Sat, 10 Jun 2023

Shopping for a smart plug: a guide

23 Feb 2023, 19:54 GMT+10

In our testing, we found that not all energy monitoring smart plug was created equal when it came to transforming regular appliances into high-tech smart devices.

A smart plug is a gadget that can be plugged into a standard wall outlet and then used to power other devices.

Smart plugs' basic functionality is to enable you to remotely power on and off your electronics using your phone. Yet, the extra features of some models make them preferable to others.

The operation of a smart plug

Typically, smart plugs use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to communicate with a mobile device app. The smart plug can be remotely managed after it has been linked to an app. Lamps are a good example of a basic enough product to benefit from a smart plug. Devices that need more than one action to activate, like a television or washing machine, will not provide significant benefits.

In what ways might a smart plug be put to use?

There is no guarantee that adding more technology to your house will improve your life. Even still, there are scenarios in which having a smart plug on hand might be useful.

Use your voice to activate or deactivate electronic gadgets (or an app)

You'll enjoy this feature if you've ever gotten beneath a tree to flip a switch. As an added bonus, it may be used to turn off any other appliance whose controls are difficult to reach, or whose power outlet is concealed behind a piece of furniture. Apps exist that enable you do things like switch on or off a bunch of gadgets at once by grouping their plugs together.

Make use of timers and schedules to switch electronics on and off at predetermined times.

One of the most often cited uses for this function is to create the appearance that someone is home by scheduling lights or a radio to turn on and off at regular intervals while you're gone. Nevertheless, you may use it for other purposes, such as setting the timer on your slow cooker to begin cooking at a certain point in the day.

See how much energy each of your appliances use.

A few of the newer models of "smart plugs" have energy monitoring functions that reveal just how much juice each appliance is sucking from the wall. Curious as to how big of an improvement the eco setting on your dishwasher makes? Consider how much your refrigerator's energy consumption changes between the '3' and the '5' settings on the thermostat? All it takes to get started is to connect it and launch the accompanying app.

In order to get a high-quality smart plug, how much do I have to spend?

There are smart plugs available for as low as Pound 5, while the most costly ones we've examined may cost more than Pound 40. Fortunately, there are a few high-quality options available at more reasonable price points.

Smart plugs with scheduling, voice commands, and energy monitoring capabilities are readily available in the Pound 10-15 price range, making it an ideal entry point for your search. Most high-end versions are also compatible with other smart home devices, such as security alarms, lights, and thermostats.

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