Best Smart Plugs For Your Home – The Definitive Guide To Smart Outlets

Best Smart Plugs for your Home – The Definitive Guide to Smart Outlets

Best Smart Plugs for your Home – The Definitive Guide to Smart Outlets

 

 

The best smart plugs, outlets, and switches allow you to transform your regular appliances and fixtures into fully connected smart home devices allowing the same level of control and connectivity you get from many of the leading smart home gadgets on the market today. By bringing your home lighting, kitchen appliances, and any device that utilizes a traditional power socket into line with the rest of your smart home tech, the best smart plugs allow you to retrofit your existing devices for years to come. Our guide to the best smart outlets will walk you through the best tools for the job.

 

    RATING FEATURES  
WeMo Mini Smart Plug 8.2/10
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Away Mode
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

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SmartThings Smart Power Outlet 8.6/10
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Acts as ZigBee repeater
  • • Works with Alexa
  • • Can connect to other SmartThings modules

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WeMo Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug 7.6/10
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Away Mode
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

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iHome iSP8 SmartPlug 7.2/10
  • • Power Monitoring
  • • Pre-Paired Remote Control
  • • Scene Creation
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and Siri

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TP-Link Smart Plug Mini 8.2/10
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Away Mode
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and Siri

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WeMo Insight Smart Plug 8.2/10
  • • Track energy usage
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

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TP-LINK Wi-Fi Smart Plug 8.2/10
  • • Remote control devices
  • • Set schedules/timers
  • • Away Mode
  • • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and Siri

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Elgato Eve Energy 7.6/10
  • • Power Monitoring
  • • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • • Remote control devices
  • • HomeKit enabled/Works with Siri

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Smart plugs are incredibly simple at their core, enabling you to bring any legacy ‘non-smart’ devices within your home into your connected smart home ecosystem, providing the functionality of the best connected devices without the need to upgrade your old electronics.

Fitting into existing power outlets (sort of like an outlet extension), smart plugs allow any regular devices plugged into them to be controlled, programmed, and automated in the same way as most fully-smart devices.

If you have a feature lamp that isn’t inherently smart, simply bolting on a smart plug between the device and the power outlet will allow access to a range of previously non-existent smart features such as wireless remote control from your phone, voice control, motion sensor activation, and of course, scheduled lighting.

With benefits from automating the activation of your existing appliances (coffee when you wake up or lamps switching on when you get home for example) to full control of traditional appliances using a smartphone or other wireless control interface, smart plugs are a great way of ensuring that your favourite appliances don’t get left out of any move towards setting up a fully-connected smart home system.

Our guide to some of the best smart plugs, outlets, and switches will help you decide how to plug into the latest smart retrofitting technology and bridge the gap between the past and the future of your devices and smart home interfacing.

Smart Plugs and Outlets – The Basics

At the simplest level, the best way to think about a plug-in smart outlet is as a smart switch, acting as the intermediary between your small appliances and any smart functionality such as remote operation, voice control or automation that you want to bring to your existing devices.

Take the example of a traditional lamp again.

Usually, you would switch the lamp on and off manually whenever you need. By connecting the lamp to a smart outlet, you’re effectively carrying out this exact same function, albeit without actually needing to be at the lamp to get the job done. What this means in practice of course, is that you can now have the device switch on or off based on any number of situations occurring.

When plugged in, any smart outlets you have become part of your wider smart home network, meaning they’ll be able to communicate with any other devices using the same protocol. What this equates to on the ground is that if you have a whole load of smart plugs scattered around your home either operating through a smart hub or communicating in a protocol understood by other devices in your home, you can begin to have your smart items interact with your traditional appliances.

What to Look for in the Best Smart Plugs

When it comes to finding the best smart plug-in outlets for your home, you want to be mindful of a couple of considerations when deciding on the best device for your needs and to maximize the effectiveness of the solution you eventually pick.

Compatibility

Top of the list for us is device compatibility and you should be looking to ideally choose a smart outlet that will work with as many different standards, platforms, and protocols as possible. If you go for a smart plug that utilizes a no-hub WiFi approach, you’re going to benefit from not needing a dedicated hub or smart home protocol system to get started – a good choice if you’re not intending to build a larger smart home environment. Alternatively, if your plans involve eventually scaling up your home automation system across multiple devices, with smart plugs and switches forming a core component of this, then you’re likely to be investing in a hub anyway in order to orchestrate all of your disparate devices and protocols so a WiFi only smart socket won’t be a requirement.

If you want to control your devices using your voice, then picking a smart plug that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple’s HomeKit system is a must. If you’re looking to build up a smart home set up with voice control and build in scalable smart hub functionality, then a 2 in 1 hub device like Amazon’s Echo Plus paired with a suite of compatible smart plugs is a good way to go.

Similarly, if you’re looking to truly benefit from an interconnected smart home environment that brings your traditional small appliances into the mix, then a smart plug that works with IFTTT (If This, Then That) will open up a whole load of ways to connect your devices to others around your home using “recipes” to trigger actions or responses based on outputs or events from an external source or device.

Size

There are basically two types of smart plug out there when it comes to size.

On the one hand, you’ll find the more compact devices which have been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible while maintaining the core set of smart functionality. Generally speaking, these smaller smart plug-in outlets are sized to be placed in a double power outlet without blocking the other socket entirely – meaning of course that you can also plug two of this kind of smart plug into a double outlet fixture.

Best Smart Plugs - WeMo Mini

The second type of smart plug is usually larger, better suited to a single outlet (where socket obstruction isn’t an issue), but also may offer slightly enhanced functionality over the smaller options, providing features such as energy monitoring or enhanced wireless range.

Prices don’t tend to vary greatly based on size and in both cases, you can often secure a better deal when buying 2-packs of smart plugs over individual units.

The Best Smart Plugs and Outlets – Our Top Picks

We’ve put together a definitive list of the best plug-in smart outlets which will allow you to take full control of every device in your home, wherever there’s access to a power outlet. If you’re looking to find very best smart plugs for bringing your home appliances into the smart home era, read on.

WeMo Mini Smart Plug

The first thing you’ll notice about the WeMo Mini is its compact size which means you’re going to be able to connect multiple devices where there’s more than one outlet or socket available.

Couple this low form-factor with an impressive feature set, ease of use, and compatibility across multiple platforms and you’ve quickly got all of the ingredients for one of the best smart plugs on the market.

Working with both Android and iOS devices, the WeMo Mini integrates effortlessly with both Amazon’s Alexa platform and Google Home for voice control of your plug-bound devices as well as tieing up with IFTTT for customizing your own recipes for use with your newly connected appliances.

One area where the Mini falls behind other (usually larger) smart outlets is in the provision of any kind of energy monitoring, so if you’re looking to connect to a power-hungry appliance you want to keep an eye on, consider supplementing (or replacing) with the WeMo Insight which includes an power consumption monitor as standard.

Outside of this however, if you’re looking for a smart plug that takes up minimal space while still providing the essential level of smart technology to bring your legacy devices into line with a huge range of the latest smart home tech, the WeMo Mini is one of the best there is.

Features:

The biggest draw of the WeMo mini over the other smart plug offerings in the company’s range is it’s compact form-factor, allowing you to potentially stack multiple Smart Plugs in a wall socket to maximize usage of space and benefit from multiple smart connections for connected appliances in a single area.

Control of this smart switch comes in a couple of formats. Downloading the free app will allow you to take control of any devices connected to the WeMo Mini either directly from your smartphone or using your voice through a device with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant built in (such as the Echo or Google Home).

Best-Smart-Plugs-WeMo-Mini-.Living-Room

 

The WeMo Mini utilizes WiFi meaning that it doesn’t require a dedicated hub to operate – this is a definite bonus if you’re looking to pick up a smart plug that won’t necessarily be part of a larger smart home setup where a hub would likely be a prerequisite to bringing all of your devices together.

Automation can be achieved right out of the box with the Mini offering the ability to schedule activation of your devices to pre-set times, while an “Away Mode” allows you to turn your lights off and on at random to simulate you’re in the house, even if you’re a couple of thousand miles away on the beach.

The inclusion of ‘Works with Nest’ integration means that you can automatically sync your WeMo smart plugs up to a Nest device such as the Learning Thermostat right out of the box and have that device provide automatic home/away control, linking the activation of your smart outlets with that of the Nest device.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 2.4″ x 3.8″ x 1.4″
Connectivity WiFi
Energy Monitoring No
Voice Control Yes – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Additional Features Scheduling, Remote Control, Away Mode


Learn More About the WeMo Mini Smart Plug Here

 

SmartThings Smart Power Outlet

The Smart Power Outlet from Samsung is part of the wider SmartThings range of devices and provides excellent functionality for controlling your non-smart electronics and small appliances throughout the home.

Designed to work with Alexa for voice control from the moment you plug it in, the SmartThings Outlet also allows smartphone control of any connected devices from crockpots and fans, to lighting and coffee machines.

This smart power outlet utilizes the ZigBee protocol to communicate between the SmartThings hub (sold separately) and any other devices either within the SmartThings family as well as across a wide range of other products including Alexa devices, Philips Hue bulbs and a whole load more.

With users often reporting a lightning fast command/response time from the app, and an excellent level of compatibility, the SmartThings Outlet is a great choice if you’re already a SmartThings Hub owner, are thinking of building a home automation system from scratch, or are looking to expand/upgrade your existing smart home system to incorporate one of the best smart plugs on the market.

Features:

The SmartThings Smart Power Outlet delivers a feature set offering all of the functionality you’d expect of a smart plug from one of the best smart home device brands currently on the scene.

At the basic level, the SmartThings Outlet will allow you to remotely control any connected appliances as well as scheduling to activate when required. The combination of the Smart Power Outlet with other sensing devices such as the SmartThings motion detector expands on this functionality, allowing you to build a level of automation into your smart plugs, activating a connected lamp when you walk through the door for example.

With the integration of this outlet into a smart home ecosystem centered around the excellent Samsung SmartThings hub, any previously non-smart devices which you connect to this outlet will be able to respond to voice commands, motion detection, and more, as a component of an orchestrated home automation system.

If you leave the house and forget to turn off one of your connected devices, the SmartThings Outlet has your back and will send an alert to your smartphone as well as allowing you to switch things off any active devices remotely.

Another feature of the SmartThings Outlet which is particularly useful in larger homes is the ability of the unit to function as a ZigBee repeater when plugged into a power outlet, effectively boosting the range of any ZigBee devices in your home where you’ve got these smart plugs acting as a relay across longer distances.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 2″ x 2″ x 2.5″
Connectivity ZigBee
Energy Monitoring No
Voice Control Yes – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant (SmartThings Hub Required)
Additional Features Acts as ZigBee Repeater, Remote Control, Scheduling


Learn More About the Samsung SmartThings Outlet Here

 

WeMo Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug

The WeMo Switch has established a position as one of the best smart outlets on the market and along with the other plugs in the brand’s smart outlet offering, has set the standard for being one of the most accessible smart plugs with high levels of compatibility across a range of devices.

Allowing complete control of your outlet connected devices using the companion app and a smartphone or tablet, the Switch is simple but effective, enabling you to also set schedules from your phone to bring a degree of automation and control to your traditional electrical appliances wherever you are.

Features:

The WeMo Switch uses WiFi to allow remote control of any connected devices without the need for a separate standalone hub and integrates with both Alexa and Nest to provide an excellent level of home automation and control from the moment the device is plugged in.

Particularly useful when you’re on vacation or away for longer periods of time, the Switch’s Away Mode means the device can be programmed to turn appliances on or off in an intermittent way during the day to deter potential intruders whenever you’re not home.

It’s worth noting that while the WeMo Switch is an awesome smart outlet, if you’re looking to keep an eye on the overall consumption of any appliances connected to your smart plugs, you’re going to want to consider the WeMo Insight (more info below) which offers the core functionality of the Switch with the addition of in-app energy monitoring.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 2.5″ x 5.3″ x 8.2″
Connectivity WiFi
Energy Monitoring No
Voice Control Yes – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Additional Features Scheduling, Remote Control, Away Mode


Learn More About the WeMo Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug here

 

iHome iSP8 SmartPlug

If you’re looking for a smart plug with maximum compatibility to work alongside a lot of other smart devices in your home, then the iHome smart plug could be the answer.

The broad platform of the iHome means it works with a wide range of smart devices, apps, and platforms including Apple’s Homekit, Nest, Alexa and Wink as soon as you plug the device into a power outlet.

Wi-Fi enabled connection and remote control over appliances along with a holiday mode, make the iHome a good choice as an all-rounder in the fully equipped smart home where multiple devices need to work in harmony whenever possible.

Features:

The iSP8 is crammed full of features that put it on par with the top flight of smart outlets and there really isn’t much it can’t do when it comes to the functionality you’d expect from one the best smart plugs on the market.

While any connected devices can be controlled using the iHome Control App on a smartphone or tablet, the device also includes a physical remote control which is ideal if you have a device that you want a guest to access or simply don’t want to always be reaching for your phone.

Similar to some of the other devices in this guide (such as the WeMo Mini), the iSP8 allows you to monitor energy usage of any connected device directly from the app.

Another positive feature of the iHome is its slim design which (again, like the WeMo Mini) allows you to plug it into a double outlet while still leaving the spare socket free.

The iSP8’s ace card however, is arguably its super wide-ranging compatibility which allows it to integrate directly with a whole host of other smart home systems such as Nest, SmartThings, Wink, Alexa, Google, and Apple HomeKit – the last three allowing control of any connected devices using your voice.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 3.76″ x 2.25″ x 1.51″
Connectivity WiFi
Energy Monitoring Yes
Voice Control Yes – Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Additional Features Physical Remote, Scene Creation


Learn More About the iHome iSP8 Smart Plug Here

 

WeMo Insight Switch

The Insight Switch is another recommendation within the WeMo range of smart plug devices and like the other two smart outlets, allows the same core functionality of on-off remote control, scheduling, and rule setting, with the added bonus of an in-built energy monitor to track the consumption of your connected appliances.

Wide compatibility is arguably the hallmark of WeMo smart plugs and the Insight is no exception, allowing integration across a varied range of platforms and standards, as well as voice control with Alexa out of the box.

Features:

The feature set between the WeMo smart plug-in outlets is consistent across the range with the exception of a couple of areas. In the case of the Insight Switch, the device stands out from its siblings with the inclusion of a built-in energy monitor, allowing at a glance information through the companion app letting you know exactly how much energy a specific device or appliance is consuming at any connected Insight smart plug.

As with the other WeMo smart plugs, the Insight Switch is compatible with both Android and iOS devices and provides excellent compatibility with a huge range of devices from brands such as Amazon, Google, and Nest as well as full IFTTT compatibility for crafting your own trigger-response recipes for your smart plugs.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 2.48″ x 2.48″ x 1.98″
Connectivity WiFi
Energy Monitoring Yes
Voice Control Yes – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Additional Features Scheduling, Remote Control, Away Mode


Learn More About the WeMo Insight Smart Plug Here

 

Elgato Eve Energy

With a built-in energy meter, the Elgato Eve is a Homekit enabled smart plug meaning it’s ready to go with Apple devices and can be controlled using your voice through Siri.

The Elgato Eve Energy provides connectivity through Bluetooth LE, meaning you can expect minimal interference with any other owned devices operating under different protocols as well as benefitting from a more energy efficient operation.

You will need an Apple system in place (with HomeKit) for remote control of the device but this will then allow voice control through Siri as well as on compatible phones and tablets.

Offering good connectivity and effectiveness with HomeKit and Siri as well as good responsiveness when issuing commands, the Eve Energy is a solid consideration if you currently have a HomeKit setup and are looking for a compatible smart outlet that also provides consumption analytics for your connected appliances.

Features:

The Eve Energy includes the standard feature set you’d expect from a smart outlet within this price range, providing the ability to schedule, and set up scenes.

In order to control remotely however, (or to use your voice for control with Siri) it’s important to note that you currently require an Apple HomeKit set up in place to get started meaning that there are better smart plug options out there for non-Apple users (see the WeMo Insight for example).

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 1.9″ x 2.6″ x 2.6″
Connectivity Bluetooth LE
Energy Monitoring Yes
Voice Control Yes – Apple HomeKit/Siri
Additional Features Scheduling, Remote Control


Learn More About the Elgato Eve Switch & Power Monitor Here

 

TP-LINK Wi-Fi Smart Plug

As with the other smart plugs in this list, the TP-Link allows the remote control of devices along with auto-scheduling and energy conservation when appliances are not in use.

When used in conjunction with other TP-Link devices such as other smart plugs, smart light switches, and bulbs, the Smart Plug can be worked into pre-configured ‘scenes’ which allow you to program or activate multiple devices at once.

The TP-Link Smart Plug is simple to set-up and use (just plug in and pair with the companion ‘Kasa’ app and you’re in control) and also comes with a 2-year warranty.

Features:

The TP-Link Smart Plug utilizes WiFi so you can start controlling your appliances and devices without the need for a hub – just plug into a free outlet and connect the device to your home network.

As it works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, the TP-Link is preconfigured for voice control as soon as you connect it to a device and socket meaning voice activated fans, lamps, and more are just a verbal command away.

 

If your ultimate goal is to automate your home environment as much as possible, scheduling will allow you to program the Smart Plug to automatically activate and deactivate at pre-set times, meaning you can have your coffee machine come online while you shower and have your lights switch on when you arrive home from work in the evening.

One of the particularly useful features of all the best smart plugs is the ability to know whether you’ve left a device switched on when you leave the home simply by checking a companion. The TP-Link Smart Plug takes this a step further with a countdown feature which will automatically switch off a device after a pre-configured timer runs out – no more worrying about leaving the iron on when you rush out the front door.

The TP-Link family of smart home devices is wide-ranging and includes the amazingly LED Bulbs and Smart Light Switches. Combine any number of these devices with your Smart Plug in the TP-Link’s Kasa app and you’ll be able to group the operation of your smart appliances and lighting in preconfigured ‘scenes’ – an awesome feature if you’re looking for full automation throughout your home.

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions 2.75″ x 2.75″ x 4.25″
Connectivity WiFi
Energy Monitoring No
Voice Control Yes – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Additional Features Scheduling, Remote Control, Away Mode


Learn More About the TP-LINK Wi-Fi Smart Plug Here

The post Best Smart Plugs for your Home – The Definitive Guide to Smart Outlets appeared first on For the Smart Home.

Source: Smart Home Tech

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