The Amazon Echo more than just jump-started the smart speaker movement, it created a full explosion in the smart home sector, with several businesses following Amazon’s ecosystem of smart home gadgets.
With this multitude of Alexa-compatible products, it could be challenging to decide the ones to purchase. That, however, is the reason we’ve assembled this guidebook — to show you how to determine which Amazon Alexa-enabled products are the appropriate ones to buy.
Alexa Echo 2
An Amazon Echo (or Echo Dot) provides a user-friendly screen for your smart home and presents capabilities that an application on your smartphone cannot. In the event you currently have an Alexa-compatible gadget or one of the 3 leading smart-home hubs (Insteon, Wink or SmartThings), including an Echo could make interacting with those gadgets more exciting and practical. Benefiting from its virtually instant reaction time and dependable voice-recognition processing is substantially quicker compared to using your smartphone and launching an app simply to flip the lights on or off. Certain devices, like Philips Hue light bulbs and Nest thermostats, include native Alexa support, yet others necessitate that you enable an outside party ability. We screened several of both kinds to provide you with the best-performing and most-reliable suggestions, which we’re constantly evaluating, to make sure that every new firmware and application version satisfy our lofty expectations.
In the last several years, we have examined virtually every smart-home gadget of significance. Since more and more people wind up purchasing smart speakers and platform support becomes increasingly essential, we would like to offer a single spot so you can gain access to every one of our selections that will work with the gadgets you currently have, across all our smart-home suggestions. Since these gadgets are updated regularly with added compatibility along with brand new capabilities, we are constantly evaluating and reexamining our choices in our residences to make sure they continue to comply with our suggestion requirements. We’ll modify this guidebook as we discover new facts and info, however, you should definitely read through the complete reviews if you want further info and examination notes.
Example command: “Alexa, set the thermostat to 70 degrees.”
Why is it great?: The Ecobee4 isn’t merely a thermostat that functions well with Alexa. The thermostat is actually Alexa. The truth is, when you’re connected to Amazon’s ecosystem, the Ecobee4 is perhaps the ideal thermostat to buy — since it has built-in Alexa features.
Alexa isn’t the main function which makes the Ecobee4 an excellent choice. It is also quite smart — which means that it’ll recognize your cooling and heating schedules and instantly fine-tune the temperature control to be exactly what you want. Probably the best aspects of the Ecobee4 thermostat is the fact that works well with third-party sensors, which are able to gauge the temperature range in various living spaces. That’s data that the thermostat could utilize throughout the day to effectively regulate the temperature of various rooms. In addition, it is rather straightforward to set up, which means you won’t have to concern yourself with employing a specialist to do the installation once you have a screwdriver and don’t care about performing some DIY.
Belkin WeMo Mini
Belkin WeMo MiniBELKIN
Example commands: “Alexa, turn off the fan.”
Why is it great? The beauty of smart plugs is the fact that they will assist in making every dumb home appliance significantly smarter. You don’t actually need to purchase a whole new Alexa-connected fan — just purchase a smart plug and attach it to your fan and you can regulate it from your smartphone or via Alexa.
What makes the Belkin WeMo Mini great is the fact that it’s small enough to accommodate switches to be connected vertically, one thing that most don’t allow. This plug doesn’t track this usage, similar to a number of the higher priced smart plugs available, however, we still believe it provides value.
Philips Hue Starter Kit
Example commands: “Alexa, turn on the living room lights.”
Why is it great? Lighting is important in any home, and therefore it was one of the initial items to have the smart treatment once the idea of the smart home started. You will find numerous smart light bulb suppliers on the market, however, we consider the Philips Hue selection of light bulbs the best available.
With Philips Hue bulbs, you’ll have the ability to instruct Alexa to turn lights on and off in individual rooms, or just turn on every light inside the house. Philips Hue’s app was recently updated with great features, so if you don’t like using your voice every time, control it using the app.
Example commands: “Alexa, arm my security camera.”
Why is it great? Google’s Nest is fairly well known for its exceptional integration with Google Assistant, however, Amazon has their own first-class security cameras. The security cameras are made by Blink, which is owned by Amazon, and they’re in fact very good quality. You can purchase the cameras separately or in multi-packs, and they’ll link to both to Alexa as well as to the app, which is usually fairly smartly-designed and user-friendly.
The Blink indoor security camera itself can record video clip at 720p, which is on the lower side, however, it is also wireless — therefore, you are able to put it on a shelf and not have to use ugly wires at all. Of course, the batteries will have to be replaced occasionally; however, we feel it’s worthwhile.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Example commands: “Alexa, play The Office on Netflix.”
Why it’s great: The Amazon Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s version of the Google Chromecast, and it includes many great features. It’s compact and small in size, additionally, it operates a complete version of Amazon’s Fire TV platform. Put simply, it is possible to install apps such as Netflix and Hulu on it and enjoy all your most loved TV shows and movies.
Probably the greatest aspect of using the gadget is the way it is at voice control. It is possible to manage it with your Amazon Echo, or even with the remote, it comes with — and that is a nice touch. Overall, if you’re connected to the Amazon ecosystem and don’t wish to spend money on one of the bigger and more robust Amazon streaming units, then this is a great option.
Eight Sleep Jupiter+
Example commands: “Alexa, tell Eight my bed is cold.”
Why it’s great: Eight Sleep Jupiter+ is referred to as the “smart bedding company,” and it stands to reason. The manufacturer delivers its mattresses that include a smart cover, which monitors your sleep patterns and functions as a warmer for the mattress.
With Alexa, it is possible to do a variety of things. You could Request your sleep score from Alexa, direct it to begin warming up the mattress prior to you going to bed, etc. Eight is ideal for couples as well — it could monitor both sides of the bed separately and heat just one-half of the mattress if needed.
iRobot Roomba 690
Vacuuming is an annoying but necessary chore. However, robot vacuums help to make the chore as effortless as pressing a button. Nevertheless, the iRobot Roomba 690 and iRobot Roomba 960 make sure you will never have to lift that single finger, due to Alexa integration.
Alexa lets you shout out commands to that Wi-Fi–connected robot force to go, stop, or restart vacuuming. You can also tell Alexa to find the little suckers, whenever they go rogue and drift off into a different section of your home. We get into more details regarding each model in our guidebook to the best robot vacuums, however, the big difference is the fact that the Roomba 960 is made for bigger spaces—and at present costs double the 690.
Samsung SmartThings Hub
Alexa is able to control many devices, but only when you expressly ask it to. For instance, when you request it to switch off the lamp at your bedside, it can’t also immediately regulate the temperature controls to your optimal sleeping configurations without you directing it to perform the task. In regards to creating automation, Alexa is not a substitute for a smart-home hub. Should you choose to try out automation, the Samsung SmartThings Hub is the best choice in our smart-home hubs guidebook and works well with several gadgets, like the entire Amazon Alexa series. Therefore, you are able to use voice instructions to operate the lighting, switches, along with other gadgets that wouldn’t normally be Alexa-compatible. Nevertheless, if you weren’t thinking about a smart-home hub before buying an Echo, you should probably delay buying SmartThings, since Alexa is able to control additional smart-home gadgets without requiring a primary hub.
The Harmony Alexa will still function with every Logitech Harmony hub-based remote system, such as the Harmony Companion or Harmony Elite. Some of the trigger words you have to use include “turn on,” to switch on the remote’s functions, which are essentially the instructions you will use for programming your Harmony remote. A number of them might even be a bit different if you’re working with Alexa. For example, the Harmony “Watch Blu-ray” action would change to “Alexa, turn on Blu-ray.” In addition, since the Harmony system is compatible with smart-home products such as the Philips Hue bulbs as well as the Nest thermostat, it is possible to include those into a “Friday movie” environment, which will slowly fade the lighting, turn up the temperature, and start up your home theater equipment with Netflix, by using a single instruction. Keep in mind you won’t be able to regulate the volume or turn the channel using this kind of installation. Additionally, terms such as “Play,” “Pandora,” and “Radio” could mix up the system, because they battle with other functions.
Similar to the SmartThings, every light, switch, and additional device linked to a Wink Hub is available for Alexa. That hub is a great option for Z-Wave gadgets and smart light bulbs (like from Pella, Hampton Bay, and LeakSmart) which will work with Wink although not directly with Alexa.
Nest Learning ThermostatThe best smart thermostat
Why is it great?: The Works With Nest program enables this simple to use smart thermostat to provide additional smart-home benefits, such as Amazon Alexa, than every other.
What’s the temperature setting right now on your Nest Learning Thermostat? Check with Alexa. The voice assistant will be able to increase and reduce temperature settings or assign our highest smart-thermostat selection to Away setting. In the event you don’t make use of the Nest’s geofencing capabilities (a lot of customers don’t), the capability to change temperature configurations verbally is generally a popular function. Owners of Multiple-Thermostats also have the option to request certain devices by giving a name to the various Nests.
The Ecobee4 is compatible with Alexa in a similar fashion as the Nest, and in fact, the voice assistant is built-in, therefore, you do not need a different device. All you have to say is, “Alexa, tell Ecobee I’m hot,” then the assistant will fine-tune the temperature a couple of degrees to suit your needs. One more major difference between the two smart thermostats is the fact that the Ecobee version comes with sensors that you are able to set up in any room in your home, therefore you can ask Alexa to tell you the temperature in the various rooms in the house. Alexa could also utilize the Ecobee unit to regulate your system’s fan, let you know which devices are ope