How to Connect Lights to Alexa

Smart light bulbs are a breeze to set up with Alexa and Echo

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If you love the idea of smart lights in your home, but have no electrical skills whatsoever, take heart. Smart light bulbs, smart switches and/or hubs can be set up in a snap using Amazon Echo. Here is a look at the different ways to connect your smart lights to Alexa.

 

Before You Begin

Before you get started trying to connect your lights with Alexa, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Make sure the smart bulb, switch or hub you want to connect is compatible with Alexa.
  • Use the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the smart device before you connect lights to Alexa, including assigning a name to each device. Use names that are easy to understand, such as “Hallway,” “Living Room Switch” or “Bedroom Light,” as this will help you connect to Amazon Alexa much more easily. 
  • Connect to the same wireless network that your Echo is currently on.
  • Download the Alexa app to your mobile device, if you have not already. 

Connecting a Smart Light Bulb to Alexa

To connect a smart bulb to Amazon's Alexa, you must first install the bulb, according to manufacturer's directions. Usually, this just means screwing the smart light bulb into a working outlet, but be sure to refer to the instructions if there is a hub other than Alexa involved.

  1. Start the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile device.
  2. Tap the Menu button, which looks like three horizontal lines, in upper left corner of the Home screen.
  3. Select Smart Home from the menu.
  4. Make sure the Devices tab is selected and then tap Add Device. Alexa will search for any compatible devices and present a list of the devices discovered.
  5. Scroll down to find the smart light that you want to connect. It will appear as a bulb icon with the name you assigned during the initial setup.
  6. Tap the light name to complete the setup. 

Connecting a Smart Switch to Alexa

To connect a smart switch to Alexa, you must first install the switch. Most smart switches will need to be hardwired directly into your home's wiring system, so refer to the manufacturer's instructions for details on how to install the switch. When in doubt, hire a certified electrician to ensure the switch is wired properly. 

  1. Start the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile device.
  2. Tap the Menu button, which looks like three horizontal lines, from upper left corner of the Home screen.
  3. Select Smart Home from the menu.
  4. Make sure the Devices tab is selected and then tap Add Device. Alexa will search for any compatible devices and present a list of the devices discovered.
  5. Scroll down to find the smart switch that you want to connect. It will appear as a bulb icon with the name you assigned during the initial setup.
  6. Tap the switch name to complete the setup. 

Connecting a Smart Hub to Alexa

Only one device in the Amazon Echo line of products includes a built-in hub for smart devices - the Echo Plus. For all other versions, it may be necessary to use a smart hub to connect your smart devices.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set up your smart hub, and then use these instructions to get connected to Alexa: 

  1. Tap the Menu button, which looks like three horizontal lines, from upper left corner of the Home screen.
  2. Tap Skills.
  3. Browse or enter search keywords to find the skill for your device.
  4. Tap Enable and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the linking process.
  5. Select Add Device in the Smart Home section of the Alexa app.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for any special steps specific to your hub. For instance, to connect Alexa to Philips Hue you must press the button on the Philips Hue Bridge first. 

Set Up Lighting Groups

If you want to be able to turn on several lights with a single voice command through Alexa, you can create a group. For example, a group might include all the lights in the bedroom, or all the lights in the living room. To create a group you can control with Alexa:

  1. Tap the Menu button and select Smart Home.
  2. Select the Groups tab.
  3. Tap Add Group and then select Smart Home Group.
  4. Enter a name for your group or select an option from the list of Common Names.
  5. Select the lights you want to add to the group and then tap Save.

Once set up, all you have to do is tell Alexa which group of lights you want to control. For example, "Alexa, turn on the living room."

Dimming Smart Lights

Although Alexa understands the “Dim” command, some smart bulbs dim and some don't. Look for dimmable smart bulbs if this feature is important to you (smart switches typically don't allow dimming).