The Best Smart Plugs for the Connected Home

Home automation is only getting better. Smart plugs help increase the intelligence of your old-school devices, inexpensively bringing your home into the 21st century.

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The Best Smart Plug Options

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Home automation has taken huge leaps in recent years. We now have smart devices that help us make shopping lists, dial phone numbers, and record our favorite TV shows. There are apps that control thermostats, whether we’re in the office or in bed. Smart devices are all around us, doing their best to make our lives more convenient.

Smart plugs are convenience devices that allow you to control electrical power from your phone or home’s digital voice assistants. You install them between the electrical outlet and your device and control them through WiFi or Bluetooth. The best smart plugs can power lamps, air conditioners, and electronic gadgets like TVs. They’re especially useful in basements and garages, for turning on lights or a submersible pump during a storm.

Between their easy installation and their ability to save you money, the best smart plugs are a smart buy. Since smart plugs can control devices remotely, you’re less likely to forget to shut something off. You can shrink your energy bill, protect your abode, and fill your life with rich conveniences once reserved for futuristic cartoon families with robots for housekeepers.

Our Top Picks

There are a lot of newcomers to the home automation arena, and many are producing top-quality products. That can make shopping for the best smart plug a daunting task. Consider this list of the top smart plugs on the market as your guide.

The Best Smart Plug Option: Amazon Smart Plug

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BEST OVERALL: Amazon Smart Plug

The Amazon Smart Plug is the choice for you if you’re looking for the easiest way to bring smart-home convenience into your life. The Smart Plug is what Amazon calls “Certified for Humans,” meaning the average person without an engineering degree can set it up with ease. The Smart Plug doesn’t require a smart home hub as it runs entirely through the Alexa App. It’s also incredibly easy to set up: Just plug it in, open the app, and add the devices. Alexa can set up schedules and routines, as well as designate a set of devices to react together (such as turning off all of the lights at once). Its design is small enough to fit two smart plugs on a double outlet.

The Best Smart Plug Option: Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link, (HS100)

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RUNNER-UP: Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link, (HS100)

TP-Link’s Smart Plug is an excellent choice for homeowners and renters who want to automate their home without a big financial commitment. This single smart plug simply plugs in and runs with the Kasa app. Through the app, you’ll create schedules that fit your lifestyle and scenes that operate several devices at one time. The Kasa Smart Plug works with Alexa, Cortana, or Google Assistant. It works on 2.4 gigahertz WiFi, meaning it’s likely compatible with most home networks.

The biggest issue with the Kasa Smart Plug is its size. It’s tall, so it might block the other receptacle on a double outlet or extend past the wall plate. This could be an inconvenience, as it’s less secure and it could come unplugged.

The Best Smart Plug Option: Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug by TP-Link

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BEST FOR OUTDOOR USE: Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug by TP-Link

TP-Link has taken the smart plug to your home’s exterior with this adapter. This plug-in adapter can control two separate devices from one plug. It operates with Kasa’s app and communicates with Google or Alexa for convenient voice control. It’s weather-resistant and has a WiFi range of up to 300 feet. It’s an excellent option for Christmas lights, pool pumps, and backyard string lights. Simply power up the devices using your digital voice assistant or the Kasa app. You can also use it in a basement or garage.

This plug is weather-resistant but not waterproof. It’s best to keep it sheltered from direct rain and snow damage.

The Best Smart Plug Option: Eve Energy Smart Plug & Power Meter

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BEST ENERGY MONITORING: Eve Energy Smart Plug & Power Meter

The Eve Energy Smart Plug and Power Meter is a flexible option for homeowners looking to automate and track a device’s power consumption. It’s compatible with Homekit, which makes it an attractive option for homes with a lot of Apple products. The Eve app generates easy-to-read charts about your device’s energy consumption, whether it’s for penny-pinching or sheer curiosity. It also functions through Bluetooth.

One thing to keep in mind about this model is that the Eve system will store device information for only 23 days. You must re-sync the smart plug and power meter within that time frame for it to continue working. This makes it a so-so option for vacation homes and less-frequented rooms.

The Best Smart Plug Option: Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link

Photo: amazon.com

ALSO CONSIDER: Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link

TP-Link’s devices take up three spots on our best smart plugs list, and there are a lot of reasons for this. They’re reliable, easy to use, and affordable. But most of what makes these devices so great is their app, and this Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link is no exception. The plug comes in a two-pack, so you can set up two different devices. To program these plugs, simply plug it into the wall, download the app, and connect it to your WiFi through the app. At that point, you can set up all of the schedules and timers that you’d like, as well as syncing to sunrise and sunset. One feature, in particular, stands out from the crowd: You can name the devices installed in the plugs. This makes it the best smart plug app for someone using several smart plugs to control devices throughout their house.

When you plug a device into one of these smart plugs, the plug/cord combination can stick out from the wall almost 4 inches. That’s not likely to fit behind a couch, so this may reduce the flexibility of where you place these plugs throughout your home.

The Best Smart Plug Option: WeMo Mini Smart Plug

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ALSO CONSIDER: WeMo Mini Smart Plug

This smart plug’s setup is straightforward: Plug it in, download the WeMo app, and set it up on your 2.4 gigahertz WiFi system. The WeMo app can set up schedules, timers, sync to sunrise and sunset, and has a host of other features. It comes in a slim design, meaning two plugs can double-stack on an outlet, and they won’t stick out as far as other smart plugs with similar designs. You can control this smart plug with HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

The one weak point with these WeMo plugs is their app. It tends to lag and it’s less user-friendly than some of the other smart plug apps on the list. This can make setting up scenes and schedules a challenge.

The Best Smart Plug Option: gosund Smart Plug, Mini WiFi Outlet 4-Pack

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ALSO CONSIDER: gosund Smart Plug, Mini WiFi Outlet 4-Pack

For years, homeowners and renters have put their lamps on timers to create the illusion that someone is home. Gosund’s Mini WiFi Outlet 4-Pack can automate your entire home to provide that same occupied-look, but with more flexibility. These smart plugs are easy to use through Alexa or Google. They can be programmed through the gosund App, which lets you set timers or schedules for your devices. This means you can program lamps and other devices to turn on while you’re not home, with the added option of turning them on manually from the app.

The gosund plugs are relatively light-duty compared to the other plugs on the list. They’re only rated for ten amps, while other plugs on this list can handle 12 or 15 amps. That makes these plugs suitable for devices like lamps and radios, but not for heavy-draw appliances like coffee pots or pool pumps.