If you’re like most people, you still have standard electrical outlets in your home. Curious about smart home upgrades, but not sure you want to commit to an entire electrical overhaul? Smart plugs may be your answer.
According to Consumer Reports, 16% of shoppers in the U.S. now own smart light bulbs. While that’s not a huge slice of the pie, it is an industry gaining notice and traction. And for good reason.
The best smart plugs not only allow you to automate your home (and operate lights with your voice), they also help you track usage, which can conserve energy and save you money.
For example, if you already have a home security system, with a smart plug device, you can set the lights in your home to power off automatically when you arm your system. And at costs ranging from $15 to $60, smart plugs are an affordable way to access greater flexibility of use, tracking and reporting, and potential savings.
So, how do you know if this is the right step for you? What are the best smart plug options? Let’s examine.
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As with many technology choices, the best smart plug will depend largely on what products you have already. This will lead to optimal interaction with your other devices. Are you an Apple family? If so, you’ll likely have a better experience with smart plugs that can be controlled with Siri. If you’re more of a loyal Alexa household, you may want to purchase a plug that supports that pre-existing voice assistant. But compatibility isn’t the only consideration. Here are a few more things to think about and the best smart plugs in each case.
Dip your toe in if you’re uncertain
For an affordable way to convert your unconnected home appliances to smart home devices, consider a product like the iHome iSP6X SmartPlug or Geeni Spot Smart Wi-Fi Plug, both compatible with Apple, Google and Amazon voice assistants. Each is highly rated from the product editors at PC Mag, and gives you access to usage reports, basic voice functionality and scheduling. The Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug is another inexpensive option, with great overall value, but it is not compatible with Apple Siri.
Seeking extra outlets?
While priced at about double one of the more affordable smart plugs, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 is still quite reasonably priced and is an ideal addition to a room with limited outlets. As with old-school surge protectors, a smart power strip gives you a range of the best smart plug options. And while it’s compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana, energy use reporting is not available. For not quite as much additional space, but with access to reporting, go for the Syncwire 2-in-1 Mini Wi-Fi Smart Outlet, which quickly doubles your existing outlets.
Looking to monitor and control your energy use?
Small and easy to use, Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug uses your home Wi-Fi network to control your devices remotely, which means you can create a schedule of use as well as monitor how much power you use.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Smart plugs are an affordable way to dip your toe in the smart home waters. Whether you’re looking to try out the technology, save money, control use or link up technology with your pre-existing devices, there are some great options out there worth a try.