You found it. The ever-growing MONSTER Amazon Alexa routines examples list. This echo list exists as a source of ideas for your own Alexa routines. In fact, comment below and let us know what you have cooking in your own home automation, that isn’t listed here. The more we list, the more we get to learn new ideas for our routines.
Note: that these are not to be confused with Alexa Skills, although you might need some Alexa skills enabled for some home automation devices to work with routines. That’s a different post.
There is no reason that these routines cannot also be built in some way using Google Home and Apple Homekit although all hardware and digital assistants have differences. Google has routines and actions, Alexa has routines and Homekit has automations.
A cool addition is also the ability to action routines from your car if you have the echo auto. As you approach home you can say things like ‘Alexa, I’m home’ (or use geo location to do it) and your garage could open, your porch light go one and your thermostat turn up.
What are Alexa Routines?
Alexa routines are quite basic in theory, but they can get very complex very quickly. The more you add to them the more complicated they become. Every time I go into the Alexa app to look at the options I can get pretty overwhelmed with ideas in my head of all the things I can do.
This is a good thing – don’t get me wrong. The ability to organise and automate so many areas of your life, just using routines and a smart assistant is awesome.
At their very basic level routines are very easy to understand. They work like this:
If this happens
do this. (or these things)
An example would be:
If I say “Alexa, turn on the heater switch“
Turn on the switch called “Heater“
If it’s Sunrise (you can choose the location for this)
Turn off my outside light
Multiple actions in a routine
With Alexa, in particular, you can have one “If this” event or command but you can then have multiple things happen as a result. Examples would be:
If I say “Alexa, meditation time“
- Turn on the lounge light to 50% brightness and change color to purple (using LIFX Blubs or Philips Hue smart bulbs)
- Play “Meditation Soundtracks by the Paz” on Spotify for 10 minutes
- Set all Alexa devices to ‘Do Not Disturb’
another example of multiple actions on a routine would be
If it’s Sunset (at my home location – you can choose other locations too)
- Turn on my porch light (LIFX or Hue or any other smart light switch options)
- Close my lounge blinds (a few options for hardware here. Like mySmartBlinds)
- Close my Garage Door, if it isn’t already (a few options here too like Tailwind)
- Set Thermostat to 72f
- Say to me “It’s time to cook dinner”.
Here are the screens in the Alexa app to start to get your mind turning over ideas:
You can see there are so many options and I am just scratching the surface. You could have your Garage light go on when you arrive home. You could have an alarm wake you at 7 am, then have Alexa read you the news & weather reports, turn the heater on and turn on the coffee maker all in one routine. etc etc
A side note. In each routine, there are often optional extra settings.
By this I mean:
IF THIS happens THEN do this (and set this setting )
Using a similar example to the ‘Turn the light off at sunrise example” from the above list, you will also see these extra options in the settings for the device or situation.
Here is the example with the options:
If it’s 15 minutes before Sunset at my Vacation homes location
Turn on my outside light and set it to 50% brightness
It is technically still only one (1) IF this then THIS routine but there are extra settings availble in the app. You’ll see them as you start setting up your own routines.
So many things!
Home Automation Hardware List for Routines
In this post, these Alexa routines require a certain number of home automation hardware devices which I have listed below. Each of these can often be substituted for similar hardware from different brands, but each has its limitations. If you’re not sure what to buy – ask in the comments below. Make sure they are compatible with Alexa first and foremost.
An example of this would be smart coloured light bulbs, there are lots of brands that offer Alexa compatible smart bulbs so while we have Philips Hue and LIFX, you might have or buy different ones.
I believe you ideally need around 3 different types of home automation devices to make things become really fun, your mobile phone is also one but that could be #4.
When I say devices I mean things like smart bulbs, alarm systems, universal remotes, smart switches, smart speakers, smart garage door openers etc.
Starting with one product, like a smart bulb, is a great entry point and can often demonstrate to people you live with how good, and easy, home automation can be.
Just the ability to say ‘Alexa, turn on/off the lounge light’ can become something people become used to, and even dependent on. The chore of getting up and turning off the light becomes strange when you can just tell Alexa/Google/Siri to do it.
Home automation is great. If you live with people who don’t get the hype then start small and build up. Each step up will illustrate how helpful digital assistants and home automation devices can be. It can get to the point where things like going to bed at night, turning off the lights, TV & checking the door locks manually is foreign and annoying to have to do. Especially when you can just say ‘Alexa, bedtime‘!
Home Automation item checklist. Most of these items were bought from Amazon – the links will open in new tabs if you want to stack them up and look later.
Home automation devices list
- Abode Security System (Gen 2 | Iota)
- Alexa echo and echo dot
- Google Home mini
- LIFX Smart Bulbs (see our review of LIFX bulbs here)
- Aeotec Smart Switches
- Harmony Hub
- Philips Hue Smart Bulbs – we have 2 Philips smart bulbs connected via Abode without a Hue Hub but we’d recommend a Hue Hub as they’re just better to have and more reliable all around.
- Tailwind Garage Door Opener with iPhone Bluetooth Puck (see our review of Tailwind Garage Door Opener here)
- Yale Zigbee Smart Lock
- Amazon Ring Doorbell
- Ring Stickup Cams are also a great addition. The solar version is great.
I will try to group these in some sort of order so you can jump to sections relating to what you are trying to achieve. I believe the best way to think of home automation routines and schedules is to think of events in your day e.g. waking up, leaving home, arriving home, watching TV, going to bed.
Alexa Routines Examples
So now that we have covered the basics of Alexa Routines, how the work and how to set them up, we have this list of ever-growing examples to get you thinking. This would have been handy when we were starting out with our Echo Dot so we hope it helps you too.
1: Routine for Bedtime
Place: Sitting in the lounge at the end of the night
Say – “Alexa, bedtime”
- Turn off Apple TV, TV and Denon stereo (Harmony Hub)
- Set lounge light to 50% (Philips Hue connected to Abode Hub, not Philips Hub)
- Turn on bedroom lamp, set brightness to 50%, set color to Candlelight (LIFX Smart Bulbs)
- Start playing nature sounds from Spotify
Once you are in bed (and have brushed your teeth)
Place: Bedroom, in bed, ready for sleep
Say – “Alexa, good night”
- Turn off lounge light (Philips Hue)
- Turn off bedroom lamp (LIFX)
- Set volume to 2 on Bedroom Alexa
- Start playing Ocean Waves playlist on Spotify for 15 minutes only
- Say a “goodnight” phrase
Routines for Lounge/HT Room/TV Room or Rec room
Place: In the Lounge/Rec room, usually at night.
1: Say – “Alexa, movie time”
- Turn on Apple TV, TV and Home Theatre Stereo (Harmony Hub)
- Turn on lounge light, set brightness to 50% and color to Purple (LIFX or Philips Hue). Color is totally your choice of course.
- Say “Enjoy your movie. Did you get some popcorn?”. The Say bit on these is just for fun and because it’s easy to do. I add them to most routines.
2: Say – “Alexa, sports night:
- Turn on Apple TV, TV and Home Theatre Stereo (Harmony Hub)
- Turn on lounge light, set brightness to 100% and color to Green (LIFX or Philips Hue). Feels like green is a sporty color…right?
3: Say – “Alexa, meditation time:
As a family, we all do 5 minutes of wind-down meditation in the lounge before the kids go to bed. We find it helps them adjust to bedtime and settle down. At the moment we are using Simple Habit for our pre-sleep meditation routines.
- Turn on Home Theatre Stereo (Harmony Hub + Denon Amp) – you could also just use your Echo speaker without needing a HiFi amp. I use the stereo amp as the sound is more enveloping but for bedrooms, the Echo speakers are fine – even the dot is fine.
- Turn on lounge light, set brightness to 40% and color to Warm Orange (LIFX or Philips Hue).
- Set all alexa devices to Do Not Disturb.
Alexa Routines for Home Security
1: When – “When motion detected at the front door Ring Camera”
If you have a ring door camera or stick up camera, or any of the ring cameras, you can do a lot with the rest of your home. The thing we’re missing is the third IF THIS THEN BUT ONLY controls in Alexa which I hope are coming. e.g If motion is detected at the front door then turn on the outdoor light BUT ONLY if it’s night time.
What Amazon has added is a schedule which helps. This means you can set an action but only have it enabled for a certain time of the day. e.g. If motion is detected at my front door camera THEN turn on the outdoor light BUT ONLY if it’s between 9pm and 6am. This is going to cover most of the needs you have but maybe not all. Ideally, it would be more intelligent to select ‘if it’s dark’ and then, like the abode security system, it will know, based on your timezone, if it’s dark automatically.
- When motion is detected at the front door camera THEN turn on the outside light.
Alexa Routines for Kids
1: Say – “Alexa, Go Power Rangers!”
- Say ‘Go Power Rangers!’
- Turn on all colored smart bulbs in the house and set to changing colors scene.
- Play ‘Powers rangers theme song’ from Spotify for 1 minute. (The 1-minute limit is because parents have usually had enough by then).
Gotcha’s with these examples of Alexa Routines
If you have a series of actions in a routine the option to play music has to come last in the list of actions. Not sure why this is but it’s the way Amazon has made it work. It could be that any other audio queues must come first before the music plays.
The more smart devices you have in your home automation arsenal the more options you have with Alexa routines. It grows exponentially and over time we know Amazon will only add more and more new features to routines.
But as you can see from some of these routines, with just a mobile phone (for simple location routines etc) and even a single smart light bulb you can do all manner of fun things.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.