Tuesday , October 20 2020

The best Alexa-compatible smart-home devices for Amazon Echo – Engadget, Thewirecutter.com


Best smart light bulbs for Alexa

A glowing Philips Hue smart lightbulb with a red cord laying on a table next to a smartphone with the Philips Hue app open.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

(The) **************************** (Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A) smart bulb was the first smart product to join Alexa’s friends list, and it’s our pick as thebest smart light bulb. All current Hue models work with Alexa, allowing you to power multiple lights on and off, dim them, change a bulb’s color, and even create light groups to enable color schemes throughout the house on command. Just know that in addition to your Alexa device, you’ll also need the Hue Bridge (unless you get theEcho Plus, which includes a Zigbee radio like the Hue Bridge), a hub that can handle up to (Hue-ified lights.)

Similar to the Philips Hue, the (LIFX A) bulb works with Alexa, so you can verbally power, dim, and change the colors of the lights. LIFX doesn’t have quite as many partners or the same versatility as the Hue lineup. However, LIFX bulbs work with Wi-Fi (versus Zigbee for the Hue series), so you don’t need a separate hub or gateway.

Best smart plugs for Alexa

The Wemo Mini; it has a three-pronged plug in it and a simple power button on the right front face.
Photo: Rachel Cericola

Our pick

(The) ***************************************** (Wemo Mini) ************************** (smart plug)our preferred plug-in smart outlet) is one of the many Wemo devices that you can control with Alexa. It plugs into any outlet and connects to your Wi-Fi network, so you can turn fans, lights, coffee makers, and pretty much anything else on and off from your smartphone or using Alexa voice commands. The app also allows you to group outlets with lights and other appliances, so you can control everything with a single voice command.

Although not quite as versatile as the Wemo, the iClever IC-BS is one of the few smart plugs that can be used outdoors. It’s also the only Alexa-compatible unit that features two outlets that you can control independently using the sound of your voice.

Best smart light switches for Alexa

An array of uninstalled light switches resting on a table.
Photo: Rachel Cericola

Our pick

Lutron’s Casétais a strong wireless lighting-control system on its own, andone that we recommendto people who want a good lighting system but don’t necessarily need all of the other features that a system like SmartThings offers. Alexa works with Caséta in-wall dimmer switches and plug-in dimmer switches, and you can group them so you can turn off lights in an entire room or section of the house with the sound of your voice. For instance, you can put the Caséta system in your entertainment space and make a room movie-ready by saying something like, “Alexa, turn off all theater lights.” You can even use your voice to set dimming levels. It’s also convenient that Caséta switches are often paired with a separate remote, which you can mount or leave in that room; that way, you can bring up the lights while the action is still on-screen without having to call out.

If you don’t want or need another device (or at least the expense of one), the Wemo Dimmer can turn lights on, off, and to specific dimming levels using any existing Wi-Fi network and Alexa.

Best smart thermostats for Alexa

Our pick for the best smart thermostat, the Nest E. It has a round screen displaying a temperature of 76 degrees in large blue numbers.
Photo: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

Our pick

What’s the current temperature setting on your Nest Thermostat E ? Ask Alexa. The voice assistant can also raise and lower temperatures or set ourtop smart-thermostat pickto Away mode. If you don’t use the Nest’s geofencing features (and many people don’t), the ability to verbally adjust temperature settings can be a favorite feature. Multiple-thermostat owners can also call for specific devices by naming each Nest.

TheEcobee4works with Alexa in the same way as the Nest, and actually has the voice assistant built in, so you have no need for a separate device. You can just say, “Alexa, tell Ecobee I’m hot,” and the assistant will adjust the temperature a few degrees for you. Another big difference between the two smart thermostats is that the Ecobee model includes sensors that you can place in any room, so you can ask Alexa about the temperature all around your home. Alexa can also use the Ecobee model to control your system’s fan, tell you what equipment is running, and switch between heat, cool, and auto modes.

Best robot vacuums for Alexa

Eight of the robot vacuums we tested sitting in rows on a geometric patterned carpet.
Photo: Liam McCabe

Our pick

Few people love vacuuming. Of course, robot vacuums make the chore as easy as pushing a button. However, theiRobot Roomba 690andiRobot Roomba 960ensure that you never even have to lift that one finger, thanks to Alexa integration.

Alexa allows you to bark out orders to command that Wi-Fi – connected robot army to start, stop, or resume cleaning. You can even ask Alexa to locate the little buggers, if they’ve gone rogue and wandered off into another part of the house. We go into more detail about each model in our guide tothe best robot vacuums, but the main difference is that the Roomba 960 is designed for larger spaces — and currently costs about twice as much as the 690.

Best home security cameras for Alexa

A Logitech Circle 2 doorbell camera sitting on a table.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

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Adding Alexa control to Wi-Fi security cameras allows you to arm and disarm cameras as you enter and exit your home, as well as to call up specific cameras located around the house to view live feeds through the Echo Show, Echo Spot, or Amazon Fire TV.

Logitech’s Circle 2works with the (Echo Show) ,Echo Spot, and (Fire TV) , so you can call up live feeds from different devices around the house. Designed to work indoors and outdoors,our favorite indoor security cameracan also accept prompts through Alexa to turn the camera on, disable the privacy mode, and even initiate recordings on command.

If you’re looking for a peek at the outdoors,Netgear’s Arlo Pro 2offers views almost anywhere, with a rechargeable battery that provides the option to go completely wireless. The (Nest Cam Outdoor) , our top pick amongoutdoor security cameras, does have a cord — the only weatherproof one we found included with the purchase — as well as the ability to distinguish between people and pets (with a paidNest Awaresubscription). You can bring up both on the Echo Show or the Fire TV for a peek at outside action from the couch or under a blanket.

Best smart door locks for Alexa

The Yale YDR256 Assure SL Connected by August smart lock on a door. It has a keypad with glowing blue numbers.
Photo: Jon Chase

Our pick

For easy keyless entry to your home via smartphone or keypad, theYale Assure SL Connected by Augustcan’t be beat. With Alexa you can use your voice to check door lock status or lock the door at bedtime.Our favoriteAlexa-compatible smart lock includes a handy keypad, making it easy for guests to use. It comes with the August Connect gateway, which connects the lock to the Internet for remote access.

Best doorbell cameras for Alexa

A close up of our pick for best smart doorbell camera, the Ring Video Doorbell 2, attached to an exterior wall next to a door knob.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

As we describe inour guide to smart doorbell cameras, theRing Video Doorbell 2offers a quick peek at who’s on the other side of the door, using theEcho Show, (Echo Spot) , orFire TV. At this time, however, you can’t use Alexa to talk to the person on the other side of the camera.

Like the Ring, theNest Hellowill show you who is at the door, but won’t allow you to talk to welcome and unwelcome guests. However, it offers 24 / 7 video recording, AI- powered motion detection, and facial recognition — but only with an active (Nest Aware) ************************** (subscription.)

Best smart garage-door controllers for Alexa

A smart garage-door controller attached to the ceiling of a garage.
Photo: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

Our pick

TheGogogate 2is our favorite smart garage-door controller with Alexa support — when you’re carrying groceries, luggage, or children, you can ask Alexa to open and close the door and have it respond accordingly.As our upgrade pick, it can even integrate cameras, so you can view the status of your door from the app.

Best smart sprinkler controllers for Alexa

The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller smart sprinkler controller attached to a brick wall.

Photo: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

Our pick

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(Rachio 3)

The best smart sprinkler controller

Rachio’s smart sprinkler, the easiest model we tested, allows you to call up a quick showe r for shrubs using Alexa voice commands.

Buying Options

* At the time of publishing, the price was $ 200.

TheRachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controllercan smarten up yard work with an easy- to-use interface and Alexa support. That means you can ask Alexa to have the system turn on and off, water specific zones, and delay run times. As we mention inour guide, the one drawback i s that this system lacks any type of local control, so if your Internet service is down, you won’t be able to make any schedule adjustments.

Best media streaming devices for Alexa

Best kitchen appliances for Alexa

The ChefSteps Joule, a tall white cylinder with a power cable, in a metal pot
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Our pick

For the most part, Alexa’s kitchen utility is limited to its timer-setting abilities and basic recipe-reading skills. But some appliances are beginning to integrate voice controls to varying degrees of success. Web-enabled sous vide circulators are among the earliest adopters thus far.

Cooking sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) allows you to experience restaurant-quality dishes at home by submerging vacuum-sealed food in a water bath. These cookers have been available for home use for a while and recently have become very affordable — and also very high-tech.

Putting an Echo speaker in your kitchen lets you rock out while preparing a meal. Now it can also help you cook. Although ourtop sous vide pickdoesn’t have Alexa capability, our runner-up , theChefSteps Joule, does, making it the perfect sous chef. You can call out to check the status of a steak, adjust temperatures, and even get a little extra direction.

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