Getting started with your smart home ecosystem can be a daunting task. With the hundreds of products on the market, the hype surrounding them, and the innate desire to have the best in tech, it’s hard to stay away from a foray into smart homes. But, where do you start? If you want to dip your toes into the water before taking the plunge, investing a small amount into a few smart plugs may be the best way to go considering they are, in most cases, literally plug-and-play.
So, take a look at our list of the best smart plugs and get to it! Not seeing your favorite smart plug? Be sure to leave a comment on this post so we can check it out!
The first and most affordable smart plug on our list at only $27.72 (at the time of this writing) is the DSP-W215. This plug has been around for quite some time, which is a good sign that it’s a reliable device that you won’t be disappointed in. D-Link’s smart plug is a simplistic device, but it comes in a form-factor that is a bit bulkier than some other for a single plug configuration. However, the LED on the front of the device makes it easy to see what state the plug is in during the installation process. Assuming your plug is in direct line of sight, you can easily assure yourself that it’s connected to WiFi with a quick glance; green means good.
To add even more value to this plug, D-Link as enabled IFTTT support since the device’s inception. On top of that, you can control D-Link’s smart plug with your voice using Amazon Echo. Overall, this is a great entry-level device to test the waters of a smart home ecosystem. Easy to get set up, and generally easy to use.
If you’ve heard of no other smart plugs on this list, you’ve likely at least hear of the Belkin Wemo line. Wemo has been around for years, and they’ve continued to iterate on their devices to make them more useful and more convenient. As you can see, the Wemo Mini, as the name suggests, is quite small but still packs nice tech in a tiny package. Despite its small size, you can expect to find many of the important features like scheduling and Amazon Echo integration. Something else cool you will find with the Belkin Wemo is the ability to set an “away” mode. With the away mode set, your Belkin Wemo plug will automatically turn your lights on and off in a random pattern to make it seem like you are home even you are not.
One sacrifice you will make with a device as small as the Wemo Mini is the lack of energy monitoring. If you’re interested in keeping tabs on how much power your lighting or appliances are using, you might want to look to Belkin’s higher-end plug, the Wemo Insight. You can check that one out a little further down the page.
Next up on the list is the iHome Smart Plug iSP5. What makes this particular device special is its vast integration capabilities. Whereas most devices on our best smart plugs list will work with Amazon Echo, iHome’s will also work with Apple HomeKit, Samsung Smart Things, Nest, Google Assistant, and Wink. That gives you a lot of options when it comes to how you choose to control your devices – by voice or by app. Another nice thing about the plug being able to integrate with other services such as Smart Things is that you can consolidate the number of apps your using to manage your smart home. At a certain point, having multiple apps for all of your various devices reduces the overall convenience factor.
The iSP5 also comes in a very compact form factor. I have not tested this personally, but judging my the images iHome has provided, you can have two smart plugs in one wall outlet simultaneously. If you do choose to have a group of smart plugs in a certain are of your home – maybe in your bedroom to control a lamp, a heater and an electric disco ball (no judgment, here) – you can use the iHome app to create ‘scenes’. This gives you the ability to send commands to more than one device at a time, so you can power on/off all devices in that scene.
If this smart plug interests you, be sure to check out its newer sibling, the iSP8 which comes packaged with a remote control for quick operation.
Sometimes, you have more electronic devices than outlets. And when that happens most of us would take advantage of a simple surge protector to connect multiple devices to one outlet. In the world of smart outlets, you can still achieve this same feat with the Geeni SURGE. The SURGE allows you to plug up to four devices into standard outlets, as wells four other USB-powered devices such as phones. Like the other outlets on this list, the SURGE allows you to control all of those devices individually. For on $40, that’s a pretty great value.
Geeni makes use of their own proprietary smart device app to control the outlets. This is the same app you would use if you owned any of Geeni’s other devices such as light bulbs or cameras. The app has a very minimalistic feel and it’s quite easy to access when you need to flip one of your outlets on or off. As you might imagine, it could easily get confusing to remember which device is plugged into which outlet, but fortunately, the app allows you to name each outlet so you can quickly power your devices on and off. If you have a lot of devices that could benefit from on/off controls from anywhere you might be, and they’re centrally located, give this one a shot!
A step up in size, price and feature-set from the previously highlighted Wemo Mini, is the Belkin Wemo Insight. The Wemo Insight works essentially the same as the Wemo Mini. With a little more room to work with internally, and for an extra $15, what do you get? The largest draw to this device is the energy monitoring capabilities. With the Insight, you can see on an individual basis how long a device, such as a light or heater, has been on, and how much energy it is consuming. Not only that, but you can see how much that particular device has cost you in one day alone, and what it’s estimated to cost you at the end of the month. If you use many of these plugs throughout your house, it can help take the guesswork out of figuring out why your electric bill fluctuates so much month-to-month.
Outside of that significant add, you can expect to find very similar capabilities as with the Wemo Mini. You can create schedules for each of your devices, activate an away mode, and remotely power your devices on and off from wherever you are.
Last, but not least (especially in the price department,) on our list of best smart plugs is the ConnectSense Smart Outlet. Yes, that is accurate – outlet. This one is a little unique from the bunch because it takes up both plugs at once, hence the name, Outlet. Like the others on the list, the ConnectSense can be controlled via app from anywhere you find yourself during the day. And, since you have two plugs in one, the app allows you to control them both individually. The outlet includes the addition of a USB-A plug on the left side of the device that outputs up to 2.4 amps, supporting Quick Charge devices.
One important thing to note with this device is that it is only compatible with iOS, and not Android. However, it does iOS well considering that it plays nicely with Apple HomeKit. You can activate plugs quite easily with your voice using Siri. Overall this is good buy if you need something simple in a two-for-one package and if you’re an iOS user. Unfortunately, the higher price tag on this device makes it a tough sell in competition with the other more affordable options on this list.
If you’re ready to get started in the world of smart homes, a smart plug is the path of least resistance. They take almost 0 tech savvy-ness to get installed and up and running, and they perform on function (usually) – and they perform it well. As you can see your options are quite expansive when it comes to smart plugs, and our list of the best smart plus doesn’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg. Making your choice on which smart plug to go with will likely come down to price, but it’s also important to take into consideration which operating systems you need it to work with, and if there are any other systems such as Amazon Echo or Apple Home Kit that you would like it to play nice with. All-in-all the plugs found on this list are a good starting point for anyone looking to get a taste of the smart home life.
Didn’t see your favorite smart plug on this list? Be sure to let us know which one is your favorite so we can check it out for ourselves!