The 60 Most Useful Alexa Skills of 2020

Dozens of the best Amazon Echo and Fire TV Alexa commands

Alexa is Amazon's proprietary speech-driven service, similar to what Siri is for the iPhone. Commands to the service are known as skills, and these capabilities run the gamut from playing a particular song to raising the temperature on a thermostat. Skills are like apps you activate with your voice.

When you buy an Alexa-enabled device, such as an Echo or Fire TV, you get several Alexa skills that range from fun and silly to surprisingly useful. Here's a look at 60 helpful and entertaining Alexa skills to try with your Alexa-enabled device.

The skills included here can be used with Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Echo, Echo DotEcho Show, Echo Flex, Echo AutoEcho Studio, Fire TV, and other select and third-party products.

Animation of the many questions you can ask Alexa
Lifewire / Madelyn Goodnight 

How to Use Alexa's Skills

To use an Alexa skill, you'll need to enable it. Say, "Alexa, enable [skill name]," and Alexa issues voice-prompt instructions, if needed, to complete the process.

You can also go to the Alexa app, browse through skills to find something that interests you, then tap Enable Skill to get started. Here's how:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your device.

  2. Tap the menu in the upper-left corner and select Skills & Games.

  3. Tap Discover to browse editor picks, premium skills, and recommendations.

  4. Tap Categories to browse skills by category.

    The Alexa app with the Skills & Games, Discover, and Categories headings highlighted
  5. Tap a skill to learn more about it, then tap Enable to Use to enable a skill.

  6. In the Skill Permissions screen, select the check boxes for the skill requests and then tap Save Permissions.

  7. Your new skill is now enabled. On the skill's info page, you'll see what verbiage to use to start the skill, for example, "Alexa, play Jeopardy!"

    The Alexa app showing how to enable a skill

60 Top Alexa Skills for Fun, Productivity, and Learning

Here's a look at 60 quality Alexa skills to keep you entertained, help you relax, help you or your children learn, and more. Search for these skills on your Alexa app to enable each skill.

Not all of these skills were developed by Amazon. Developers write and publish skills for Alexa, which then become available to users. Some skills may require additional hardware, such as skills that involve turning on lights.

The Best Entertainment and Humor-Related Skills

The following Alexa skills will keep you entertained for hours. Each command is started with an action, such as open or ask.

  • Alexa, Open the Tonight Show: Missed Jimmy Fallon's monologue last night? Want to know who the comedian's upcoming guests are? This skill has you covered.
  • Alexa, Play Beer Goggles: Maybe you should hold off on pouring another drink. This skill asks a set of questions and then determines whether you reached your limit based on the responses.
  • Alexa, Ask Westeros: With the amount of sheer carnage in George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones, it can be hard to keep up with who's still alive. This skill tells you whether a particular character has been confirmed dead or not. It's based on the book series, which is not completely in sync with the HBO drama that aired through May 2019.
  • Alexa, Open Geek Humor: A skill that's bound to make your inner nerd chuckle, Geek Humor tells jokes from science and technology categories.
  • Alexa, Open Radio Mystery Theater: This skill takes you back in time by playing old episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater, a series that took the airwaves by storm in the 1970s.

Top Music, Books, and Podcast Skills

Alexa-enabled devices are also great tools for listening to your favorite songs, podcasts, and audiobooks.

To navigate songs, books, and other audio, Alexa honors commands such as Alexa, pause, Alexa, resume, and Alexa, restart.

  • Alexa, Play Music by [Artist Name]: This skill plays random songs from the respective artist or group. The source of these songs depends on what services or digital assets you associated with your account.
  • Alexa, Play [Song Name]: Plays the song of your choice, assuming that it's available in your assets or active services (for example, Amazon Music).
  • Alexa, Play [Album Name] Album: Instructs Alexa to play a full album, starting from the beginning.
  • Alexa, Play [Artist] on Pandora: Streams a station of your choice through the Alexa-enabled device. You need to register your Pandora account via the Alexa app for this skill to become available.
  • Alexa, Play [Radio Station] on TuneIn: Plays a particular radio station through the TuneIn broadcast service. If the station you're seeking can't be found, Alexa automatically searches for it on iHeartRadio.
  • Alexa, Play [Radio Station] on iHeartRadio: Similar to the skill above, with the service search order reversed.
  • Alexa, Play [Book Name] on Audible: If you purchased a book through Audible, this skill allows you to listen to it through your Alexa-enabled device.

School Yourself With Educational and Reference Skills

This next group of Alexa skills aims to pique your curiosity and keep your mind sharp.

  • Alexa, Open Save Water by Colgate. With this skill, Alexa begins a dialogue where users can receive water conservation facts and tips while brushing their teeth. To encourage tooth-scrubbing listeners to turn off the sink faucet while they brush, Alexa plays the sound of running water to replace the sound of actual water coming out of the faucet.
  • Alexa, Launch This Day In History: Powered by The History Channel, this skill provides a rundown of noteworthy events that took place on today's date. Specify a different date by saying, "Alexa, ask This Day In History what happened on [date]."
  • Alexa, Open NASA Mars: Ask all the questions you want about the Red Planet, including details on the Curiosity rover's latest update.
  • Alexa, Ask Baseball Reference: This skill lets you ask Alexa a limitless number of questions about historical baseball data, including statistics and award winners from past seasons.
  • Alexa, Open Best Recipes: Suggests recipes based on three ingredients that you specify. You must submit your email address to Hellmann's for it to function correctly.
  • Alexa, Ask Beer Snob: A hops-infused skill that provides information about a bevy of beers, including where the beverage is brewed and the approval rating fellow drinkers assigned to it.
  • Alexa, Open Ingredient Sub: This skill comes in handy when you're missing a particular ingredient for a recipe, letting you know what options can be used as a substitute.
  • Alexa, Ask Mixologist: Acts as a virtual bartender, telling you how to make the adult beverage of your choice.
  • Alexa, Open Daily Buzzword: A great way to build your vocabulary. This skill defines a new word each day from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
  • Alexa, Start Poker Pro: Contains interactive tutorials where you make decisions in hypothetical cash game and tournament situations, after which Alexa explains why you made the right or wrong call. The detail in this skill can help improve your No-Limit Hold'em prowess.
  • Alexa, Open Myth Buster: This skill recites various myths and then asks you to guess whether each myth is true or false, making for an educational and enjoyable game.
  • Alexa, Ask Artsy: The Artsy skill offers in-depth information about your favorite artists and recommendations for art exhibits in your area. You can also listen to the most recent episode of the Artsy podcast.
  • Alexa, What's the Score of the [Team Name] Game?: Gives you an up-to-date score on an ongoing sports matchup, or the final result of a completed contest.
  • Alexa, Ask Edmunds: Returns Edmunds profiles about most car models, including reviews and lease details in your local area.

Immersive Gaming Skills With Alexa

Although you operate Alexa with your voice, some cool games are available, due in part to developer ingenuity and player imagination.

  • Alexa, Play Jeopardy: Alexa assumes the role of Alex Trebek by asking a new set of questions every weekday, phrased in the parlance of the long-running quiz show.
  • Alexa, Play RuneScape: Former and current players of the classic MMORPG, as well as fans of the turn-based adventure genre, will enjoy this audio-driven murder mystery. The game stores your progress so you can continue where you left off at a later time.
  • Alexa, Play Twenty Questions: This skill helps get those brain cells firing by pitting you against Alexa in a classic guessing game.
  • Alexa, Open the Magic Door: Immerse yourself in a series of interactive experiences where your choices have unique consequences, reminiscent of the Choose Your Own Adventure books from decades past.
  • Alexa, Open the Wayne Investigation: Developed by Warner Brothers, this skill places you in the middle of Gotham City, where you solve the murder of Batman's parents.
  • Alexa, Ask Magic 8-Ball: A virtual twist on an old favorite, this skill provides a random yes or no response to any question, without turning the device upside down to see your fate.

All-Purpose Health and Wellness Skills

These skills are designed to help you live a healthier life, both physically and mentally.

  • Alexa, Open Meditation Timer: Assists in your meditation routine by playing relaxing sounds for the desired duration, and ringing a bell when your time is up.
  • Alexa, Ask My Pregnancy: A useful skill for expecting mothers. My Pregnancy provides detailed medical information along the way as you move toward your due date.
  • Alexa, Open Healthy Habit: Provides a health-conscious suggestion each time you access the skill.
  • Alexa, Start Cal Pal: Launches a calculator that tells you what level of exercise is needed to burn off a specific amount of calories.
  • Alexa, Inspire Me: Plays inspirational tidbits from one of several famous speakers from all walks of life.
  • Alexa, Open Daily Affirmation: Offers an encouraging and uplifting message once per day.
  • Alexa, Open Deep Breath: Steps you through deep-breathing exercises and mental images intended to reduce stress.

Restful Ambient Noise Skills

Your Alexa-enabled device also functions as a white noise machine, playing the following ambient sounds to set the right mood at the right time.

  • Alexa, Open Thunderstorm Sounds
  • Alexa, Open Rain Sounds
  • Alexa, Open Ocean Sounds
  • Alexa, Start White Noise
  • Alexa, Open Bird Sounds

Extremely Savvy Financial Skills

The Alexa skills below can assist in growing your stock portfolio and bank account.

  • Alexa, Open Stock Trigger: This skill provides on-demand stock quotes and the ability to set up SMS notification triggers each time a particular stock reaches a user-defined threshold.
  • Alexa, Ask CryptoCoin: Provides the current value of Bitcoin in U.S. dollars, along with the percentage change over the past 24 hours.
  • Alexa, Ask The Fool: Presents details from The Motley Fool on the stock of your choice, as well as the latest information from your watchlist.

Need More? Try These Miscellaneous Skills

These Alexa skills may not fit into one of the categories above, but each is good enough to make the list.

  • Alexa, What's My Flash Briefing?: Flash Briefings are short, curated, informative pieces of audio that deliver weather, traffic, and news information. While saying, "Alexa, what's the weather?" returns the current conditions in your area, asking for a Flash Briefing delivers the latest headlines on dozens of wide-ranging topics from more than 2,000 sources.

Set up and manage Flash Briefing skills through the Alexa app.

  • Alexa, Open Johnnie Walker: An interesting skill for whiskey aficionados, or those who want to learn more about the distilled beverage.
  • Alexa, Ask My Buddy: When you have a medical issue or other emergency and can't get to your phone, this skill alerts one or more predesignated contacts for you. A fully configured and linked Ask My Buddy account is required.
  • Alexa, Ask Fortune Cookie: Cracks open a fortune cookie at any time, allowing you to hear its infinite wisdom without ordering Chinese food.
  • Alexa, Ask Web Analytics: A terrific tool for anyone who monitors their web traffic through Google Analytics. This skill instructs Alexa to provide the number of unique visitors, page views, sessions, and bounce rate from a linked Google account.
  • Alexa, Interview Me: Asks a different question that you may hear on a job interview each time you access this skill to help you better prepare for those important meetings.
  • Alexa, Ask Area Code: Returns location details for any three-digit area code.
  • Alexa, Ask Steve Jobs Quotes: Plays famous snippets and lesser-known quotes from the late Apple co-founder.
  • Alexa, Open Spin the Wheel: Tired of flipping a coin or seeing who draws the short straw? This skill prompts you for between two and 10 names and then picks one at random.
  • Alexa, Open Bedtime Story: This is a neat skill for your kids, as it incorporates their name into the story.
  • Alexa, Open Stopwatch: A basic yet useful skill that turns Alexa into a stopwatch, allowing you to check duration status and stop at any time.
  • Alexa, Ask Tweet Reader: This skill prompts Alexa to read the tweets in your timeline, from newest to oldest.
  • Alexa, Set an Alarm for [Time]: Prompts Alexa to sound an alarm at a specified time. Configure this alert to go off regularly by saying, "Alexa, set a repeating alarm for [weekdays or weekends/time]."

Alexa's skills go beyond Alexa-enabled devices. Alexa can also interact with certain smart home hardware, including garage doors, lights, and TVs. Each platform functions differently with Alexa, so consult the manufacturer's documentation.

More on Alexa Skills

There are thousands of additional skills available for Alexa, searchable within the app, or the Alexa Skills section of Amazon.com. Find sports trivia, view transportation schedules, and shop on Amazon.com with Alexa. Have Alexa manage your calendar or order pizza and a latte. Create skills using the Alexa Blueprints portal.

You can always ask Alexa a free-form question. If it doesn't know the answer, Alexa usually performs a Bing search based on your inquiry.