Never forget to turn off your appliance again. Smart Plugs are becoming a must for homes to help monitor energy usage. A Smart Plug is, by design, made to plug into an existing three-pin socket without restricting the use of neighbouring sockets.
A Smart Plug is one of the simplest methods of helping to control your energy bills. Some Smart Plugs will calculate electricity usage, offering another way to monitor your bills and keep energy costs down. They are highly efficient and provide multiple benefits to you and your home.
Most have scheduling capabilities to ensure that the appliance plugged in does not continue to use electricity when not in use.
A regular feature is the ability to use voice commands, which is a great help if you have left the lamp on downstairs and don’t want to go down to turn it off. Additionally, they come with accompanying apps that allow you to access the plugs from afar.
Setting up a Smart Plug is relatively straightforward, even for those who are not all that tech-savvy. Most are plug-and-play by pairing with your network the same as any other smart device, but they do differ from one another.
Not all Smart Plugs offer the same features. The five best Smart Plugs will be reviewed to highlight their features and cost. These include.
- TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi Power Strip
- TP-Link Tapo Mini Smart Plug Energy Monitoring
- Amazon Smart Plug
- Eve Energy Smart Plug
- Philips Hue Smart Plug
TP-Link Kasa KP303 Wi-Fi Power Strip
What could be better than one outlet, maybe three? The TP-Link Kasa KP303 Power strip is unique in its own right, offering three outlets plus 2 USB ports. It features surge protection that will shield sensitive tech from sudden power surges.
Setting schedules and timers is a key feature, as you can set up when you want an appliance or device to be on and off. The impressive thing about this power strip is that each outlet can be controlled individually.
If you have any other TP-Link smart devices, you can group them to work in harmony. These could be security cameras like the TP-Link Tapo C200 or the TP-Link Tapo L930-5 smart light strip. The KP303 also offers smart actions, which allow for home automation with three types of actions, “Motion Sensing”, “Schedule a Scene” and “Auto-off Timer”.
The beauty of this Smart Plug is that it does not need a separate hub, as it connects via your Wi-Fi router. It also links up with most of the big voice activation brands, including Alexa or Google Assistant. However, it currently does not link up with Apple HomeKit, but if you are an Apple user, there are other options for you to use, like Eve, which we will come onto shortly.
TP-Link Tapo P110 Mini Smart Plug
The TP-Link Tapo P110 energy-saving socket allows you to instantly control connected devices through voice using Google Home and Amazon Alexa, or via the accompanying Tapo app.
This Smart Plug is ultra slim and comes with many features. Arguably, the most valuable is its ability to monitor energy usage. This will help identify the energy cost usage of each connected appliance so you get complete control over your energy-saving capabilities.
Each feature of the plug is designed to be helpful and not there to make it look jazzy. A pre-set feature helps schedule and automatically manage the connected devices. There is a countdown timer list to ensure an appliance is only on for however long you want, and this is perfect for electric storage heaters. It is also fire-resistant and incorporates child safety with a childproof design.
Besides scheduling, an away mode feature allows you to set up timers for different periods to make it look like you are there. It can turn lamps on and off or any other appliance as an excellent burglar deterrent.
Overall, the TP-Link Tapo P110 mini Smart Plug is a very versatile piece of tech that is cheap and is typically under £20 per plug. The slim size of H7 x W4 x D2cm makes it one of the smallest. This can make it more desirable as it is discrete, and with a simple set-up and ease of usability, this plug is suitable for all technical abilities and will fit into any home.
Amazon Smart Plug
The Amazon Smart Plug is less smart than you would expect. This plug allows you to operate connected devices with its primary function of turning appliances on or off. Amazon suggests that you can schedule lights and coffee machines. However, depending on your coffee machine, you may have to turn it on physically for it to start, so it is always worth checking these things out before purchasing.
A few more limitations come with this Smart Plug, as it can only be connected to Alexa for voice control and the Amazon app, making it exclusively connectable to Alexa-enabled devices. This will be fine if you are an avid Amazon product user. However, if you like to mix your tech up, this Smart Plug may not be best suited if you have multiple different branded smart devices.
The Amazon Smart Plug isn’t the smallest on the market at 9.6 x 5.6 x 6.3 cm, but it does not cause problems using adjoining plugs, so it is all about your preference. The average price for the Amazon Smart Plug is £25, a typical price for a Smart Plug. If you want more functionality, other plugs like the TP-Link P110 offer many more features and are compatible with most virtual assistants.
Eve Energy Smart Plug
The Eve Energy Smart Plug is arguably the most well-made on the market. Eve relies on a rock-solid infrastructure that honours privacy without losing functionality. It incorporates future-proof technology called Matter. This is a lead-thread networking technology with zero tracking. It has the best current technology that doesn’t track your usage or store data anywhere. It is also fully compatible with iPhone, Android, Siri and Google Assist.
The presence-based automation feature allows any matter-enabled accessories to connect seamlessly. This can help automate your home by turning the lights on and off solely based on whether you are leaving or returning home. This also works for appliances and is a great way to reduce energy usage.
The size of the Smart Plug is also competitive at 7.2 x 7.2 x 7.1 cm. If you are an Apple home user, this plug is best suited for you, as the Eve iOS app offers advanced features that will help you monitor your energy usage and schedule operating time with no further cost. Accessing these features will require a HomePod mini or Apple TV, and if you do not use Apple devices, specific versions of the plug will not work with other devices, and the only voice command that will work is Siri.
This plug is also more expensive than its counterparts at around £40 which is available in two versions at the same price, the HomeKit and Matter. The HomeKit will cover all Apple needs, while Matter will work with other virtual assistants. Make sure you check what version you require before purchasing.
Philips Hue Smart Plug
The Philips Hue Smart Plug is perfect for turning any appliance into a smart device and this can be achieved through the Philips Hue Bluetooth app or with voice commands. With easy setup, all you need to do is connect the Smart Plug to the app, and then you will get complete control.
This Smart Plug does not require additional devices and is plug-and-play straight from the box. Using other Philips technology, you can create your own Hue ecosystem. If you add the Philips Hue Bridge (sold separately), you can unlock advanced features to access your devices at home or away. Like most other Smart Plugs, you can get complete control using voice commands via Alexa and Google Assist, which is helpful if you do not have your smart device to hand.
The Hue Smart Plug has a compact size of 14 x 7.2 x 7.2cm, and it is small enough to go unnoticed and will have no effect on neighbouring plug sockets. The price is also competitive at around £30 and is the best option if you already own other Hue products or are looking to expand on them.
What Smart Plug should I get?
Most think that Smart Plugs are all the same, but each manufacturer creates tech that suits their existing brand and does not often make them accessible with rival technology. There are reasons for this: most brands use their unique software and want customers to build a complete home ecosystem with all one brand. This makes sense but can cause customers headaches if they have various devices.
Most devices are roughly the same size and price, and the Eve Smart Plug offers a lot more advanced software and build quality, making it more expensive. However, it is targeted at Apple users who are used to quality products and would expect the same from a Smart Plug if they had one.
It is worth further research into the one that would suit your home the best. Cheapest also does not mean it is the worst. The Tapo P100 is likely the most affordable but has many advanced features to make it one of the best you can buy.