If you own an Alexa – these are the most helpful voice commands you really should know

Got Alexa for Christmas? These are the best voice commands to get you started

smart speaker on a sideboard beside books and a vase and a picture of a dog
(Image credit: Amazon)

Did you get Amazon’s voice AI service under the Christmas tree? Or did you finally treat yourself to it? Either way, getting used to Alexa can be quite the adjustment, which includes knowing what exactly Alexa can do. Which is why we compiled a list of the best Alexa voice commands for you.

Amazon’s Alexa is one of the most popular smart home ideas and it’s great for controlling your home handsfree with nothing other than your voice. But knowing precisely how to use your voice is crucial to a successful cohabitation with Alexa.

So without further ado, this is Alexa’s smart home voice control explained. While some are essential, some are less known, others will just amuse. And that’s fine.

Best Amazon Alexa voice commands

In order to get hold of Alexa, you must purchase an Amazon Echo device, which there are many of. People often use the terms Alexa and Echo interchangeably but the main difference between the two is that Alexa is the AI voice service, while Amazon Echo is the physical product itself.

Some of our favourite Amazon Echo products:

Once you get your Echo product set up, simply say ‘Alexa’ to wake up your device. And from there, you can say any of the below.

Alexa, what can you do?

Firstly, if you’re feeling completely lost, you can always ask Alexa herself what she can do and help you with. This voice command comes highly recommended for beginners by Amazon itself.

Alexa, stop

Unlike most people, Alexa doesn’t particularly mind if you’re being rude and tell her to ‘stop’. 

‘Useful when the smart speaker is going on too long or starts replying to an accidental command,’ says Hamish Hector, staff writer at TechRadar.

Amazon Alexa Eco Show smart speaker hub with screen on a kitchen countertop

(Image credit: Amazon)

Alexa, how do I spell…

Alexa is a fountain of knowledge and you can ask her anything from how to spell words to mathematical constants.

‘You can ask Alexa to help you spell odd words, or define them. You can also just ask it for interesting facts or what Pi is and it will go for a while before giving up, I think about 40 digits or so,’ Hamish explains.

Alexa, ping my phone

‘One of the best things about the Apple ecosystem is the ability to ping your iPhone using “Find My” from another Apple device, allowing you to echo-locate your phone when you've misplaced it around the house (invariably, mine is always somewhere within the depths of my sofa),’ says Peter Wolinski, how to and cameras editor at Tom's Guide

‘But this relies on you having another Apple device at hand, which isn't always the case. Aside from timers, my most-used Alexa command is "Alexa, ping my phone", which essentially just calls the phone number associated with your Alexa account. It isn't perfect — if your phone is on silent, for example, you may not hear it — but it still gives me another way to track down my iPhone when I don't have my Apple Watch or iPad at hand.’

smart speaker with screen on a sideboard showing the weather beside a potted plant

(Image credit: Amazon)

Alexa, turn on/off the lights

You can utilise Alexa to create a larger smart home ecosystem within your house where multiple smart devices are connected, making your life easier.

‘If you have more smart home gadgets like smart bulbs you can connect them to Alexa to control them,’ Hamish says.

Alexa, play tic-tac-toe

If you’re bored and home alone, Alexa is always willing to play a game with you.

‘You can play games with Alexa, including rock, paper, scissors; tic-tac-toe; and black jack among many others,’ Hamish notes.

smart speaker on a sideboard in a dark room

(Image credit: Amazon)

Alexa, change your wake word

In case you’re not particularly fond of the name Alexa or grow tired of it, there is an option to change it.

‘You can change the name your Alexa responds to, with the other options being Amazon, Computer, Echo, and Ziggy,’ Hamish reveals.

Alexa, self-destruct

Amazon clearly has a sense of humour as Alexa features several amusing commands that not many know about. Self-destruction is one of them. But don’t worry, there will be no explosions or any other forms of destruction happening.

‘Alexa has a lot of hidden joke commands, but my favourite is asking it to self-destruct. Alexa does some amusing voice lines (like starting a countdown) but nothing happens to the device,’ Hamish explains. ‘You can also get it to talk like Yoda, make Pikachu noises, and go "Super Alexa mode" if you know the classic Konami code.’

If you know, you know.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.