If you currently own an Amazon Echo, then you know that, by itself, it is a great voice activated device. It has one of the best speakers around and the fact that it allows you to control other devices and make them execute your commands takes the Amazon Echo to the top.
Do more with Amazon Echo when you get these Echo-compatible devices:
Lights and Switches
Most people are probably thinking about how to remotely control their lights at home. Even before smart devices have become the “in” thing, some of the most modern homes have already been equipped with the clapper sound activated lights, which turn on or off just by clapping the hands.
With the advent of connected devices in a smart home, you can now choose between smart switches and smart bulbs to do just that.
Smart bulbs seem to be the logical choice. You can easily replace your current lights with smart bulbs, and you can already start controlling them remotely using your smartphone. No complex installation is required. Plus, if you get color-changing smart bulbs, you can set the desired mood for your room every time.
However, there are also instances when smart switches are a better idea. If you are one of those people who cannot be bothered with the many features of a smart bulb, then you will surely appreciate how smart switches work similarly to conventional switches. If you have a multi-light set up, a smart switch might also be more convenient and cheaper to implement.
Plus, if smart bulbs are still connected to traditional switches, you would still need to get up and turn on the switch for the smart bulb.
With smart lights, you would love how you no longer have to stand up and go to the switch or dimmer to turn the lights on or off; you can just reach for your smartphone or, with Amazon Echo, you can just issue a voice command.
#1 Belkin Wi-Fi Enabled Wemo Light Switch
Belkin Wi-Fi Enabled Wemo Light Switch works with fans, lights and other appliances that are connected to a switch. It connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the lights even when you are outside the house or halfway across the world as long as you are online. You can also use it to turn the lights on or off on a pre-set schedule. Or, you can command it to turn the lights on when it gets dark and turn them off at daybreak.
The Belkin Wi-Fi Enabled Wemo Light Switch also has IFTTT compatibility, allowing you to use automation recipes and work with other devices. What’s more, you can use it with Amazon Echo and tell Alexa – the voice command technology that powers the device – to turn off the lights just by speaking. Belkin also does not need a hub, making it the viable choice for those who do not have a range of connected devices to start with.
Belkin Wi-Fi Enabled Wemo Light Switch works with Android and iOS devices and is on sale here.
#2 Leviton Decora Z-Wave Controls
The Leviton Decora Z-Wave allows you to remotely turn your lights or ceiling fan on or off. It can operate LED or CFL lights, halogen, and even incandescent lamps, while also being able to control ceiling fans and other motor-run appliances.
The Leviton Decora Z-Wave functions like the traditional switches but it works with SmartThings, Vera, Wink, and Z-wave devices. It also works with Amazon Echo, but only in tandem with Wink or SmartThings.
The smart switch has three different faceplates: light almond, white, and ivory. You can check out the lasting pricing here.
#3 LIFX Color 1000
The LIFX Color 1000 smart bulb has the advantage of being brighter than most of its competitors. It comes with a mobile app that is easy to use and is not complicated to operate. Plus, it works with IFTTT recipes, Nest, SmartThings, and yes, Amazon Echo.
The LIFX Color 1000 changes colors, allowing you to set the right mood lighting for your room, depending on what you’re up to. You can mimic the sunset, or have it as bright as daytime inside your home. It comes with a companion app that allows you to set its colors using a full color wheel. You can also use the mobile app to group different LIFX bulbs together so that you can change their colors simultaneously instead of doing it one by one.
The mobile app also includes several “themes,” allowing you to set your lights’ colors according to different emotions such as focusing, tranquil, exciting, or cheerful. There are also effects that allow your LIFX bulb to change in random colors or behave like a flickering candle. You can also schedule your lights to turn on and off at specific times.
You can pair this smart bulb with Amazon Echo by using the Skills section of the Alexa Apps. After the initial setup, you can just say, “Alexa, ask LIFX to switch colors to red.”
LIFX Color 1000 is available here for a decent price.
There are several smart bulbs that are available in the market. But what if you currently have LED lamps that can still last five or ten more years and you wouldn’t want to just discard them? Emberlight makes sure you don’t put a perfectly good bulb to waste.
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Emberlight acts like an adapter that turns your current non-smart light – be it CFL, LED, or halogen – into a smart bulb. Here’s how it works: You screw on Emberlight into any light socket and then fix your current bulbs onto your Emberlight.
Emberlight connects to your Wi-Fi network and uses Bluetooth LE to connect with your smartphone. You do not need a hub to enjoy its automation and remote control features.
You can use Amazon Echo with Emberlight by using the Emberlight Alexa skill.
Emberlight is available at this Amazon listing.
Imagine that you are already tucked in for the night, but, for some reason, you find the room too hot or too cold to be comfortable. Instead of getting up to adjust your thermostat, you can just tell Alexa to turn the heat up or down.
With Amazon Echo, you no longer have to stand up and get your remote control or even your smartphone, because you can just say your command out loud. The best thermostats that work with Amazon Echo are:
#5 Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat – Second Generation
As far as smart thermostats go, the second generation Honeywell Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat is a sight to behold (read my original review here). It is circular in shape and has a polished glass surface, making it look very modern and elegant. It comes with a touch screen interface as well, allowing you to control the temperature manually. And because it senses movements and lights up when somebody is moving near it, you can find it even in the dark.
Lyric Round also uses your mobile phone’s GPS to know where you are. For instance, it will turn off the heating if it senses that you are going farther away from the house and turn it on when it senses that you are nearing your home. You don’t need to lift a finger for all that.
The smart thermostat also sends you notifications when it gets too hot or too cold at home, or when there are changes in humidity. It takes into account the level of humidity to make sure that you are comfortable.
The Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat – Second Generation is available here for a good price.
#6 Nest Learning Thermostat – 3rd Generation
The third generation of Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat has a sleeker and slimmer design than its predecessors, but it retains their circular form. After my original review, Nest continues to lead the pack despite increased competition. It is still very eye-catching and it certainly ranks high on the list of beautiful smart thermostats.
It helps you control your home’s temperature and throws in some automation options, including using sensors to know where you are positioned and adjusts the temperature accordingly. As you use it, Nest learns about your habits and preferences and then adjusts the heat or cooling according to the patterns it learns.
The Nest Learning Thermostat also has a far-field sensor that will detect if you are in the room, and it lights up the Nest face so that you could see temperature information, the weather, and the time, even if you are far from the thermostat.
It comes with a mobile app you can use to manually set your desired temperature no matter where you are in the world. The mobile app also allows you to adjust the schedule that the Nest Thermostat automatically generates, set the eco temperature, and set your preferences for the advanced fan control that would turn the fan on for several minutes every hour. Further, you get safety alerts as well as maintenance updates.
For the latest pricing and deals, be sure to check out this Amazon listing.
#7 Ecobee3 WiFi Thermostat
Ecobee3 WiFi Thermostat is yet another thermostat that works with Amazon Echo.
Ecobee3 WiFi Thermostat uses a touchscreen to let you adjust the temperature manually. It has a squarish form factor giving it an elegant and timeless look. The smart thermostat’s home screen tells you the mode you are using, the temperature, and the humidity, and it has a slider that allows you to adjust the temperature.
You can also access the settings from the home screen as well as the weather forecast. Ecobee3 uses a motion sensor to determine if somebody is at home or not so that it could turn on the appropriate mode.
You can use IFTTT recipes with your Ecobee3, helping you achieve some sort of automation. It allows the Ecobee3 to work with other connected devices you own. It also has integrations with Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, and wink.
The Ecobee3 WiFi Thermostat has all the features you want and need in a smart thermometer. It is also the best-designed Ecobee version, without the kinks that its predecessors suffered from. It also has more features, such as the remote sensor and the power extender, to help you have a workaround when your HVAC system does not have a C wire.
Ecobee3 WiFi Thermostat is available here for a competitive price.
Garage door openers and locks
Amazon Echo makes it more convenient for you to open your garage doors and your front door. With this, you no longer have to get out of your car, open your garage door, and get into your car again. You no longer have to put down your bags of groceries and fumble in your pocket or bag for your house keys, too.
Here are the smart garage door and lock brands that are compatible with Amazon Echo.
Garageio allows you to control your garage door using your smartphone. It also has integrations with some smart watches and you can access Garageio’s dashboard using any computer or smartphone.
The dashboard is where you go to view your garage door’s activities, such as when it was opened and when it was closed. You can also share access with other people via the dashboard, so if you have other family members or guests staying at home, they can enter through the garage door without having to bug you every time.
Garageio works with most existing garage openers, which means that you do not have to buy a compatible opener to use it.
However, what makes Garagio more convenient than you current garage door opener is its integrations. It works with IFTTT recipes that give you some degree of automation. For instance, you can use an IFTTT recipe to automatically close the garage door when it starts to rain, to close it as soon as you leave home, and also to open the garage door when you arrive. As you can see, the IFTTT integration keeps your smartphone in your pocket.
It also has integrations with Smart Things, Stringifym, Amazon Fire TV, MyKnock and Amazon Echo. You can say “Alexa, tell Garageio to open/close the door” and that’s it. You don’t even need to fish out your smartphone anymore.
If you are interested, you can buy Garageio at this listing.
#9 August Smart Lock 2.0
The August Smart Lock 2.0 allows you to answer you door from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. You can also give family and friends virtual keys that they can use to get into your house. Access can be granted for a few hours or for as long as necessary. You can also give virtual keys that work only on certain dates and times.
Get near the August Smart Lock and it will unlock itself. It will also lock itself after you close the door.
It connects to your Wi-Fi and comes with a companion app that allows you to see a log of people who entered your house and to create virtual keys.
The August Smart Lock 2.0 has a better design compared to its earlier version and is very easy to install. It also helps that the mobile app has a very simple interface while also packed with features and can work intuitively.
While the August Smart Lock 2.0 allows you to keep your hands free when opening the door, you can also use Amazon Echo to unlock the door even without going near it. This would come in handy when a friend arrives and you are in the shower. No need to stumble out dripping wet as you can just tell Alexa to open the door!
The August Smart Lock is available at this Amazon listing for a good price.
Others: Honorable Mentions
Needless to say, opening doors, turning lights on or off, and turning up the heat are not the only things that Amazon Echo can do for you. There are a wide variety of other devices that it can control, including:
#10 WeMo Switch Smart Plug
The beauty of smart and connected power outlets is that they allow you to control even non-connected devices. For instance, if you have an appliance such as an electric fan or a lamp, you can plug it into a smart power outlet and have the ability to turn it off anywhere.
The WeMo Switch Smart Plug works with lamps, stereos, heaters, fans, TVs, and other appliances.
It allows you to use your mobile phone to remotely turn off any plugged appliance and even set a schedule for these appliances to turn on or off by themselves. This can be useful for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you are going on a vacation, you can set your WeMo Switch Smart Plug to automatically turn your radio on and off, creating an illusion that somebody’s home. Or, if you forgot to unplug your clothes iron, you do not have to hurry home as you can just cut the power off using your mobile phone.
WeMo Switch Smart Plug works with Amazon Echo, and you can turn off any appliance using voice command. It also works with Nest Learning Thermostat, where the smart plug would use the smart thermostat’s ‘home’ and ‘away’ modes to turn on or turn off any appliance. Further, it also works with IFTTT recipes.
The WeMo Switch Smart Plug is available at this listing on Amazon.
#11 Nucleus Anywhere Intercom
The Nucleus Anywhere Intercom is a smart video intercom that makes it easier for you and your family to communicate with one another. It can connect to other Nucleus devices, allowing you to either check up on the kids in the other room or talk with a neighbor who also owns a Nucleus. It can also connect with family members who have the Nucleus app on their smartphone
The home screen has pictures of room where other Nucleus intercoms are positioned and if you want to talk to somebody in a certain room, all you have to do is to tap on the designated picture. It works just like the old intercoms, only that you have two-way audio and video feeds and it can be used outside the home.
The Nucleus device has privacy features you would surely appreciate. For one, communication between two Nucleus devices stays on your home network instead of being transmitted over the Internet. This makes it possible to work with Nucleus even when the Internet goes down. It also ensures that your conversations are kept private. Nucleus only uses Internet connectivity when you try to talk to somebody outside the house.
The Nucleus unit also has the privacy button and the “Do Not Disturb” button. With the privacy button, you can also set incoming calls to be answered automatically. If you turn the privacy button off, you would need to manually answer or reject calls. Meanwhile, the Do Not Disturb button blocks any incoming call.
It can also act like Amazon Echo. Pressing a small button on the home screen, you can command it to do anything Alexa can do. That means you can use Alexa’s features or functionalities even when the room doesn’t have an Amazon Echo.
However, a sorely lacking but useful feature is the ability to use voice command to call somebody. Right now, Nucleus will only act like Alexa, but there is no way for you to tell it to place a call.
The Nucleus Anywhere Intercom is perfect for families who live in bigger houses. If you have family members and kids who are not tech savvy, this allows them to stay in touch with you with just a simple tap. No more numbers to remember, no more apps to launch. Also, instead of buying a whole lot of Amazon Echos or Dots, you can use this as a way to check up on the kids or to talk to your wife in another room.
The Nucleus Intercom is available in various packages at this listing.
#12 Samsung Powerbot Turbo VR9350
Samsung’s Powerbot Turbo VR9350 promises a very powerful suction technology that delivers 70x more than the leading brand. It also uses a visual mapping technology that makes use of nine different sensors and a digital camera embedded into the top of the unit.
You also do not have to clean the device that much because of the CycloneForce design that uses centrifugal forces to separate the debris and the dirt into different chambers. As a result, the filter is clogged less frequently.
The Samsung Powerbot Turbo VR9350 also has EasyPass technology that helps it clean all floor types. You can also connect your robot vacuum to a Wi-Fi network and control it using your mobile phone. If that’s not enough convenience for you, you can just turn on the Samsung skill on and ask Alexa to tell your Powerbot to start cleaning.
For the latest pricing on the Powerbot Turbo, check out this listing here.
#13 Automatic Pro
Automatic Labs has a device that you can connect to your car’s diagnostics and help you know your car’s fuel efficiency, your driving habits, and the costs of your trips. Automatic Pro helps you learn more about your car so that you can save fuel in a way that even kids can understand.
Automatic Pro’s range of features includes business expense tagging, trip logging, fill-up logging, engine light diagnostics, crash alert, parking, tracking, event-based apps, and streaming apps, along with unlimited 3G connectivity.
More than giving you all of these information and features, Automatic Pro also supports IFTTT integration and works with Amazon Echo.
You can just say, “Alexa, where’s my car?” to see where you have parked your vehicle. You can also ask Alexa to see if you need to fill up on fuel and how much you have driven last week, or yesterday.
Automatic Pro is available here, if you are interested.
#14 Orange Chef
Orange Chef is a smart food scale that allows you to accurately measure food ingredients and gives you advise on how much more of a particular ingredient to add to a specific dish. Unlike similar app-enabled scales, Orange Chef also has some great integration that extends its functions.
For instance, it works with your Jawbone Up to suggest the perfect post-workout food items and how to prepare them. It can also check if you have a Crock-Pot or Vitamix and suggest several recipes that you could cook.
Orange Chef also works with Amazon Echo, so you can ask Alexa about the nutritional content of the food you are preparing.
Orange Chef retails for $99.95 but prices can be much lower on Amazon here.
#15 GE Cafe Series Keurig Fridge
The GE Cafe Series Keurig Fridge is a great refrigerator that also brews the perfect cup of coffee. You can even make sure that you have available hot water just by scheduling it in time for your tea or coffee break.
The GE Cafe Series Keurig Fridge has a companion app that allows you to schedule your hot water or start heating water even when you’re out of the house. No products found.
The GE Cafe Series Keurig Fridge retails for over $3000, but you can find it for less at this listing. It’s a bit stiff, but it has great features found on high-end smart refrigerators, including an option to tell (via Alexa) it to heat water or to turn on TurboCool.
These are just some of the best devices that work with Amazon Echo. There are admittedly a lot more that you can get to make the most out of Alexa’s awesome – and continually expanding – capabilities! You can surely expect more in the future as Amazon is committed to working with third parties to help bring more compatible devices to the market.