Best Way For Lighting and Lamp Control with Amazon Alexa

The most useful thing of Amazon’s Alexa is home lighting. Actually, that’s about the only useful thing besides getting the weather 50 times a day. Now that Alexa has the smart home feature, it’s even easier to control your connected devices. All you need to do is say, “Alexa, light on”, instead of using a ridiculously long line to control the individual skills when it first came out.

Things to look for

The main thing you want to look for is “no hub required”. This allows us to use a smartphone and the associated apps to setup each device. This also reduces costs, doesn’t lock us into a single brand or manufacturer, and lets you upgrade easily in the future.

Methods of doing it

The only two methods I recommend setting up your lights are using smart switches or smart outlets. Using smart bulbs is crazy. I don’t recommend smart bulbs because currently they are about the same price, don’t offer any future proofing or upgrade value, and lock you in to the brand. Also, a single switch or outlet can control multiple bulbs, which reduces costs and wifi interference.

Ceiling lights or lamps controlled by a wall switch should be upgraded to a smart switch. This is the best method, since you’ll always be able to manually control the lights, even when the wifi is out. It’s good to note, that the current switches do not move like a regular switch. They work more like a button, which is disappointing, and always return to the same position.

Other lamps can be controlled by smart outlets.

Things to check

When using the smart switches, make sure you’re comfortable turning off your circuit breakers and taking apart your current switch. Also, you’ll need to do basic wiring and will probably need a screw driver, wire strippers, and a voltage detector. On that note, it’s probably best if you own the house, or plan to stay for a while. You don’t want to be responsible for breaking any lease or rent agreements by taking apart your home.

Also, you need a good internet connection and wifi router. These only work on 2.4 GHz bands. They’re also placed in bad signal locations, so make sure you have signal in the area you want to put it. For example, a smart outlet behind a couch. Also, metal objects will interfere a little with the signal. This includes a metal switch box in your wall.

Setup

Follow the manufacturers instructions, then use the Alexa app to add the smart homes skill. That’s it. Alexa is the easy part in this case. For the outlets, it takes about 5 minutes. The switch will take about 20 minutes, depending on how difficult it is to get the switch wired up.

WeMo Light Switch, Wi-Fi enabled, Works with Amazon Alexa

Wemo Light Switch seamlessly replaces your old, boring light switch, giving you control of any one-way connection light directly from your phone, wherever you are in the world. Using just your home Wi-Fi network and the free Wemo app, you can turn switches on and off from the office, the beach, or the back yard—or set schedules so you never have to think about it. Connect Wemo with an Amazon Echo, Tap or Dot to control your lights and ceiling fans with voice commands. Compatible with Apple iOS 8 or higher and Android 4.1 or higher. Electrical Rating 120V/15A/60Hz/1800W. Neutral wire required. Not recommended for use with a metal faceplate. 24-hr Wemo support is available at 1-844-745-WEMO.

Price: $45.88
List Price: $49.99
Manufacturer: WeMo
Model: F7C030fc
Color: white
Release Date: 2013-07-29
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
  • Wemo is home automation the easy way: Wemo Light Switch seamlessly replaces your old wall light switch and works with any one-way connection light. Easily installable, perfect for DIYers. Neutral wire required. Not recommended for use with a metal faceplate. Download the free app, and control your lights and small appliances from anywhere in the world, right from your phone. No hub or subscription required.
  • Why come home to a dark house? Schedule your stuff however you’d like: Set the porch light to turn on before you get home. Set ceiling fans to come if the outside temperature hits 80. Sync on and off times to sunrise and sunset, and more.
  • Works with Nest Thermostat, so your lights will “know” if you’re out of the house, and can turn on or off as you wish.
  • Works with any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.1 and higher or iOS 8 and higher. Electrical Rating120V/15A/60Hz/1800W

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, No Hub Required, Single Pole, Control Your Fixtures From Anywhere, Works with Amazon Alexa (HS200)

Wi-Fi Enabled Light Smart Switch w/Energy Monitoring

Price: $36.99
List Price: $39.99
Manufacturer: TP-LINK USA
Model: HS200
Size: 5.00 x 2.00 x 3.00 inches
Color: White
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Turn fixtures on or off from anywhere with your tablet or smartphone using the free Kasa app (Compatible w/ iOS 8 or higher & Android 4.1x or higher)
  • Use Away-Mode to turn devices on and off at different times to give the appearance that someone is home while you are away
  • Check on devices remotely, create schedules, and set timers. Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control of fixtures (no hub required)
  • Requires a neutral wire. Not recommended to use with a metal faceplate which may interfere with a Wi-Fi connection
  • 2-year warranty

TP-Link Smart Plug, No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Control your Devices from Anywhere, Works with Amazon Alexa (HS100)

Control electronics from anywhere using your tablet or smartphone with the HS100 Smart Plug. Turn devices on/off, check status, create schedules and set timers using the Kasa App. Gain peace of mind by checking on your devices remotely and always coming home to a well-lit house. Use away-mode to make it look like you are home when you travel, and have lights turn on/off at set times to conserve energy and save on your next bill. Add voice control to any electronic device by pairing with Amazon Echo.

Price: $23.99
List Price: $39.99
Manufacturer: TP-LINK USA
Model: HS100
Size: 4.25 x 2.75 x 2.75″
Color: white
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
  • Remote Access: Control devices connected to the Smart Plug wherever you have Internet using the free Kasa app on your smartphone
  • Turn electronics on or off from anywhere with your tablet or smartphone using the free Kasa app (Compatible w/ Android 4.1 or higher & iOS8 or higher)
  • Use Away-Mode to turn devices on and off at different times to give the appearance that someone is home while you are away
  • Easy to use and install. Just plug a device into the Smart Plug and connect to your Wi-Fi network. 120VAC Volt Compatible

WeMo Switch Smart Plug, Wi-Fi, Works with Amazon Alexa

Did you forget to turn off the window A.C.? How about that curling iron? Want the living room lamp to turn on when the sun goes down—automatically? The Wemo Switch gives you control of your lamps and small appliances whenever you want, wherever you choose, with tons of options for scheduling and automation. Paired with Amazon Alexa, you can control your lamps and appliances with just the power of your voice. When Wemo works with Nest Thermostat, you can set your lights to turn off automatically when you leave the house, and on when you get home again. No central hub or subscription is required. Wemo also has an on/off switch on the unit, in case the Wi-Fi goes down. Compatible with Apple iOS 8 or higher and Android 4.1 or higher. Electrical Rating 120V/15A/60Hz/1800W. 24-hr Wemo support is available at 1-844-745-WEMO.

Price: $33.00
List Price: $49.99
Manufacturer: WeMo
Model: F7C027fc
Color: Switch
Release Date: 2013-07-29
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
  • Wemo is home automation the easy way: Plug in a Wemo Switch, download the free app, and start controlling your lights and appliances from anywhere in the world, right from your phone. No hub or subscription required.
  • Why come home to a dark house? Why let the fan run if nobody’s home? Set on and off times for your lights and small appliances. Sync lights to sunrise, sunset, and other external events automatically. Create schedules from your phone and change them easily, whenever the mood strikes.
  • The Wemo Switch protects your home better than a mechanical timer. In “Away Mode”, your lights will turn on and off randomly to confuse potential intruders and make it look like somebody is home.
  • Works with Nest Thermostat so your lights and appliances “know” when you’re home or away, and respond automatically. Works with any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.1 and higher or iOS 8 and higher. Electrical Rating120V/15A/60Hz/1800W

TP-Link Smart Plug Mini, No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Works with Alexa, Control your Devices from Anywhere, Occupies Only One Socket (HS105)

Control electronics from anywhere using your tablet or smartphone with the HS105 Smart Plug Mini. Turn devices on and off, create schedules and set timers using the Kasa app. Away Mode makes it look like you’re home when you’re not for added security, and the HS105 pairs with Amazon Alexa to enable voice control. Enjoy peace of mind by checking on your devices remotely and always coming home to a well-lit house. Set connected devices to turn on and off as needed, conserving energy and helping you save on your electricity bill.

Price: $34.99
List Price: $49.99
Manufacturer: TP-Link
Model: HS105
Size: US Plug
Color: White
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Remote Access: Control devices connected to the Smart Plug wherever you have Internet using the free Kasa app on your smartphone
  • Scheduling: Schedule the Smart Plug to automatically power electronics on and off as needed, like setting lights to come on at dusk or turn off at sunrise
  • Away Mode: Turns your devices on and off at different times to give the appearance that someone is home
  • Amazon Echo Voice Control: Amazon Echo (sold separately) lets you control devices connected to the Smart Plugs just using your voice
  • Compact design blends into your power outlet without blocking adjacent sockets

Wemo Mini Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Works with Amazon Alexa

Featuring a sleek new form-factor that allows you to stack two Mini Smart Plugs in the same outlet, the WeMo Mini gives you control of your lights and small appliances whenever you want, wherever you choose, with tons of options for scheduling and automation. Paired with Amazon Alexa, you can control your lamps and appliances with just the power of your voice. When WeMo works with Nest Thermostat, you can set your lights to turn off automatically when you leave the house, and on when you get home again. No central hub or subscription is required. WeMo Mini Smart Plug includes an on/off switch on the unit, in case the Wi-Fi goes down. Works with any smartphone or tablet with Apple iOS 8 or higher and Android 4.4 or higher. Electrical Rating 120V/15A/60Hz/1800W. 24-hour WeMo support is available at 1-844-745-WEMO. Please update the product description.

Price: $34.99
List Price: $34.99
Manufacturer: WeMo
Model: F7C063
Color: White
Release Date: 2017-01-10
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Control from anywhere. Plug in a WeMo Mini Smart Plug, download the free app, control your lights and appliances from your smartphone or tablet. Only needs Wi-Fi. No hub or subscription required.
  • Compact size. WeMo Mini features a sleek new form-factor that allows you to stack two Mini Smart Plugs in the same outlet.
  • Schedule automatically. Never come home to a dark house. Schedule the fan to turn on before you arrive. Sync lights and devices to sunrise, sunset, or pre-set times automatically.
  • Randomize Lights. The Mini Smart Plug protects your home better than a mechanical timer. “Away Mode” will turn your lights on and off randomly to make it look like you’re home even when you’re not.
  • Works with Alexa and Nest. Pair with Alexa and control your lights and appliances with your voice. Pair with Nest Thermostat and Nest can sync with WeMo for automatic control.

All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – Black

Here’s the Amazon Echo Dot. This is also the only Alexa product I’d recommend for now. It’s not worth spending the extra money on the other ones, this works just fine. Also, 2 or 3 of these are better than one Echo.

Price: $49.99
List Price: $49.99
Manufacturer: Amazon
Model: RS03QR
Size: 0
Color: Black
Release Date: 2016-10-20
Price Checked: 2017-3-6

  • Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, and more
  • Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Hears you from across the room with 7 far-field microphones for hands-free control, even in noisy environments or while playing music
  • Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino’s, and more
  • Amazon Echo is not required to use Echo Dot

As a side note, I’m definitely using these smart outlets for my Christmas lights next year. They allow you to set a schedule to the exact minute which means I’ll finally be able to have all my outdoor lights come on at the exact same time.

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