When it comes to buying a new streaming device, the choice for many is simple. Starting at just $39, Amazon’s Fire Stick can bring you thousands of applications approved by Amazon through the included Appstore, Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video are included by default, along with games, streaming video apps, on-demand video, and countless other choices for entertainment.
However, for those in the know, they’re actually a secret reason the Fire Stick is so great. Because Amazon uses a forked version of Android, your Fire Stick can be granted the ability to use apps from outside sources, making a simple streaming box become much more like a home theater PC.
If you’re looking to start off strong with sideloading, it’s tough to beat Kodi, an open-source streaming platform perfect for the Fire Stick. With a great interface, tons of add-ons and plugins, and a quick and easy setup method, it’s no wonder so many have been won over by Kodi’s streaming library.
Kodi lives and dies by the add-ons and other features built by all sorts of third-parties, and it’s why it continues to shine in popularity today. We’ve covered several Kodi add-ons in our guides on this site, but something we haven’t covered quite as much are Kodi-specific builds, software suites that add a number of add-ons, themes, and more to your device in one singular package.
There are dozens of Kodi builds available online, but only some of them are really worth using to gain access to full suites of media. Let’s talk about what Kodi builds provide users, why you should use them, and some of the best ones online. This is our guide to the best Kodi builds for your Amazon Fire Stick.
What are Kodi Builds?
As mentioned, a Kodi build is an entirely different beast than add-ons, and it’s important to understand the difference between the two before diving into the world of Kodi modding.
Let’s keep it simple to start: a Kodi add-on is a piece of software that provides you with specific features within Kodi. For example, you might install an add-on that allows you to access Netflix, or to stream live television over the web. Kodi add-ons have received something of a bad name, thanks to several known piracy-based add-ons denounced by the developers behind Kodi. Software like Covenant or the defunct Exodus add-on have been used by thousands of Kodi users around the world, and we’ve even covered some of those add-ons here.
Builds, on the other hand, are talked about far less than straight and simple add-ons. While an add-on gives you access to a new suite of software for your device, a Kodi build is the whole package, offering not just several add-ons but delivering themes and skins for the menu system, custom menu layouts to make browsing through menus and settings easier, and a number of preloaded add-ons to make watching media that much easier.
It’s smart to think of Kodi builds as starter packs, content made for people just starting out in the Kodi ecosystem.
Should I Use Builds or Add-Ons?
This is a great question, and ultimately, one without a definite answer. On one hand, it’s easy to see Kodi builds as a great way to get your feet wet with Kodi, to start learning how the ubiquitous home theater software works and how easy it is to customize the standard appearance of the Kodi menu system.
It also allows you to add multiple sources of content at once, which is great if you’re looking to add a lot of high-profile apps and add-ons to your device as quickly as possible. Builds are also a great option if you’re looking for something to preload onto a custom-built home theater PC or streaming box for someone in your life who may not be as technically-inclined as to create their own Kodi engine.
However, add-ons have their place. For one, installing add-ons to your individual Kodi client one by one allows you to create a fully-customized option for yourself, complete with the media sources you need and nothing more. It also means you aren’t locked into a single theme or appearance choice, so if you find something that works better for you than your current theme, you aren’t locked into a preexisting look based on the software installed on your device.
Ultimately, Kodi builds are quick and easy installation processes, but they may not satisfy veteran Kodi users. And that’s okay—builds and add-ons have their own place in the Kodi scene, and it’s important to recognize the significance of each kind. Whether you choose to use a build or install your own add-ons one at a time, the important part of Kodi comes from just how customizable a piece of software it is.
A Note on Kodi and Copyright
Kodi itself isn’t an app developed for piracy, but as with any open-source platform, it’s been used for more harm than good in recent years. Plenty of builds feature software that is technically credited as pirated content, material that, by sharing or downloading, could be illegal depending on the copyright laws in your country (particular in the United States).
Neither Kodi, along with the team at TechJunkie, condone using Kodi or third-party software to pirate content online. Kodi builds allow the opportunity to easily add a number of add-ons, themes, skins, and more to your device in just a few minutes, but unfortunately, plenty of these options also include pirated materials.
It’s for that reason that we recommend using a VPN  for your own safety on your Fire Stick. Whether you’re using simple apps like Showbox or you’re spending your time testing out new builds like the ones in our list below, you’ll want to make sure that your security is active while online. These applications are easy to setup and use, but there’s a big reason why people turn away from them: they aren’t entirely legal. While thousands of users get away with consuming pirated content on the internet every day, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone gets away with piracy. If you’re caught by your ISP, you can land yourself in some hot water, including losing access to your internet or even facing major fines from groups like the MPAA.
So, if you’re looking to consume pirated content on your Fire Stick, the best way to go about keeping yourself safe from getting caught is to use a VPN . Most popular VPNs weren’t necessarily designed with piracy in mind, but they do support keeping your internet use secret so that you can catch up on the latest hit series online without having to pay for cable or subscribe to yet another streaming service. To check out some of our favorite VPNs, check out our guide to using VPNs on the Fire Stick here. 
No one build is going to be perfect for everyone, but let’s take a look at five of the best builds for Kodi on the Fire Stick.