Smart plugs allow us to control any device we connect to them, so we can turn them on when we need them, even when we’re not at home.
In the search to make our homes more efficient, we are evaluating household appliances based on their energy categories, highlighting the importance of opting for low-consumption refrigerators, televisions or washing machines . We have also had the opportunity to learn the keys to choosing the best air conditioning for your home . These are important steps to improve spending, but the reality is that not all the devices we have at home are so responsible with consumption, nor are they so smart.
Fortunately, it is possible to achieve that many of the gadgets that surround us gain some versatility by connecting them to the Wi-Fi network of the house. The easiest and most affordable way to achieve this is by using one of the best smart plugs . Small accessories that make it possible for practically all devices to form part of the electronic ecosystem of the home, which translates into greater control and comfort of use.
WHAT IS A SMART PLUG?
This is a plug with a normal appearance, and that connects to the usual power outlet, but the difference is inside, since it integrates all the necessary technology to make devices in the house that are not smart . Hence, it is also known as a home automation plug or Wi-Fi plug.
In a very summarized way we could say that what it does is offer us a key to pass the energy to the device, which we will be able to control through our mobile phone . Imagine having a coffee maker connected to the power grid with the smart plug, because thanks to it we can turn it on from bed: when we arrive it will be ready to serve the coffee.
Also think about turning on lights, charging electronic devices, or turning off a heater. We can activate all of them, even without being at home . The reality is that there are more and more connected gadgets in the house, but for those that are not, the smart plug can be a very valid solution, as well as being economical.
HOW THE SMART PLUG WORKS
The operation is really simple. From the point of view of physical connections, all you have to do is place the smart plug between the power outlet and the device that you want to control and make smart. In the next section we will see how.
Although they all work in a very similar way, we are going to find that the sockets are available in different formats:
- Traditional smart plug, also known as wifi plug. The simplest and most economical, they can be placed in any socket.
- Recessed smart plugs. They are those that are integrated into the wall, in the perforated hole. They are fixed, but they have the advantage of presenting a better design.
- There are also smart outdoor plugs, designed with more resistant components and insulation systems.
- The last way in which we are going to find them is that of the smart power strip. Although bulkier, they are very practical for plugging in different devices.
HOW TO CONTROL A SMART PLUG THROUGH MOBILE
Once placed, the next thing to do is link the smart plug with the Wi-Fi network of the house or place where it will work. The way to do it is through a mobile application, which we will find available on both Android and iOS.
The application will also be the control method that we will use once the smart plug is in operation, highlighting the possibility of using the voice assistant to send instructions to the plug.
For example, if you plug in a lamp, associate it with Google’s virtual assistant and with a command like “Hey Google, turn off the lights”, you can disconnect the current that comes through the plug. Many functionalities come into play, such as schedule programming or expense control , but that will depend on each socket and application.
ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A WIFI PLUG
Regarding the positive aspects of using smart plugs, we can find multiple advantages:
- Energy saving. Using the configuration and control options we can create routines so that the devices work only when necessary. We will avoid unnecessary electricity consumption.
- Monitoring of energy consumption. Related to the previous point, the plug is an essential tool for those who want to set up an efficient home. There are models that incorporate consumption data in their application, with graphs and reports from the connected devices.
- Models with USB charging. It is highly recommended to opt for those plugs that include USB connectors.
- Programming of operation to be able to create simulations of presencewith the lights, and thus make intruders believe that the house is inhabited.
- A good way to enter the world of home automation: the price of setting up a network of smart devices is quite low.
- Last but not least, the comfort and ease of useof the mobile phone, especially if we configure voice control.
Before knowing which are the best smart plugs, it is interesting to keep in mind some tips and features that will help us better adjust our purchase.
- design. It is very important to check its size and shape to find the best integration with the place where it will be installed. In the case of using it outdoors, choose a resistant model.
- ecosystem. Although it is becoming easier to comply with all platforms, it is important to check that the plug is compatible with the operating system we use in mobile devices, and with the related voice assistant.
- Maximum current supported. In the case of wanting to connect devices with a high consumption, such as a stove, it is important to assess this specification. With an intensity of 16 amps we would be well covered.
THE BEST SMART PLUG
Below we present a selection with some of the most interesting smart plugs on the market, signed by the main brands. We are going to verify that there is an option for each need , either by price or by the type of use that we want to give it.
TP-LINK TAPO P100, SAFE BET
One of the most requested models on the market, which stands out for its compact design that does not block adjacent sockets. It is made of fireproof material and its maximum intensity is 13 A.
Its configuration is very fast thanks to the simple step-by-step guide offered by the Tapo application. Allows you to create schedules with an “away from home” mode that turns gadgets on and off to give the appearance that people are home.
THE PHILIPS HUE SMART PLUG
The Philips option is one of the most complete and compact on the market , as well as one of the highest quality ones. You can use Bluetooth connectivity to control light bulbs, a very robust alternative if the power goes out.
It can be connected with devices that are not part of the brand’s Hue ecosystem, and is compatible with the Apple, Amazon and Google ecosystems.
DOUBLE THE PLUG WITH SPC LOT CLEVER PLUG DUAL
An interesting option to get two smart sockets from one plug . It achieves this in a compact way and the maximum intensity supported is 16A. It is compatible with the main voice assistants.
Its application allows us to establish rules for turning it on and off at specific times, as well as monitoring consumption.
A SMART REFERENCE STRIP WITH MUVIT IO
All the possibilities of a smart plug, multiplied by four , which are Schuko connectors. It also has four additional USB ports that will make charging mobile devices more comfortable.
With regard to smart possibilities, it allows us to automate turning it on and off, monitoring consumption and voice control compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
A SMART OUTDOOR PLUG WITH BEMATIK
Bematik is a special option in our selection as it offers the possibility of creating a smart plug outdoors, with an IP55 resistance rating and a transparent cover. The maximum intensity supported is 16A.
Through the application (iOS, Android) we can carry out the actions expected in a traditional home automation plug. It is compatible with Google Home, Alexa and IFTTT.
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