Best smart plug 2023 • 7 smart plugs Reviews
In today’s technical world, it is possible to own a device that helps us to control other devices that are not as technologically advanced. These smart plugs are the latest useful gadgets. We have prepared this comprehensive guide to give you everything you need to know.
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What is a smart plug and how does it work?
A smart plug is a device that, like any plug, plugs into a normal electrical outlet in the wall. Using a mobile application, which may vary depending on the operating system of the plug, it is possible to control other devices that are plugged into the smart plug. This is done remotely by activating or deactivating the device’s functions or by programming different actions.
Since every device has unique characteristics, it is wise to know exactly which devices you own before buying a smart plug. If you have a connected tech-system, smart plugs create added value: When surrounded by other intelligent devices, they create an integrated technological home.
What types of smart plugs are there?
The first smart plugs invented were always sold with remote controls. Today, the trend is for them to be used through virtual assistants via voice control. As this trend continues to grow (with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, for example), it is recommended to choose plugs that are compatible with voice control as well as a remote control.
Remote control smart plugs
Remote control smart plugs are controlled by a remote that is included with the product.
Virtual assistant smart plugs
Virtual assistant smart plugs are controlled by your own voice (or an app) using a virtual assistant system. Some smart plugs use their own app for this kind of control. Others are compatible with common virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
Advantages and disadvantages of smart plugs
Considering the different types of smart plugs, there are also some advantages and disadvantages that come with each type, all of which should be considered before buying one.
Advantages of remote control smart plugs
- Operations are closer to instantaneous.
Disadvantages of remote control smart plugs
- They operate at a maximum distance of 10 yards.
- Their functions and operations are usually limited.
- The batteries need to be replaced frequently.
Advantages of voice control smart plugs
- No dependence on external devices or your cell phone.
- Takes full advantage of virtual assistants, which are being improved.
- Virtual assistants learn your behaviors and habits.
Disadvantages of voice control smart plugs
- Sometimes voice recognition is not accurate.
- Some virtual assistants record everything that is said.
Shopping Criteria for Smart Plugs
Smart home devices are gaining ground in the U.S., and smart plugs are essential allies in this transformation process. As we have explained, there are some options that may or may not suit a buyer depending on the user’s individual needs, but there are other factors to keep in mind at all times. The following section is designed to guide you through the most fundamental criteria you should look at before you make your purchase.
- Consumption monitoring
- Virtual assistant support
- Number of entries
This may seem like a mere aesthetic criterion, but it is not. When it comes to the design of smart plugs, it is important to look at the size and shape of the plug. Some smart plugs are so bulky that they block access to other devices (or device switches). A compact and discreet model that will not detrimentally affect other device connections is highly recommended.
In these times of enormous and increasing energy consumption, it is beneficial to have control over the electrical usage of your devices and their energy consumption. There are smart plugs that provide data about connected devices, including exactly how much electricity they use. This can be very useful if you want to keep a close eye on your electricity costs.
Virtual Assistant Support
Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated, essential components for everyone who wants to create an intelligent smart home ecosystem. If your smart plugs can be controlled by these creations, you will benefit from their many functions and future advancements.
Number of Entries
It may seem like an obvious criterion, but it can be easily overlooked. A smart plug with a single input allows us to control a single device, which can be limiting. Today, there are smart plug models that offer multiple inputs (even smart plug power strips exist) and USB ports. With multiple inputs, you will be able to connect several devices and manage them all via a single smart plug.
Most smart plugs come with very well-designed and comprehensive applications that you use to control them. However, there may still be basic models that only include very simple functions, such as on/off. Although they are useful, given the possibilities that exist, it is better to buy smart plugs with features that are as versatile as possible.
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How do smart plugs work and how are they installed?
The system for configuring smart plugs is usually straightforward. It is likely that there are some small differences between products depending on the respective mobile application of each of these plugs, but the following steps can be applied to most smart plugs on the U.S. market. 1. Connect the smart plug to the electrical outlet in the wall. 2. Wait for a colored light to appear on the plug. 3. Download and open the mobile application that corresponds to the purchased smart plug. In most cases, the application will ask you to register a username and a password. 4. Physically plug in the device you want to control via the smart plug. 5. Pair your smartphone with the smart plug using the application (in many cases, the application performs the pairing automatically). Sometimes the application will ask you to manually add devices. 6. Set the Wi-Fi password to validate the connection between the smartphone, the smart plug, and the connected device. 7. Depending on the properties and functionalities of the smartphone application, you can perform certain actions on or with the device that is connected to the smart plug. The on/off function is present in all applications.
What are the main functions of smart plugs?
Using a smart plug opens the door for turning a whole series of “not-so-smart” devices into smart devices. To analyze the best features of smart plugs, think about your home and your needs. We summarized the main features available in smart plugs. - Away Mode: Ideal for people or families that are concerned about security and want to turn on lights, TV, or music devices to make it look like they are at home. - Voice Control: Using the most popular virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant), you can use your own voice to program the devices. - Connection with Other Devices: From your smartphone app, you can synchronize various devices (such as a TV with intelligent speakers) to create your home’s own digital “ecosystem.” - Consumption Monitoring: Many smart plug models allow you to control the electrical consumption of connected devices. Some plugs can program a device to stop working after it reaches a certain level of consumption. - Schedules and Timers: This is ideal for people who follow fixed routines or schedules and therefore want their devices to be activated at specific times.
How do I program a smart plug?
There are two different ways to program a smart plug and they are each installed separately. The application you will use on your phone depends on the model of smart plug purchased. Information about the application as well as the compatibility with the different smartphone operating systems is always specified in the product description. Therefore, when considering each plug, you must also keep your smartphone in mind. Voice control is a very nice feature of smart plugs; most of them allow you to integrate different virtual assistants. Be aware that some smart plugs work exclusively with a particular virtual assistant. This crucial bit of information will be indicated in the product description, so be sure to read it carefully before buying. Voice control does not require any special installation because cell phones or tablets automatically recognize the plug, especially if that smart plug only works with one specific virtual assistant.
How many devices can I connect to one smart plug?
This factor depends on the model of the smart plug. There are some smart plugs that only allow for the connection of one device at a time, while others come with multiple power outlets or even multiple USB inputs. If you have a lot of devices grouped together and want to control and sync them all from your smartphone, it is a good idea to look for a multi-input smart plug.
Are smart plugs only used indoors?
Generally speaking, smart plugs are designed for indoor use. However, there are some models designed specifically for the outdoors. Outdoor smart plugs are ideal for controlling outdoor lights or Christmas decorations. These plugs are specially designed to withstand rain, strong winds, and even snow.
Are there any safety considerations when using smart plugs?
Using smart plugs is totally safe for your home. All smart plugs require a ground connection, which is a safety measure that exists by law in the U.S. If you live in a very old building, it is unlikely but still possible that you do not have a ground connection. In this case, consult an electrician regarding the safety measures you need regarding the electrical circuit in your home and the addition of smart plugs. Another factor to consider is the intensity of the current. In general, most smart plugs tolerate up to 10 amperes. Make sure your appliances and devices are compatible with this intensity, otherwise you won’t be able to connect them to the smart plug.
Do I need a particular Wi-Fi network to use smart plugs?
The vast majority of smart plugs that connect to Wi-Fi use the typical 2.4 GHz band, which is standard in most current routers. However, if you have a next-generation router, it may have a dual band that includes the 5 GHz in addition to the 2.4 GHz.
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