Amazon's voice-controlled assistant can do a lot, from playing your favorite music to answering trivia questions. Yes, Alexa has lots of skills. But it can also be used to control a wide range of smart-home devices. Whether you have an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Tap—or any other Alexa-enabled device, here are some of the top smart-home gadgets that you can control with Amazon's assistant.
Not sure which Alexa device is best for your needs? Check out our Amazon Alexa buying guide.
We liked iHome's iSP100 outdoor plug for its ease of installation—your holiday lights will be glowing in no time, and you can control them using your phone, or by talking to Alexa. The plug, which can withstand the elements, also works with Siri, Google Home, Wink, and Nest.
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There are a lot of smart switches, but only Ecobee's Switch+ has Alexa built in, letting you access Amazon's voice assistant from your wall. Plus, the Switch+ has motion sensors, so it can turn lights on and off automatically. Also built in is a temperature sensor, so you'll be able to link it to your Ecobee smart thermostat to make sure all of your rooms are being heated or cooled properly.
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This little device makes anything you plug into it "smart," allowing you to control it via your smartphone, even when you're not at home. The Insight Switch also lets you set schedules for when the switch should turn on or off, and even tells you how much power the connected appliance is drawing. You can also integrate the Insight switch with other smart-home products through IFTTT.
MORE: Best Smart Switches
Philips sells several different types of LED lights, but the company's basic Hue White Starter kit includes two bulbs as well as a small hub that links the lights to your Wi-Fi (Philips will also sell a version with four lights for $99). From there, you can command Alexa to dim the lights, and the bulbs will respond. The bulbs in this kit don't change color, though; for that, you'll want the hue white and color ambiance A19 bulb starter kit. In fact, Philips makes a wide range of smart LEDs and light fixtures; check out our guide to see what each does.
It may seem obvious, but the Alexa voice remote lets you search for shows, channels and apps, and even lets you skip ahead or back in programs. Additionally, you can search for sports scores, news, the weather and music. As with Amazon's earlier streaming boxes, the Fire TV connects to a plethora of channels and streaming-video apps. It now also includes support for 4K programming.
Review: Amazon Fire TV
A little mood lighting can go a long way, and both Philips and Alexa understand. Using Alexa, you can set the color of Philips Hue light strips, which you can string around your doorways and windows, to reflect your mood at any time.
The Netgear Arlo Q is our favorite indoor security camera for its ease of use, great 1080p video—day or night—and generous storage plans. You can also use Alexa to view a live feed from the Arlo Q through the Amazon Echo Show, which makes it useful as a potential baby monitor.