how-to-control-your-robot-vacuum-with-alexa

Connecting your robot vacuum to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant levels up your hands-free cleaning experience. Once set up, you won’t need to open an app on your smartphone or push a button on the bot to get the cleaning party started. With a voice assistant on tap, just say a command, and your bot will do.

Most robot vacuum manufacturers work with Alexa for voice control, although some have more features than others. The basics generally include start, stop, pause, and dock (or go home). But the premium experience includes specific room cleaning commands — so, for example, you can ask Alexa to tell your robot to clean the kitchen and the living room. This is only available on vacuums with the ability to map your home, such as the Roborock S7.

The Roborock S7 vacuum can be controlled with Alexa voice commands.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Connect your robot vacuum to Amazon’s Alexa

No matter which robot vacuum you have, the experience of connecting it to Alexa so you can control it with the voice assistant is similar.

  • Open the Alexa App
  • Tap More > Skills & Games
  • Tap the search icon in the top right
  • Search for your robot’s manufacturer
  • Choose your robot’s skill. (Note: some companies have multiple skills — look for the one that says Robot Vacuum or Home.)
  • Tap Enable to Use
  • Follow the steps to link your account, which generally involve adding your username and password
  • Once the accounts are linked, a pop-up will appear confirming this, and the app will then prompt you to “Close this window to discover smart-home devices”
  • Tap Discover Devices on the next screen
  • After the robot vac is found, if you are not automatically taken to your device in the Alexa app, go to the Devices tab and tap Discovered Devices at the top
  • Tap on your robot’s entry and see the options you have in Alexa
  • Tap the settings icon to change the robot’s name to make it easier to give voice commands. (Pro Tip: Choose something like robot or vacuum as a name, rather than a person’s name, as this can confuse your voice assistant into thinking you want to call someone rather than run your robot.)
  • You’re done!

Some manufacturers, such as Roborock, iRobot, Eufy, and Ecovacs, have made it possible to start the pairing with Alexa from their apps, streamlining the process during your initial setup of the vacuum. If that’s the case, go to your user profile in your robot’s app, select the Voice Control, Smart Home, or Smart Integrations option, choose Connect to Amazon Alexa and follow the steps above from the Discover Devices point.

Alexa voice commands you can use with your robot vacuum

Once your robot vacuum is connected to Alexa, common commands for operating it with voice include (check with the manufacturer of your vacuum for exact wording):

  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to start cleaning/vacuuming
  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to stop cleaning/vacuuming
  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to pause cleaning/vacuuming
  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to resume cleaning/vacuuming
  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to go home
  • Alexa, where is [name of vacuum]?
  • Alexa, turn on [name of vacuum]
  • Alexa, turn off [name of vacuum]

Depending on which robot vacuum you use, there may be other commands available. These will be displayed when you link it to Alexa. (Pro tip: screenshot this page so you can reference it until you’re used to the phrases.)

When you use voice to control your robot vacuum with Alexa, some robots may open their own voice skill and ask for additional guidance. For example, if you have more than one Roomba vacuum in your home, you will get a prompt that opens the iRobot skill and asks you to select a number to choose the correct robot — for example, “For Roomba s9, say 1; for Roomba i7, say 2.” If you have a Brava Jet mopping robot, it may also ask if you want that robot to clean once the vacuum is done. You can skip this by using this phrase to pick the correct robot initially: “Alexa, ask Roomba to have [name of vacuum] start cleaning”

Robots with mapping capabilities may have the option to follow a command to clean a specific room or area. These commands include:

  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to clean the kitchen
  • Alexa, ask [name of vacuum] to clean around the [object] (you will need to set up specific clean zones in the robot’s app to enable this if your robot has that feature)

Some other options your robot might have include the ability to make announcements on an Echo device when it needs attention. This lets your robot tell you what it’s doing through Alexa, announcing things like when it needs help or when it has finished a cleaning job. You can turn this feature on or off and choose which Echo devices make the announcements in the settings section for the robot in the Alexa app.

Control your robot vacuum with Alexa Routines and Hunches

Many robot vacuums work with Alexa Hunches and Routines so that your robot can operate based on actions you take (leaving the house) or actions in your smart home (dismissing an alarm on an Echo device or when motion is or isn’t detected by a motion sensor).

A Routine can send your robot cleaning when you leave the house or when another smart home device is triggered. Routines are set up in the Alexa app.

To set up a Routine involving your robot vacuum:

  • Tap More > Routines in the Alexa app
  • Tap the plus symbol in the top right-hand corner
  • Name the Routine
  • Choose the action that will trigger the routine
  • Tap Add Action > All Devices. Choose your robot from the list and toggle on Power On to turn have your robot start vacuuming as the action. You can toggle Power Off if you want the Routine to stop the robot.
  • You can choose to add multiple actions to a Routine

Alexa Hunches is a feature that lets the artificially intelligent assistant make decisions about what you might need your smart home to do for you, based on your habits and routines. For example, it can use connected devices in your home — such as lights, thermostats, locks, switches, and plugs — to figure out if you are away and tell your vacuum to clean when you’ve left. Robots that currently work with Hunches include those from iRobot, Eufy, Wyze, Roborock, and Ecovacs.

Hunches is a feature that allows Alexa to run your robot if it determines you aren’t at home. You can configure your setup in the Alexa app.

To enable robot vacuum Hunches:

  • Open the Alexa app
  • Tap More > Settings > Hunches. Tap the settings icon
  • Tap Set Up Automatic Actions and select Vacuums
  • Toggle on Vacuum when nobody’s home
  • Tap Choose Vacuums and select your vacuum from the list

You can change the settings for the Hunch at any time directly from your robot’s page in the Alexa app.

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