How to connect your smart home gadgets to your Amazon Alexa device

amazon echo vs apple homepod

No matter your interest or level of experience in smart homes, you probably know it’s possible to use specialty apps to control your smart devices individually.

However, there’s an easier, more streamlined way: you can connect all your smart home gadgets to your Amazon Echo device, then tell Alexa to control them.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow (analysts predict that the $85 billion sensor market alone is expected to grow to more than $115 billion by next year), reliance on voice assistants like the Echo and the Google Home are likely to increase as well.  After all, nobody wants to toggle between a dozen different apps to control their smart gadgets when they can just ask Alexa to do it for them, right?

Instead, use the tips below to integrate all of your smart home tech with the Echo so you can use it as the central hub of your smart house.

Pair Alexa with your home’s lighting

You likely turn the lights off and on dozens of times per day. Synching compatible smart lights like Philips Hue with the Echo lets you do that without having to move from the couch.

First, launch the Alexa app and tap the menu icon at the top left. From there, choose Smart Home. You’ll then see a text-and-icon list of any currently connected home devices.

There’s also an Add Device option accompanied by a plus sign (+). Tapping Add Device triggers Alexa to search for new Wi-Fi enabled smart home products. Soon, you should see your new lights (assuming you already have them up and running) appear on the list.

If you have more than one smart light in a room, it’s a good idea to set up lighting groups. To do that, go back to the Smart Home section of the Alexa app. Then, tap the Groups header near the top of the screen. Next, choose Add Group, then Smart Home Group and give the group a name.

Select all the devices that belong to the newly created group, such as the smart lights in one room. Then, tap the blue Save button.

After that, you can use Alexa voice commands that include an individual light or all in one group. For example, you might say, “Alexa, dim the lights in the office” or “Alexa, turn on the light in the bedroom.”

Connect your Alexa device to your smart lock

schlage smart deadbolt google assistant  sense with wifi adapter lifestyle 2

There’s one consistent characteristic about the leading smart locks on the market today, and it may seem counterproductive at first: Alexa cannot unlock your front door. But the fact that they can only lock it is presumably to prevent a criminal from shouting a command to gain access or otherwise making a burglary easier to pull off.

So, assuming that isn’t a deterrent for you, here’s how you can sync your smart lock up with Alexa.

In this case, we’ll focus on the Schlage Sense Deadbolt. If you have a different kind of smart lock, the steps to set it up with your Echo should be similar.

The first step involves installing a Wi-Fi adapter within 40 feet of the smart lock. Next, download the Schlage Sense Android or iOS app and create an account. Use the app to connect the Wi-Fi adapter to the lock.

After that, enable the Schlage Sense Alexa skill. Just launch the Alexa app, choose Skills from the menu on the upper left and search for the one you want. Now you’re set to use the skill to make Alexa lock the door, check the lock’s status or manage access codes.

See security camera footage with Alexa and the Echo Show

If your Amazon Echo model is the Echo Show, it has a video screen. That means that depending on which smart security camera you have, you’ll be able to see footage from a security camera through your Echo Show.

Ring and Netgear are two of the many companies offering that technology with their products and have created specific Skills to facilitate it.

After purchasing a smart security camera that works with the Echo Show, activate the associated skill. Then, you can say a command such as, “Alexa, show me the front door camera,” to see who’s responsible for the knock you just heard. It’s as easy as that.

Adjust the temperature in a room

how to hide wires tech smart apartment ecobee3 amazon echo

Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell are some of the top brands that offer smart thermostats controlled by your Amazon Echo. All those companies have Alexa Skills to enable, and if you purchase an Alexa-enabled thermostat from a different brand, expect to go through these same steps.

Launch the Alexa app, then tap the menu located in the upper left. Select Smart Home, then choose the Get More Smart Home Skills option, which is visible after you swipe down. Find the brand name of your smart thermostat and tap it. Then, select Enable Skill.

The extent of voice command functionality varies depending on the thermostat you buy. However, in most cases, you can raise or lower the temperature by a specific number of degrees or set it to a particular temperature reading. Depending on the skill, the commands can be more vague, such as “Alexa, cool down.”

Talk to almost any device connected to a smart plug

Forecasts predict that there will be 50 billion internet-connected devices by 2020. Smart plugs and outlets are a great way to smartify your home without making major investments or home alterations. They enhance the capabilities of almost any item plugged in to them. In addition to buying devices with built-in smart functionality, you can pair older, standard devices with smart plugs to unlock voice control features.

The setup process varies slightly by smart outlet brand, but you can get started by purchasing a type of smart plug that works with Alexa. The TP-Link Smart Plug is a great example.

Next, follow the manufacturers’ instructions, which may involve downloading a product app to initially set up an account before syncing to Alexa or downloading an Alexa skill.

You’ll also need to name each plug or address them by referring to a group, the same way you would when setting up lights.

Consider naming each plug to represent both the room name and gadget name, such as “living room floor lamp.”

After that, just insert the name of the plug into your voice command when talking to Alexa, such as “Alexa, turn on the living room floor lamp.”

Whether you’re just beginning to set up your smart home or have more smart devices than you know what to do with, using your Echo as a smart home hub can simplify the experience. Before you know it, you’ll to talking to yourself, er, we mean Alexa, in no time.


The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can browse profiles, trophies, and other content directly on your mobile device.

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Smart Home

Hosting Thanksgiving but not sure where to begin? Try a Thanksgiving meal kit

Need a Thanksgiving meal, but short on time or expertise? Here are the best Thanksgiving meal kits to help you out. They either give you all the ingredients and instructions, or provide a full Thanksgiving meal that you just have to heat.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.
Smart Home

This old-school bus is now a solar-powered home on wheels

Michael Fuehrer of Nowhere Navigation decided to gut an old yellow school bus and turned it into a tiny home on wheels, complete with a full kitchen and shower inside and a solar panel on top.
Smart Home

Cloud slime, butter slime, scented slime -- we have your next DIY project covered

We researched dozens of different ingredients and tried several slime recipes. While some recipes are generally pretty safe, others are questionable at best. Which recipes should you use, and which should you avoid?
Product Review

Tovala cooks delicious, idiotproof meals healthier than takeout. For a price

The Tovala Steam Oven is a countertop appliance that can serve up dinner in about 20 minutes with zero prep. The drawback is that the ready-to-heat meals, while tasty, are $12 each.