by Michael Crider on
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If you want to control most plug-in appliances remotely from your phone (or using a voice assistant), smart plugs are a fairly cheap way to make that happen. Here are the best smart plugs worth buying.
Before you go out and stock up, keep in mind that smart plugs can’t control just anything that plugs into an outlet. The device or appliance must have a mechanical on/off switch (rather than just an electronic power button). A good percentage of devices have this type of switch, but it’s still something to be aware of.
If you’re unsure if a device or appliance you wish to control with a smart plug can, in fact, be controlled with a smart plug there’s a simple test you can conduct. Plug the device in, turn it on, then unplug the device from the wall and plug it back in. If the device turns back on as soon as you plug it in without the need for you to flip the switch again or push a button, then the device’s power state can be controlled by a smart plug.
With that caveat out of the way, here are five fantastic smart plug worth integrating into your smart home.
The Kasa line of smarthome products from TP-Link sort of flies under the radar, but the products are super affordable and work really well—the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug is no exception.
It’s your basic smart plug at a great price, and it supports Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and IFTTT. And as with pretty much every smart plug on the market, you can set up scenes and have lights and other devices automatically turn on and off on a schedule, as well as randomize lights when you’re on vacation.
The Kasa smart plug comes in two variants: one with energy monitoring and one without. Both are usually priced the same, so it’s just a matter of whether you want energy monitoring or not, but it doesn’t hurt to have it included. Just be sure you pick the right one if that’s a feature you really want.
Another basic, no-frills smart plug that’s super affordable is the Smart Plug Mini from Eufy. If you’ve never heard of Eufy before, have no fear, because it’s a subsidiary of Anker.
This model comes with all the necessities as well, including scheduling, energy monitoring, and integration with Alexa and Google Assistant. It doesn’t, however, support IFTTT.
The good news, though, is that the app interface is our favorite out of the bunch. It’s not only snappy and responsive, but the user interface looks good and it’s easy to use.
If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more popular (and thus, works with more third-party platforms), then Belkin’s WeMo Mini smart plug is a good option.
Unfortunately, it’s also a pricier model, but that gives you support for a wider number of platforms that it can integrate with, including Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings, HomeKit (with the WeMo Bridge add-on) and more.
Plus, like the Kasa smart plug, if you have lamps plugged in, you can randomize them when you’re on vacation so that it appears someone is home.
The WeMo Mini doesn’t come with energy monitoring, however. So you’d have to step up to the WeMo Insight ($40) to get that feature on a WeMo product.
If you want a smart plug that works with Apple’s HomeKit platform out of the box, there are only a few options to choose from, but perhaps the best and most popular option is the iHome ISP6X.
It not only works with HomeKit, but Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest and IFTTT too. It can also integrate with SmartThings and Wink if that’s your thing.
And of course, you can schedule on/off times and monitor energy usage. Even if you don’t use HomeKit, this can still be a great option.
If you prefer smart plugs that you don’t have to directly connect to your Wi-Fi network, but rather to a smarthome hub via Z-Wave, the GE Plug-In Smart Switch gets the job done.
It uses the superior Z-Wave Plus to connect to a number of different hubs, including SmartThings, Wink, HomeSeer, Vera, Iris, and more. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, just as long as the hub you’re connecting it to supports these voice assistants.
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