Having a home that is all interconnected through smart devices is every tech enthusiast’s dream and with smart plugs, you don’t have to spend thousands on making that happen. Smart plugs are essentially an attachment that slots right into your AC outlet which you can that plug your device into to make it ‘smart’. By this we mean that you can hook it up via WiFi and control things like when it’s on or off, color of light its emitting, or even putting it on a timer. Some are compatible with your smart speaker too, so turning your whole house into hands-free is a real possibility.
How We Picked
Due to the surge of devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, a large number of the public are wanting to turn their bog-standard tech into something that can be controlled wirelessly thus increasing the number of manufacturers creating smart plugs. Therefore, there is an overwhelming amount of products for you to sift through, making it extremely difficult for you to choose the top picks. So, for narrowing down this large selection, cherry-picking the best smart plug out there, we implemented some criteria. These criteria focused on the design of the smart plug, it’s connectivity, and the features it possesses with the best smart plugs excelling in most, if not all of these aspects. Due to this, we’ve been able to put together a list of the four best smart plugs as well as giving some of them awards for showcasing superiority in certain fields.
Best Smart Plug 2020 & 2021
Plethora of features
Brilliant app functionality
Can’t fit two in a double outlet
TP-Link, prolific in wireless technology, unsurprisingly manufacturer some great smart plugs, and this Kasa Smart Plug might just be the best of the lot when it comes to price, features, and connectivity. It has a relatively small form factor that slots right into your AC outlet and an easy to reach power and settings button which is great for those who have outlets mainly on ground level and awkward to get to at the best of times. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite small enough for you to plug two of these into a dual outlet which is a shame but not a total dealbreaker.
Looking at the connectivity and control of other devices via the Kasa Smart Plug, it clear to see why it makes it on this list. It only requires a WiFi connection, no additional tech required, making it fully standalone and easy to hook up. It also allows you to utilize voice control with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana supported devices for a totally hands-free experience, turning your devices on and off, increasing volume, changing light colors, etc. Moreover, with the comprehensive app TP-Link bundle in, you’re able to control any and all of your devices for the comfort of your phone, barely moving an inch.
Moving to the features you get with the Kasa Smart Plug, alongside the aforementioned voice control support, there’s the inclusion of things like on/off scheduling, auto turn off, and a handy ‘Away Mode’ for those jet setters out there. Taking a deeper dive at the scheduling it really has some impressive benefits. You’re able to control aspects such as your child’s daily activities by limiting their time on devices, have tech like TVs be turned off during homework time, and implement a countdown for any lights at bedtime. The auto turn off and Away Mode are similarly useful and provide increased security for both your home and if you make the mistake of leaving a hot iron on.
Overall, the Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link brings the bacon. It has really impressive features as well as having voice control capabilities for very easy use. The bundled-in app is also fantastic and provides a bunch of options/controls for your devices. The only real downside is that it just isn’t quite small enough to fit two into a double outlet but that shouldn’t sway you from picking up this stellar smart plug.
Perfect combo for Hue lights
5GHz network support
Can fit two in a double outlet
App is limited
Philips produces a plethora of smart lighting with their Hue range and if you want to get in on that action but don’t have smart lamps, you’re likely going to want to pick up one of their smart plugs to get you going. The Philips Hue Smart Plug on the agenda here has a really compact form factor, providing you the opportunity to slot two of these devices into a double outlet with no issues, a one-up over the previously mentioned Kasa Smart Plug from TP-Link.
Of course, this smart plug is specifically designed to work with Philips Hue products but it’s not limited to those, allowing you to hook up other devices such as coffee pots, irons, and more with no issues. It works over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi networks which some of the cheaper variants lack, so those who specifically use 5GHz for their home network will be overjoyed that they can actually use a smart plug that supports it. Additionally, you’re also able to utilize your Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices to control the tech plugged into it which is a nice plus and makes things much easier. However, one big drawback is the app functionality you get. As previously stated, this smart plug is specifically designed to be used with Philips Hue bulbs thus the app only allows you to control these and not any other device you might have connected. On the other hand, it is comprehensive in its features and allows you to full customize the brightness, color, timers, and more of your Philips Hue bulbs which is a big advantage over the non-Philips branded smart plugs.
All in all, this is the perfect smart plug solution for those who have Philips Hue bulbs and still a solid choice for those who don’t. It has the capabilities of syncing to a 5GHz network, which some desire, as well as voice control via your smart speakers. You are able to use these smart plugs with devices other than Philips Hue but you won’t get the in-depth controls which could put you off, but for you Hue owners, you’d be delighted to see the amount of customizability at your disposal.
Lots of supported appliances
Can’t fit two in a double outlet
TECKIN is a tech manufacturer that you might never have heard of but don’t rule them out as their smart plugs are probably some of the best budget picks around. With this selection, you’ll be receiving not one but two smart plugs for your devices, enabling you to start the journey of getting your whole house ‘smart’. While you might think that this will cost you an arm and a leg but as alluded to, TECKIN predominantly deals in budget tech and these smart plugs are no different, hence why they’re our best budget pick.
Looking at the form factor it’s easy to see that it is smaller than some other smart plugs with its compact, round body. However, it’s slightly too big for you to fit two of these into a double outlet which is slightly unfortunate and something that TECKIN has overlooked.
The connectivity on show is similar to that of more expensive smart plugs allowing voice control through your smart speaker of choice while also requiring no external hub, hooking straight up to your WiFi in an instant. The one downside is that you’re only able to connect to a 2.4GHz network which is annoying for those 5GHz users but not a problem for the masses. For the features, again you might be pleasantly surprised by what this budget smart plug can do. You’re able to create customized schedules to automatically turn on and off any home electronics or appliances such as lamps, Christmas lighting, coffee makers, etc. which is great for energy saving and when you’re on holiday. Moreover, the bundled app is also quite feature-rich, allowing you to operate all the necessary functions quickly and easily.
To sum up, the TECKIN smart plug is a really great option, especially for the budget-conscious. You’re basically getting two smart plugs for the price of one of the more expensive branded selections while also having similar overall features. The only real downside is that slight oversight in the form factor. While being small it doesn’t allow you to use two of these smart plugs in a double outlet which is unfortunate but certainly not enough to be less attracted to this option.
Can fit two in a double outlet
Great for those already in Amazon ecosystem
Have to use an Alexa enabled device
There’s no surprise Amazon has got in on the smart plug action and they’ve developed quite a comprehensive device that offers decent functionality while having a small form factor. Looking firstly at that form factor, it details similar dimensions to that of our Philips option thus allowing you to fit two into a double outlet which is excellent for those who are wanting to get a bunch of their tech online.
Moving to the connectivity, it’s a very simple process. If you have the Alexa app on any of your devices, you’re able to quickly add it to your account and away you go. Of course, because of this, it has Alexa voice control support which means that all you have to do is have an Alexa enabled device to start using this smart plug to its fullest potential. The drawback in this department is the lack of a standalone app thus limiting its overall capabilities.
While we’ve stated that it lacks a standalone app, it does have a bunch of features that can be taken advantage of. Some of these include powering your devices on and off, scheduling power, and controlling them remotely if you’re away. You control these via that Alexa app or simply by your voice.
Overall, this Amazon Smart Plug is a solid pick but only for those who are already in the ecosystem. You have to have an Alexa enabled device and the app to use the features so those who don’t have one of these are left in the lurch. However, if you do, you’re able to use all of the features it comes with such as power scheduling and controlling when away from your home which are great inclusions. The form factor is one of the big plusses allowing you to fit two of these into a double outlet, so if you’re seeking a smart plug of this ilk, the Amazon smart plug could be a good avenue to go down.
Things To Consider
When we think of connectivity in the best smart plug we’re looking at how easy it is to connect to your home network and if you’re able to link it up to the other devices you have already connected. Usually, you’re looking at 2.4Ghz for the main channel of WiFi connectivity but some smart plugs actually offer the chance of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz which could be advantageous to your setup. When you’re looking at marrying up devices that are already in your home, you basically want your smart plug to sync up with your smart speaker. Most smart plugs offer this feature, connecting to your Amazon Echo or Google device with ease but some do not so always worth considering what devices you already have.
How many features can a smart plug really have? Well, surprisingly quite a few. You’re going to want a smart plug that does cater to a wide range of appliances and isn’t pigeon-holed too much by the manufacturer. A lot of smart plugs offer on and off functionality but the best smart plugs offer much more with the ability to schedule scenes, have your appliances come on at certain times, and even automatically turn off when on for long periods of time. It’s worth considering if you need a feature-rich smart plug or just want the basic as you’d likely to be spending less on the latter thus enabling you to buy a bunch and get your whole house smart ready.
For the form factor of a smart plug, you really don’t want another chunky device that looks ugly and takes up half your wall. Luckily, most smart plugs are relatively compact and take up little room. However, the best smart plugs out there go one further and are not only compact but allow you to fit two into a double outlet, maximizing the number of devices you’re able to get hooked up. If you do have a lot of double outlets and want to take advantage of them, one of these said smart plugs might just be the way to go.
If it were us buying the best smart plug, we’d have to opt for the Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link. We think that it has excellent features allowing you do schedule power times, automatically switch appliances off that have been on for a while, and control it via your smart speaker of choice. The accompanying app is similarly stellar and allows you to fully customize your smart plug experience quickly and easily. The only real downside is the fact that you can’t fit two into a double outlet but if that’s the only flaw we can find, it’s doing a pretty good job. While the Kasa is budget-friendly in its own right, the TECKIN Smart Plug is specifically made for the budget-conscious and still offers some great features/connectivity. It also comes in a two-pack, so if you have a very limited budget then go for this option.