If you ever wondered what is a smart plug, well you came to the right place. Smart plugs can basically turn any “dumb” device (coffee maker, lamp, fan) into a smart device. How you ask? Well the smart plug is a small adapter that you can plug into a wall outlet and connect to a Wi-Fi network. Once connected you can plug into the smart plug any device or appliance and control it through your smartphone or voice assistant.
Smart plugs are an affordable and easy way to start turning your home/apartment into a smart home. Affordable because the cost is usually between $20-$50 and easy because they require only the plug and a Wi-Fi connection.
How does a smart plugs work?
Once plugged into the outlet you plug in a device (let’s say coffee maker) into the smart plug. Than using your wifi connection you can connect the plug to your home assistant like google home/Amazon Alexa or the smart plug app. Now we can start controlling the device through commands sent from your smart home assistant or the app. So let’s say we like to wake up every morning at 7:15 am to the smell of fresh brewed coffee we can instruct the smart plug to talk to the coffee maker to do just that, pretty cool right?
What are the benefits of using smart plugs?
- Save money on your utility bill- Control the lights to go on and off according to your schedule.
- Save time- Forgot to turn off the iron and you are already at work? No need to drive all the way back. Turn it off from your phone.
- Increase home security- Gone on vacation? Schedule lights and music to be turned on on specific times and days to create the impression that there are people in the house and deter burglars.
Suggested Smart Plugs Ideas
We gathered some ideas for you on ways you can use smart plugs.
- Turn your Air Conditioner on and off– Turn your AC on 5 minutes before walking in home on a hot summer day or turn it off on a set time one hour after your bed time.
- Cook dinner while you at work– Fill out your slow cooker before heading out and turn out according to the cooking time so dinner can be ready by the time you get home!
- Charging– We charge our mobile phones, laptops, tablets on a daily basis but overcharging them isn’t good, use a smart plug to charge the exact time needed for each device.
- Feed your pets– Turn your pet feeder on and off remotely if needed and make sure your pet doesn’t go hungry!
- Turn your garden lights on during the evening.
- Turn your lights off when you leave home in the morning.
- Control your children’s screen time– It’s no secret that children’s spend a lot of time in front of the screens these days, well you can limit and control that time using smart plugs (turn it on only between 6pm -8pm, turn it off during the nights etc)
- Stop “vampire energy usage.”– This refers to when a device is off but is still using energy on standby mood (televisions, microwaves, game consoles, coffee makers and more). You can save that energy by either unplugging the device or by going the smart route and turn them completely off when your away from home or during the night and save money on your energy bill.
What to Check before buying a smart plug?
Here are a few factors to consider when buying smart plug:
Voice assistant compatibility: If you only use Alexa or Google home make sure the plug supports them (Some plugs can only be activated through the plug’s app).
Energy reports: Most smart plugs will send you reports about your energy use by device which can help you decide how to better use that device or maybe upgrade to a more energy efficient device.
Scheduling ahead of time: Most smart plugs have options to set schedules for turning devices on or off at certain times. It’s a common feature, but you should still make sure your plug has it for convenience..
Additional ports: Some smart plugs have the ability to expand the number of ports on your outlet in case you are short on outlets around the house.
Dimming: If that’s an important feature to you make sure the smartplug supports dimming.
Smart Plug Size -Some smart plugs are bigger than others which may be an issue for some people as you lose outlet space. So check the size of the smartplug before buying.
How much does a smart plug cost?
Smart plugs can cost anything between $10 to $150 but most are in the range of $20- $50. Hopefully by now you realize that they can pay off quickly when you think about the energy cost, time savings and convenience they offer.
Recommended Smart Plugs
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you have a better understanding now about what is a smart plug, how does it work and how it can benefit you. It’s one of the easiest ways to start turning your home into a smart home.
If your are not sure where to start using a smart plug, start by writing down the top 3 things that you can do with a smart plug that will make your life easier, save you time or money. And than try it out.
If you already got 1, let us know in the comments which one you got and if it benefited you.