Let’s talk about smart plugs. Why are they a game changer for homeowners? Simple—because they act as a fairy godmother of sorts that can turn just about every household item into a smart product. So if you’re wondering how to automate your home without having to buy every smart device on the market, smart plugs are your answer.
To be clear, a smart plug can make an ordinary object (like your desk lamp or coffee maker) “smart” by giving you the ability to adjust the power source going to that item remotely. The remote control is usually made possible through a mobile application provided with your smart plug. Unlike many other smart devices, a smart plug doesn’t need a hub to work its magic. This makes their functionality less messy and easier to use.
Even more, having a mobile application to power on and off devices is handy for countless other reasons. One of them could be when you or a loved one forgets to turn off the hair straightener in the bathroom. Instead of returning home to fix the error, you can just slip out your phone for a quick adjustment.
Yes, it’s exciting to think one little plug can automate household objects; but if you pick the right smart plug, then you’ll be able to enjoy even more features. These include:
- Voice commands
- 3rd-party integration
- Tracking product’s energy usage
Continue reading for a full breakdown of each feature and get a close look at which smart plugs can cover the most bases.
Voice Commands: Using Smart Assistants to Control your Smart Plugs
Never get up to turn on or off household items again. Instead, just ask your smart speaker to do the work for you. Integrating your plug to your speaker also frees you from having to pull out your phone each time you want to make an adjustment.
Thanks to updates and improvements in technology, the ability to pair a smart plug with your smart assistant is fairly common. In fact, your favorite smart-speaker might even have its take on a smart plug available for purchase.
At least this is the case with the Amazon Smart Plug that’s compatible with, you guessed it, Alexa.
Other than granting voice commands, the Amazon Smart Plug can also simplify your to-do list with routines. These are pre-programmed commands that complete functions for you at set times of the day. You can create, name, and adjust these within the Alexa app.
Unfortunately, Google and Apple Home Kit do not offer their version of a smart plug that integrates exclusively with their smart assistants. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find best-in-class smart plugs that can integrate with those speakers. Some universal smart plugs include:
3rd-party integration to communicate with the rest of your smart home devices
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have your living room lamp turn on each time your motion detectors found movement? Or what if the coffee maker came on at sunrise, greeting you with a fresh brew each morning? With 3rd-party integration from IFTTT (If This Then That), you can connect and have your household items communicate with each other for simpler and sometimes safer living.
To enjoy this feature, you’ll need to make sure your smart plug can communicate with IFTTT. Some available options include the WeMo Switch Smart Plug.
A 3rd-party connection is also available through the Z-Wave network. Similar to IFTTT, this allows conjunction between smart devices. However, for Z-Wave to work, you will need to connect your smart plug to a Z-Wave hub for full home integration. If you already have a Z-Wave hub in your home and are looking for a smart plug to make your smart home complete, take a look at the GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Switch.
Tracking Product’s Energy Usage
Yes, there are smart plugs that can monitor and track which devices in your home are likely responsible for that spike in your energy fees. Knowing which device is eating up the most energy can help you develop a roadmap for cutting back on your expenses.
While there are a few plugs devoted to energy efficiency, the Aoycocr Wi-Fi 4-Pack Smart Plug is one of our favorites. This plug provides families with up-to-date notifications that share the energy usage of each product plugged into a smart plug. Aoycocr’s plug can also save the day with time-saving features, like setting up schedules for when you want your smart plug to turn on. You can do this and more through its Smart Life mobile application. The Wi-Fi plug is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and can integrate with IFTTT.
Another smart plug that specializes in monitoring your household’s energy consumption is the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug. Similar to the Aoycocr, this smart plug allows you to check-in and view which item is consuming the most energy. It also takes its efforts a step further by allowing you to schedule times for your switching your devices on to prevent energy waste.
Smart Plugs Are A Wise First Step Into The World Of Home Automation
If you’ve been reading about home automation but aren’t sure how to bring innovation into your home, smart plugs are the simplest solution. Nowadays, you can find a jack of all trades smart plug at an affordable price. We hope this insight brings you closer to enjoying a more comfortable and connected home.
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