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“There’s an app for that.”
In 2009, started using this phrase for their television ads to showcase the wide range of applications available on their App Store. What they didn’t see before (or perhaps they did) was how on the ball this sentence was, even more than a decade after its first use.
Today, many families are converting their living spaces into smart homes—connecting every electronic device they have through a phone or computer.
We see exciting innovations in the home automation space year after year, but one takes the cake when it comes to taking the wired home into a whole new level: smart sockets.
What are Smart Sockets (or Smart Plugs) —and how do they work?
Smart sockets, also known as smart plugs, allow your devices to be remotely controlled through a mobile app or a smart home hub such as Google Home or Amazon Echo.
Smart plugs work also with other smart home devices through hubs or apps. Smart plugs turn a “dumb” device to a “smart” one through an intelligent home device.
Why do you need a Smart Plug?
Keeping your peace of mind.
Smart plugs help ease your anxieties when you leave home, as you can remotely check for any plugged, open, or used devices.
For instance, you can set timers for the lights to come on at night and deter any burglars planning to enter your home.
Waking up in the morning always has routine tasks that you cannot do away with, especially when you have children to prepare for school. Smart plugs allow you to save time, as you can turn on the toaster and start brewing coffee with the press of a button.
Audio systems can also be connected to a smart plug so you can enjoy your favorite songs before you head off for work.
Have your evening meal prepared before you come home. You can do this by hooking up your smart plug to a slow cooker.
A smart plug allows you to control the simmering at a specific time while you are out working.
Controlling screen time.
“Elementary school-age children who watch TV or use a computer more than two hours per day are more likely to have emotional, social, and attention problems,” according to Very Well Family.
The use of a smart plug can help you manage the screen time of your children just by plugging it in their TV or console.
Setting the perfect temperature.
The extreme hotness and coldness of the weather these days could become so unbearable.
The smart plug allows you to turn on or off appliances. You can schedule your heater, air conditioner, or fan to turn on.
Reducing electrical bills.
Smart plugs have the capacity of what devices are active and how often these are used.
These can also connect to smart meters that collect data regarding electrical usage.
Reducing risk of electrical fires.
Fires can be potentially started with any electrical appliance. Installing a smart plug can minimize the risk for these fires to occur.
What do you need to know before buying a Smart Plug?
Consider where you’ll put or use the smart plugs—indoor or outdoor? Note that indoorsmart sockets are not waterproof.
The color codes identify the type of smart plugs: white for indoor and black for outdoor.
Choose the right smart home network. Smart sockets can choose betwwen using the Zigbee, Z-wave, or Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is the easiest and most convenient among all these technologies.
You don’t need additional hubs when smart plugs use Wi-Fi.
iPhone users should make sure that their indoor smart plugs are compatible with Apple Homekit if you want to use Siri to control the lights.
Additionally, check the compatibility of smart speakers with indoor smart plugs. Indoor smart plugs must be compatible with smart speakers if you are going to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Smart Plug FAQ’s
Smart plugs follow the same standard safety guidelines as traditional outlets. Users must be careful not to overload the outlet.
Smart plugs, however, are prone to hacking. This was prevalent years ago as there are some plugs that made it possible for hacking.
Manufacturers were able to discover this vulnerability and have worked hard to make these secure.
Smart plugs use a very small amount of energy (1 watt) when they are in standby mode. Smart plugs reduce energy consumption between 1 and 4.58 percent.
Smart plugs work depending on the Wi-Fi. If the Wi-fi switch has a switch or a physical button, these smart plugs continue to work if there is power.
Majority of space heaters draw 1,500 watts when plugged into a traditional outlet. Instructions are always to plug heaters directly into the wall as most power strips or extension cords do not have the capacity for a high power draw.
As long as the power strip or extension cord is rated to handle this power, it is safe to plug heaters into a smart plug.
Smart plugs are not fire hazards and most models pass the minimum safety requirements and standards.
Best Smart Plugs
1. TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini
This smart plug is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant through the Wi-Fi and the Kasa app.
This allows scheduling and use of voice control and voice commands.
Where to buy TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plugs:
2. WeMo Mini
This smart plugs works with HomeKitHome, Alexa, and Google Assistant. This wide but thin smart plug can fit two of them per outlet.
It works with all of the major smart assistants even though it does not have energy monitoring.
Where to buy WeMo Mini:
3. Wyze Plug
This smart plug has an app that is easy to use and can monitor energy usage. It can be scheduled to go on and off based on the time of the day and the day of the week.
It can also work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or IFTTT.
Where to buy Wyze Plug: