What to look for when buying a smart plug?

What to look for when buying a smart plug?
May 16

Wall outlets are there in every room in your house. They are dumb because all they can do is to turn a plugged in device on or off. No more use of the wall outlets than this. Now, if your idea is to make your home smart, you are going to need to change the way those wiring works so that you get the ability to control & manage the devices and lights.

Call an electrician and ask him to get rid of every existing wall outlet in your house and get them replaced with smart in wall models. But this is going to be time consuming and expensive. So how do you make your wall outlets work smartly without having to change wiring or replacing the wall outlets? The most simple, quick and inexpensive way of doing this is to add a smart plug in those wall outlets.

Smart plugs are accessible in many ways. Most of the available smart plugs can control a device up to 1200 watts like a fan, tv or space heater. However, there are some plugs that can control big appliances up to 2000 watts. Almost every smart plug can be scheduled. You just have to set a schedule in the app and the paired device will get on or off at the scheduled time. This feature is very much useful when you are a thousand miles away from home. Scheduling your lights at particular times will give outsiders an impression that somebody’s at home.

Now let’s talk about factors that are important to consider before deciding to buy smart plugs.

  • Smart plugs for indoor and outdoor use are different. Smart plugs for indoor use cannot be used for outdoor lights or devices as they are not weatherproof. If you want to control your holiday lights and if the wall switch is outside, then outdoor smart plug is the only solution. Outdoor smart plugs are always black in color and indoor smart plugs always in white.
  • Basically, there are 3 technologies for smart home. Zigbee, Z-wave and Wi-Fi technology. Majority of the indoor smart plugs works with Wi-Fi technology and this is perhaps the easiest and the most affordable technology for smart home. The plugs that support Wi-Fi technology does not need an additional hub and you save money.
  • If you are iPhone user and want Siri to turn your lights off and on, then you must consider buying those indoor smart plugs that are compatible with Apple Homekit. Avery few brands sells plugs with this compatibility so selection will be real easy.
  • Smart speakers are a very common device these days. If you are one of those using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or both, you would have to make sure the indoor smart plugs you are going to buy are compatible with these smart speakers. Well actually, most brands are compatible with these major smart speakers nowadays. So no matter which brand you select, it will be for sure compatible with these speakers. Compatibility with these speakers gives you extra control over your indoor smart plugs as you can control them with voice commands.
  • Every electronic device is not suitable with indoor smart plugs. Depending on the watts a device use, you would have to select plugs for you. For devices like tv, coffee maker, toaster, lamps & bulbs, a 1200 watts smart plug is sufficient. Big devices on the other hand will require a big 2000 watts smart plug. So be sure about which device you want to connect with the plug and buy accordingly.
  • Indoor smart plugs are available in two designs - round and rectangular. A round design plug will have one outlet. Rectangular shape plugs are available in both single and dual outlets. Whether you buy round or rectangular shape, the important thing to consider is the product dimension. Some round plugs are compact in size and does not block the other outlet whereas some will cover up both wall sockets.

Hope these suggestions for buying smart plugs will make your buying process easier.

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