10 Best Smart Outlets Reviews & Buying Guide
If you want to get in on the home automation train but you are intimidated by smart cameras and other advanced gadgets, then you can start small by installing smart home outlets. These are the first step towards a smarter home, and they are a cost-effective way to improve your house. You can make otherwise dumb gadgets, i.e., fans, lighting, and other electronic devices, smarter without spending a fortune. Also, you don’t need advanced skills or an installer to get these working which further lowers the cost.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Wemo Mini
But what exactly are smart plugs? Whether they are marketed as smart outlets, smart plugs, smart switches or any other variation, ultimately, plug into an existing wall outlet, and then you connect the appliance you would love to upgrade. The plugs will connect to your home Wi-Fi after which you can control the gadgets on your smartphone. By and large, smart outlets make existing outlets smart.
Using a smart outlet is a walk in the park. However, getting the right unit is no easy task. Below is a guide to help you when making a purchase. There is also a list of our top smart plus in case you are looking for recommendations.
10 Best Smart Outlets
1. Wemo Insight with Energy Monitoring
Also, it will not sit well in a socket that’s somewhere tight. You can control the unit through the WeMo app, but it comes to life when you integrate the plug with IFTTT. Nevertheless, our best features were the recipes and energy monitoring.
Energy monitoring – If you are concerned about the environment, you will love this product as it helps you monitor the energy used and calculate the costs. Through the WeMo app, you can get a rundown of a device’s energy usage and the monthly fee. With this info, you can take appropriate measures to reduce your energy bills.
Recipes – The WeMo insight truly shines when you connect it to the IFTTT, and especially with two recipes that lengthen the smarts of this plug. First, you can turn off a device after it’s been on for a specific time (say 30 minutes) a day, or after it has consumed X energy in a day. Parents looking to control kids’ TV time or game console usage will appreciate these features.
Voice-enabled – Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Protects your home
Who is it for?
This is best for newbies, that is people who want to ease into home automation or individuals with a specific need for power consumption data.
Offers a real-time indicator of how long a device has been on
It can determine when a device (say a washing machine) has stopped using power and send out a notification
Energy monitoring can help lower energy costs
You will enjoy the away mode as it turns your lights on and off randomly to confuse an intruder
Price is slightly above average but worth it
It is still a chunky unit and will block other outlets
There is also a likelihood of overlapping services on IFTTT and WeMo app
2. Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Furthermore, the device is voice enable and will work with Amazon Echo, and
Google home speaker. However, unlike the WeMo insight, it lacks energy monitoring but also happens to be cheaper.
Apple HomeKit compatible – Most Belkin units aren’t compatible with the Apple HomeKit. The company’s reason behind this was that it was better to integrate all units over some units. However, now the WeMo mini can work with Apple HomeKit without the need for a hub. Just update the WeMo app, and follow the instructions.
Slim design – Most smart plugs are chunky, and often only one unit can plug into an outlet. The compact design of the Belkin WeMo mini allows for two unit to plug into one outlet. You will also appreciate the small LED that shows the status and the physical on and off button on the unit.
A status LED light
Physical on and off switch
Android (4.4 or higher)
IOS (V9 or higher)
Wi-Fi: 2.4 GHz
One year limited warranty
Who is it for?
The Belkin WeMo mini is a sensible follow up purchase for people with Google home or Amazon Echo. We would also recommend it for homeowners who are joining the smart home bandwagon.
The slim design allows you to use two units in the same outlet
It happens to be one of the most well connected smart plugs as it has native connectivity to IFTTT, Google Home, and Alexa
The switches are excellent quality and will serve you for years
The WeMo app is still glitchy
3. iDevices Wall Outlet
First, it is hardwired and easy to set up as it only has three wires (neutral, line, and ground). Get this if you want a more seamless space where you don’t have to worry about chunky plugs. It is also Wi-Fi enabled which is standard for all iDevices units and thus needs no hub to operate and has a small nightlight that can be tuned and the brightness adjusted through the app. Our best features though were the voice control and energy tracking.
Energy monitoring – Often, we have no idea the power gadgets in our houses consume, and thus we cannot plan our energy budget. However, with the iDevices app, you can monitor the power a device or devices consume, and you can plan your budget appropriately. Parents who want to control kids TV and gaming time will also appreciate this unit as they can track when and for how long the kids used the devices.
Voice control – The iDevices wall outlet connects seamlessly to the third parties. You can control the unit through Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. The outlets also have a fold-down flap with the HomeKit pairing code which is a nice touch.
Scheduling and remote access
Who is it for?
The iDevices wall outlet is a niche product. If you are looking to go all out on smart home products, you have the budget to back it, and you want a seamless space without large plugs, then this is the device for you.
It has an independent outlet control for the bottom and top receptacle
Your space will be faultless as you don’t have to accommodate lumpy plugs
Installation is an easy task as there is no hub required
Works with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant and thus you can control devices with your voice
It is pricey and lacks the flexibility of a smart plug as it is hardwired
4. Insteon Smart Wall Outlet
First, you will appreciate that you can control both receptacles independently. Therefore, you no longer need two outlets for two lamps or appliances. Also, they are tamper resistant and will protect your kids from accidental shock. Moreover, there is the alerts feature that will inform you when someone turns on the outlet. It will even send a notification to your phone provided you have the Insteon hub. Our best features though were the remote control flexibility and the loadsense tech.
Load sense tech – Though this is part of the remote control flexibility, the loadsense tech happens to be unique in that it detects when you turn on an appliance and turns on other devices. Thus you can use an appliance as a switch.
Remote control flexibility – Thanks to the dual mesh wireless tech, the Insteon has unrivaled remote control. You can control your outlet using your switch, your sensors such as smoke or motion detectors, use a wall keypad, or a mini remote. You can also use your smartphone provided you have an Insteon hub.
It has a set button
You can control both outlets independently
Amps: 15A max
Who is it for?
The Insteon on/off outlet is for homeowners who are willing to join the smart home bandwagon, at an affordable price.
It allows scheduling when to turn your outlets on and off
You can set scenes
Installation is a breeze
There is uneven software support and requires an Insteon hub to connect to your smartphone
5. Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini by TP-Link
The unit has remote access provided you have an excellent 2.4GHz internet, and there is no hub needed to control the gadgets. It blends in with your outlet and home décor, and its rectangular shape is compact and will not block adjacent receptacles. Furthermore, there is a button on the side turn the plug on and off, and an LED light to show connectivity.
Voice control – Our first to feature of this unit though is that it is voice enabled. You can control it with Alexa or Google Assistant. Google Assistant even goes as far as allowing you to give your gadgets a nickname that is sleeker and easier to remember.
Scheduling – We also appreciated the scheduling feature as you can set when devices can turn on and off. There is also a countdown to when the Kasa Mini plug should turn on and off and the away mode that randomly activates devices and lights when you are away from home (say on vacation).
Who is it for?
The TP-link is for individuals on a budget but are interested in scheduling, remote access, and voice commands to devices.
The unit is a breeze to set up with the process taking at most 10 minutes
The Kasa Mini plug lets you control the TV and gaming consoles
The plug is tiny, sleek and magnificent
Affordable at nearly a quarter the cost of premium units
The HS105 (Kasa Mini) isn’t compatible with the Apple HomeKit, and it lacks the energy monitoring feature
6. iDevices Switch
You will also appreciate the rectangular shape as it will it will not block any receptacle. However, the three prong socket and the power button are on the side, and thus it will be a problem trying to fit it in a crowded strip. You can control the devices on your phone via their app which is rather straightforward to use. The set up also happens to be an easy task. Our best features though were the compatibility and customization.
Compatibility – Most plugs and smart outlets work with Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant but very few are compatible with Apple HomeKit. The iDevices switch is part of this niche group as it works seamlessly with HomeKit. To set up Apple HomeKit, ensure you have a 2.4GHz connection and not 5GHz. Scan the HomeKit code provided in the manual, and you are done setting up. As for Google Assistant, scan the unique code after you have plugged the Switch. You will appreciate the fact that you don’t need an internet connection for this.
Customization – With the features, the iDevices offer you can customize units into rooms by the rooms they are in, zones where you can control multiple rooms, and scenes based on routines.
Internet connection: 2.4 GHz
Size: 1.6 * 2.7 * 1.7 inches
Who is it for?
The iDevices Switch plugin is ideal for heavy apple user thanks to the Apple compatibility.
The unit is easy to set up with no hub required
HomeKit compatibility which is unavailable in most smart plugs and outlets
Has an energy monitoring feature which will help you plan your energy budget
It lacks IFTTT support, and the plugs aren’t ideal for use on a strip
7. Geeni Switch + Charge Smart Wi-Fi Plug
First, the unit is compatible with all 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks but will not work with any 5GHz networks. This is a feature you should consider before making a purchase. It also happens to be voice-enabled and can work with Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant. It’s not compatible Apple HomeKit though. As the unit is Wi-Fi enabled, it will connect to your phone without the need for a hub which saves you the cost.
Scheduling – You can schedule when your devices and lights will come on and off. You can also create routines based on your behaviors. Say the time of day you leave for work and when you come back in the evening, or the coffee maker to turn on at 8 am on Saturdays.
Design – The Geeni Switch + charge is a sleek unit and will fit in an outlet without blocking the adjacent receptacle. It also has a status LED and two USBs to charge your phone.
Size: 2 * 3.2 * 1.6 inches
Who is it for?
Owing to the flexibility and the charging capabilities, we recommend the Geeni Switch for people who travel a lot. Homeowners on a budget can get one too.
Thanks to the voice control you can control your devices with ease
Easy to install and connection to Wi-Fi, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant is seamless
It lacks Apple HomeKit compatibility, and it lacks consistency
8. iHome ISP6X
The three prong outlet is on the front while the power button and LED lights are on the front side. Though it fits in an outlet, you will have difficulties putting it in a power strip. The units operate on a 2.4GHz network, and you might want to ensure you have one (and not a 5GHz network) before you make a purchase. Our top features though are compatibility and customization.
Compatibility – No other smart plug or outlet has the third-party integration of the ISP6X. It works with Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Nest, Wink, and HomeKit. It also happens to operate smoothly on these platforms.
Customization – Owing to the features on the iHome app, you can customize gadgets into rooms, and zones to control the various rooms. You can also create scenes to work on pre-existing conditions. There are also rules to develop time-based schedules.
Network: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection
Compatible with most third parties such as HomeKit, Nest, Wing, etc.
Size: 1.5 * 2.8 * 2.1 inches.
Who is it for?
If you appreciate deep third-party integration, then you will enjoy the ISP6X.
It fits into any standard outlet and will support appliances up to 1800W. This is unlike most plugs that support appliances up to 1,500W
It features a sleek and unobtrusive design
It isn’t the best, and you might have some difficulties trying to link with the plugs
9. AUKEY Wi-Fi Smart Plug (2 Pack)
Installation and set-up is an easy task as all you require is the Aukey Home app. Download the app and create an account and then press the power button on the plug for about 5 seconds. Once the indicator light flashes blue rapidly, the unit has connected to the app. Ensure you are on a 2.4GHz network as it doesn’t work with a 5GHz network. The device also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, but not Amazon HomeKit. Nevertheless, our best features were the affordability, and the automation by creating scenes.
Affordable – The Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug, is the most affordable units on the market. Not only are you getting two units for the price of one, but you are getting premium quality for a not so premium price.
Automation – You can create scenes on the Aukey Home App for various conditions. You can create a scene that turns lights off at sunrise, and on at sunset. You can also control the temperature, the humidity, air quality, and weather.
Size: 1.5 by 2.5 by 1.3 inches
Voice-enabled: works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Who is it for?
This is a basic unit and best as an additional plug or if you are only getting started with smart home technology.
Impressive quality and voice control are just surreal
Have a 24-month warranty
Set up is a breeze
The plugs lack geofencing and thus cannot sense when you come home
It is not compatible with Apple HomeKit
10. iDevices Outdoor Switch
The unit is rather bulky and designed from rugged plastic with two three-prong outlets that allow you to control two devices simultaneously. It could be better if you could control the outlets independently but the company seems keen enough to cater for all outdoor needs. The unit has a power button to control the unit manually, and a 6” cord to connect to an extension cord or outdoor outlet. However, our top features were how well the plug works in any environment, and energy monitoring.
Perfect for any environment – For an outdoor switch to be considered smart, it must turn lights on and off remotely and allow scheduling. The iDevices Outdoor Switch does both with finesse. You can remotely turn your outdoor devices on and off, and you can schedule and set the electricity usage to your budget. Also, the unit is rugged and can work in any environment. The black plastic shell is waterproof and the installation (fastening the plug to the side of the house or arbor), protects your unit from common problems of operating electricity outside.
Power monitoring – Though the Data presentation isn’t as good as that of the WeMo Insight plug, you still get data on daily consumption, and the costs.
Voice-enabled: Works with Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant
It allows scheduling and remote access
Who is it for?
The iDevices Outdoor Plug is for anyone who wants to string up outdoor lights and set them on a schedule.
It happens to be the only outdoor electric source that is safe from common electrical problems
Has a nightlight which is a fancy touch
It provides energy monitoring
You cannot control the two three-prong outlets independently. The unit also happens to be quite pricey
What to Consider when Purchasing Smart Outlets
Where do you want to place the outlet
Smart outlets are available in various designs, and this will influence where you put the plug. Most can fit next to each other in a wall outlet, but not all of them can, especially power strips. With power strips, always consider where the outlet is as some units have outlets on the side of the appliance. These are difficult to fit together and can be effortless or difficult to access depending on where you put the plug.
Which features do you need
Now that you know where you intend to place your smart plug, it’s time to look at the features you want. Every smart plug allows you to control the power to a device or gadget, but there are some that go over and above. Look for units that enable scheduling devices to go on and off at specific times of the day.
There is also the scenes feature where you can program several gadgets to interact. You can schedule scenes based on the temperature or humidity, while other tools allow you to preset scenes for when you are away. They turn lights and other gadgets on and off to make it seem like there is a person at home. There are also some gadgets with energy monitoring for those who are concerned about the environment.
Smart home integration
We also recommend you get units that are compatible with home kits. A fundamental feature should be voice control through services such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. However, it’s better you get units that are compatible with whole home systems such as IFTTT or Samsung SmartThings.
When purchasing smart plugs, you choose between Bluetooth units or Wi-Fi enabled units. We recommend you pick the later as you can control your gadgets while you are at work, or away from home.
The former requires you to be within Bluetooth range to control your devices unless they are compatible with an Apple HomeKit. With a HomeKit gateway, say an Apple TV, you can control Bluetooth outlets when you are out of range.
To hub or not to hub
Outlets that don’t need a hub are cheaper and easier to control. However, those that require a hub may offer additional features that make them a worthy
Now that you know what to look for, here are some ideal outlets for your consideration.
Do smart plugs have any benefits?
Smart plugs and outlets are pricey, but they have some benefits to back those benefits. First, they can enhance the safety of your home by turning lights and other systems on and off to create the illusion that someone is home even when you are miles away on vacation.
These units can also help you reduce the morning chaos which is a norm with our busy schedules. You don’t have to worry about whether you left the curling iron on as you can turn it off through your smartphone. You can also use the same system to activate appliances, so they are ready for you such as ensuring the coffee is prepared by the time you wake up. You can also use the smart plugs to turn on the slow cooker so that you get ready dinner, or to turn on a humidifier if humidity falls below a certain level.
Smart outlets are also useful when it comes to controlling the kid’s TV and gaming time. We agree that kids need a break after school, but too much gaming or TV is harmful too. Also, these are two are the reasons why parents have a difficult time. Set the outlets to turn off the units after a certain period. You can also plug the router to one of these outlets to control your kid’s online activity. However, they do more and can be used to schedule nightlights and sound machines for children who need them.
Finally, you can use these plugs for creative purposes. They can help you randomize your holiday lights or even control lawn and irrigation systems. Furthermore, you can use smart outlets to control the radio.
Can smart outlets help conserve energy?
Often, we leave units running for far longer than necessary, and they end up consuming more energy than is required. Some such appliances are space heaters and air conditioners. We leave them running for too long, and they eat into our energy budgets. You can use smart outlets to control how long a unit runs and conserve energy in the process.
Can sthey only be used indoors?
The short answer is no. However, outdoor plugs tend to be costly as they have to be hardy to withstand the elements.
Smart home tech is here, and it’s here to stay. Some are already on the train, but there are those who are yet to join the bandwagon, and we know how agonizing it is when getting started with smart home tech. There are plugs here which are designed for newbies while some are for use by people who are more advanced on this journey. However, ensure that you purchase units that are compatible with other units especially a HomeKit as these are a rarity.
Finally, feel free to leave us a comment and tell us what you thought of our best smart outlet buying guide.