by Jennifer Allen on
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Most smart plugs on the market have one thing missing: they’re not designed for outdoor use. The iClever IC-BS06 smart plug, however, is built for outdoor life and nasty weather—and even has some nifty features tacked on.
Let’s get the outdoor-related specs and jargon out of the way first. The IC-BS06 is rated for temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 140 degrees. So even on the coldest and hottest of days, the plug will continue to power your outdoor displays, water feature or whatever it’s controlling. Furthermore, it’s IP44 certified, which means that it can take the occasional splashing of water like rain and melting snow, but it can’t be submerged. Luckily, submersion won’t be a problem unless there’s significant flooding. By then, you’ll likely have worse things to worry about anyway.
So how is it as a regular smart plug? It works great, but there are a couple things to be aware of.
The plug uses an app called Smart Life for both the setup process and remote control via your phone. It’s made by a Chinese developer, so while everything is in English, it’s roughly translated from Chinese.
For the most part, this isn’t a huge deal, and you can navigate just fine and understand most of the menus and buttons, but there may be some instances that could confuse some users, like this firmware update pop-up that says “Wi-Fi module: Increase power-off memory function” and then a button that reads “Will upgrade shortly,” but it actually updates the firmware right after you hit the button.
The setup process overall isn’t as quick as I’d like it to be (you’re stuck on a connecting screen for a solid 45 seconds or so), but it’s at least painless and easy.
Once you’re up and running, the iClever plug has some pretty nice features, including two receptacles that can be controlled individually, as well as some cool automation features that you can base on the temperature, time of day, and even the humidity.
For instance, you can turn off the smart plug if the temperature reaches a certain point, or receive a notification if the humidity reaches a certain percentage.
Here are some other features you’ll find on the iClever smart plug:
With that kind of diverse control, your imagination is really the limit. You can have humidity sensor controlled plant misting, holiday lights that turn on at dusk, and more advanced IFTTT integration with your smart home.
Here’s where you might have to compromise a bit with the iClever smart plug. It comes with a built-in extension cord of sorts that’s 5-6 inches long, which helps to keep the bulk of the smart plug away from the outlet and leave room to plug other stuff in.
However, the plug itself is at a 90-degree angle, so on most outdoor outlets that have protective covers, you’ll probably only be able to plug the device into the top outlet, which will then block the bottom outlet entirely.
Furthermore, the built-in extension isn’t quite long enough to be able to fully close my specific outlet cover, and US electrical code requires that the cover be fully closed in “wet locations” when items are plugged in. “Wet locations” are anywhere that an outdoor outlet is exposed to the weather, whereas a dry/damp location would be under a canopy or a porch. To fix this, I’d have to get a short extension cord to make it work.
So take this heavily into consideration if you’re thinking about buying one of these and using it on an outdoor outlet with a cover.
For $30, you really can’t go wrong with this smart plug. Plus, you basically get two smart plugs, which is an even better deal.
The app is really the downside, as it’s not the easiest or most pleasant to use, but if you’ll be using Alexa or Google Assistant anyway, then that’s not really a huge deal—you can use the app to set up the smart plug and then only dust it off for firmware updates now and then.
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