The best smart plugs allow for automation, voice and smartphone control of home appliances, lights and more. Our evaluation criteria focused on affordability, smart home device compatibility, (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Siri), installation speed, design, and advanced features such as scheduling, countdown timers, and energy consumption monitoring.
After more than 10 hours of research and testing, our top pick goes to the Amazon Smart Plug. It offers a simple setup process for smart homes, slim and space-saving profile, and seamless remote controls for turning appliances on or off.
- 1 Top 6 Best Smart Plugs Compared
- 2 Best Smart Plugs Buying Guide
Top 6 Best Smart Plugs Compared
#1 Amazon Smart Plug – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: This smart plug is very impressive, allowing for quick activation of TVs, coffee makers, and other appliances with a single command or through an Alexa app routine, which sets dayparts (e.g. lights on or automatic blinds open at 7 am). This is perfect for individuals who want to activate any device connected to an outlet, regardless of function, frequency of use, or size.
The Amazon Smart Plug is very easy to set up, simply requiring a plugin and device discovery using the Alexa app before assigning it a name. It is also very compact, measuring only 3.2 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.5 inches with an on/off button and LED light, consuming as much space as half of a traditional power outlet.
Alexa is good for home security, with its Away Lighting schedule turning on any connected lights at predetermined times to make it appear as if someone was at home. This works well with people who frequently vacation and wish to deter burglars and prevent suspicious activity. However, the biggest caveat is that it’s not compatible with Google Home or other smart speakers; you’ll need an Alexa device.
#2 Wemo Mini Smart Plug – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The Belkin Wemo allows for easy scheduling and instant on/off activation of home devices, along with “Away Modes” that work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit. This makes it a solid choice for non-Alexa users who prefer to schedule devices to set times while outside of the house (such as smart thermostats) or who have multiple appliances from different vendors. Along with the smart plug mini, the company’s Belkin Wemo insight smart plug is another solid choice.
Like the Amazon Smart Plug, this smart socket is just as compact, with the stacking of two Wemo Minis possible using the same outlet. It only measures 3.8 by 2.4 by 1.4 inches, which is roughly the same size as our top pick.
The free Wemo mobile app allows for scheduling devices to turn on at different times of the day. For example, a user may opt to turn on his/her light bulbs or other devices and appliances shortly before arriving home. “Away mode” also randomizes device activation to mimic an occupied home and deter would-be burglars, making this an excellent choice for frequent travelers.
#3 Gosund Mini Smart Plug – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: This smart plug is a worthy device, thanks to an ETL certification scheduling and Alexa, Google Assistant & IFTTT compatibility. This smart plug is perfect for users who want to activate a wide range of indoor devices.
This smart plug is extremely durable, comprising of a fire-resistance shell and PCBA for fire and overload protection. It is also ETL-certified, which is a product compliance standard in North America.
Adding your device onto the Gosund app is a breeze, with simple “Add Device” controls and device pairing with your home’s Wi-Fi network, with success indicated by a series of blinking lights. Note, it is only compatible with 2.4Ghz networks.
#4 Teckin Mini Smart Outlet – Best DesignWHY WE LIKE IT: The Teckin Mini Smart Outlet comes with a bit of everything, including Amazon Alexa voice assistant for voice control, Google Home \Assistant and IFTTT-compatibility, scheduling/timer functions, and a space-saving design. This makes it versatile in activating all types of devices from smart bulbs to gaming systems using voice commands without the need for a separate hub. I love that it has both Amazon Alexa and Google Home compatibility.
This unit is ETL certified, a distinctive mark that guarantees it performs to North American safety standards. This intensive certification process requires the manufacturer to open itself up to facility assessments, lab work to inspect safety, and other measures – inspiring confidence when using this smart plug.
The Teckin smartphone app is pretty intuitive, with the option to scan new devices via Bluetooth or selecting the electrical outlet from a list before detecting the plug. There is also the option to label the devices on the app for easier identification, ready to be activated anywhere on the planet.
#5 Etekcity VeSync Smart Plug – Best AppWHY WE LIKE IT: This smart plug is an all-around workhorse, with all of the basic features including Alexa, Google Assistant & IFTTT-compatibility, auto dawn/dusk scheduling, and a dedicated smartphone app that can control a group of devices at once. It is an excellent choice for larger homes with 6 or more devices that work in tandem, such as light bulbs and home office equipment.
Etekcity’s smartphone app, VeSync, is very intuitive and easy to use, with simple controls for turning switches, lighting, and other devices on or off. It also allows you to name your devices, which translates to Alexa voice commands to turn them on. Other features include a countdown timer, energy tracking, and viewing of energy consumption history.
Each smart plug is well built, easily withstanding knocks from your TV stand or competing cords with overheat protection and surge protection. Fold in ETL certification and an affordable price, and the Etekcity VeSync Smart Plug is a great option.
#6 Kasa Smart WiFi Plug by TP-Link – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: This smart WiFi plug, coming in a pair, offers an excellent budget option complete with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana capability, scheduling, away mode, and grouping. It offers exceptional value and works as an excellent starter set for small to mid-sized homes that have a lot of devices.
This WiFi plug is UL-certified, a third-party certification by Underwriter Laboratories, a recognized firm that sets industry-wide safety standards on industrial equipment and home appliance products. The app is also surprisingly easy to use, with a Grouping feature pairing multiple devices such as plugs, light switches, and bulbs at the same time to voice command on/off or using an On/Off switch on the app. Scheduling allows you to turn a device on at a specific time.
A countdown timer turns off an appliance at a determined time, perfect for forgetful folks such as the elderly who forget to unplug older model clothes irons. It can also be applied to televisions and lamps for children’s curfews. If you don’t mind a bulkier design, with 2 not fitting a standard outlet, the Kasa is a solid choice.
How We Decided
Finding the best smart plug could radically change the way you interact with devices. No more flipping wall switches on or off with the ability to bark voice commands at every turn.
In determining the best smart plug to buy, you should consider its design, compatibility, and scheduling capabilities. Bonus points were awarded tot smart plugs which do not block a second outlet, such as the Amazon Smart Plug (3.2 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.5 inches). Scheduling allows multiple devices to be turned on and off at the same time using a voice command or smartphone app device group controls.
Our evaluation also prioritizes smart plugs that are compatible with multiple brands. The big 4 are Amazon Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit, and Google Assistant,, with the first 2 holding the larger market share.
Best Smart Plugs Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
Scheduling allows your devices to turn on and off automatically, with specified start times and end times. It may be an on-off or a recurring schedule, such as a smart lighting lamp dimmer, turning on security cameras or automatic blinds opening every morning at 7 am. This feature can also randomly turn devices on and off to simulate an occupied home, perfect for deterring would be burglars and for saving money.
A solid design works with your outlet, slim enough to avoid blocking any nearby outlets. The Amazon Smart Plug is the smallest one on our list at 3.2 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.5 inches.
Smart plugs should be compatible with multiple vendors, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple’s HomeKit. Alexa and Google are a necessity, being the two most popular platforms.
- ETL Certification
Set by the Intertek Group, a multinational product quality assurance company, its ETL mark is a proof of product compliance distinction set according to North American safety standards. This seal ensures that the product has been rigorously tested , with safety guidelines that govern the type of equipment used to manufacture products, facility assessments, and more. In other words, ETL certification offers confidence you will get a smart plug that will not blow up in your face.
- What do you plug into your smart homes smart plug?
Virtually any appliance can be plugged into a smart plug. More than your wall outlets. Think of it as a smart power strip. This may include coffee makers, gaming systems, refrigerators, home security systems, battery chargers, lawn sprinklers, and slow cookers. Many even have a USB port or two.
- Do smart plugs save energy?
Smart plugs themselves in standby mode only draw about 1 watt of energy usage. Using smart plugs to power other devices instead of a traditional outlet could save a tremendous amount of energy over time. That means saving money. For example, a simple voice command could turn off 4 televisions in a 3000 sq.ft home before leaving the house. You may or may not have been inclined to manual turnoff all 4 televisions using a smart remote control without one, so the potential for energy savings is very high. And how often
do we ignore our light switches? Smart outlets can also be energy monitoring. A plug with energy monitoring will keep you in the know about how much is being used.
- Are WiFi smart plugs safe?
WiFi smart plugs are safe. Quality assurance standards through UL and ETL certification offer assurance that the products you are using have undergone rigorous testing.
- Can smart plugs be hacked?
Yes, smart plugs can be hacked. Hackers can access a smart socket through the central app used to manage them, such as Apple’s Homekit. Luckily, there are services such as Fingbox and Bitdefender Box which provide security for your connected home by checking for malware and hacker attack across all of your internet connected devices, including smart plugs. Your wifi connection should also be secure for all of your smart devices.
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