Ever wanted a robot butler to run your house? Alexa is the closest you can get, considering that she continues to add skills, characteristics and equipment with which you can link her. From light switches to security cameras, we have selected the best Alexa-compatible devices through Echo devices for this 2020.
The best Alexa speakers and smart displays
If you go with everything in your smart home, you will want a good speaker or a smart screen. The best Echo device for you depends on your situation: how much do you want to spend? Do you want a speaker or a smart screen? Do you want an Echo device with an integrated hub? Do you want an Echo with exceptional sound quality, or are you planning to connect an external speaker to play music?
If you are simply looking for the basic Alexa functionality and the ability to control your smart devices with your voice, the Echo Dot is an ideal choice as it is cost effective and has a small profile. You can also opt for the Echo Dot with LED clock, so you can see the time, weather or a timer directly on the front of the device. If you want your network to run more efficiently and want better sound quality, you can go for an Echo Plus 2, which is an Alexa device with a built-in Zigbee hub. If you plan to equip your home with video devices like security cameras and a video doorbell, a smart screen like the Echo Show 8 is a good option. The Echo Show 8 is affordable, and you can see the buzzer or camera feed directly on the screen.
The best lights
LED lights are taking over the world and are one of the simplest ways to improve your home. Some require a hub, but others are screwed like a normal light bulb. Most of them can be programmed to turn off at a certain time, so you know it's time to go to bed. But with the Alexa integration, you can ask to turn them back on if you want to keep watching your favorite series on Netflix.
Philips Hue has one of the most versatile lighting systems. If you are looking for white bulbs (the starter kit costs around $ 60), colored bulbs or LED light strips, there are a variety of options. The company also sells individual light bulbs. You will need a smart home center, which Philips sells separately, to control them. For an option without bridges, Lifx makes multi-colored bulbs, as well as tiles and strips.
It takes a little more effort (and maybe an electrician), but the dimmer o Lutron Casta wall dimmers are a reliable way to turn lights on or off and get different levels of intensity. You can do it all with Alexa voice commands and group them, so you don't have to turn them off individually. You need a smart jumper, which is included, for these bulbs to work.
The best smart plugs
Smart plugs are a great mechanism for turning unconnected devices into things you can remotely control. If you have a lamp with a broken switch, or if you just tend to leave it on, a connected plug can turn it off for you. Compatibility with Alexa is especially nice because you can ask him to turn on your reading lamp without having to get up.
The Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug has a slim design, so you can put two in a single outlet. The application allows you to set schedules, and has settings IFTTT (if this happens, that happens) to make its capabilities even more robust. Belkin also has a slightly bulkier Insight Energy Monitoring Plug, which will show you how much electricity your appliances use.
The best thermostats
Some of the best smart thermostats on the market are also compatible with Alexa. The Ecobee4, for example, has Alexa built into the unit for control and other Alexa-related capabilities, making it an ideal choice if you don't have an Alexa device, but still want the voice assistant.
If you already have an Alexa device, you may prefer a temperature regulator that works directly with them, such as Honeywell Lyric or Johnson’s Glas. Remember, the Nest thermostat and other Nest devices are no longer compatible with Alexa, so while they are popular, they are not an option in this case.
The best smart locks
Smart locks are convenient for letting your dog walker in when you're not home. We recommend the August Smart Lock, which works with your current lock, making it an excellent option if you need to access a place that you have rented. If you are looking for an alternative with more functions and control, you can check the August Smart Lock Pro. If you want a smart lock with a more traditional appearance that also works with Alexa, we recommend the Schlage Sense lock.
Pairing with Alexa allows you to check the status of the lock, open or close them only with voice commands. In order for Alexa to unlock the door it requires that you dictate a numerical password, that you do not want to shout it from outside your house.
The best security cameras
One of the main reasons people start acquiring smart devices for their home is security, which is why there are many security cameras that allow you to monitor your property. An advantage of Echo Show, Echo Spot or Amazon Fire TV is that they can show you images from the camera without having to take out your phone and open an application.
The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 Kit is an affordable security camera that gives you access to a recording for the past seven days, night vision, weatherproof options, and a fully wireless setup for two smart cameras. Because it is one of the brands that works with Amazon devices, you can see the video on their screens. Other security cameras that also do the same are the Amazon Cloud Cam, an excellent indoor option with two-way audio, and the Ring Spotlight Cam, a similar alternative designed for outdoor use.
The best external A / V speakers
Even if you don't have a Bluetooth speaker or speaker, you may be interested in an Alexa-controlled one that can play your music or work as part of your entertainment system, or both. In this case, the Sonos brand is an almost necessary recommendation.
If you are more interested in a sound bar that works as part of a larger entertainment system (to fit under your TV), you should give the Sonos Beam a try. If you like the idea of a more central speaker that can play your music for parties or other gatherings, check out the Sonos One.
The best electrical appliances Alexa
As devices become more intelligent, we will see that more and more compatibility with Alexa is added. Whirlpool already did this a few years ago, and several of its refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, stoves, and microwaves began to come with Wi-Fi connectivity and voice activation. For their part, Samsung Family Hub refrigerators, in particular, are designed to work with the smart home, including Alexa. Bosch has its own line of smart devices that can be controlled with Alexa. If you like the idea of Alexa with your coffee, also check out the Behmor coffee maker.
In terms of smaller devices, ChefSteps Joule and Anova WiFi are sous vide immersion circulators that have voice control thanks to Alexa. If you're looking for a voice-activated vacuum, both the excellent iRobot Roomba s9 + and the more affordable Shark IQ 101AE robot will start cleaning when you give the order, and then empty after they finish cleaning.
* Updated on March 16, 2020 by Daniel Matus.