The Best Amazon Echo & Alexa Skills [January 2021]
The Amazon Echo can contribute to our lives unlike any other technology before. It’s a smart speaker that will follow your commands, answer your queries, and do so much more. However, Alexa’s “skills” are what can make the system truly useful. They are like apps for the Echo, which allow you to customize your experience and add extra functionality. There are more than 25,000 skills available today, so it made sense for us to cherry-pick the best of them.
Some of these skills take a fresh approach to voice control. Others are designed for Alexa-compatible devices like entertainment systems and lighting. Below you’ll find the ones we liked the most.
- Twitter Reader
- Find Your Phone
- Plan Your Trip
- Control Your Home Entertainment System
- Manage Multimedia
- Listen To TED Talks
- Get Your Fitness On
- Dictate Your Text Messages
- Hear Some New Tunes
- Hyperlocal Weather
- Control Lighting
- Enjoy Good Storytelling and Adventures
- View Some Deals
- Plan Your Instant Pot Meal
- Never Miss a Meeting
- Send a Hug
- Call an Uber
- Chill Out
- Talk to Pikachu
- Pick a Smash Character
- Generate Insults
- Finding More Skills
Who says you have to hold your smartphone to check your Twitter feed? Alexa can read your Likes, Mentions, Retweets, your Timeline, and even tell you about trending topics. Furthermore, Alexa will talk more about a specific trend if you ask her to. You just have to connect this skill to your Twitter account and it will make a world of difference.
Find Your Phone
People have spent countless hours trying to find their phone in the cracks of their couch. Doing so takes a few desperate attempts as you ask your roommate to call you. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. All you have to do is install the Find My Phone skill and Alexa will do it for you.
Plan Your Trip
Do you often find yourself wondering about your next trip as you’re bouncing around in your living room? Well, if you install the Kayak skill, you can have a healthy conversation about it on the spot with Alexa. It will tell you how much your flight too your next vacation will cost, or how far you could go within your budget. Just remember to take notes as you hear back about your next location, so that you don’t forget the info!
Control Your Home Entertainment System
If you have an Echo-compatible home entertainment system from HEOS or Logitech, you can control it with voice commands. Turn on your media player and TV or play and pause whatever’s playing on them. You can forget about your remote. Just lay back and enjoy having full control over the experience.
We all want easy access to our movies and music. With the Plex Media Server skill, you don’t have to lift a finger to access your media library. It allows you to ask Alexa to play movies from your digital collection. What’s more, it will also tell you what’s next on your Plex playlist and even give you relevant suggestions.
Listen To TED Talks
One of the best things about Alexa is the easy access it provides to highly relevant and useful information. You can take this benefit to the next level by enabling the TED Talks skill. Use it to listen to random TED talks or to search for particular topics and ideas. It can even play talks based on the keyword (psychology, inspiration, feminism, etc.) you provide.
Get Your Fitness On
We’ve gathered some of our favorite seven-minute workouts in a guide you can find right here, but if you have an Alexa smart speaker, you don’t even need your smartphone. Just ask your Alexa speaker to open your 7-Minute Workout, and Alexa can coach you through getting in shape.
Dictate Your Text Messages
Using this SMS skill, you can dictate text messages and send them without having to touch your phone. It’s simple and convenient, but you’ll have to add each of your contacts manually. Alexa doesn’t have access to contacts on your phone, which makes things a bit harder. But you’ll get a lot of value out of this skill if you send text messages every day.
Hear Some New Tunes
If you’re all about finding the newest music online today, you absolutely have to check out Alexa’s new music picks of the day. Amazon Music’s daily music picks feature a song selected by a new artist each day, based on their own listening habits. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone in order to listen to new songs.
Amazon built the ability to look up your weather in your area, but if you want hyperlocal forecasts, you’ll need to add a skill or two. Big Sky uses the famed Dark Sky API to pull in detailed forecasts for the upcoming day, while Fast Weather reads you the weather without any of the fluff provided with Amazon’s own service.
One of the Echo’s most impressive capabilities is how it can play with Hue lights. But this skill went through a lot of development since its introduction. It has plenty of customization options which you can use to set a specific mood in your room. Make your room’s lighting flashier than a nightclub or warm and cozy with simple one-word commands.
Enjoy Good Storytelling and Adventures
Alexa is pretty good at storytelling and providing interactive adventures. She gets even better with The Magic Door skill. You can indulge in an adventure in multiple magical world settings to fulfill your mission. It might be solving riddles, collecting hidden items, or rescuing magical creatures.
View Some Deals
When it comes to shopping, no one does it better than Amazon, so if you’re looking for some new deals, your Alexa device can really help. Just ask Alexa what her deals of the day are, and you’ll hear Prime-exclusive deals that are only available for customers using an Alexa-enabled device. You don’t need your phone or computer to buy these deals, either—Alexa handles everything with your voice.
Plan Your Instant Pot Meal
Cooking with an Instant Pot is awesome, but Alexa can make it even better. By enabling this skill, you can have Alexa collect new Instant Pot recipes. Choose recipes based on ingredients, diet preference, or difficulty levels. The new and exciting recipes you find might just become your favorites!
Never Miss a Meeting
If you often find yourself confused about your daily schedule, Alexa might just become your new best friend. Enable the Calendar and get more organized. You can have Alexa remind you of important meetings, events, or anything you have to do on a specific date. There will be no more forgotten birthdays and anniversaries in your life either.
Send a Hug
Times are tough, and if you’re missing your friends or family members a little more than usual, sending a hug through Alexa is a great way to feel virtually closer. Just ask Alexa to send a hug, and you can choose any name from your contacts saved in Alexa.
Call an Uber
If sleeping in and waking up 40 minutes later than you’re supposed to do something you’re familiar with, this skill from Uber might just save you. Once you set it up, you can frantically scream for a ride while you’re dressing up or brushing your teeth.
The last year or so has been filled with tumultuous events and moments that make it hard to focus on everything around us. If you’ve felt stressed out, Headspace has you covered. From meditation during the day to wind down programs late at night, Headspace should help you feel prepared for whatever comes your way in 2021.
Talk to Pikachu
Believe it or not, The Pokemon Company has an Alexa skill! Talk to Pikachu allows you to chat with your favorite yellow monster. From using moves like Thunderbolt to getting Pikachu to tell you a story, this is a must-have add-on for the Pokemon fan in your life—no matter how old.
Pick a Smash Character
Are you a Super Smash Bros. fan, but you find it tough to decide who to play? The game might have a random feature built-in, but with this Alexa skill, you can auto-randomize the character you’re going to play with just a simple phrase.
If you like to throw witty lines at your friends and family, have Alexa entertain them while you make some coffee. With the Insult Generator skill enabled, Alexa won’t hesitate to excoriate you or your visitors. She might just become the insult comic you always wished you had in your living room. However, you might not want to turn it on with kids in the room.
Finding More Skills
The skills on this page are all excellent, but if you want to add more skills, Amazon has made their skill web store way better than it used to be. Grab your laptop and head for Amazon’s Alexa Skills storefront. Here you can browse through thousands of excellent skills by category, and add them right to your Alexa without having to use your voice.