“Alexa, turn on the living room light.”
I have two Alexa-enabled light bulbs, the ALLOMN Wifi Smart Bulb and the Wi-Fi Smart LED Bulb by Tastech. I opted for these bulbs because they’re inexpensive, colored, and Alexa-enabled. They’re passable, functionable bulbs. They can be a variety of colors and are dimmable. Alexa knows how to change the color and is familiar with handful of basic colors: red, blue, teal, pink, etc. My biggest concern with these bulbs, in specific? The apps. There’s no ability to set favorite presets. For example, I can’t find a particular shade of blue that looks great with my decor and be able to say “turn light to preset 1” or even bring up the app and access that preset. Also, these lights don’t sync with music like many other, high-end bulbs can. Furthermore, I do not recommend the bulb by Tastech (which uses the SmartLife app). The colors are often slightly skewed; the “orange” setting is more yellow; the “pink” is nearly white. We’re putting it in a socket by the door, so that we can say, “Alexa, turn on the family room light” when we get home. The ALLOMN light has richer colors, but an equally simple app (eFamilyCloud).
What bulb do I recommend? I recommend the YEELIGHT Smart LED Bulb; right now it’s only $25 on Amazon. It;s fairly bright and has a great app that will sync the bulb with music and it allows for custom preset colors. It is responsive and easy to use. I haven’t personally used it yet, but after my research and experience with other bulbs, I plan on picking up one of these bad boys soon for our living room dance parties.
Other Smart Home devices
There are a bunch of other smart home devices that are Alexa enabled. For example, I’d love to have a wi-fi thermostat that’s Alexa enabled. For one, you can change the temperature remotely using a device-specific app. Like, if you set turned the AC off while you’re on vacation, you can bring up the app on your way home and turn the air conditioning on. (Or you can do the opposite; turn the heat up after turning it down while you’re away.) With some, you can ask Alexa what the temperature is inside the house. Should you turn the heat on when it’s a chilly fall day? Turn it on with your voice after checking how warm the house is already.
You can also get smart plugs, which control the power flow to a device. Maybe you like having the radio on whenever you want, but there aren’t Alexa radios. Plug the radio in to the smart plug, with the power on. Then you can just tell Alexa to turn the radio on (or however you name the smart plug) and it’ll turn on. This will only work with devices that can be permanently turned on, like a radio or non-smart bulb lamp.
Also, you may have seen the commercials that allow Alexa to control your DISH Hopper, and that’s just one of the great uses. (I’m not a DISH user, so I can’t personally verify its usefulness, but as someone who has children often hiding remotes, I bet it’s pretty great.)
So what else can Alexa do around the house, without any extra devices? So much, my friends. So much.
News and Weather
- Alexa, what’s the temperature? We use the weather commands a lot. It’s nice to easily get the weather without opening an app. I like it in the morning when getting ready for school to find out if Binnybeans needs a sweater or jacket for the day.
- Alexa, what’s the weather like?
- Alexa, what’s the forecast for tomorrow?
- Alexa, what’s my flash briefing? This tells you the latest news. You can change which news sources are provided in the Skills section of the Alexa app.
It’s all about Time…
- Alexa, set a timer for __. You can name the timer or just set a generic timer. If you are running multiple timers, I recommend naming them. For example, I used it to time something I was baking, but I needed to put Binnybeans on time out during that time. So I set a “time out” timer.
- Alexa, set a homework timer for 30 minutes.
- Alexa, remind me to ____ in [time].
- Alexa, add [event] to my calendar for [day] at [time]. Link your phone’s calendar with the Alexa app and easily set appointments before you forget them!
- Alexa, when is [holiday] this year?
- Alexa, order ___. If you have kids in the house, make sure to set a passcode. Otherwise, you may have unexpected treats showing up at your doorstep!
- Alexa, put ___ in my cart. Like the order command, but this only puts it in your cart instead of completing the whole order.
- Alexa, where’s my stuff? This will track your recent Amazon orders for you.
Below are an affiliate links to purchase the various Alexa enabled Amazon devices. If you purchase them through my link, I get a small commission, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for helping to support this blog!