All Steps Are Diligently Listed Here to Help You Choose the Right Smart Plug
Smart plugs play an important role in our smart life. If you’re just dipping your toe into the world of smart home technology, or you can only afford a couple of smart home products, smart plugs are great to start with, as they’re relatively affordable and easy to use. They can be used to remotely manage your appliances and bring them into your smart home ecosystem in seconds and monitor your household electricity consumption. Most importantly, only a tap on the app of your phone can help you achieve all these above.
When searching on Amazon or other e-commerce platforms, or shopping in the offline stores, you will find dozens of smart plug brands, such as Wemo, Kasa, Tapo, Gosund, TanTan, Etekcity, etc. Some are only equipped with AC outlets while others provide USB ports.
The functions of the smart plugs are similar, scheduling, remote management, countdown, etc. Facing so many kinds of smart plugs, do you know how to choose the right smart plug? Editor diligently sorts out all the steps that you need to know. Here we go, to find the most suitable plug for you. I believe your friend will appreciate it if you show them the steps.
The first step is checking its compatibility—which voice assistants or hubs do the plugs work with. For me, I cannot help having more plugs or other smart devices, once having tried the first plug, as it greatly provides the convenience of life yet cost little. As a result, compatibility with the voice assistants or smart home hub is quite important, to control all the potential plugs using your voice or a single app. Otherwise, you need to open the first app to control the first plug, and the second app to control the second one… oh, my god, it sucks.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the two most popular voice assistants, and the majority of smart plugs are compatible with them, at least one of them, such as Tapo and Kasa. However, if you are using Apple HomeKit, Sonos, Marshall, exclusively, you won't have as many options and need to greatly pay attention to the compatibility.
If you are planning to centrally control the smart plugs using a hub, it’s important to check the compatibility between the smart plugs and hubs. Examples are Yonomi, Wink, Stringify, Elgato Eve and Samsung SmartThings, all of which support a wide range of smart plugs. Other forms can work as a smart home hub, such as TP-Link deco M9 Plus, which not only provides whole-home mesh Wi-Fi but also is integrated with the smart home hub.
On the other hand, a hub or accessories are necessary for some smart plugs, and you need pay attention to the requirements if you don’t want to buy an additional hub.
Step 2—Maximum Power
To ensure the safety, the appliances that connected to the plug are prohibited to exceed the maximum power limit of the smart plug. For example, the following smart plug, Tapo P100 EU version, supports up to 2,300W. In this case, you can even connect multiple appliances to the plug without worry. To avoid potential security risks, the editor suggests you to think over the possible usage scenarios, and choose the right plugs meeting the need for power supply.
Smart plug design is tricky, including shapes, dimensions, number and type of ports, locations of ports, among which the dimensions and number and type of ports are the two most important criteria.
Speaking of dimensions, if you plan on using the smart plug along with another regular item or second smart plug, you'll need to be sure it doesn't block adjacent outlets. Considering the situation, the plug with smaller dimensions may be a better choice for you. My favorite space-saving plugs? The Tapo P100 with dimensions of 2.2×2.0×1.3 in., or Gosund WP3-4 with 2.0 x 2.0 x 1.2 in.
In light of the number and type of ports, here we come to a scenario. Image that you need to open the heater and humidifier around you in the cold winter. Now here are two choices, firstly, buy an additional plug to extend the single outlet to multiple outlets, and then plug in two separate smart plugs to connect to the appliances; second, buy one smart plug with two outlets. The second choice is more suitable for you. Actually, the smart plug with two or more outlets or USB ports depends on the actual application scenarios. Multi-outlet device is essential if you need to connect multiple gadgets in one smart plug. However, extra ports or outlets are usually unnecessary considering the price.
Generally, functions of different smart plugs vary little. They are almost all functioned with scheduling, remote management, countdown and away mode. Here are some important features that you need to know when taking a plug.
Scheduling is useful for morning routines or shutting everything down at bedtime or in your absence, like coffee maker, lamp, fan, even your Wi-Fi router, to save power and increase electrical security. Creating on/off schedules, timers and countdowns are the most common types.
Manage the smart plug and monitor the status where you are, at any time. The editor always remotely turns on and off the fan at home that connected with the smart plug when I am working in the company, irregularly, to increase the air circulation.
These two features are essential for a smart plug to meet the basic requirements of a smart life. Additionally, more features improve the user experience.
Scenes mean the combined actions of multiple plugs with a single click in the app or voice command. The editor often images the scenarios using two plugs—one connected with a lamp, and the other connected with a lantern. Just tap once on the phone, then the lamp turns off, and the lantern turns on. Wow, cool!
Set the date and time ranges you'd like this function to operate, and your plug will randomly turn on and off to simulate an occupied home while you're away.
View the detailed electricity the devices are using per day, week or month. This function can help keep an eye on power consumption and keep the power bill low.
Step 5—Choose the Right Smart Plug
After the detailed evaluation of smart plug, the last but most important step—choose the right smart plug, mostly depends on the prices. Currently, there are three tiers of brands. The first tier is the plugs over $20, with Wemo as the representative. The second is the plugs ranging between $10 to $20, of which Kasa is the representative. While the third tier is the plugs cost-effective, basically less than $10, among which Tapo is a relatively newly-built brand and maybe the best plug to smarten small appliances for most people, the trials have proved that it is worthwhile.