This content was originally published on OldHouseOnline.com and has been republished here as part of a merger between our two businesses. All copy is presented here as it originally appeared there.

Today’s world is smart-not just metaphorically but literally! From phones to learning, everything comprises the term smart. And, now, people have been chanting about something new; the smart outlets.

A smart outlet is a plug connected to a regular power source. It enables you to turn on/off any device plugged into it using a smartphone. So, you can have easier and better control over the appliances in your home.

Well, if you wish to take your smart home one step ahead and cope up with this fast-paced world, then having a smart outlet is a must. The gadget makes your life convenient and smooth. You can turn things on/off remotely from anywhere. Read more to unravel the best smart outlets!

The Best Smart Outlet Models in Detail

Aoycocr Smart Outlet

– Best Overall

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If you have a 2.4GHZ network connection, then the Aoycocr Bluetooth Wi-Fi Smart Plug is an idealistic choice! The circular compact smart plug easily connects to the phone and operates flawlessly. However, its functionality remains limited to 2.4GHZ Wi-Fi and allows one device at a time. Once connected, you can control it using the POPOTAN and Smart Life app.

It is also compatible with voice-controlled virtual assistants, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can pass voice commands to these assistants, who will further ensure fulfillment. The customizable timer enables you to manage power consumption too. Also, it has a durable and well-protected build that prevents all sorts of accidents.

Pros

  • Compact & sturdy
  • Fast connection
  • Easy-to-use
  • Schedule setting

Cons

  • Only work with 2.4GHZ network

HBN Smart Outlet

– Runner Up

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Small yet powerful, the HBN Smart Plug Mini makes controlling daily-use gadgets simple. You can plug in this smart outlet to a power source, pair your phone, download the app, and control devices remotely from anywhere!

The HBN Smart Plug Mini establishes a strong and undisrupted connection. So, you won’t experience any delays or lags. It can carry forward your instructed voice commands fluidly. You can use it with both Alexa and Google Home. There is also a timer and scheduling feature that allows you to restrict time for specific devices. Hence, you can manage energy consumption too.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Undisrupted connection
  • Timer & Scheduling
  • Voice & remote control

Cons

  • Difficult-to-setup

– Honorable Mention

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The BN-LINK WI-Fi Smart Plug outlet makes controlling home appliances a lot easier with its smart scheduling and extensive compatibility! It is a cylindrical smart outlet designed for powering one gadget. The plug requires a stable 2.4GHZ or 5.0GHZ network to operate.

To set up, connect the plug to the outlet, download the control app, and then pair it to your smartphone using the Bluetooth mode. That’s it; you’re ready to pass commands! As a voice-enabled plug, you can use Google Home or Alexa for a hands-free experience. You can use the smart scheduling feature to specify the time duration for each appliance. There is also an energy monitoring mode that displays the power consumption of particular devices. So, you can maintain a record and conserve energy.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Voice control
  • Smart scheduling
  • Quick installation

Cons

  • Annoying Power light

TanTan Smart Outlet

– Also Consider

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These compact smart outlets come in a pack of two so that you can power two appliances at the same time. Both of the Tan Tan Mini Smart plugs are compatible with Alexa and Google Home. Using this, you can conveniently control the devices.

You can also switch to remote control by downloading the app on your smartphone. However, setting up requires some technical knowledge. Plus, these plugs function on only 2.4GHZ WiFi. So, ensure you have a stable network before starting the process. Once connected, you can use it to create groups and set a timer. The smart outlets feature fire prevention and overload protection too. As a result, your linked appliances will always remain safe from damage.

Pros

  • Comes in a pack of two
  • Remote & voice control
  • Scheduling
  • Multiple safeguards

Cons

  • Difficult to setup

Kasa Smart Outlet

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The Kasa Smart Plugs are a real deal maker with their versatile and user-friendly profile. These smart outlets come in a pack of two and connect using a 2.4GHZ network. However, the structure is a little bulky. So, you might’ve to connect the devices to different places.

Nonetheless, there are several other amazing features like a time tracker and energy monitor. You can download the Kasa app for more customized performance. You can also use timers or countdown schedules to make operation easier. The Away Mode ensures the plug automatically turns on and off while you’re away!

Pros

  • Comes in a pack of two
  • Time tracker & scheduling
  • Away mode
  • Voice & remote control

Cons

  • Bulky structure

Buying Guide for the Best Smart Outlets

Why Do You Need a Smart Outlet?

Before we get to consider the elements and essentials of a smart outlet, let’s evaluate the need. Why do you need a smart outlet anyway?

Well, that’s because it makes life 10x easier! Using a smart plug, you can switch off all connected lights, fans, and appliances without having to get up from your bed. You have the controls right there in your hand (more accurately: in your smartphone).

You can even enable voice commands by connecting it to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. In case you’re clueless about the functions of a smart plug, then here are some parameters:

  • Control Power Supply to Appliance
  • Monitor Energy Usage
  • Switch On/Off the Appliance
  • Check the Temperature of Wall Outlet

Having the best smart plug with energy monitoring can help you save significantly on your electricity bills. It will be providing you with a complete breakdown of power usage by a certain appliance. And you can use this data to determine which appliance consumes excessive, unnecessary energy.

Things To Look For in the Best Smart Outlet

You now know the use of a smart plug along with the top five smart outlets of 2021. But how do you narrow down this list further? How do you determine which one of these plugs is the best smart wall outlet for you?

Well, allow us to lead you through. Below, we have a complete & comprehensive buying guide to help you pick one out for yourself.

Number of outlets

Before settling for any smart plug, you ought to check the number of outlets it offers. Most of these comprise only one plug. However, the bulky body of these devices may cover up to two wall outlets at once. Thus, it limits utility. So, you need to know your needs, i.e., how many devices you wish to power. And how many sockets you will need for that.

If you require a 1:1 replacement, i.e., two wall sockets replaced by two smart sockets, you can purchase a smart plug with two outlets. Be cautious when buying these, as most companies include one regular and smart plug within such smart outlets. In case you require multiple smart plugs at once, you can try a smart power strip.

Build quality

Most smart plugs have a bulky exterior. You might want to consider the dimensions before purchasing one. So, you may have an idea about the area it will cover on the wall outlet and its overall look (if it’s not hidden).

Other than that, you can choose between weatherproof and non-weatherproof smart plugs. The weatherproof ones are suitable for outdoor usage and are often black. On the contrary, the non-weatherproof ones are suitable for indoor use and are usually white.

Compatibility

Perhaps, the most essential aspect to consider when buying a smart outlet is its compatibility with the voice assistant. If your home automation depends on Google Assistant, you would want the smart outlet for Google Home. The same applies to Amazon Echo & Amazon Alexa.

You can find smart plugs offering both these options too. However, finding a smart plug compatible with Alexa, Google, and Siri is difficult. Smart plugs that support Apple devices are few and specific.

If Bluetooth’s your preference, then look for a Bluetooth smart plug. Usually, Bluetooth is an additional feature in most of these plugs. So, most likely, you won’t have to hunt for a Bluetooth-specific outlet separately.

Power rating

Most smart plugs these days can handle lower-power appliances like coffee-makers and lamps. You may not be able to connect heavy-duty devices like a professional blender or hairdryer.

If you are well aware of the potential devices that you’ll be pairing with this plug, inspect the power rating that it supports. You will find this value somewhere on the packaging, accompanying manual, or product description. You can even reach out to customer support to inquire about this value.

Safety

Smart plugs come with either two prongs or three prongs. The ones with two prongs are not grounded. And that means, in the case of unstable current supply, these are highly likely to electrical overloads, burnouts, and ground faults. These can lead to electric shocks during short circuits.

However, if you operate them carefully and monitor them well, these may be safe to use. But we advise you to go for a three-prong smart plug since it is grounded. And thus, these are safer.

How Does a Smart Outlet Work?

Now that is an intelligent question. A smart outlet converts your ordinary home into a smart home. It transforms ordinary devices into smart ones. So simply put: the working mechanism of a smart plug is operating smartly.

Just kidding! We’re not leaving you at that. Let us break down what happens on the outside and what’s the technical stuff going on inside.

Technically, these plugs work in a way very similar to the apps on your phone. You install them, give permission controls, and then they tackle stuff for you. And, of course, like apps, they are compliant with your command.

So, to get it working, connect the plug to a regular power outlet. Install the manufacturing company’s app on your phone. You can easily find this app on either Google Playstore or Apple’s App Store.

Once done, calibrate the app with a plug. Then, one can use the app to easily control the device (connected to the smart plug).

Since these are economical, we believe these are the safest shortcut ever! You can have the latest tech control in your home without spending huge amounts unnecessarily.

How Do I Connect My Smart Plug to WiFi?

Connecting a smart plug to WiFi is a super simple process. First, install the companion app on your smartphone and connect the smart plug to your nearest regular power outlet.

Next, use the app on your smartphone to detect this new smart plug in your network. If it doesn’t automatically detect, look for an option to initiate the setup on the main menu.

Once both of these connect, the device will appear in the list of connected devices on the app. You can then begin controlling your desired parameters. Also, at the time of initial setup, you may have to initiate the firmware update process.

Smart Outlet FAQ

Q: Do smart plugs use data?

A: Yes! A Wi-Fi smart plug brings about smart operation via a wireless network connection. For this, the smart plugs may rely on data. However, it is a noteworthy aspect that smart plugs use minimal data. At most, you can expect an expenditure of 50 MB or so per month. The exact rate varies with the manufacturer of the smart plug.

Q: Why do smart plugs go offline?

A: Smart plugs go offline when they lose their connection to your home WiFi network. Or the data connection that connects your home’s hub or you (via the smartphone) to the plug. Note that some functions of the smart plug may still be in operation upon going online.

Q: How safe are smart plugs?

A: Technically, smart plugs are just as safe as any other device that you plug into an electrical outlet. Unless you overburden the outlet, you will not face any safety issues. Many buyers worry about the hacking vulnerability of smart plugs. If someone manages to hack these, they could easily access other devices too. And this is particularly true if you connect these to the central cloud or hub of your smart home. Thus causing massive damage. Although this was a valid concern back in the early days, today, buyers can rest assured because most manufacturers of these plugs have improvised their engineering. The plugs are safer than before.

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