS Android TV BOX 3GB 32GB,Android 7.1 TV Box Amlogic Octa-Core,Dual-Band Wi-Fi 2.4/5.8G Smart Boxes Android Mini PC with Wireless Keyboard Remote (BACKLIT)
Antutu Benchmark Score 41158
The T95Z Plus uses the S912 Amilogic processor with 2 GB of RAM.
The S912 is a slight improvement over the S905 and a big improvement over the S805/S812 many older boxes ship with, expect to see many units being sold with a S912.
In testing the WiFi was fast and maxed out a 50Mbps Download, and 5Mbps Upload connection. It also can play 720p, 1080p, or the new 4K Ultra HD videos.
The S912 CPU, 2GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage made it easily able to run the new Kodi 17.6 Krypton.
Read Here for a Full Review of the T95Z Plus
NewPal TV Box with Voice Remote M8S Pro L 3G 32GB andriod 7.1 4K tv Box Streaming Media Player (Andriod TV OS)
Antutu Benchmark Score 40673
The M8S Pro L is a nice unit with some good hardware.
It runs a S912 processor and 3GB of RAM. It also has good internal storage size at 32GB, and is expandable with a SD-Card or Flash drive.
In our test it handled Kodi and playing HD 4K videos well. The WiFi also did well at 52Mbps download speed.
It is one of the better units for the price and worth a look if you are on a budget.
Read Here for a Full Review M8S Pro
Greatlizard X96 Android 7.1 Smart TV BOX 2GB RAM 16GB ROM Wifi 1080p 4K H.265 64 Bit Media TV Set Top Box
Antutu Benchmark Score 25776
The X96 runs a Quad Core S905 CPU with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB internal storage.
One of the things that makes it stand out is it is cheap.
The box came with Kodi 17.4 installed which we upgraded to Krypton 17.6 and is working great.
While not the fastest Kodi android box it does work well enough. If you are on a budget it is worth a look.
Read Here for a Full Review of the X96
Beelink A1 TV Box Android 7.1 DDR3 RAM 4GB eMMC 32GB ARM Cortex-A53 Quad-core Processor Dual WiFi 2.4G+5.8G Smart TV Box
Antutu Benchmark Score 33739
Beelink also makes the A1 android TV box with a Rockchip 3368 CPU and 4 GB of RAM.
The Rockchip 3368 is less powerful than the RK3399 but still runs Kodi well.
It did very good at playing HD 1080p but did struggle with 4K ultra HD videos.
Read Full Review Here
… Best Combination Boxes
GPD WIN by DroidBOX June 5 Update Aluminum Top Cover Version X7-Z8750 Windows 10 Powered Gaming Portable Console 5.5″ OGS LCD Display, Up to 2.56GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM
DroidBOX has made some nice units from projectors to portable all with good support.
The GPD Win is a Windows 10 small gaming unit that plays Kodi, games, or most any Windows 10 software.
It has roughly the same look as a Nintendo 3DS along with a nice button layout.
It is a great device for those traveling and needing an all around entertainment device, from playing games to watching videos with Kodi.
There is a built in battery which last 5-7 hours depending what it is being played.
Himedia Q10 PRO:QUAD CORE ANDROID TV BOX A53 CPU/MALI-720 GPU ANDROID 5.1 4KX2K@60FPS ULTRAHD VIDEOS WITH FLIPPING HD ENCLOSURE
The Himedia Q10 PRO is a high-end Kodi android TV box with many nice features.
The main nice feature is the ability to quickly snap in a SATA hard drive which makes it a good unit to store lots of videos, music, or games.
It uses the Hi3798C V200 chipset with a Realtek RTD1295 processors which is one of the best ARM based CPU’s available.
The Himedia Q10 PRO is not a cheap box and on almost the same level as the Nvidia Shield.
It also has dual band WiFi which can run on the new 5 GHz 802.11ac protocol. If you have a dual band router you will have no problems with a fast internet connection, at least to the router.
Read Here for a Full Review of The Himedia Q10 PRO
Kodi android TV boxes have changed a lot in the last year going from 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM or more.
A box with 1GB of RAM will still run Kodi but is not ideal for future updates and cost about the same for a box with 2 GB of RAM.
The processors have also changed with older units mainly using the S805 and new unit using the S912, or better.
Many of the older boxes are still sold so be wary of these older boxes, especially since the new ones cost almost the same.
If you want the best one available than most would agree that the Nvidia Shield is currently the top box to get. It unfortunately is also the most expensive.
Many of the lower-end cheap boxes run Kodi well but do require some technicality.
For example during a major update with Kodi there will be almost no support, if any. Also many of them have less than desirable WiFi, so running a Ethernet cable may be necessary.
With that said and having reviewed many units they do work and continue to work. I know people who bought a cheap box 1-2 years ago and continue to use it daily.
Just keep in mind if a low cost box has a problem than you will need to get a bit technical. There are lots of YouTube videos and tutorials that can help.
When buying a Kodi box read the reviews on Amazon to be sure it meets your technical ability. While any of these boxes will run Kodi they often come with some degree of setup that may not be for everyone.