The best things to ask Alexa – 25 questions and commands for this voice assistant

These are the best things to ask Alexa – to help you in daily life, to make you laugh and more

Best things to ask Alexa: All-new Echo (4th generation)
(Image credit: Echo)

Unwrapped an Amazon Alexa device in your stocking this year? Here are the best things to ask Alexa – whether you need help drifting off to sleep, or you want to catch up on the latest news. If you live alone, these commands will be sure to brighten your day, too! They'll make your life easier – kids or not! - and soon you'll wonder how you ever survived without having an Alexa (or seven) in your home. The things you can ask this voice assistant are endless...

Don't (yet) own an Echo device? Head to our Amazon Echo deals page for the cheapest prices on the web. See our best Alexa speakers guide for more top recommendations. 

1. "Alexa, turn on iRobot"

Should you be lucky enough to own a robot vacuum cleaner – not just an iRobot one (we have a Eufy model) – then you can use your Alexa device to clean your home. You won't even have to move from the sofa.

2. "Alexa, open sleep sounds"

We use this all of the time to help us fall asleep! You'll need to enable it in your Alexa app, but you can use it to play thunderstorm noises, office noises, rainforest sounds – you get the jist.

3. "Alexa, start a 30 minute timer for roast potatoes"

You can use Alexa in your kitchen (or anywhere else for that matter) to set multiple timers to help with cooking. You can name your times so you don't get confused, too. A great helping hand. 

4. "Alexa, play Capital Radio"

Another hit favourite of mine, using Alexa to play the radio while working or doing chores is a smart idea. You can even ask her to play it on all of your Echo devices, so that if you are moving from room to room, you can still hear it.

5. " Alexa, remind me I have a dentist appointment on January 4th"

Instead of referring to your calendar constantly, why not use your Alexa device to remind you of important dates, appointments and more? Zero paper waste, and 

6. "Alexa, play song quiz"

This one's a fun one if you live alone (or you've had a few too many proseccos with your friends). You'll play against a random player from anywhere in the world, battling to be the first to guess the name of the song played. It gets competitive...

7. "Alexa, add kitchen roll to my shopping list"

Another handy way to use your new Alexa device is to add to your shopping list. So, if you are sat on your sofa watching TV and suddenly remember you are out of bin bags, you needn't get up to find your pen and paper to make a note. Then, before you head to Sainsbury's, just say "Alexa, tell me my shopping list". You can even see this in your phone while you are actually in store.

8. "Alexa, remind me to put the bins out every Tuesday evening at eight o'clock"

Not even ashamed to say that I use this one! Because is there anything more annoying than missing bin day? This way you'll always be reminded the night before. No excuses...

9. "Alexa, show me a recipe for lasagna"

If you have an Alexa which boasts a screen – Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8 etc – then you can use your smart speaker to see recipes. Time to donate all of your recipe books to the charity shop...

10. "Alexa, turn on bedroom light"

If you have smart lighting in your home, then you should be able to control your ligh bulbs with your voice via Alexa. No more arguments about who gets up to turn the light off once you are tucked up in bed...

11. "Alexa, what's the date?"

Times are hard right now, and all of the days seem to be rolling into one. So, if you sometimes forget what day it us (us too!) then just ask your Alexa. No judgement, too...

12. "Alexa, how do you say 'hello' in Spanish?"

Yes, you can use your Alexa device for translation purposes. Much easier than going on your phone to Google Translate! And you never know when you'll need it.

13. "Alexa, how many sleeps until Christmas?"

One for the kids, this ought to get them excited! Encourage them to ask Alexa this question every day – December or not!

14. "Alexa, announce that dinner is ready"

If you have Alexa devices dotted around your home, especially in the kids' rooms, then this will make your life easier when you want to tell everyone in the house something. Like dinner is ready, time to wake up for school, come and help clean up...

15. "Alexa, open relax my dog"

Puppy owner? This works a treat (see what we did there?). It plays a soothing noise to calm your pup down, ready for naptime.

16. "Alexa, call Santa"

17. "Alexa, open daily affirmation"

18. "Alexa, start my day"

You can set up a daily routine on your Alexa app so that when you say "Alexa, good morning" she will tell you things in order. For example, the weather, the traffic on your route to work, breaking news headlines, calendar appointments... Wake up on the right side of the bed!

19. "Alexa, add 'clean washing machine' to my to do list"

A handy way to create a to-do list without actually putting pen to paper, when you think of something that needs to be done, just shout to your Alexa to add it to your to-do list. Whether that's to clean the hamster's cage, to put on a wash load or to order something online.

20. "Alexa, show my Facebook photos"

A new feature for Alexa devices that boast a screen, you can now connect your Alexa to your facebook to show a reel of photos from this social media platform. Kinda like those automatic photo frames everyone wanted years and years ago. But a bit cooler...

21. "Alexa, what's on TV tonight?"

Not got your TV guide to hand? Can't be bothered to find the remote to check yourself? Ask your Alexa whats on tele to see if anything is worth switching channel for.

22. "Alexa, how's the traffic on Church Road?"

If you are just about to leave home to go somewhere, then why not double-check the traffic before you head off? Just ask Alexa as you are going out of your front door.

23. "Alexa, read me a bedtime story"

One for the kids, when you've had a really tough day and are dreaming of your bed, you can ask your good friend Alexa to read the kids a story. They can even choose it! Amazing...

24. "Alexa, order me some coffee beans"

Prime member? If you've run out of cupboard staples then you can ask your Alexa to re-order them. No need to head to your supermarket and queue! Or wear a mask... 

25. "Alexa, turn on the TV"

Possibly one of our favourite Alexa commands, if you have a Fire TV Stick, you can ask Alexa to turn on your TV. And, Fire TV Sticks come with remote controls that have Alexa built-in, too. So you can talk to your remote to turn of your lights. 

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Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie joined the Real Homes team in 2018 after interning on Country & Town House. As the website's Deals Editor, Annie spends much of her time helping you find the best buys for your home – when she is not doing that, she is putting her research to use buying homeware online, or Instagramming her beautifully styled rooms.