Getting started in smart home technology is easier and more affordable than ever. An Echo Dot with built-in Alexa and your first smart device can be well under a hundred bucks. Lighting with Alexa light control is where most people start. So, how can you control your lighting with Alexa?
In the most basic sense:
- Set up your Alexa and connect it to your home WiFi using the Alexa App.
- Plugin your smart light or smart light adapter.
- Download the App for your new smart light device.
- Follow the instructions provided with that particular device to pair with Alexa via WiFi
That’s overly simplistic, but I do want you to understand the basic setup process. That is also the setup process with nearly every Alexa compatible smart device (and you’ve quite possibly already completed step 1).
The actual setup process differs a little from device to device, mostly when it comes to step 4. Think of it this way though – Alexa has an App and the smart light device has an app as well.
The apps communicate with each other across your WiFi network to pair Alexa with your new smart device. You will be prompted to name the device through the app so Alexa knows what you’re referring to.
I can promise you this though. It’s a lot simpler once you have the device in your hand and download the app. The app will give you step by step directions in most cases. If not, there will be an easy to navigate instruction booklet.
Alexa Light Control
Depending on the smart lighting solution you use, Alexa can help you control just about every part of your home lighting. With many smart bulbs, you can control the color of the light and the brightness as well.
You can also create and name a group of lights. For instance, you could say “Alexa, turn on the 1st-floor lights”. She will allow you to link all the smart lights you select and name them “1st-floor lights” (in this case).
In this article, we’ll delve into your options, the setup and offer a detailed guide on how to go about the entire process.
The fact that Alexa has more than 10,000 skills and third-party capabilities make it the most widely supported smart home hub. Alexa also works with both Apple and Android devices. As a homeowner, these are some of the things that you want in a smart home virtual assistant.
What You’ll Need
There are 3 basic requirements to control your lights with Alexa. Number one is obviously an Alexa smart speaker.
When it comes to choosing an Amazon Echo device, there are several to choose from. They include Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Dot, etc. Here is a great article to help you decide if you haven’t already.
Number two is WiFi, and you likely already have that.
Lastly, you’ll need a smart light or smart light adapter of some sort.
There are a lot of smart lights on the market so you’ll choose those that are compatible with Alexa. You could also buy smart bulbs, switches or smart plugs that can achieve the same result.
Let’s look at some of these options so we’re painting a clear picture.
Alexa Enabled Lamps
Decoratively speaking, there aren’t many Alexa-enabled lamps on the market. So if you’ve been looking for a specific style of lamp that’s compatible with Alexa, you should remember that your options are limited. However, there are some pretty cool designs.
Some Alexa-enabled lamps to consider include:
C by GE Sol
Less traditional, but elegant. The C by GE Sol lamp features a nighttime calming yellow mode, a bright white light for morning time and a soft white light for later in the day. While it is compatible with Alexa, you can choose to use the physical buttons as well. You can also pre-program lighting scenarios depending on the activities such as “wake up,” “bedtime” or “movie time.”
Philips Hue Wellness Table Lamp
This is a smart table lamp that’s not only compatible with Alexa but can also bring cool and warm light to every space. Its modern rounded design is a cool touch to the room and kind of futuristic. Connecting it to Hue Bridge can help you unlock the lamp’s full smart lighting control and make it compatible with Alexa.
Alexa Enabled Smart Bulbs
Unlike Alexa enabled lamps, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Alexa enabled smart bulbs. Some of the many smart bulb options include:
Philips Hue Smart Bulbs
Again, another Philips Hue product. Hue is the industry leader in smart bulbs and their products are very cool. This brand gives you a plethora of options to choose from thanks to their over 50 smart bulbs. They also have several features and can be customized to suit your lifestyle and different activities. For instance, you can sync Philips Hue lights to your music for epic parties.
LIFX Smart Bulbs
LIFX offers a range of perfect smart bulbs for both indoor and outdoor. Like other smart bulbs in this article, they’re compatible with Alexa and you can turn them on or off using your voice.
Unlike the Philips Hue, there are is no extra Hub needed. You can also use Alexa to control and tweak your bulb’s light temperature and color. LIFX boasts 16 million color choices.
GE Smart Bulbs
General Electric offers a couple of smart LED bulbs that are compatible with Alexa. Their actual smart bulbs are really affordable. Here is an Amazon link to a 12 pack of 22604 bulbs you could set your whole house up with.
The only drawback to these is that there aren’t any color options and you’ll need a compatible smart hub. I would probably grab the Samsung Smart Things Hub to make these work with Alexa.
A second option would be their model 26793 Sleep Starter Kit. It includes 2 bulbs and an easy to integrate hub that plugs into a wall socket. This would be a much cheaper solution, but you’d only be getting 2 bulbs. It also doesn’t appear that the hub can be used for anything else, where your Samsung Smart Things Hub can be used for a lot of other devices.
Alexa Enabled Smart Sockets
So, here is a great and affordable workaround for plugin lamps. You can grab a few Smart Sockets that are Alexa compatible. It’s like an adapter – all you have to do is plug the Smart Socket into the wall or surge protector, plug your lamp into the Smart Socket and you’ll be up and running in no time.
I use the GoSund Mini Wifi Outlets (found here). They’re easy to set up, friendly on the wallet and really dependable. There’s also no hub required.
Smart Light Switches For Alexa
This is a little more difficult than your other options. It’s worth it in my opinion, but you might not want to go this route if you don’t own your own home.
Here it’s worth mentioning that if you’re using a smart light bulb, smart bulb adapter, or smart wall socket and the physical switch is off, then Alexa can’t turn it on. So for instance, you would need to keep your wall switch on at all times and then you can tell Alexa to turn it on or off.
With the smart switch in the wall, you can turn it off physically if you like and still turn it back on by voice command.
While it may be intimidating, as long as you know how to turn the breaker off it’s a piece of cake.
I recommend using the Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link. The App that comes with it walks you through every detail of installing it. It takes about 15 minutes between removing the old switch, putting the new one in and hooking it up to your WiFi.
Note: Make sure you have a Neutral wire ran to where your current light switch is. If not you’ll need to grab a smart switch that doesn’t require a neutral (there aren’t currently that many). Also, if you’re hooking up a 3-way switch, your switch will need to support that.
For more information, on hooking up a smart switch without a neutral wire check out this article here.
How to Set up Your Alexa Enabled Lights
Step 1: Open the Alexa app on your smartphone
Step 2: Select the (+) plus icon on the Devices section and click “Add Device”.
Step 3: Add Smart Light
Choose the appropriate option whether you purchased a new smart bulb, socket or smart wall switch, etc. Then choose the brand of device you purchased. Choose other if you don’t see your brand on the list.
Step 4: Follow the on-screen instructions for your particular device.
Each device or brand will have a slightly different process after step 3. If there are any problems you can find a YouTube video on the setup 9 times out of 10.
How to Have Alexa Turn off Multiple Lights
What if you have 2 lights in your living room? Or better yet, what if you have a ceiling light that holds 3 smart bulbs? Do you want to ask Alexa to turn on one bulb at a time? Yeah, me neither!
Have no fear, there is a solution to that. You can use Alexa to control multiple lights if they’re grouped and named accordingly during the setup process. For instance, you could have a group that’s named “Living Room Lights”. Then you would assign each of those bulbs to that group. So, now you can say “Alexa, turn on the living room lights.” and they will all come on.
If you set up Context-Aware Groups (explained below) then you can just say “Turn on the lights” when you’re in the living room and it will associate the Alexa Device in that room with those particular lights.
Here is how to set up Groups in the Alexa App:
- Open the Alexa app and go to devices
- Tap the Plus (+) icon at the top right
- Select add groups
- Pick the pre-defined names or customize the names for the group as you desire
- Click the devices that you want to add in the group
- Click save
Setting up Context-Aware Lighting
If you’re going to set up lights in multiple rooms and you have multiple Alexa device, this should be one of the first steps. Controlling the lights with your voice through Alexa can be very convenient and a bit of a novelty. On the other hand, it can be quite frustrating for you if everything isn’t properly named or configured.
Context-aware lighting plays a crucial role in the sense that it makes the process a lot easier. For instance, if you’re in the kitchen and says “Alexa, turn on the lights”, the lights should be switched on automatically. This generally makes it simpler for everyone including your loved ones and guests as they do not have to specify which light you want to turn on. In essence, context-aware lighting allows everyone to control several lights with one simple voice command.
Here is some more in-depth material on Context-Aware Grouping.
Alexa Light Commands
Now that you’ve set up your Alexa Light Control, it’s much easier to control every part of your home’s light through your voice commands. But wait a minute, do you know how to turn Alexa lights on or off or even dim them?
Well, it’s very simple. You can turn on the lights, put them off or dim them by giving out the simplest commands. The device mentioned in you commands just need to correspond with your device or group name.
To turn on a light, just say; “Alexa, turn (name of light or group of lights)”
If you’ve incorporated smart lights, switches or dimmers that support light dimming or changing of colors, just say:
·“Alexa, dim the bedroom”
·“Alexa, make the bathroom light green”
·“Alexa, make the living room light brighter” and so forth and so on.
Turning lights on and off on a Schedule
If you’d like to take your home automation one step further, you can set up a routine. An Alexa Routine will allow you to turn devices or groups of devices on or off when a particular action occurs.
This action could be a voice command, a time of day, or even your location for example. So you could, for example, set your living room lamp to come on at 10 pm even when you aren’t’ home to deter intruders.
The best part about these routines is that you can create as many as you want. You can also use these routines to control a group of lights or individual lights.
Here’s how to create an Alexa Routine:
- Click the menu tab at the top left corner of your Alexa App.
- Select the + symbol in the top right-hand corner.
- Select the + symbol next to “When this happens”.
- Select your event to trigger the action. In this example, we’re using the Schedule function.
5. Select “At Time”
6. Choose the time you would like your lights to come on.
7. Select the days you’d like it to repeat.
8. Click Next.
9. Choose the + sign next to “Add action”.
10. Press “Smart Home”
11. Choose “Control device” if you’re only using one light or “Control group” if you’d like to use multiple lights in your routine.
12. Select your light or group from the list.
13. Choose whether you’ll be turning the light on or off at this time.
14. Click “Next” and then save your setting.
Of course, you’ll need to follow the same process to turn the light off at a certain time also.
Voice-controlled smart hubs are, without a doubt, the future of home automation. Using Alexa light control turns a fun smart speaker into a real home assistant. It will no longer be a luxury, but as much a part of your home as the electrical wiring behind your walls.
Alexa is rather seamless, yet it can turn the light off in the living room and adjust your thermostat in the hallway as you lay in bed. Ask her to turn your bedroom lighting to a soft blue as you relax with your partner. Tell her goodnight and have her read you your agenda for tomorrow. Tell her to set an alarm for 7:00 am. Maybe you’ll have her give you the news as your alarm sounds.
Or, maybe you just want her to turn off the light so you can show your friends. Whatever the case, you have to admit……it’s pretty cool.
If you have any questions on how to control your lighting with Alexa please feel free to leave a comment below. Maybe you think I missed something or you have a great hack I’m not aware of?
Ever wonder if smart bulbs are using too much electricity? Check this article here!