Thinking about splurging on an Amazon Echo?
You guessed it, we’re talking about Siri’s rival, Alexa.
Whether you’d like a kitchen assistant, crave instant entertainment for the kids, or you’ve ever wished you could turn off your curling iron after leaving the house — we’ve gathered the 15 coolest and most useful Amazon Echo hacks to help you out.
1. Shop through Alexa and get a free $15 Amazon credit in your Prime account.
You can get a free $15 to spend this Christmas by ordering through your Amazon Echo. Here’s how:
Re-order any item $10 or more using Alexa:
- Choose any item from your Amazon order history worth $10 or more to re-order.
- Say: “Alexa, order more of (your item).”
- Say “yes” when Alexa asks if you you’d like to buy your item again.
- $10 will appear in your Amazon Prime account within 3 days, expiring 7/1/18.
Get another $5 when you reload an Amazon gift card.
- Reload an Amazon gift card with at least $100.
- Amazon will give you another $5 free, making your gift card worth $105.
2. Alexa can set a kitchen timer, find a recipe, or do measurement conversions for you.
Short of acting as your household sous chef, Alexa is the most helpful kitchen assistant you could ask for (especially when your hands are covered in raw meat juice):
- Timer: Ask Alexa to set a kitchen timer for you by saying, “Alexa, set a timer for ten minutes.”
- Cup calculator: Alexa will translate measurements for you if you ask, “Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup?”
- Recipes: Alexa will open up a recipe and read it to you while you cook if you say, “Alexa, open AllRecipes,” then, “Alexa, find me a recipe for chicken nuggets.”
3. Alexa can turn off your straightener remotely if you forgot to turn it off.
Now you don’t even need a full-on smart house in order to get one of the coolest features the Amazon Echo offers: Turning your gadgets and lights on or off remotely, hands-free.
You can buy a smart plug like the WeMo Smart Plug that will make any outlet in your house Alexa-compatible. That means if you forget to turn off your straightener when you leave in the morning, you can ask Alexa to turn it off for you, or remotely turn it off from your smartphone with the Alexa app.
Which means you can control anything plugged into that outlet remotely through the Alexa app, or through your Amazon Echo itself.
4. Alexa can entertain your kids if you want to grab a quick shower or make dinner.
There are tons of different commands to keep your kids entertained, but these are some of the most tried and true!
Give them a try next time you need to grab a quick shower:
- “Alexa tell me a story.” Alexa will tell your child a quick story, about 60 seconds long.
- “Alexa, play 20 questions.” Alexa will ask you to come up with a person, place, or thing and then play a game of 20 questions against you.
- “Alexa, tell me a joke.” Alexa will tell you a joke at random.
- “Alexa, open The Magic Door game.” This is the modern version of a “choose your own adventure” novel. You listen to a segment of the story, and then choose what to do next.
5. Turn Alexa into a Bluetooth speaker.
If you want to connect your Spotify, Pandora, or Amazon Music playlists to Alexa, simply make sure the Bluetooth signal is active on your mobile device and say, “Alexa, connect to Bluetooth.”
Then you can listen to all your favorite playlists over Alexa’s speakers. You don’t even have to have the classic Amazon Echo for this feature. If you have an Amazon Dot, Tap, or are thinking about buying the new Amazon Show, Alexa can turn them all into speakers via Bluetooth.
Are you really, really lucky and have exclusive access to the new Amazon Echo Look? Well in addition to taking pictures and video for you, Alexa can also play music over the device while you get dressed.
6. Use Alexa to create an ongoing, hands-free shopping list.
The Alexa app on your phone goes with you everywhere, and the coolest feature ever is the shopping list.
Just say, “Alexa, add eggs to my shopping list” and she automatically adds the item to your list on your Alexa app.
Just take your phone with you, and simply check off the items as you buy them.
TIP: Use the To-Do List function of the Alexa app to do the same thing with your daily tasks!
7. Alexa can make phone calls for you.
Just say, “Alexa, call Mom” to call anyone you know with an Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot.
Fair warning though: You need to make sure that your Alexa app is up to date, and every device with an Alexa app will ring when you’re being called.
That includes all cell phones, tablets, Dot’s and Echos, which can be a bit jarring if you’re not prepared.
You also need to make sure that your contacts within the app match the person you’re trying to call. So if “Mom” is listed as “Sylvia” it won’t work.
8. Ask “Alexa, what’s up?” for current time, weather, and news.
If you’re running out the door and want a quick update, this is the perfect command to tell you everything you might want to know all at once.
Just ask “Alexa, what’s up?” and she’ll give you a bite-sized update including the time, current weather, and trending news.
9. Say “Alexa, good afternoon!” to hear a different Alexa skill every day.
Looking to expand your library of Alexa skills? Just say this command, and she’ll mention a skill that you may not already know.
TIP: Saying “Good morning, Alexa” will get you what happened on this day in history.
10. Tell Alexa to ask Retale GO what time a store closes before you go couponing.
Alexa can even help you plan your coupon shopping trip.
Through Retale GO, you can ask Alexa questions about your favorite stores, such as “Alexa, ask Retale GO what time Target closes today,” while you’re planning your shopping trip.
Soon, Retale GO will offer the ability to search through Alexa to find out if there are coupons for your favorite products through Alexa!
11. Let your kids use Alexa as a calculator to help them with their math homework.
Alexa is also a calculator, which comes in handy when your child asks you to help with their third grade math homework and you don’t want to reveal that you no longer remember your multiplication tables.
Just ask your Echo the math question instead of using your calculator by saying “Alexa, what’s two plus two?”
12. Alexa can help you choose a baby name.
It might seem like everyone and their dog has an opinion when it comes to naming your bundle of joy.
Your Amazon Echo can help you browse for names yourself by saying “Alexa, open baby names.”
You can then ask Alexa to “Ask baby names for 10 girl or boy names.”