The best Amazon Echo Alexa skills and how to install them

Teach Alexa more

If you’ve just bought an Amazon Echo, or the smaller Amazon Echo Dot, then this guide is for you, as we list the best Alex Skills for the Amazon Echo, and show you how to install them.

The best Amazon Alexa skills enable the Amazon Echo to access various apps, websites and services, allowing you to customise your Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot so that Alexa can interact with the smart appliances in your house, check public transport for your area, read the headlines from your favorite newspaper or website, and a whole lot more. 

We've collected together the best Amazon Echo Alexa skills in categories: Amazon Echo Alexa skills for smart homes, Alexa skills for travel, Alexa skills for food and drink, and the best games to play on your Amazon Echo.

We'll also take you through the process of installing these Alexa skills on your Amazon Echo.

Best Amazon Echo Alexa skills for smart homes

These are the best Amazon Echo Alexa skills for making the connected devices in your house even easier to use.

Philips Hue

There's not much cooler than using your voice to turn the lights on and off in your house, and the Philips Hue skill for the Amazon Echo lets Alexa do just that.

With the Philips Hue Amazon Echo skill enabled, the Alexa app will discover the Hue smart lightbulbs installed in your house. As long as you've named the bulbs correctly, you can then say "Alexa, turn on bedside lamp" or "Alexa, dim living room lights".

One of the best things about the Philips Hue Amazon Echo skill is that you can tell Alexa to turn off, on or dim specific lights, or all the lights in a certain room.

Nest

If you have a Nest Learning Thermostat, then you'll want to enable the Nest Amazon Echo Alexa skill, which gives you the ability to control the heating of your home with your voice.

With the Nest skill installed, you can say "Alexa, lower the living room temperature by 4 degrees", or "Alexa, set the bedroom temperature to 68 degrees".

The Nest Amazon Echo Alexa skill is being updated regularly to make it easier to control the temperature of your house using Alexa and the Amazon Echo. For example, you can now say "Alexa, I'm leaving", and the Nest Thermostat will turn to Eco mode, lowering the temperature while you're away. You can also say "Alexa, tell the thermostat that I'm too hot", and the Amazon Echo will tell the thermostat to turn down the temperature by a few degrees.

Hive

Hive is another big name in smart thermostats, and its Amazon Echo Alexa skill works in a similar way to Nest's - allowing you to control the temperature of your home by simply speaking to Alexa.

Hive also has other smart devices, such as internet controlled lightbulbs, so you can use the Hive Alexa skill to control your lights and more.

Logitech Harmony

The Logitech Harmony range of products are universal remote controls that can control almost any entertainment device in your home. Best of all, a new Logitech Harmony Alexa skill for the Amazon Echo allows you to use Alexa and your voice to control those devices.

You'll need the Logitech Harmony hub for this to work, then with it configured and the skill installed on your Amazon Echo, you can say "Alexa, turn on the TV", or "Alexa, turn off the DVD player". 

Lost your remote control and need to leave the room? Just say "Alexa, tell Harmony to pause" and your movie will pause. You can also set sleep timers and adjust the volume as well.

There are actually two Harmony skills for the Amazon Echo - the Harmony skill and the Harmony - Optimised for Smart Home skill. Both of these should be installed for the best results.

Samsung SmartThings

Samsung has created a range of smart home appliances, and you can now control them with the Amazon Echo thanks to the Samsung SmartThings Alexa skill.

With this installed you will have control over a huge number of compatible devices in your home, all just by using your voice!

Yonomi

Yonomi is a great Alexa skill to add to your Amazon Echo, as it helps tie together your smart devices including  ogitech Harmony, Sonos, Belkin Wemo, Philips Hue, LIFX, Nest, Wink, Schlage Connect, Honeywell Lyric and lots more.

With this skill you can create your own instructions for Alexa to run (known as routines), so you can use it to tell Alexa to turn on your lights, watch TV and at the end of the day say "Alexa, turn off everything" and all your devices will be turned off. If you're building a smart home, then the Yonomi Alexa skill is a must have.