Smart plugs aren’t the sexiest tech in the smart home, but they pull a lot of weight when it comes to automating dumb devices. In fact, if you use a lot of lamps, fans or small appliances, smart plugs can be the secret to a smart home that feels seamless and synchronized. Nearly any device you’d plug into a standard wall outlet can be smartened up with a Wi-Fi connected plug.
Smart plugs with power monitoring, away modes and extra charging ports expand the capabilities of your smart home even further, all at a relatively low cost.
Now Playing:Watch this: Turns out size does matter for smart plugs
How it works
The majority of smart plugs work with a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection and don’t need a hub. That makes them easy to install and quick to connect. Smart plugs typically come with a companion app where you’ll create an account and set preferences, schedules and names for the devices you’re plugging into the outlet.
You’ll use that same account to connect your plug with the Google Home or Amazon Alexa app in order enable voice commands such as, “OK Google, turn on the lamp.” I’d recommend looking for a smart plug that includes features like scheduling, timers, scenes and something called “away mode” that randomly powers on and off to simulate activity inside your home. That feature works great for lamps or TVs when you’re on vacation.
If you’re an Apple HomeKit user, your smart plug options are limited. I really like both the iHome ISP8 and iDevices Switch for their reliability, design and integrations, and if you’re willing to buy the additional WeMo Bridge accessory, then Belkin WeMo Mini smart plugs and other WeMo gadgets will work with HomeKit, too.
If your home is centered around Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, the Eufy Smart Plug Mini is a great option. Still, there are dozens of smart plugs out there that get the job done. Some include extras like LED light rings to indicate power usage or extra USB charging ports. Whether you’re looking for extra ports or space-saving smarts, here’s a rundown of the smartest plugs around.
Belkin Wemo Insight Switch
A smaller plastic housing and new power usage tracking on the $59 Belkin Wemo Insight Switch bring greater visual appeal and usefulness to Belkin’s entry-level smart-home power plug line. This smart plug works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest and IFTTT for advanced programming functions and voice control.
Setup is a bit of a hassle, though, and it’s still large enough to block adjacent outlets. Belkin’s app includes real-time and average data for power draw, usage time and operating cost for whatever device you’ve plugged into the Switch. Even if the WeMo Insight Switch isn’t perfect, the appeal of this product is still high for those looking to ease into home automation, and since it isn’t exactly new, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find one on sale.
Read our Belkin Wemo Insight Switch review.
Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug
At $35, the new WeMo Mini is competitively priced, and its smaller design won’t block adjacent outlets. Native compatibility with IFTTT, Nest, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa make it one of the better connected smart plugs you can buy.
Still, it isn’t perfect for everyone. WeMo won’t work with Apple HomeKit (or with Siri) without the WeMo Bridge accessory, which is sold separately. Worse, the WeMo app is still woefully glitchy at times.
Read our Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug review.
Eufy Smart Plug Mini
The $21 Eufy Smart Plug Mini is affordable, space saving and smart. It doesn’t work with HomeKit, however, and there aren’t extras like side USB charging ports. Still, Eufy’s Smart Plug Mini is a great addition to any Google or Alexa-centered home. You’ll get plenty of options for scheduling and power monitoring with the EufyHome app for iOS or Android.
Read our Eufy Smart Plug Mini review.
Fibaro Smart Plug
The $60 Fibaro Smart Plug looks good, works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant through a Z-Wave hub, and includes a color-coded LED to indicate power consumption levels. This mighty little wall plug can handle large appliances, too.
You’ll only get the most out of this smart plug if you’re already a Fibaro user, since you’ll only have access to the Fibaro app if you own a Fibaro Home Center or Home Center Lite hub. At $60, it’s a pricey but capable Z-Wave plug.
Read our Fibaro Smart Plug review.
Gosund Smart Plug
The $13 Gosund Mini Smart Plug is about as cheap as smart plugs come. It works with the Smart Life app to bring you scheduling and timer functions for powering on and off, but it doesn’t include more advanced features like power monitoring or away modes. Still, this smart plug works with Assistant and Alexa to deliver basic smarts.
Read our Gosund Smart Plug review.
HeyGo Smart Plug
Sold in a two-pack for $26, this smart plug is one of the cheapest we tested. It works with Alexa and Assistant for voice commands and includes scheduling and timer functions. It’s not the smartest plug, and its construction leaves it feeling a little cheap, but if you’re looking for a simple smart plug, HeyGo gets the job done.
Read our HeyGo Smart Plug review.
Simple setup, sleek design and an intuitive app make the iDevices Switch a solid foundation for home automation with HomeKit. With added features like remote access and energy tracking, it’s one of the better options on the market. Despite some glitches with user sharing, the Switch works well, the iDevices app is slick and it offers good scheduling options.
Read our iDevices Switch review.
iDevices Outdoor Switch
The iDevices Outdoor Switch is convenient, filling a niche not many smart plugs have attempted to fill, and the power tracking comes in handy for holiday decorators. This switch isn’t perfect. You can’t control the dual outlets individually, the $80 price tag is a little steep and HomeKit user sharing can be a pain. Still, the Outdoor Switch is great for anyone who wants to string up their holiday lights, set them on a schedule and forget about them for two months. You’ll just have to decide if it’s worth the price.
Read our iDevices Outdoor Switch review.
The iHome ISP8 SmartPlug works with a slew of leading smart-home platforms, including Amazon Echo and Apple HomeKit. Plus, its base performance is reliable. It doesn’t work with IFTTT for extended integrations, but it can connect your dumb old lamp to Siri, Alexa, Wink, SmartThings or Nest. The iHome ISP8 is a solid choice for anyone wanting a variety of integrations.
Read our iHome ISP8 review.
iHome Outdoor Switch
For $40, you’ll just get one smart outlet, and the plug itself is bulky and unattractive. Still, Home’s Outdoor SmartPlug performs well and works with a lot of smart home platforms like Alexa, Assistant, HomeKit and then some. If you’re looking for a reliable outdoor switch and don’t need multiple outlets, this iHome switch is a decent option.
Read our iHome Outdoor Switch review.
Koogeek Smart Plug P1
The Koogeek looks nice and has a midrange price tag of $32. In our testing, the integration with Alexa didn’t work. The plug did work well with HomeKit and Google Assistant for voice commands, but it takes up too much space and isn’t a good pick for Android users or Alexa fans.
Read our Koogeek Smart Plug P1 review.
The PureGear PureSwitch smart plug only works with Apple HomeKit. You won’t get extra features like dimming options or energy tracking, but the switch is simple to set up and includes a USB 2.0 charging port. If your smart home is built on the HomeKit platform, this plug is a great way to automate small devices. If it isn’t, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Read our PureGear PureSwitch review.
TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi Smart Plug Mini
This smart plug keeps other outlets free, works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and offers plenty of scheduling and timing options. The TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi Smart Plug Mini isn’t HomeKit-compatible, but this smart plug is a great option for anyone interested in scheduling, voice commands and remote access to everyday devices up to 1,500 watts.
TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi Smart Plug with Power Monitoring
This smart plug comes with an easy-to-use app, monitors your energy consumption and works with Assistant and Alexa for voice commands. The plug’s design blocks the outlets above or below it though, and it isn’t compatible with HomeKit.
It does include helpful features like customizable schedules for on and off, including a specific time and repeating days of the week. You can also turn on Away Mode, and your smart plug will power on and off randomly to make it appear as though someone is home. If you’re looking for a plug with power monitoring capability, TP-Link has you covered with this one.
Vimvip Wi-Fi Socket
A two-pack of the Vimvip Wi-Fi Socket costs just $21. That’s pretty cheap, but the savings come at a price. You won’t get power monitoring or away modes. It doesn’t work with HomeKit, either. Its upside is its integration with Alexa and Assistant, space-saving size and the USB charging port included on the side of the plug.
Read our Vimvip Wi-Fi Socket review.
Smart home compatibility: Check with products work with which platforms.
7 Alexa commands you’re not using but should: Use Alexa to her full potential.
CNET Smart Home
•These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home
•Google Home will soon juggle three queries at once
•Meet the company reinventing the way we unlock doors everywhere
•Netgear Arlo cameras get person detection, motion zones
Post a comment