What Is a Smart Plug?
Add any outlet to your connected smart home with a smart plug
A smart plug is a power receptacle that plugs into a traditional electrical outlet and integrates it into your smart home network, allowing you to control whatever you plug into it from an app on your smartphone or with your voice through a virtual assistant.
What Can a Smart Plug Do?
A smart plug transforms even “dumb” devices into a part of your smart home network, giving you greater control and customizable options just by plugging the device in. Table lamps, the clothes iron, and even the coffee maker get an IQ upgrade with smart plugs. For the most features and best reliability, stick with smart plugs that connect to Wi-Fi either directly or using a bridge or dongle that plugs into your router.
• Let’s get plugged into the latest smart plug features:
• Some, like Amazon’s Echo Flex, have virtual assistant support built-in so you can speak directly to the smart plug instead of using an app to control it.
• Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to remotely control devices plugged into smart plugs with your smartphone.
• Voice control options allow you to use Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to control devices plugged into the smart plug unit (some models of the smart plug might require a bridge or dongle for this capability).
• Use your smartphone to set timers that turn devices on and off at scheduled times.
• Track information about energy use and the cost of use for a device using the plugin in real-time.
• Some models include a separate remote to operate your smart plug unit without requiring your smartphone for simple on/off functions.
• Schedule smart plugs in your home or office to turn on or off at specific times — no more wondering if you left the coffee pot or clothes iron on. And you no longer need to worry about walking into a dark house or your house looking empty while you’re on vacation.
• Smart plugs designed for outdoor use allow you to control (and schedule) items plugged in outdoors such as holiday lights and decorations.
• Set smart plugs to restrict and prevent latent energy consumption by devices while they’re turned off.
• Smart plug strips work much like a multi-plug surge protector and can send you notifications if a power surge occurs or alert you when the number of devices connected to the strip poses a safety hazard.
Common Concerns About Smart Plugs
Anytime electricity is involved, it’s wise to be cautious. Let’s review some common questions and concerns people have about smart plugs.
Do smart plugs increase the risk of fire or electric shock?
Smart plugs are designed to meet the same codes and standards of installed plug receptacles (outlets). Several models of smart plug actually exceed the minimum required safety standards. Smart plugs include automatic shut-off features in the event of power surges or other electrical incidents that could damage items using that plug. In many ways, smart plugs increase the safety of traditional plugs for many homes.