All the Alexa Timers: Meatballs, Burgers, and Dirty Socks

It’s one of Alexa’s most popular features: Alexa Timers. While we use Alexa Alarms every day, we use Alexa Timers multiple times per day. Time to get a good overview and share some tips and tricks.

We’ll compare Alexa Timers to Alarms and Reminders, list a couple of use-cases, and all the Alexa Timer voice commands. We’ll look into different timer features on Echo smart speakers and smart displays, as well as the Echo Wall Clock. Last but not least, we’ll never miss an Alexa Timer again because we will create an automation that blinks all lights at home when a timer goes off.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

What are Alexa Timers?

What’s the difference between Alexa Timers, Alarms, and Reminders?

Alexa Alarms are set when we specify a point in time, like “Alexa, wake me up every Tuesday at 6 am.” Here, Alexa will create a recurring alarm every Tuesday at six. If you’re interested in Alexa Alarms, please see our dedicated “Alexa Alarms, the Smarter Alarm Clock!” post.

Alexa staring at the Hourglass

But if we specify a duration and request: “Alexa, wake me up in 20 minutes” for a power nap, or “Alexa, wake me up in eight hours,” Alexa will create an Alexa Timer. This is good to know because we cannot snooze timers or change their sound (yet). We use Alexa Timers usually for cooking, workouts, meditation, laundry, and power naps.

If we want to hear a notification without having to dismiss it, we can use Alexa Reminders. “Alexa, remind me to take my vitamins every day at 8 a.m.,” will notify us two times and stop, no “Alexa, stop” needed. Alexa Reminders understand both points in time and time durations. We can set recurring reminders, now even on a monthly and yearly basis. We use Alexa Reminders, usually around household chores and errands. 

Alexa Timers on Echo Smart Speakers

The voice commands for Alexa Timers work the same way on smart speakers and displays, so let’s list them here.

How to set an Alexa timer?

To set an Alexa Timer, we can simply say:

  • “Alexa, timer!

Alexa will check back with “For how long?” and we can set the time by telling her:

  • “for 10 minutes.”

And Alexa will confirm that she has set a timer for 10 minutes.

If we want to set an Alexa Timer with no back and forth, we can say:

  • Alexa, set a timer for 10 (seconds/minutes/hours)

Alexa will confirm that she has set a timer for the duration requested.

How to set a named Alexa timer?

Alexa's Routine, it's dinner time! Alexa with Spaghetti in her mouth and a bottle behind her back

Alexa can manage multiple timers. To make it easier for us to distinguish between them, we can give them names:

  • Alexa, set a meatball timer for 40 minutes
  • Alexa, set a 10-minute pasta timer
  • Alexa, set a laundry timer for two hours

How to check the timers?

To make sure that our pasta and our meatballs are ready at the same time, we can check the timers by asking:

  • Alexa, timers?
  • Alexa, check the timers
  • Alexa, how much time is left?
  • Alexa, how much time is left on the meatball timer?

Note, there are benefits of using an Echo Show for checking timers, as it displays one active timer in the upper right corner of the home screen. That is unless you like to listen to music when cooking. Then it’s good to additionally have an Echo Wall Clock to check the timers visually. 

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How to pause/resume a timer?

Alexa holding up a sticky sock

The meatballs are on the stove, and we have some time until we need to take care of the pasta. Suddenly we realize we forgot to put some dirty socks into the washing machine we just started. We pause the machine and the timer:

  • Alexa, pause the laundry timer

We rush around looking for the dirty socks, find them after a bit, and once they’re in the machine, we can say:

  • Alexa, resume the laundry timer

How to cancel a timer?

Let’s assume some mishap happened to our meatballs, while we were searching for the socks:

  • Alexa, cancel the meatball timer

And Alexa will delete the meatball timer, just like nothing happened.

How to stop a timer?

In case our meatballs went well, here’s how we can stop the timer once it goes off:

  • Alexa, stop!

How to repeat a timer?

Alexa flipping a Pattie

So, the meatballs went south, and we decided to make some burgers instead. Let’s say we need to flip the patties every three minutes for 12 minutes. We start with a three-minute timer: 

  • Alexa, set a patty flip timer for three minutes

And once it has finished, we flip the patty and repeat the timer three more times (this time we don’t get distracted by dirty socks):

  • Alexa, repeat the timer

How to add/remove time from timer?

Oh, we realize the pan was not hot enough:

  • Alexa, add a minute (to the timer)

Or maybe the pan was too hot:

  • Alexa, remove a minute (from the timer)

What about sleep timers?

Amazon Alexa falling asleep while enjoying her goodnight playlist

Belly full and we’re tired and want to go to bed (did we forget the laundry timer?):

  • Alexa, play my goodnight playlist for 30 minutes

If we want to gradually dim our smart lights while we fall asleep we can say:

  • Alexa, set a 30 minutes sleep timer with lights

Please see our Alexa and Philips Hue post, our Alexa Alarm post, and our Alexa Music Commands List for more inspiration. 

How to manage the timer volume?

Amazon Alexa whispering

To change the Alarms & Timers Volume, we just need to say:

  • Alexa, turn the timer volume up / down

We can also find the timer volume in the Alexa app under More / Alarms & Timers / Timers tab / Settings (at the bottom). Select the Echo device and set the Alarms and Timers Volume.

What if we miss a timer?

Screenshot of Timer settings in the Alexa app
The Timer settings in the Alexa app

Let’s say we burned our meatballs because we were looking for the dirty socks for laundry in the bathroom and couldn’t hear the Echo in the kitchen.

As we have an Echo in our bathroom, we could have easily avoided that by setting More / Alarms & Timers / Timers tab / Settings (at the bottom) in our Alexa app to announce our timers on all devices.

Here we can also set that we’d like to receive a notification on our phone if the timer is not stopped after ringing several times. In case we have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, the notification vibrates on our wrist.

Alexa Timers on Echo Smart Displays

On Echo Shows, we can see one active timer on the upper right corner of the home screen. Ten seconds before the timer goes off, we can see an animated countdown on the screen. This is if we’re not listening to music. Because in this case, the Echo won’t show the active timer nor the animation.

Alexa will additionally show us the active timers, when we ask:

  • Alexa, timers?

Alexa Timers on Fire TVs

Amazon FireTVs also support setting timers with the Alexa remote. The only difference to an Echo Show is that it will not show a running timer on the Home Screen.

Echo Wall Clock

7 seconds to go- Alexa with an Echo Wall Clock and and Echo Show counting down
7 seconds to go – Alexa with an Echo Wall Clock and Echo Show …

The Echo Wall Clock comes in handy when we listen to our favorite music while cooking. It requires and connects to an Echo device – in our case, an Echo Show – and displays multiple timers on the 60 LEDs. During the last minute of a timer, the Wall Clock shows a countdown with the LEDs on the watch face; once the timer goes off, all of them blink.

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The Mickey Mouse Edition has the same features but makes potentially a study timer, play timer, chores timer friendlier to kids.

To connect the The Echo Wall clock to an Echo, we just need to say:

  • Alexa, connect the Wall Clock

And follow Alexa’s instructions.

Once paired, it automatically sets the time of the Echo it is connected to and automatically adjusts for daylight saving time.

Alexa Timers in the Alexa App

The Alexa app shows a list of all running timers in the settings under More / Alarms & Timers / Timers tab. Here we can delete or pause timers. To create a timer on the phone, we need to tell the Alexa in the Alexa app by tapping the Home / Alexa button on top.

Alexa Timers and blinking Philips Hue Lights with IFTTT?

Screenshot of Alexa Philips Hue IFTTT Applet
If Alexa Timer goes off, blink Philips Hue lights, IFTTT Applet

To conclude our Alexa Timer post. Let’s say we are still searching for the dirty socks we forgot to put in the laundry. Our meatballs are ready and need our attention, but we’re searching where we don’t have an Echo device around (difficult to think of a room now).

Also, we usually don’t take our phone with us to search for socks (though the phone’s flashlight comes handy if they’re under the bed). And our Apple Watch is charging because we forgot to last night.

If we have some smart lights where we’re searching, here’s a trick:

Time needed: 2 minutes.

We can make our Philips Hue lights blink when an Alexa Timer goes off. We’ll use the IFTTT service (If-this-then-that), which allows us to connect services like “Amazon Alexa” with “Philips Hue.”

  1. Create an IFTTT account 

    IFTTT is free for up to 3 simple applets. You can create an account via the web or download the IFTTT app.

  2. Tap on this IFTTT applet 

    This is the IFTTT applet “Blink your Hue lights when your Amazon Alexa timer hits 0” created by Philips Hue.

  3. Tap on “Connect”

    IFTTT will now determine if you’ve previously connected the Alexa and the Philips Hue service with IFTTT.

  4. Connect your Philips Hue account with IFTTT

    If this is the first time, you’re using IFTTT with Philips Hue, sign in to your Philips Hue account and tap “yes” to grant permission to IFTTT.

  5. Tap again on Connect

    If this is the first time you are connecting Alexa to IFTTT, you’ll need to connect this service as well.

  6. Connect your Alexa account with IFTTT

    Sign in with your Amazon account

  7. Select the room, where you’d like to blink the lights or “All” lights

    Philips Hue will list your rooms, “all” lights are preselected.

  8. Tap “Save”

    To save your IFTTT applet.

Congratulations! Now every time an Alexa Timer goes off, the lights in your smart home will blink so that you can never miss an Alexa Timer.

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Conclusion

Alexa Timers are a very helpful feature. Especially being able to control them hands-free just with our voice in the kitchen. Maybe when our hands are full with cleaning up the meatball mess or searching for burger patties.

The Echo Show is a helpful device, always showing one active timer at the Home Screen. And the Echo Wall Clock is a helpful Echo companion, especially when using a smart speaker for timers or listening to music in the kitchen.

Sorry, seems our laundry timer went off, it’s blinking in our office …

We hope you’ve enjoyed this extensive list of Alexa’s timer commands. If yes, please consider helping this little post to grow by sharing it with friends and family.

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Happy Alexa Timers!

P.S. You can find more of our Alexa posts here: Amazon Alexa.

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