How to Set Alarms and Timers on Your Amazon Echo

There’s a whole lot the Amazon Echo can do, including waking you up with handy alarms and making sure the lasagna doesn’t burn in the oven with easy-to-set timers. Read along as we show you how to create and manage both.

Setting and Managing Timers

To set a timer, you can use the following voice commands:

  • “Alexa, set a timer for [amount of time, like 20 minutes]”.
  • “Alexa, set a timer for [absolute time, like 9:00 PM]”.

You may be curious about the last one, because it looks a whole lot like setting an alarm. When you set an alarm (which we’ll get to in a moment), you’re setting a recurring alert. When you set a timer with an absolute time, it’s more like a reminder: it will go off only once and then delete itself. So, for example, if you need a nudge to stop working and go do some errands at 4PM, you could set a one-off timer. However, you can also just set an actual reminder, now that Alexa has those built-in.

If you need multiple timers going at once, you can name timers so that you don’t get them mixed up with each other. For example, if you need to set a timer for the laundry and a timer for the lasagna in the oven, you can do this:

  • “Alexa, set a laundry timer for 1 hour”.
  • “Alexa, set a lasagna timer for 20 minutes”.

When a named timer goes off, your Echo will not only light up and make the timer sound, but Alexa will also say, “Your laundry timer is done”.

After you’ve started a timer (whether you named it or not), you can manage it and make changes with your voice:

  • “Alexa, how much time is left on the (laundry) timer?”.
  • “Alexa, what timers are set?”.
  • “Alexa, cancel the (lasagna) timer”.

There’s more you can do with timers, but you need to open up the Alexa app on your phone. To see your alarms and timers, start by tapping on the menu icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

Select “Alerts & Alarms”.

Tap on the “Timers” tab to the right.

Once open, you’ll see a list of all the timers that you currently have set, including the name of each timer if you’ve named them (otherwise it will just be blank).

Tap on a timer to manage it. From there, you can either pause or cancel the timer.

Unfortunately, you can’t create timers within the Alexa app—you can only do it from an Echo using your voice. You also can’t cancel all your timers at once, either using your voice or the app.

To switch Echo devices (if you have multiple Echo devices in your house), tap on the downward-facing arrow toward the top and choose the Echo device that you want to manage. Timers and alarms are specific to each Echo device and don’t sync between multiple units, unfortunately.

You can also tap on “Manage timer volume” to set an independent volume level that will be used for timers only, which can come in handy if you want the alerts for timers and alarms to be loud, but don’t necessarily want anything else blaring throughout the house at the same volume.

Setting and Managing Alarms

Just like timers, you can use your voice to set up alarms. You can set an alarm using the following voice commands:

  • “Alexa, wake me up at [time, like 3PM]”.
  • “Alexa, set an alarm for [time, like 3PM]”.

Additionally, there is another alarm command that you can trigger:

  • “Set an alarm for [amount of time, like 30 minutes] from now”.

However, we’re not very big fans of this command. The issue is that it doesn’t create an alarm, but rather a timer, which again are one-time use rather than recurring.

In addition to setting an alarm, you can use the following commands to check in on and manipulate it, just like with the timers:

  • “Alexa, what time is my alarm set for?”.
  • “Alexa, snooze”. This will snooze the alarm for 9 minutes.
  • “Alexa, cancel alarm for [previously set time]”. This disables but does not delete the alarm.

For that last command, it’s important to note that you will need to turn that particular alarm back on if you wish to use it again.

To get to the alarm settings, open up the Alexa app, select the menu icon, and select “Alerts & Alarms” from the side menu, just like you did with timers. From there, tap on the “Alarms” tab to view and manage alarms.

You’ll now be able to view all of your alarms that you have set. Remember, alarms aren’t synced across Echo devices, and will only go off on the Echo device that you originally set it up on.

From this screen, you can turn off alarms and turn them back on whenever, as well as manage the alarm volume and sound used by tapping on “Manage alarm volume and default sound”.

Tapping on an alarm will allow you to edit it or delete it entirely.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.


Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.