The Best Smart Plugs on Amazon
Smart home technology keeps evolving in both sophistication and offerings. Simply downloading an app gives you remote control over your home security system, thermostat, fridge, pet-monitoring gadget and more. While outfitting your entire house with smart devices can be very costly, installing several smart plugs will give you the same effect for cheaper. If you're not ready to take the plunge into all things home tech but want to automate a few simple tasks and control electronics from a distance, then smart plugs and outlets are a good place to start. Read on to see which smart plugs our editors liked best, including picks for the best smart power strip and smart outdoor plug.
Smart Plug Features
Smart plugs plug into existing outlets in your home and are controlled through an app. You can also use voice commands with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more to control a connected light or appliance. The biggest benefit of smart plugs is their convenience. Whether away from home or just in another room, one tap into an app gives you control over the plug, like the ability to simply turn a light on or off, monitor energy usage or set up a schedule.
- Automated Settings: Smart plugs allow you to program a connected device, like a floor lamp or coffeemaker, to turn on or off under specified conditions, i.e. when you go on vacation, at a specific time of day, when a certain temperature or humidity level is reached, or when the sun sets or rises. If you're away from home a lot, this is a valuable feature to keep in mind and can help streamline your daily routine.
- Energy Monitoring: Some smart plugs offer the ability to keep tabs on energy usage, although the level of detail varies. Whether or not you're interested in tracking electricity consumption may help sway your decision when choosing a smart plug as not all models include this feature.
- Voice-Assisted Connections: If you already use devices like Google Assistant on Google Nest, Amazon Alexa on Amazon Echo and Apple HomeKit with Apple HomePod then adding a compatible smart plug to your smart home lineup will only make it easier to control electronics throughout the house. Just make sure the plug or power strip you choose will connect to your existing voice assistant. But, unless you want to control smart plugs with voice commands, you don't need a smart speaker to use smart plugs.
- Security: Two-factor authentication provides the best protection against hackers and is an important feature on any smart device. Make sure the smart plug you choose offers adequate privacy and data protection.
- Wi-Fi-Enabled: While a few smart plugs on the market use Bluetooth connectivity, most rely on Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug allows you to check in and control the smart plug wherever you have a wireless connection, whereas Bluetooth relies on proximity to the smart plug.
Best Overall: Kasa Smart Plug Mini
Basic, straightforward options, reliable connection and a user-friendly app make this Kasa Smart Plug our top pick. It's priced right for tech-curious homeowners who want to dip their toes into the smart home world without going overboard. (Fair warning, though, once you get one, you may want to change all of your outlets.) One con of this and other Kasa smart plugs is the absence of two-factor authentication for data protection, but the app is password-protected and asks permission to share data. We really liked the small size of these plugs. They fit nicely behind furniture. Our favorite features in the app are scheduling and customizations. You can change the "mood" based on the time of day, for instance, dim lighting in the evening, and set up Away Mode which turns lights on or off at a specific time of day and on a specific day of the week. Kasa Mini Smart Plugs' versatility and ease of use make it a solid pick for those looking to automate aspects of their routine.
Runner-Up: Amazon Smart Plug
Setup and installation set this plug apart from the rest. (Of course, it probably helps that we're all so familiar with Amazon's interface.) An intuitive app pairs seamlessly to the plug and an Alexa device. In testing, our editor moved it to different rooms and never had an issue re-connecting. Convenient scheduling features in the app allow you to schedule lights to turn off/on when the sun sets or rises, or at a specific time. For example, you can create a "morning routine" where your coffee maker and bedside light turn on at your preferred time or with a voice command. An energy dashboard in the app offers energy-saving tips and an overview of light consumption. The biggest downsides to this product are that it only works with Alexa devices and the price is pretty steep for just one plug.
Best Smart Power Strip: Kasa Smart Power Strip
If you want to control multiple appliances or devices at once, a multi-plug power strip like this one is the way to go. Two USB ports and three outlets can be controlled and scheduled individually in the sleek, easy-to-use app. With multiple scheduling options, this power strip offers the most customization options of any plugs we tried. Set up a timer for appliances like dehumidifiers; use Away mode to turn lights on/off randomly while out of town; schedule an essential oil diffuser to turn on at 6 p.m. when you get home from work; or define a total runtime for devices. The app connects flawlessly to Alexa (the only device we tried pairing with during testing) and has no lag time between commands. While the three-outlet model doesn't offer energy monitoring in the app, the six-outlet model does.
Best Outdoor Smart Plug: Kasa Smart Outdoor Plug
With glowing reviews from our tester, an affordable price and unbeatable convenience, this Kasa smart plug is our uncontested favorite for outdoor spaces. One obvious downside is that this won't connect to Apple HomeKit devices, but you don't need a hub to use the plug — just a wireless connection and phone or tablet for the app. Kasa's app and reliable connectivity consistently impressed our editors throughout testing. No lag, a simple, intuitive interface and plenty of customization options made it so easy to control lighting and other devices. Scheduling and remotely controlling on/off times particularly came in handy since our editor's outdoor outlet was difficult to access. Again, like other Kasa outlets we tested, privacy protection is minimal, but the app is password protected and you can opt-out of data sharing.