How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Dash Wand

Amazon’s new $20 Dash Wand is a handy little device for Prime customers that lets you order anything from Amazon just by scanning a bar code. It also comes with Alexa built in, so you can ask it questions or add items to your shopping cart that you don’t have a bar code for. Best of all, you get $20 in free Amazon credit when you set it up, so it’s essentially free. Here’s how to set yours up and start using it in your home.

How to Set Up Your Dash Wand

To get started, you’ll need the Amazon Shopping app for Android or iOS. Download the app to your phone. The included instructions tell you to open up your browser and head to amazon.com/wandsetup. On this screen, you can choose either US or UK set up, but in my experience this led to a redirect error. Instead, you can simply add a new device from the Amazon app.

To do this, open the app and tap the menu button in the top left corner, then select Your Account.

 

Next, scroll down and select “Set up a new device” under Dash Buttons & Devices.

Next, choose Dash Wand and on the next screen, specify which model you have. If you bought yours recently, it’s probably the second generation. The app will show you a picture of each model wand so you can confirm which one you have.

 

After you’ve selected your Dash Wand model, you should see a screen like the one below. Tap “Get started.”

Next, you’ll need to give the Amazon app permission to use your location in order to set up Wi-Fi on your Dash Wand.

At this point, if you haven’t already, open up your Dash Wand by sliding the two halves apart and inserting the included AAA batteries.

Press and hold the round button on the side of the Dash Wand to enter setup mode. The wand will take a moment to configure itself.

 

When a list of available networks appears, choose yours.

Once you see this screen, your Dash Wand is set up and you’re ready to start using it.

How to Use Your Dash Wand to Scan Stuff and Talk to Alexa

There are two main ways you can use your Dash Wand. You can either use it as a bar code scanner, or as a handheld Alexa device. The wand cleverly distinguishes between which mode based on how you hold it. If you hold the want straight up like a microphone, as in the picture below, and hold down the button, it will listen for Alexa commands.

Alternatively, if you point the wand away from you, the bar code scanner will turn on. Point it at any product and the wand will automatically add it to your shopping cart (yes, it’s just in your cart—you’ll have to open the Amazon site or app to complete the purchase). When it successfully scans an item, you’ll hear an upbeat “Ding!” letting you know it was successful.

Amazon will try to match the products you search for exactly. If it can find a product that matches the bar code you scanned, it will add that item to your shopping cart. If it can’t find an exact match, it will make a note of it in your cart and let you search for an approximate product.

If any products you search for are only available via Amazon Fresh, then Amazon will put them in a special cart just for Fresh orders. The Dash Wand comes with a free 90-day subscription to Amazon Fresh, but after that you’ll have to pay $15/month (on top of your Prime subscription) just to order from Fresh. If you decide not to do this, though, you can still use your Dash Wand to order non-Fresh items like trash bags, laundry detergent, or pet food.

Eric Ravenscraft covers smarthome tech for How-To Geek. He's a problem solver who never learned to say no to a project. When he's not fixing things, he's cosplaying at cons, playing video games, and watching too many comic book movies. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram.