(Pocket-lint) – With many of us now used to having smart assistant-powered devices in our homes, there’s never been a better time to see what accessories and extra products you can buy to augment your voice-controlled nirvana.
In this guide for Amazon Echo owners we’re looking at the best Alexa accessory devices you can buy to augment your system – in addition to getting more Echo devices for other rooms of course! There are numerous Alexa devices available from Amazon – plus its subsidiaries Blink and Ring – but we’ve tried to showcase non-Amazon gear here.
So, let’s check out the most useful stuff out there. And check out our guide to the best Alexa Easter Eggs, too.
Philips Hue Starter Kit
Philips has an impressive portfolio of smart, connected lighting solutions to kit your house out with. In fact, it’s arguably the most complete lighting system available.
The white and colour starter kit comes with the latest Hue Bridge, and can be programmed to offer all kinds of colours for setting the mood, or just for changing white temperature to suit morning or evening. The bulbs come with either a bayonet B22 fitting or E27 screw fitting. It’s a great place to start if you don’t have any smart lighting yet.
Being Hue there are, of course, other bulb types to choose from. They offer spotlights, separate mood lamps, even designer lamps with built-in Hue support and LED light-strips. You even get the option of connected dimmer switches and motion sensors. All of which can be controlled by Alexa.
Logitech Harmony Home Hub
Logitech’s Harmony Home Hub is regarded as one of the best hubs for controlling your home entertainment system. Plug it into your existing TV, Blu-ray player, set-top box and then plug an Echo into the back of it, then have it control your TV and a host of other smart home products without having to pick up a remote.
This interesting-looking kettle is actually pretty clever – you can ask Alexa to boil it providing you’ve got enough water in it…which can be a potential issue. It can be used offline, too, you just have to get used to pressing the button instead of clicking it on elsewhere. There’s an accompanying Android and iOS app, too, though you won’t really need to use it that much.
This lock from Brisant Secure is designed to look the part – it’s available in five finishes – but also be controlled by voice (Alexa or Siri, depending on the version) while there’s also a Zigbee-compatible version. The lock communicates with your phone via Bluetooth and, yes, there’s a dedicated app. The connection between the app and the lock is encrypted.
It’s also received Sold Secure Diamond and Secure By Design accreditation, too.
Neato Botvac D7 Connected
“Alexa, tell Neato to start cleaning.” There’s nothing more satisfying in life than being able to have clean, dust and debris-free floors without having to lift a finger. Neato’s Botvac Connected series offers this
Boasting Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, the new model joins the D3 Connected and D5 Connected. It boasts the same D-shape Neato’s cleaners are known for but it adds advanced mapping with ‘No-Go’ lines to tell the robot where it shouldn’t go. – this all works via a new version of the excellent Neato app for iOS and Android.
Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd generation
There’s a whole host of smart connected thermostats on the market and, undoubtedly one of the better ones with Alexa compatibility is the third generation Nest learning thermostat. It has a big, colourful display, and is very easy to control thanks to a rotating frame and intuitive smartphone app.
Netatmo Weather Station
The Netatmo Weather Station gives you accurate weather and air quality measurements in real-time. It can measure temperature, CO2 concentration, air pressure, humidity, noise polution and more; inside and outside your home. All you need is a smartphone.
With Alexa support, you can ask your Echo for the current outdoor temperature by saying “Alexa, ask Netatmo to get the temperature from the Outdoor module”.
Honeywell Lyric T6R smart thermostat
As smart thermostats go, the Lyric T6R from Honeywell is a compelling option. It’s easy to use, Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa enabled and boasts location-based services for multiple members of the family. Geofencing lets you define a perimeter for your home so any time one of the users enters that zone, the thermostat tells your heating you’re home and kicks in.
Hive Active Heating and Hot Water
Hive was one of the earliest smart thermostats available in the UK, and with the latest version, you get more control than ever. You can use it to control your hot water, protect your pipes from frost and even send a command to it by SMS. And, if you want to, you can get it installed by a British Gas engineer, regardless of who actually supplies your energy.
TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug
For all those non-smart products you have lying around, there’s a simply solution: a Wi-Fi Plug. Simply plug your regular lamp, kettle, coffee machine or whatever in to one of these, and have it switch on as soon as you give the command to Alexa. As long as it’s a simple on/off device, you’ll just need to tell your Echo to switch on that specific plug.
Writing by Cam Bunton and Dan Grabham. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.