How to use Alexa Skills to turn your lights on and off

Julia Tell 14 November 2017

Smart lights are one the simplest — and least expensive — connected gadgets to install in the home: they don't require wires, additional hardware or even a lengthy set-up time. Controlling smart lights through an app, rather than from a wall switch, can take some adjusting. But now you can actually just talk to your lights using Alexa Skills to turn them on and off — just like The Clapper device that launched decades ago.

Dim the lights, link them into "scenes," have them change colors — you can make all these requests through special Alexa Skills, getting her to do the work just by asking.

Setting the mood without a hub

Haven't installed any smart home devices yet? Not to worry — lightbulbs are a great place to start. Different lighting brands make smart bulbs that work even without an extra device called a hub, just by operating on your home's Wi-Fi. All you need is an Amazon speaker like Echo or Echo Dot and an Amazon Alexa skill.

You can run your lighting at home with multiple Alexa Skills depending on the bulbs, sockets and switches you've installed.Amazon

Lamps, sockets and switches

Alexa can also take controls of lamps in your home, along with smart switches, gadgets which turn regular lighting fixtures into connected devices.

Bulbs and Sockets

Want to keep all your devices under the same brand? Many companies make both bulbs, outlets and plugs, so you can put a bulb in your ceiling light and also plug in a table lamp and control the whole room with the same Alexa Skill.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Hubs and Bulbs

Hubs and Switches

Skills That Control Everything, Lights Included

Linking Amazon Skills to your smart lighting can open up the possibilities of setting moods in your home.iStock

Bright, Secure, Entertained

Many security systems also control lights, including Kuna, Wink, and Home8, just to name a few. So you can integrate your lights and security with the right hardware, devices, software, skills, and your Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Spot. So far, there is no one common standards, so different brands of bulbs or sockets may or may not work with a particular hub or a specific Alexa skill.

The great thing is that many new skills come out all the time, so if one skill doesn't work with the obscure brand of smart bulb you bought, another skill might work just fine.

And if you feel so inclined, try Light Bulb Jokes for some old-style lightbulb humor while indulging your nostalgia for those days when bulbs were just a bit of filament and light.

Visit GearBrain's What Works with Amazon Alexa to see the connected devices that work with Amazon Echo and Alexa enabled devices..