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How to choose the right smart plugs for your belongings



  Smart Plug Roundup 1

Chris Monroe / CNET

Once I said it, I said it a thousand times. Smart Plugs are one of the most underrated smart home products. No, they are not the most obvious, but they can easily automate stupid products in your home and bring them into your smart home ecosystem. To make sure you get the best price for your money, consider these categories when looking for smart plugs.

Read more: These are the smart plugs we recommend

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Check compatibility

The first and most important thing you need to know is which voice assistants your smart plugs should work with, because not all smart plugs work with all language assistants.

Compatibility is crucial here, because it's the only way to control stupid devices with your voice and integrate them into the rest of your smart home.

If you exclusively use Apple HomeKit you will not have that many options, but iHome and iDevices are two good starting points. Their plugs work with HomeKit and they offer outdoor models for patio lights or appliances.

If Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa is the command center of your smart home, you have many options. Just check the product description to make sure the desired connector works with it. Here you will find our page of compatible Smart Home Products .

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Size matters for intelligent plugs


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Find the right features

Choosing the right smart plug depends largely on what features you need. Here are just a few of the options that you will find in many smart plugs.

Energy Monitoring

This feature monitors how much power in kilowatt-hours (kWh) your appliances consume per day, week, or month. This information is usually displayed in the corresponding smart plug app. This TP-Link monitor monitors your energy usage and works with Google Assistant and Alexa.

If you're worried about Vampire Energy or just want to keep your energy bill low, power monitoring features can help.

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Screenshot by Molly Price / CNET

Scheduling and Scenes

When you add a smart plug to a small device, lamp, fan, or TV, you can automatically turn your device on or off.

Many smart plugs offer this option, and it is useful for morning routines or for shutting off at bedtime. Some smart plug apps even allow for scheduling that repeats every day or at sunrise and sunset.

If your Smart Plug works with Google Assistant or Alexa, you can also integrate it into scenes or routines triggered by a simple phrase like "Alexa, Movie Time" to dim the lights and turn on your TV.

Away Modes

One of the practical applications for Smart Plugs is a feature often referred to as Away Mode. Set the date and time ranges in which this feature should work, and your plug will be randomly turned on and off to simulate someone who is at home while you are away.

More information: Put your smart home in "vacation mode" while you're away

Do not forget the design

The design of smart plugs is tricky. Most models are bulkier than you might expect, and it's not always easy to tell if the shape works for your outlet.

For example, if you want to use the smart plug with another regular element or a second smart plug, you need to make sure that adjacent ports are not blocked.

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David Priest / CNET

This is easier said than done, as even some of the smaller-looking plugs have just the wrong shape to accommodate a neighboring plug. My favorite space-saving plug? The Eufy Smart Plug Mini .

No matter whether you make a coffeemaker or a big-screen TV, Smart Plugs can connect stupid devices to your Smart Home. Choosing the right plug is all about knowing what you want to work with, what you want and where you want.

These smart plugs are the secret of a seamless smart home

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