Smart devices replace our light bulbs, speakers and even our deadbolts. Yet most electronics in our house run without real brains. If you want to control these stupid devices via voice control, an app or a diagram, then a smart plug is sufficient.
What to look out for in a smart plug
Like surge protectors, smart plugs work like a bridge between your electronics and your outlets. They have a mechanical switch that opens or blocks the flow of electricity ̵
But unlike a surge protector (or a timer), smart plugs connect to your router. They can be remotely controlled via an app, a smart assistant, an IFTTT routine or a schedule, so they offer a cheap but flexible way to control all the stupid devices in your home.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Most smart plugs perform the same basic tasks. Yet different smart plugs have different form factors and only support a handful of smart assistants. You must choose between a number of common form factors and compatibility issues before you purchase a smart plug.
Here are some form factors and compatibility limitations that you come across:
- Compatibility with Smart Home: Most smart plugs support Google Assistant, Alexa and IFTTT. But it is common to encounter compatibility issues with Apple Homekit or the Z-Wave and Zigbee standards. To make it a bit easier, we have chosen our favorite smart Homekit and Z-Wave plugs.
- Energy monitoring: Some smart plugs monitor your energy consumption to help you save money. They are a great option for anyone who wants to fight their energy bill, although they are a bit more expensive compared to simple smart plugs.
- Outdoor options: Outdoor smart plugs are a rarity, but the ones that exist are fantastic. They are great for feeding outdoor lighting, pool filtration systems, landscape lighting and the like.
- Smart plugs with multiple outputs: Some smart plugs have multiple outputs. They are many, as long as the outputs can be operated independently.
- For dimmable lamps: Some smart plugs, such as the Lutron Caseta, are built to work with dimmable lamps. This way you can control a set of cheap dimmable lights with your voice or telephone, and skip buying a set of smart lights.
There are also some other small details that you should pay attention to, such as the size of the smart plug. Some of our favorite smart plugs are large enough to block adjacent sockets, especially when they are connected to surge protectors. Anyway, it's time to get into the weeds. Here are the best smart plugs that are currently available.
Best overall: Wyze Smart Plug (2-pack)
Smart plugs are very simple products. They switch devices on and off via voice commands, routines, schedules or an app. So for us, simple indoor smart plugs should not cost a lot of money. They must be easy to set up and compatible with most smart assistants.
The Wyze Smart Plug is the only simple smart plug that matches our priorities. For just under $ 10 per doll, the impressively small plugs from Wyze work with Google Assistant, Alexa and IFTTT. They are easy to set up via the Wyze app, they do not interfere with adjacent outlets, their planning functions are simple and they work beautifully with Wyze's inexpensive motion sensors.
Unfortunately, the Wyze smart plugs are not worth the Apple Homekit. However, that is their only major drawback. If you are an Alexa or Google Assistant user, the Wyze Smart Plugs offer the best value and quality on the market.
For Apple Homekit: WeMo Mini
Everyone who adheres to the Apple Homekit standard should check out the WeMo Mini Smart Plugs. These gadgets are not too expensive and they have the same quality and features that you would expect from other popular smart plugs: they are easy to install or schedule via the WeMo app, they do not block neighboring outlets and they work beautifully with Apple Homekit.
For what it's worth, the smart WeMo Mini plugs also compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa and IFTTT.
For energy monitoring: TP-Link Kasa with energy monitoring
Trying to cut back on your energy bill? The TP-Link Kasa Energy Monitoring Smart Plug monitors how much electricity you use in kilowatt hours (kWh) and helps you save money through routines, schedules or voice commands. It works with Google Assistant and Alexa, and is a perfect solution for high-consumption electronics such as air conditioners, heaters or older devices.
Best outdoor option: iClever Outdoor smart plug
Typical outdoor timers are essential for controlling outdoor lighting and electronics. Yet they are a bit primitive. If you want to drag your porch, balcony or garage into the future, you need the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug.
As you would expect, this is an average smart plug with two sockets that is dressed for outside. Each of the iClever's outputs can be controlled independently via Google Assistant or Alexa, and since it uses a 2.4 GHz WiFi signal, it should work at a considerable distance from your router. The smart iClever plug also has an oblique cable, so it should not obstruct your sockets or stand in the way of outside socket covers.
Best smart socket: TP-Link Smart surge protector  The TP-link smart surge protector. ” width=”1920″ height=”1080″ src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/>
If you want to add brains to your entire media center or office space, the TP-Link Smart Surge Protector is your best choice. It has six independent smart outputs, so you can set individual routines or commands for each device connected to the power strip. It also has three "stupid" USB ports for charging phones or tablets, and it can even check your energy consumption to help you save on your electricity bill.
The TP-Link Smart Surge Protector has an angled plug, so he won 't block any nearby outlets. It works with Google Assistant and Alexa. If you do not need six outlets, you can always buy the cheaper model with three outlets.
Best for dimmable lamps: Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer
Smart plugs can add automation and voice commands to your lamps for a low price. But they cannot replace smart lamps, can they?
Well, with the Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer you can skip the expensive smart lamps. It adds smart functions to your stupid dimmable lamp, so you can adjust the lighting of a room with your voice, via a schedule or from a chic routine. It even comes with a physical remote control, making it a solid option for anyone who wants the best of both worlds.
The Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer works with Google Assistant, Alexa and even Apple Homekit. Unfortunately it does not work with color changing lamps and you have to buy a Lutron Caseta bridge to actually use this smart dimmer. You also need dimmable LED, incandescent or halogen lamps. Fortunately, they are very cheap.
For Z-Wave: GE Enbrighten 2 outlet switch
Smart home products that use the Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols are faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi devices. Yet these standards fall out of favor in the smart home world. That's fine for most people, but if you have a robust Z-Wave or Zigbee-based smart home, finding good modern smart home products can be difficult.
From now on, GE & # 39; s line of Enbrighten Smart Plugs is the best Z-Wave option on the market. They are a bit expensive, but that's the name of the game for Z-Wave devices right now. These smart plugs work with Google Assistant and Alexa and they are sold in various form factors. We think that the model with two outputs has the best value, but there is also a model with one output, a dimmer option and an outdoor option.