Best smart plugs 2021: add app and Alexa control to any socket
The best smart plugs of 2021 are all collected here, and any one of them can enhance your smart home: these smart plugs and smart power strips turn dumb devices into remote controlled ones in an instant, perfect for dipping your toes into the smart home waters or augmented an existing setup. Switch on a lamp, trigger a fan, or whatever works for you.
We’ve got the best smart plugs for Apple HomeKit, the best smart plugs for Alexa, and the best smart plugs for Google Assistant, so whatever the platform your smart home is running on top of, there’s something here that can fit in. As well as enabling all kinds of smart home tricks, these plugs mean you can save on your energy bills as well.
Not all smart plugs are created equal though: some use Wi-Fi, some use Bluetooth, and some require specific smart home protocols like Zigbee or Z-Wave. Don’t let all of this daunt you though, because we’ll explain everything that you need to know in the course of this rundown.
You don’t need to look very far to find cheap smart plugs at the moment, but if it’s quality and affordability you want, then our guide to the best smart plugs and power strips for 2021 is the one you want to refer to. We’ve also thrown in some timely buying advice to make your purchasing journey even more straightforward.
The best smart plugs you can buy in 2020
The TP-Link Kasa Mini KP105 brings you almost everything you could want from a smart plug and is accompanied by a polished app too. Setup is as simple as plugging it in, and it’s small and discreet enough not to mess up the aesthetics of your kitchen or your living room. You don’t get any energy monitoring here, but you can see how long the plug has been active, and it works with Alexa, Google Home and Bixby.
Dive into the app and you can have the plug turn on and off based on a regular schedule, or do it manually. There’s also the option to set a simple timer: when it elapses, the plug will turn either on or off depending on your requirements. If you’ve got the right TP-Link accessory, you can get the KP105 smart plug to work with a motion sensor as well.
This Kasa Mini plug is already very cheap, but there’s an even more affordable option in the form of the Tapo P100 mini smart plug (TP-Link’s smart home line seems to be split in two, between the premium Kasa and more budget-oriented Tapo lines). It’s also worth considering the KP115 model, which is similar to this but includes energy monitoring so you can see how much you’re saving.
Designed to work in conjunction with the Hive Hub developed by British Gas (though you don’t have to be a British Gas customer to use it), the Hive Active Plug works in a similar way to other smart plugs – you can turn your sockets on and off with a tap on your phone or on a preset schedule.
In other words, handy for those times when you need to check whether you left the iron on, or just fancy boiling the kettle for a cup of tea while you’re still lying in bed upstairs. The only real catch is that requires a Hive Hub to control: the Hive Active Plug won’t work without one, so this is only really the best smart plug for those buying into the Hive system – but that’s not a bad idea, because Hive also makes good smart bulbs and a great smart heating system (among others), so you might feel the whole setup is right for you.
Naturally the Hive Active Plug is controlled using the free accompanying Hive apps for iOS and Android, and as well as a schedule you can also create actions that work in conjunction with each other (so switching on a lamp when a door sensor is triggered, for example). If you already have Hive kit installed, it’s ideal. You can control the plug with the Amazon Alexa assistant too.
There are two versions of TP-Link’s smart power strip, but the six-socket HS300 seems to be very hard to come by at the moment, so where it is available, it can be heavily overpriced. Happily, the three-socket KP303 is still in ample supply.
With three smart outlets, each with independent control, as well as a pair of USB port connections for small appliance charging and power, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip KP303 delivers plenty of flexibility and features; it’s essentially three smart plugs in one.
Surge protection, energy monitoring, and remote control via the excellent Kasa Smart app are all on tap here, as too voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. There’s no Apple HomeKit, though.
The perfect smart power strip for a home office or appliance-rich living room.
Like all Hue products released after mid-2019, the Hue Smart Plug works fine without requiring a hub thanks to built-in Bluetooth. Which is fine, but while it’s more compact than most and, as you’d expect from Philips, impeccably well engineered, we’d question why you’d spend on this if you were only going to use Bluetooth. There are stacks of Wi-Fi plugs which can do a lot more for a lot less.
If you’re already all-in on Hue, on the other hand, we can’t think of a better option. Hooking one of these up to a Hue Bridge gets you Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit support, making it just about the most compatible plug going. You can integrate it into your Hue zones and routines, it’s easy to set up, and we doubt you’ll find anything more reliable.
Hue works with loads of the other smart home brands too, so this will integrate with all kinds of other smart home gear outside of Philips’ stable.
Since our review the TCP Smart Plug has had a redesign, with the enormous forehead of its previous edition being sliced off in favour of a far more compact plug, but with the same extras on board like Alexa and Google Assistant integration. The previous edition worked very reliably, so this redesign is an easy call for one of the best smart plugs around.
You don’t really want to get lost in a maze of settings and menus when it comes to setting up or operating your smart plug, and thankfully this one is very easy to get up and running. Plug it into a spare socket, set up the Android or iOS app, and that’s just about job done.
The plug can be turned on and off using the app, you can set it to go on and off on a schedule, and you can even do a countdown timer (if you want the lamp to turn on in 30 minutes, for example). A no-nonsense smart plug that you can rely on, and it’s very affordable too.
Innr has broken the barrier in the past year or so: strong branding, good compatibility and quality products make the Dutch company a smart home brand to watch. And while its Hue-compatible smart bulbs (featured in our list of the best smart bulbs!) are probably the highlight of its line, don’t look past the Zigbee-packing Innr SP222 Smart Plug if you’re looking to add a little more flexibility to your smart home.
Not only is it compact enough to avoid clashing with just about anything else in a multi-socket arrangement, the SP222 is flexible enough to seamlessly connect to a host of existing smart home systems like Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and anything else which anchors itself to Zigbee. That does mean you’ll need a hub to use it; Innr’s own hub seems to be hard to come by in the UK, but if there’s a Hue Bridge or a SmartThings bridge sitting on your network already this will drop right in. Perfect for Hue users in particular.
All you really need from a smart plug is to have it work reliably from your phone, whether you’re turning it on and off manually or setting it on a schedule, and the D-Link DSP-W118 delivers here. It’s not the first smart plug that D-Link has put out, and that expertise means it knows exactly how to put together a smart plug like this.
It’s worth mentioning the size of this particular D-Link smart plug, because it’s smaller than most at 8.4x6x6cm: that means you can squeeze two of these side by side on a double plug socket, something that stops a lot of smart appliances like this from being as useful as they can be.
On top of that you’ve got polished apps for Android and iOS to make use of, and there’s integration with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and the always-useful IFTTT as well. If you’re after a simple but great smart plug, then make sure you check out the D-Link DSP-W118 smart plug.
Teckin is perhaps not the best-known tech brand out there, but its smart plugs are inexpensive, simple to use, and compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant too – so you can turn on all kinds of gadgets with the power of your voice.
We also like the design of the Teckin Smart Plug Wi-Fi, which is discreet and unobtrusive. The power supply can be set to work on a timer if you need it to, or operated manually through the app.
The plugs also include a sliding safety cover to stop kids from poking their fingers in where they shouldn’t be. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of its rivals but it’s still one of the best smart plugs of 2020.
There’s a lot to like about the Eve Energy smart plug, but there’s also a big caveat, which is that it only works with Apple gear. You’re going to need an iPhone (or iPad) to operate this, and it’s going to work best as part of a HomeKit setup. Sorry, Android users, this isn’t for you.
In fact, Eve Systems (formerly Elgato) used to specialise in TV tuner and video capture products for Apple devices before switching its focus towards smart home tech instead. Even if it is Apple-centric, this is a very powerful plug: you can create geofences, triggers, actions and scenes using the free accompanying Eve app or Apple Home.
Unusually the Eve Energy relies on Bluetooth 4.0 Smart rather than a Wi-Fi connection, which means you’re going to need a 4th-generation Apple TV or newer, or an Apple HomePod smart speaker as an intermediary if you want to switch connected devices on and off away from home. Otherwise, you can control the plug directly from the app.
This smart plug from networking specialists TP-Link has everything you need to remotely control connected devices whether you’re at home or away. The driving force for the product is the free Kasa app for iOS and Android devices, which connects to the TP-Link HS110 via your wireless router. It can also be controlled with your voice, provided you have an Amazon Echo.
The Kasa app is easy to use and enables you to switch the smart plug on or off, create custom actions and set a schedule that can trigger connected devices to switch on and off automatically throughout the day. Everything works smoothly and as advertised, and you can use it on its own or in combination with other TP-Link gear.
A step up from the TP-Link HS100 smart plug, this one includes energy monitoring, so you can see how long a connected device has been active for – and how much it’s costing you when it’s switched on. It lacks support for Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings, but this is otherwise a very capable plug.
How to buy the best smart plug for you
Smart plugs are typically operated over Wi-Fi (or occasionally Bluetooth) from your phone – you can turn that corner light on and off with a tap, or even set it on a schedule. Every smart plug has the same basic functionality.
Some products let you take the idea a little further with zones (groups of plugs) and scenes (automated settings on a schedule or based on your movements). Happily, most of the best smart plugs work with the popular smart home platforms, such as Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings.
That’s really your first consideration – whether a smart plug works with the kit you’ve already got installed (or want to get installed). Then you can look at extra features, like turning sockets on or off when you leave the house. Without any further ado, these are the best smart plugs for the UK in 2020.
Published at Tue, 18 May 2021 21:01:30 +0000