Old-fashioned outlet timers let you run outdoor lights, pool filter system, and Christmas decorations on a schedule. But why should you stay old-fashioned? New outdoor smart plugs allow you to control lighting and other outdoor electronics via voice commands, an app or a complicated weekly schedule.
Before you buy an outdoor Smart Plug
Unlike surge protectors and mechanical socket timers, smart outdoor plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network for remote control and scheduling. They are easy to set up and offer a degree of flexibility you won̵
Outdoor smart plugs are fairly simple with little variation between different products. Still, you have to think about outlet selection and smarthome compatibility. Also keep an eye out for brand names as generic brands tend to have worse apps than popular brands.
Here’s what to know before buying an outdoor smart plug:
- Smart Home Compatibility: Most outdoor smart plugs support Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. But smart devices that support Apple Homekit or Z-Wave standards are quite rare. To make shopping easy, we’ve picked out the best outdoor smart plugs especially for Homekit and Z-Wave setups.
- Multiple sockets: Each outlet on a smart outdoor plug works independently, making it easy to run your patio lighting and outdoor fan on separate schedules. If you have a ton of outdoor electronics, you may want to go for the POWRUI smart plug with four outlets.
- Weather resistance: All outdoor smart plugs mentioned in this article are water and dust resistant with an IP44 rating or better. This is enough protection against rain, but don’t let your smart plug pee in a puddle! (The TP-Link Kasa smart outdoor plug is IP64 rated and offers better dust protection than the competition.)
- Range: Most outdoor smart Wi-Fi plugs advertise a range of 300 feet … which is really just the maximum theoretical range of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. I suggest you ignore what the manufacturers say about the range and test it for yourself with your smartphone. If your phone cannot reliably use Wi-Fi from where you want to install your smart plug, try moving your router or buy a Mesh Wi-Fi system.
- For dimmable lamps: The TREATLIFE smart outdoor plug works with dimmable lamps and provides an extra layer of smart home control and automation. If you’re using dimmable outdoor lights, scroll down and get that thing!
Now that we know what to look for, it’s time to get into the weeds. Here are the best outdoor smart plugs available today, including some edge options for Homekit and Z-Wave setups.
Best Overall: TP-Link Kasa plug with 2 outlets
Smart plugs for outdoor use shouldn’t cost more than the average mechanical outlet timer. That’s why the TP-Link Kasa smart outdoor plug is a winner; it’s affordable, it has two well-spaced outlets, it’s from a well-known brand, the Kasa app (Android, iOS) is great. Plus, it has an IP64 rating for better dust protection than any other smart plug in this article, making it the best choice for sandy and dusty areas.
The Kasa smart outdoor plug also stands out with its two on / off buttons. Most outdoor smart plugs have only one physical button that turns off each outlet, but Kasa has one button for each outlet for individual control. (Other smart plugs offer independent outlet control via the app or voice assistant, but they rarely have two physical buttons like the Kasa.)
For large projects: POWRUI plug with 4 sockets
Why stop at just two outlets? The POWRUI outdoor smart plug has four outputs to independently control all your lights, decorations and outdoor devices. And unlike other smart plugs, the POWRUI has small extensions for each of its outlets. These small extensions make it easy to use the POWRUI with bulky power adapters, and they make the POWRUI’s main body considerably smaller.
For large projects
Best for dimmable lighting: TREATLIFE dimmer
Is your patio decorated with dimmable string lights? Skip the standard smart plugs and grab a TREATLIFE smart outdoor dimmer. It has all the features of a regular outdoor smart plug, such as scheduling and integration of voice assistants, plus the ability to control the intensity of a dimmable light. For example, you can schedule your lights to get brighter or dimmer during the night, or use your voice to change the intensity of your lights while flying.
Best for dimmable lighting
Best Homekit Option: Wemo plug with 2 outlets
If you are a fan of Siri then you have to get the Wemo outdoor smart plug. It’s one of the few outdoor smart plugs with Apple Homekit compatibility, and it comes from one of the most popular smarthome brands available today (you know what that means: a good app).
Since the Wemo outdoor smart plug is compatible with Apple Homekit, Google Assistant and Alexa, it is one of the safest smart home gifts you can buy for a home owner. No need to ask which voice assistant someone is using, you can just buy the Wemo plug and give it a call for a day.
Best Z-Wave Option: GE Enbrighten Plug
Need an outdoor smart plug that works with your Z-Wave hub? The GE Enbrighten outdoor plug allows you to remotely control your outdoor lighting and equipment without straining your home internet. It also offers scheduling features and compatibility with voice assistants, although it only has one outlet.
Even if you’re a hardcore Z-Wave user, the GE Enbrigten may seem a bit expensive. It only has one outlet, and it costs nearly double the price of typical outdoor smart Wi-Fi plugs. That GE Enbrigten is great for long-term applications and has great wireless range (GE smart products act as signal amplifiers for each other), but if you just need to control some Christmas lights then you might want to look at cheaper Wi-Fi. Fi options.
The best for Z-Wave