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These smart home devices for Alexa will both simplify and improve your lifestyle. All you have to do is start with the magic word.
With an Amazon Alexa device, you can hear a weather report, play music, and even purchase items from Amazon, all using nothing more than your voice. If you add some Amazon Echo accessories, you can also dim the lights, see who’s at the door, lock the house, water the lawn, vacuum, and do even more just by asking.
No matter which Alexa device you have—whether Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Sub, Echo Show, or another device that comes with Alexa built-in, such as the Sonos One—you can get more out of it by adding some smart Amazon Echo accessories. Many people start small with light bulbs and plugs, because they’re some of the most affordable Alexa-compatible devices. We have a few recommendations for those products if you haven’t kicked off your smart home with them yet. If you’re ready to add even more devices, however, this list of the 12 best Amazon Echo accessories should get you well on your way.
The best Amazon Echo Accessories
Lighting is often the starting point for smart homes, and it’s hard to do better than Philips Hue. The Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit E26 sets you up with four bulbs that shine white or a range of colors and one bridge. You need that bridge to connect to Alexa. Once you own one, however, you can connect as many as 50 bulbs. While Philips Hue is one of the most trusted brands in smart home lighting, many others work with Alexa, too, such as Sengled, Lifx, and Kasa.
2) TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug ($13.98)
Smart plugs are like little adapters that make any appliances or electronics you connect to them smarter. With these Wi-Fi plugs from TP-Link, you can turn devices on or off by telling Alexa what you want, or set a schedule for when to turn them on or off. You could set up your coffeemaker the night before and automatically have it brew at the same time as your alarm clock, or have it wait for your voice command. Other smart plugs worth considering are the Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug, iHome ISP100 for outdoor use, and the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip. That last one maximizes the number of smart plugs you get from one ordinary socket.
3) August Smart Lock Pro and Connect ($199)
Perhaps the next step up in creating a smart home is to add a smart door lock. The August Smart Lock Pro lets you lock and unlock your door, or merely check that it’s locked, using your voice. This model attaches to most single cylinder deadbolts without changing the external keyhole, making it an option even for some renters. It includes keyless access features. If your guests download the August app, you can give them temporary access to your home. Note that to connect to Alexa, you need an August Connect device, too, which you can buy as a bundle with the lock. Other locks that make for great Amazon Echo accessories include Kwikset Kevo, which requires a hub, and the keypad style Yale Assure Lock SL (YRD256).
4) SkyBell HD Doorbell ($199)
SkyBell’s HD Doorbell is more than just a buzzer. It’s a Wi-Fi video system with two-way audio, motion sensors, and color night vision. When someone rings your bell, no matter if you’re home or away, you can see on your smartphone who’s there and chat with them through the intercom. With this model, you get free cloud video recording with no subscription fees.
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When you connect the SkyBell HD Doorbell to an Echo device, you can ask Alexa to take a snapshot or record a video quickly, in case you need to identify suspicious people at your door. As of this writing, the SkyBell HD Doorbell is out of stock. If you don’t want to wait for it, a good alternative is the Nest Hello Video Doorbell.
5) Nest Cam Outdoor ($178)
A video doorbell will give you one vantage point to see what’s happening outside your home. Add other outdoor cameras, however, and you can get a much better view on what’s happening around your home. The Nest Cam Outdoor works with Amazon Alexa to give you nonstop video surveillance outside. Say, “Alexa, show the backyard camera,” and you can see what’s happening via any Amazon video player, such as an Amazon Show. You’ll need a Nest Aware subscription, starting at $5 per month, to record video and retrieve it later, as the free tier of service only lets you watch the video feed live. Two other security cameras for Alexa that are worth considering are the indoor/outdoor Logitech Circle 2 ($179.99) and the cordless Arlo Pro 2 ($219.99).
6) Fitbit devices (prices vary)
Fitbit devices track how much you walk, sleep, exercise, and more. Alexa works well with Fitbit when you don’t want to get sucked into looking at your phone merely to see your stats. Instead, you can ask Alexa how much you slept last night. Every Fitbit device can be an Amazon Echo accessory because the two connect at the app level rather than through the device itself. That said, I’m a fan of the Fitbit Charge 3 ($149.95), shown above, which includes 24/7 heart rate monitoring and has superb battery life.
7) Nest Learning Thermostat ($209)
Control the temperature of your home using your voice, Amazon Alexa, and the Nest Learning Thermostat. Nest thermostats have quickly become a staple in smart homes. They work not only in freestanding houses but also many apartments. The Learning model figures out over time what temperatures you like at different times of the day. With Alexa connected, you can make any room warmer or cooler just by asking. Several other smart thermostats make great Amazon Alexa accessories, too. Two worth noting are the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat ($199) and ecobee4 ($249).
8) Garmin Speak Plus With Amazon Alexa ($59.99)
There’s now a way to get Alexa into your car. The Garmin Speak Plus is a dash cam with GPS that comes with Alexa built into it. It’s probably more accurate to call it an Amazon Alexa-enabled device than an accessory—so be it. Either way, this tiny windshield-mounted device gives directions, records video while you’re driving, detects potential collisions, and can do everything an Amazon Echo can. For example, if you’re driving to work and get a phone call that your kid is locked out of the house, you can use your voice to unlock your smart door lock without taking your eyes off the road. It’s also a great road trip companion for trivia and jokes to keep your mind alert while driving.
9) Amazon Cloud Cam ($119.99)
Amazon Cloud Cam is a great Echo accessory if you want a general purpose indoor camera. It won’t break the bank either, although you need a subscription, starting at $6.99 per month, to retrieve video from the cloud. Amazon’s camera records in 1080p and has night vision. It can also notify you via your smartphone when it detects motion. It can even tell the difference between a person and other objects moving, such as pets or your Roomba. Depending on your needs, another indoor camera might be a better Alexa accessory. They’re likely to be more expensive than Amazon’s own option, however. Cameras by Nest, Wyze, D-Link, and Netgear are among the best.
10) iRobot Roomba 980 ($799)
When your home is smart, the way to vacuum is like this: “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning.” Is using voice commands to sweep too much? Too bourgeoisie? Maybe. But there’s no denying it’s convenient. This model not only sweeps and vacuums, but it also recharges itself if the battery gets low in the middle of a job. Then it resumes cleaning. While the Roomba 980 is the newest and most advanced Echo accessory from iRobot, there are others. Alexa also works with Roomba 690, 890, and 960.
11) Brilliant Control (starting at $299)
Brilliant Control is a panel that lets you control your smart home, from playing music to dimming the lights. It comes with Amazon Alexa preinstalled (similar to the Garmin Speak Plus). In other words, mount the Brilliant Control in your living room and you can move your Amazon Echo device elsewhere. You no longer need it in the living room because the Brilliant Control will do the same job. The panel replaces an existing light switch and instantly adds a dimmer to the connected light. You’ll need some basic electrical know-how or the help of an electrician to install it. If you have two or more Brilliant Controls in your house, you can use them as a video intercom system.
12) Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller ($229.99)
Whether you’ll water your lawn using your voice may be a moot point when considering the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler. The fact is, this weather-based watering controller makes sure your lawn doesn’t get watered if it doesn’t need it. The system connects to an existing sprinkler system and replaces your old control unit. You can also create zones that receive different amounts of water. You can say, “Alexa, tell Rachio to water the backyard for 10 minutes,” and it shall be done.
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Jill Duffy is a writer covering technology and personal productivity. She writes most often about software, fitness gadgets, and smart home devices. Her work has appeared in PCMag, FastCompany, Vogue India, The Ritz-Carlton Magazine, Prevention Magazine, and other publications. She has lived in the U.S., U.K., and India, and currently resides in Romania.