A smart plug is a little gadget that plugs into an outlet and connects to your home's Wi-Fi. It then allows you to control whatever device is plugged into that smart plug with your smartphone or your voice. It basically has the power to turn any gadget — be it a lamp, fan, space heater, humidifier, coffee maker or whatever other appliance — into a "smart" gadget.
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What to Look for
Smart home compatibility: When considering which smart plug you should buy, the most important thing is to make sure that it's compatible with your existing smart home ecosystem. If you have an Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri smart speaker, you want to make sure that the smart plug will actually work with it. (Most popular smart plugs will work with Alexa or Google Assistant, but compatibility with Apple's HomeKit is a little harder to come by.)
The brand of smart plug: A lot of smart plug manufacturers make other smart home devices, such as smart lights, smart switches and smart cameras, and make it easier to set them up and control them all via one companion app. For instance, if you have other smart home devices by Wyze or Philips Hue, it will be easier for you to control scenes and set timers if you get smart plugs from those same companies.
The type of smart plug: There are just a few other things you want to consider before buying a smart plug: mainly its size and whether it has a physical button or switch on its side. The smaller the better when it comes to smart plugs because they're less likely to cover up an additional outlet. And you want a physical button or switch because it allows you to control it when you don't feel like using your voice or opening up your smartphone.
Yes, Smart Plugs Can Save You Money
Aside from the convenience and the ability to create a more complete smart home, a smart plug can help you save money. The job of a smart plug is primarily convenience — to turn a dumb gadget into a smart one — but by integrating these gadgets in cycles as well as giving you the ability to control them from afar, it gives you the ability to turn something off when you're not using it. After all, one of the most common ways your home wastes money is when you (or somebody) leave on lights and other appliances, like fans and heaters, when nobody is actually using them.
Why You Should Trust Us
We've been writing about and reviewing smart home products — including smart speakers, smart lights, smart cameras, smart thermostats and smart security systems — for the last several years. We also work with major brands and talk to experts within the smart home industry. The below selections of smart plugs are a combination of products that we've had hands-on experience with as well as products that are made by brands we trust.