How to control your lighting with Alexa

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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:

  1. Set up your Alexa and connect it to your home WiFi using the Alexa App.
  2. Plugin your smart light or smart light adapter.
  3. Download the App for your new smart light device.
  4. 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 process, 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 makes 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 the standard Echo, 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 (*Some products may work using Bluetooth instead).

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:

Smart Table Lamp by Lepro

Lepro Smart Table Lamp for Bedroom Bedside Lamp Works with Alexa Google Home, Tunable White & RGB Color Changing Dimmable LED Nightstand Touch Lamp, WiFi APP Phone Control Night Light

The Smart Table Lamp from Lepro features 16 million color options with adjustable color temperatures between 2700K – 5700K. You can choose a bright white light for the morning time and a soft white light for later in the day for instance. Maybe you’d like a little blue mood lighting in the evenings?

While it is compatible with Alexa, you can choose to control the lighting with the Lepro app or the physical buttons as well. You can also pre-program lighting scenarios depending on the activities such as “wake up,” “bedtime” or “movie time.”

Govee RGVIC Floor Lamp

Govee RGBIC Floor Lamp, LED Corner Lamp Works with Alexa, Smart Modern Floor Lamp with Music Sync and 16 Million DIY Colors, Ambiance Color Changing Standing Lamp for Bedroom Living Room Gaming Room

This is a smart floor lamp that’s not only compatible with Alexa but it can also dance to your music! Ok, maybe not, but the colors can change to the music. Equally as cool in our book…

While you can use this lamp to bring a bright, warm light to any space, you can also set up really cool colored lighting patterns if you so choose.

Its modern rounded design is a cool touch to the room and kind of futuristic. Again, like any of the smart lighting here, you’ll also be able to control your lighting with your app, set up lighting schedules, etc.

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

Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit, 3 A19 Smart Bulbs, 1 Smart Button & 1 Hue Hub (Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit & Google Assistant)

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.

You can find the latest prices and options on Philips Hue Bulbs here.

Pro Tip: If you’ve decided to go with Philips Hue smart bulbs, you’ll be better off with a starter kit. Remember, Alexa syncs right up to Philips Hue Bridge.

LIFX Smart Bulbs

LIFX Color A19 800 lumens, Billions of Colors and Whites, Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, No Bridge Required, Works with Alexa, Hey Google, HomeKit and Siri.

LIFX offers a range of perfect smart bulbs for both indoors and outdoors. 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 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 CYNC Smart Bulbs

GE CYNC Smart LED Light Bulbs, Full Color, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Enabled, Alexa and Google Home Compatible (Pack of 4)

General Electric offers a couple of smart LED bulbs that are compatible with Alexa. They’ve improved their functionality with newer models over the past few years, making them a good option.

This pack includes 4 bulbs that can operate using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Color options are in the millions with each bulb offering up to 800 lumens.

Kasa by TP-Link

Kasa Smart Bulb, 850 Lumens, Full Color Changing Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulb Compatible with Alexa and Google Home, A19, 9.5W,2.4Ghz only, No Hub Required 1-Pack(KL130)

Kasa has become my go-to smart lighting brand for Alexa. They work well, I like the app, and they’re really easy to set up. They also don’t reset themselves all the time like some other bulbs I’ve used.

If you’re looking to set up a network of smart lighting throughout your house, it’s EXTREMELY helpful to be able to use the same brand for all of them. Mainly, because you can keep them organized under one app.

Kasa has a wide variety of products to fit most situations, making this pretty easy. They have smart bulbs, smart led strips, smart switches, smart plugs, etc. Each of these categories has several options as well.

TP-Link is also a well-established company, meaning I don’t anticipate them disappearing any time soon. So you won’t have to worry about losing app support or not being able to replace your bulbs when the time comes.

With all that in mind, you’ll notice our next two product recommendations are also made by Kasa.

You can get the Kasa Multicolored Smart bulbs or the Kasa dimmable LED White Lights – both by TP-Link.

Alexa Enabled Smart Sockets

Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT, No Hub Required, UL Certified, 2.4G WiFi Only, 4-Pack(EP10P4) , White

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 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi plugs. They’re easy to set up, friendly on the wallet and really dependable.

Smart Light Switches For Alexa

Kasa Smart Motion Sensor Switch, Dimmer Light Switch, Single Pole, Needs Neutral Wire, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant, UL Certified, No Hub Required(ES20M) White 1-Pack

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 a smart switch in the wall, however, you can physically turn it off if you like and still turn it back on by voice command. You can also control multiple bulbs with one switch if they are on the same circuit.

While installation may be intimidating, as long as you know how to turn the breaker off, it’s usually a piece of cake for a single pole switch. Make sure to seek out the help of a professional electrician if there is any question as to your understanding of safety around AC power.

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

Open your Alexa App

Step 2: Select the (+) plus icon on the Devices section and click “Add Device”.

Select the "+" sign
Select the + sign at the top right-hand corner.
Select add device
Choose “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.

Select the type of smart light solution you're trying to operate with your Echo device.
Choose which brand of device you're trying to control.

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:

  1. Open the Alexa app and go to devices
  2. Tap the Plus (+) icon at the top right
  3. Select add groups
  4. Pick the pre-defined names or customize the names for the group as you desire
  5. Click the devices that you want to add in the group
  6. Click save
Select Add Group>Group Name>Devices you want in group>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:

  1. Click the menu tab at the top left corner of your Alexa App.
  2. Select the + symbol in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Select the + symbol next to “When this happens”.
  4. Select your event to trigger the action. In this example, we’re using the Schedule function.
Select Routines>"+">when this happens>schedule

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.

Choose Next>Add action>Smart Home>Control device (or group)

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.

select group>Next>Save

Conclusion

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.

Ever wonder if smart bulbs are using too much electricity? Check this article here!

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