The 30 best Alexa skills in 2024

best Alexa skills
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You can think of the best Alexa skills as audio apps that greatly expand the capabilities of Amazon's personal voice assistant. Alexa powers Amazon Echo smart displays and the best Alexa speakers. You can even summon Alexa hands-free on your smartphone as well as a number of the best wearable devices.

Amazon has added plenty of features to its smart assistant over the years. However, enabling the best Alexa skills can help you further customize its abilities to better help with your personal everyday needs. There are currently more than 100,000 Alexa skills available, which assist in tasks like controlling the best smart home devices, ordering pizza, playing trivia games, listening to the news and weather, shopping online, starting your car, and even talking to your plants to help them grow

After combing through hundreds of offerings from different brands and developers, here is a comprehensive list of the best Alexa skills that will help you get the most out of Amazon's assistant. Plus some of the most recent additions to the skills library, like Daily Music Pick.

Check out our guide on how to use Alexa for even more tips and tricks.

best alexa skills

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Alexa Emergency Assist

This subscription feature replaces the excellent and free Alexa Guard skill. Still, it's well worth its $5.99 per month price as it turns your Echo smart speakers into security devices with a 24/7 professional monitoring service. Enable this skill on your Alexa devices to call emergency services from them as well as have them passively listen out for signs of trouble such as glass breaking or your smoke alarm going off. Your Alexa app will then send you a notification with a button to call the monitoring team that can dispatch authorities when it hears anything suspicious. Emergency Assist is especially helpful when you're out of the house.

2. Find your phone

If you're someone who is constantly misplacing your mobile device (or have little ones who steal it to get their YouTube fix) then the Find My Phone skill is a lifesaver. Just say "Alexa, find my phone," and your Echo will call your cell so that you can listen out for its ring or vibration. It's a simple, but effective app that saves time especially when you’re in a rush to head out the door.

3. Have Alexa talk to and manage your plants

This new skill can be accessed by saying "Alexa, be my plant whisperer" to have it whisper positive affirmations to your greenery. It also has a companion routine that will remind you to water your plants, automatically turn your smart lights on and off on a schedule, adjust your temperature, and then play a plant-friendly music playlist to encourage growth. This skill also deeply expands Alexa's knowledge of plant types and ways to care for them. You can now ask Alexa more than 35 new questions ranging from "How much light does my Aloe Vera need?" to "How often should I repot my peace lily?"

4. Get a more accurate weather report

While Alexa has built-in support for forecasts, Big Sky is among the best Alexa skills for giving you accurate, up-to-the-minute weather information. That's because it provides hyper-local forecasts based on your street address. The service uses information from Dark Sky, and can provide data such as wind speed and humidity. 

5. Wind down for bed

Enable the Sleep Sounds skill to have Alexa play a variety of relaxing noises to help you relax before bed. There are over 125 audio clips to pick from such as ocean waves, thunderstorms, pink noise, and crackles from a fireplace. You can expand past these realistic options with sounds like the howl of a space deck. Check out our top picks for the best Alexa ambient sound skills for even more recommendations.

6. Get exclusive Amazon deals

If you ask "Alexa, what are your deals?" you'll hear a series of Amazon Prime member-exclusive deals that you need an Alexa-enabled device to take advantage of. Once you've carried out a purchase, you can ask Alexa for updates on your delivery status, as well as place a reorder. Visit Amazon's Voice Shopping page to get the sentences you'll need to say to trigger one of the best Alexa skills available to use now.

7. Make a donation

Through Alexa, you can donate to a charity or organization. Just say "Alexa, donate $20 to the American Cancer Society," or even more simply, "Alexa, make a donation," and then you will be prompted to choose an organization and a dollar amount. Currently, there are over 270 charities with which this feature works, including the American Heart Association, ASPCA, Doctors Without Borders, One Laptop Per Child, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Here is a complete list of organizations that accept voice donations via Alexa.

8. Get nutrition tips

Trying to make some healthy adjustments to your diet? You can ask Alexa for quick nutrition tips if you need a place to start. Although you should seek out a certified nutritionist for ongoing concerns about your diet, your voice assistant can offer some generic advice based on healthy lifestyle topics sourced from the Mayo Clinic. Just say, “Alexa, give me a nutrition tip."

9. Get recipe ideas

It's hard to pick just one of the best Alexa skills for cooking, as there are so many that serve different needs. Some of our favorite skills include Easy Meal Ideas for quick-and-easy recipe recommendations,  America's Test Kitchen Daily Cooking Q&A, from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, which posts new recipes, tips and techniques in its weekly Q&A. Morton's Salting Sous Chef can tell you exactly how to salt everything you're cooking, and delivers general salting tips as well. If you have an Echo Show 8 or Echo Show, just say "Alexa, show me recipes" and select your favorite, and Alexa will walk you through the steps.

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

10. Listen to audiobooks

If you enjoy reading, you might also like audiobooks, since they let you to 'read' a book while doing other things. Of all the best Alexa skills for audiobooks, Audible is the top pick.  Audible, a mobile audiobook service, lets you play your current read through your Alexa speaker and control it with your voice. Alternatively, you can listen to certain Amazon Kindle books through an Alexa speaker, even if you don't have one of the best Kindles

11. Call another Alexa-enabled device

Amazon allows you to make voice or video calls to and from other Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and the Alexa app on your smartphone. Alexa looks through your phone's address book to find contacts who have the Alexa app or an Echo device, and then gives you the option of calling them. Here's how to use Alexa's Drop-in for more information.

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Future)

12. Play music

You can stream music using Alexa from a variety of services (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Sirius XM, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Tidal, Gimme, TuneIn, Pandora, Pandora Premium and Vevo), and within each, up- or down-vote songs and play selected playlists. With Amazon's music library, you can also launch playlists based on specific activities, eras, artists, even your mood. You can also combine categories, such as "80s music for running," or, if you're feeling frisky, you can even ask Alexa to play hook-up music. Did you know you can also get Amazon Music free on your Echo

13. Use Alexa as a personal trainer

Alexa can whip your behind into shape with the 7-minute-workout skill. If you say, "Alexa, start 7-minute workout," the virtual assistant will suggest reportedly tested exercises that will increase your metabolism, improve your energy and remove fat. The best part: You can take breaks when you need them. These are the best Alexa skills for health and fitness, and pair them with some of the best fitness trackers with Alexa for added features, like the Wyze Band.

Some of the best smartwatches also have Alexa built in, like Fitbit Sense and Amazfit GTR 3 Pro.

14. Send a hug

Missing your loved ones? Let your friends and family know in seconds that you're thinking of them by sending a hug through Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, send a hug” to deliver a virtual hug with any of your Alexa contacts. 

It's important to stay in touch with people you care about. Our Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) review describes how heartwarming it is to conduct video chats, but do you know how to make a voice or video call using Alexa? You can call someone using your Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show, whenever you want to catch up.

15. Find your favorite restaurants

Looking for a place to eat? Alexa has all the information you could need about the businesses around you. Just ask "Alexa, what time does Taco Bell open?" or "Alexa, what's the address of Wendy's?" It can tell you a restaurant's hours, location, phone number, address, and more.

best Alexa skills

best Alexa skills (Image credit: Future)

16. Clean your apartment

Some of the best Alexa skills are those that let you automate tedious chores. A number of the best robot vacuums, including the Shark IQ can be commanded to start and stop cleaning your whole home or specific rooms using Alexa. Vacuuming has never been this hands-off!

17. Play games

Alexa can also supply the fun. There are a ton of different trivia-related skills, but some of the best Alexa skills when it comes to games are Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock20 questions; bingo; Jeopardy; tic-tac-toe. More are cropping up all the time so check out the Games, Trivia & Accessories section of the Alexa app to find the game you want to play.

18. Schedule a meeting

Provided you have access to their calendars, you can schedule meetings with your contacts using Alexa. Amazon's assistant will suggest meeting times based on both of your schedules. If a conflict arises after you've scheduled a meeting, you can ask Alexa to move the appointment to a different time. Supported calendars include iCloud, Gmail, G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange (only through Alexa for Business).

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Tom's Guide | Future)

19. Watch TV

There are several ways to control your TV using Alexa. If your smart TV's operating system has an Alexa skill (like Roku) or if you have a Logitech Harmony remote, you can use the Harmony skill to link the remote to Alexa. It's recently been upgraded so you only have to say "Alexa, turn on my TV" or "Alexa, pause," and the command will automatically be sent.  Here's how to connect Alexa to your Harmony remote.

Tivo Bolt, Roamio, and Premiere owners can also control their DVRs using Alexa, as can Dish, Fios and Frontier customers. Here's how to connect Dish and Alexa.

20. Teach Alexa what you know

Alexa Answers is the voice assistant's crowd-sourced skill. It encourages Amazon to users share their intel on their favorite topics with the Alexa community by responding to questions Alexa doesn’t know the answer to yet. Once you’ve submitted an answer, you can earn badges based on how many questions you’ve answered, how many times your answer has been shared with Alexa customers and more. 

21. Keep track of birthdays

Birthday Tracker is the best Alexa skill for staying on top of celebrations for your friends and family. It provides reminders on the day of, tells you whose birthday is coming up, and even answers questions like what day of the week a birthday fell on in a specific year. The skill allows you to add up to 10 birthdays for free, but you'll need to upgrade to premium if you want to add more.

22. Get first aid

The Mayo Clinic skill provides basic first aid answers, for everything from minor scratches to CPR instructions. However, this skill is intended for instructional purposes only; if you're in a life-threatening or emergency situation, call for help.

23. Get help from family or friends in emergencies

The Ask My Buddy skill will send a notification (text, SMS or phone call) to a preselected contact when you're in an emergency and can't reach your phone. While this feature is not a substitute for 911, it lets you tell loved ones you need help.

24. Talk to Alexa in different languages

Not every household speaks the same language. If you happen to live somewhere where members of the family are fluent in more than just one language, Alexa has a mode built just for you. Multilingual Mode is one of the best Alexa skills because it lets you talk in two different languages, and Alexa will understand either dialect. The service is available in the U.S. (with support for English and Spanish), India (where it will support Indian English and Hindi) and Canada (where Alexa will understand both English and Canadian French).

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

25. Connect with your Fitbit

Want to find out how close you are to reaching your daily step goal? The Fitbit skill lets you ask Alexa how many steps you've taken, how well you slept and how you did on other metrics recorded by your Fitbit activity tracker. Check out our reviews of the best Fitbit devices to choose the right one for you.

26. Get the latest news

The NPR Hourly News Summary skill is a 5-minute briefing of the day's headlines, updated every hour. If you want to test your knowledge of the news, try out NPR's Wait Wait Quiz based on the comedy show "Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me." You'll be asked fill-in-the-blank trivia questions about the week's news. If you answer five correctly, you'll be entered for a chance to have your name mentioned in the next episode of the show

27. Start your car

Want to get your car started and warmed up before you drive off? A number of auto brands have skills that allow you to start your vehicle remotely, lock and unlock doors, change the interior temperature, turn on the lights and more. These include Hyundai Blue LinkMyFord Mobile and EV Car for Teslas.

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Future)

28. Turn your lights on or off

Why bother reaching for your phone or a light switch when you can simply tell Alexa to turn off your connected lights? You'll need a smart plug or a smart light for this skill to work, but it's pretty handy. Skills are available for a number of smart-home platforms including Lutron and Control4. Here's how you can connect Alexa to your Philips Hue lights.

29. Follow your favorite teams

Alexa wants to help you stay on top of your favorite sports and teams. In the Alexa app, in the menu, tap Settings. In Sports Update, search for and save your favorite teams. The digital assistant can give you details such as scores and upcoming schedules for NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, NHL, WNBA, NCAA, and other American sports. Once you've entered your team, you simply say "Alexa, give me my sports update."

best Alexa skills

(Image credit: Future)

30. Control your thermostat

Several smart thermostats, including the Nest Learning Thermostat, Honeywell RTH8580WF, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Lyric T5 and Bosch BCC100 can be connected to Alexa, so that you can change the temperature just by speaking. Going one better, the Ecobee 5th gen—our favorite smart thermostat—even has Alexa built into it, so you don't need to talk to an Echo or Echo Dot.

How to choose the best Alexa skills for you

Picking the best Alexa skills for you is subjective. While almost everyone can benefit from weather, traffic, music and news skills, you’ll want to think about other ways Alexa can help or entertain you. It is your personal assistant, after all.

If you own any number of smart home devices, the best Alexa skills for you include the ones that associate to the IoT brands you use. Whether you use Philips Hue, Cync by GE or Lifx smart lights, there’s an Alexa skill to establish hands-free control. The same goes for the makers of the best smart plugs, best smart locks and more. 

Certain wearable devices also offer Alexa skills. Try using the Fitbit skill to see your fitness goal progress and health metrics, and the Bose skill to change the music of your smart speaker or headphones.

We’d recommend enabling emergency skills just in case, too. You don’t hope to use the Ask My Buddy skill, but you’ll be happy you have a ICE contact set up when trouble strikes. If you ever find Alexa's behavior cryptic you can ask "Alexa, why did you do that" to have Alexa explain why it responded the way it did to your last voice command. Presumably, the feature will lead to better communication between you and your voice assistant in the future.

How we test the best Alexa skills

We spend a lot of time exploring the Alexa app to find the best Alexa skills for our readers, as well as asking Alexa itself for suggestions. Wherever you might keep an Alexa speaker, we consider what kind of queries you might have while in that space. We also test a variety of skills that help with chores, errands, scheduling, communication and more.   

For certain Alexa skill categories like ‘Start Your Day,’ ‘Get Exercise’ and ‘Music & Audio,’ we test the top offerings and look at user ratings to make confident recommendations. Sometimes skills aren’t as smart as they’re advertised, so we’ve vetted the ones above to make sure they work and make Alexa the most useful personal assistant it can be.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.