While a lot of appliances, like TVs, thermostats, and even fridges have gotten the smart tech treatment, chances are the things that get the most use are still pretty old school. Whether it’s a lamp or a coffee maker, there are still a lot of electrical devices that require physically getting up and turning them on or off. While you could try to find smart versions of every single one of your most-used appliances, there’s a simple and affordable solution: smart plugs.
We don’t want to call your electronics dumb, so let’s instead say that the best smart plugs make your other electronics a heck of a lot smarter. Smart plugs are adapters that plug into existing wall outlets, and you can plug any appliance cable into them like you normally would. The smart plug connects to your WiFi network, phone and voice assistant of choice. That way, you can turn appliances on and off from your phone or with a smart home device like Alexa. Devices and appliances can be scheduled to come on at certain times, too. For example, you can set your lamp to come on at the time you regularly get home, or turn off lights and appliances without getting out of bed.
Plus, if you’ve ever worried that you left an iron running, a smart plug gives you the power to make sure everything is turned off without having to run back home. Being able to control electronics while you’re away is also a good way to cut down on energy consumption.
Best of all, even though most internet-connect smart devices tend to be expensive, even the best smart plugs are super affordable. That makes it easy to outfit your entire home with smart plugs, putting you in total control of your domain.
Before You Buy
Before investing in the best smart plugs, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, most smart plugs will only work with 2.4 MHz wireless networks with a strong signal. If your wireless is weak or spotty, these plugs will struggle to connect. In addition, most smart plugs only work with grounded electrical outlets (the ones with three prongs), so keep that in mind before you buy. Also, some smart plugs only work with specific smart home assistants like Google Home or Alexa, although most will work equally well with both.
Finally, in order to connect your smart plugs to your electronics, you will need to connect them via an app on your phone. If your phone can’t immediately find the smart plug wirelessly, you will need to do some troubleshooting. For customers who aren’t experienced using apps or routers, this can be intimidating.
When selecting the best smart plugs, we looked for products that are easy to install and connect to your devices without too much hassle. Your mileage may vary depending on the strength and quality of your home’s Wi-Fi, but in general, all of the products we picked are fairly easy to use and reliable.
1. Kasa Smart WiFi Plug by TP-Link
TP-Link is a leader in consumer WiFi products, and their smart plugs are reliable and affordable options. The free Kasa app allows you to control your devices from anywhere, and the smart plug is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Pros: App allows you to easily set schedules for your electronics and appliances, compatible with Amazon, Google and Microsoft voice controls.
Cons: Large, round design may block other outlets when plugged in.
2. Gosund Mini Wifi Outlets
This smart plug from Gosund is sold in a pack of four, which makes it easy to outfit your most used electronics with smart technology. Plus, you can use it with Google or Amazon voice controls. Each of the four smart plugs works with grounded connectors, which is perfect for coffee makers and other kitchen appliances.
Pros: Compact enough to allow the other outlet to be used when this one is plugged in. Easy to connect via app.
Cons: Only works with 2.4 MHz wireless networks.
3. Amazon Smart Plug
The rectangular design of this smart plug allows you to leave an outlet open, or you can double up and have two plugs in one unit. The plug is controlled using the Alexa app, which makes it easy to pair with smart speakers. However, an Alexa device is not necessary for using the smart plug; only the app is. Of course, if you prefer Google Home smart speakers, keep in mind that this smart plug works exclusively with Alexa.
Pros: Pairs well with other Amazon devices like the Echo, compact rectangular design means the second outlet can be used.
Cons: Some users had difficulty with setup. Only works with 2.4 MHz wireless networks.
4. Wyze Smart Home Plug
This option from Wyze comes in a pack of two, so it’s an economical way to plug in multiple appliances and devices throughout your home. You can set schedules to turn on your devices automatically, whether that’s a coffee maker in the morning or lights when you come home. If you have a variety of plugs in one room, you can group them together in the app to turn off the entire room, rather than doing so one by one. There’s even a vacation mode that will randomly turn lights on and off to mimic the activity of someone at home.
Pros: Comes in a pack of two. Smart app features include grouping rooms and vacation mode. Works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Cons: Can occasionally have issues with Alexa.
5. C by GE Smart Plug
This smart plug from GE doesn’t require purchasing a hub, making it easy to plug in, set up and get going. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Home, so you can easily power down and turn on the devices in your home. The rectangular shape of the smart plug helps leave space for other plugs, which is a major problem with most smart plugs.
Pros: No hub required. Connects to Alexa or Google Assistant. Appliances can be scheduled for added convenience.
Cons: Set up can be complicated depending on your router and Wi-Fi network.
6. Wemo Mini Smart Plug
These mini-plugs from Wemo are convenient options for any home, and the space-saving rectangular design makes it easy to stack multiple smart plugs to make full use of your plugs. It’s built with safety in mind — Wemo’s plugs are UL Certified and have overload protection. The plugs are compatible with smart home devices for convenience.
Pros: Suitable for Alexa, Google and Apple smart assistants. Safety features. Can randomize lights when you’re traveling. Timers and schedules can be set in the app.
Cons: App can have some issues.
7. iHome ISP6X Wi-FI Smart Plug
This simple and economical option from iHome is designed to work with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple, SmartThings and Nest, making it a versatile option for your home. The app has several convenient features, such as the ability to group several smart outlets in one place and control them all from the app. Without the need for a hub, it’s easy to plug in and go once the app is downloaded.
Pros: Wide compatibility includes SmartThings, Alexa, Google and other services. App allows you to group multiple plugs in one place.
Cons: Response time can occasionally lag.
8. Gosund Wall Outlet Extender
Got a lot of devices? Make the most of them with this outlet extender from Gosund. It turns one outlet into six, while also adding three USB ports. A lot of the best smart plugs take up too much space on the wall outlet, blocking other electronics, but this multi-port plug eliminates that problem. You can control it using voice controls, and you can also set timers and schedules in the app. Three of the six outlets are smart, while three of them are regular. You can control the outlets individually or as a group.
Pros: Includes 6 grounded outlets plus 3 USB ports. Can be used with smart assistants. Easy-to-use app.
Cons: Only 3 of the six electrical outlets are smart.