Written By Nikola Petrovski
Published Nov. 15, 2020

These days, just about anything that plugs into your wall can be controlled by your voice. Your phone can become a universal remote for more than just TVs, thanks to apps that allow you to control appliances and lights all over your house. What a time to be alive. Now, if you’re still running around turning things on and off by hand, it’s time to get with the times and pick up a smart plug. These affordable, easy-to-use devices are a fantastic way to simplify your home life – especially for people with limited mobility. 

To get the most out of this technology, you’ll want to make sure you match whatever smart plug you buy to your intended use, and consider its compatibility with other devices in your home. There are plenty of options available, so we sorted through them to find the most versatile, most affordable, and most capable products you can buy. Let’s take a look at these handy little smart plugs.

The Best Smart Plugs

When it comes to an affordable, out-of-the-box solution, it doesn’t get much better than the Kasa Smart Plug. With four smart plugs included, you can quickly transform your home by adding wireless control to the devices and appliances you use most. The compact size of these smart plugs allows two to be used on a conventional electrical outlet. A color-changing light on each unit indicates WiFi signal, so there’s no guesswork in setting them up. The associated app allows you to control these smart plugs with a touch of your phone. Within the app, you can name each smart plug and even group them for one-touch convenience. These smart plugs are also compatible with several smart home systems, and voice command brings ease of use to a whole new level. To make things even easier, you can also set schedules for each smart plug.

While this system is good overall, it can take some troubleshooting when connecting to WiFi setups. This means that, once the device is set up, it is best to keep it in the same location to avoid issues.

Key Features
  • Compact structure for storage
  • Connects to user-friendly app
  • Works with standard wall outlet
  • Color-changing indicator lights
Specification
  • Brand TP-Link
  • Model HS103P4
  • Weight 14.4 ounces
PROS

Simple installation process

Compatible with most smart systems

Includes scheduling feature

CONS

Can be tricky to connect to WiFi

Doesn’t connect to all devices

No backup for power outages

Sometimes you just want a small, simple solution, like the TanTan WiFi Outlet Mini Socket. Each compact smart plug works with one power outlet. This option includes a package of two. Control each individually, or group several smart plugs using an app on your phone. These are also compatible with popular smart home voice command systems. Scheduling and countdown abilities in the app let you control things like a light coming on in the morning, or a fan going off at night. Overall, these are a great way to get all the features you’d expect from a smart plug in a user-friendly package. Better yet, these smart plugs are some of the least expensive ones you can buy. We love the simplicity, functionality, and low price point. 

Even though this plug system is affordable, it only enables you to plug in two devices. While you can control multiple appliances, to fully equip the home you may need more than one set.

Key Features
  • Compatible with most smart setups
  • Includes scheduling features
  • Centralized controls through app
  • Enables voice commands
Specification
  • Brand TanTan
  • Model TANTANSMART01
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Comes at affordable price point

Straightforward design for easy use

Connects directly to wall outlet

CONS

Only includes two outlets

You can only plug in one device

Lacks surge protection features

Looking for a way to get your entire home’s smart appliances connected? Try the TREATLIFE Programmable Smart Plug. The set comes with four plugs, each meant to go directly into your wall outlet. The rectangular design adds stability, though the height lets you stack them on a single outlet. At the side is a control button that features a child-safety control override. In terms of utility, these plugs connect to just about any smart appliance. You can use it with both Google and Alexa-enabled devices, making it widely compatible. With useful voice-control features and optional in-application controls, you can always access the system. Designed to limit the amount of power it draws, these plugs are very energy efficient. Durable and lightweight, these plugs are premium in both structure and performance. 

Though the plugs are great once in place, they can be fairly challenging to hookup and often require two people. So long as there’s an extra set of hands, you can ensure your smart home is up to par.

Key Features
  • Rated for 15 amps and 120 volts
  • Works with Google and Alexa-enabled devices
  • Includes child safety features
  • Lets you create a schedule
Specification
  • Brand TREATLIFE
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 10.1 ounces
PROS

Controllable through user-friendly app

Child lock for added protection

Answers to voice commands

CONS

Tricky to pair to application

Requires two people for setup

Vulnerable to impact damage

If you want a feature-packed smart plug that can handle power strip and USB charging duty, you’ll want to look at the HEYVALUE Smart Power Strip. Like other smart plugs, this works with an app or smart home system. Unlike alternatives, this boasts four smart power outlets, four smart USB fast-charging ports, and surge protection. After registering this smart plug with the associated Smart Life app, it can be used to set schedules for smart outlets, so items like lights and coffee makers can be automatically ready when you need them. The app and voice commands can be used to control all four USB ports as a group, and each electrical outlet individually. This option uses 2.4G WiFi but is not compatible with 5G networks. If you have space and the ability to consolidate plugin locations, this smart plug can pack a lot of features into one place.

Though this device is powerful, it is not designed to work with more advanced internet systems like 5G. Resultantly, it is better-suited to equipping homes with existing smart technology.

Key Features
  • Handles up to 20 tasks 
  • Power bar to protect from surges
  • Includes USB charging station
  • Efficient use of energy
Specification
  • Brand HEYVALUE
  • Model HLT-331
  • Weight 11.4 ounces
PROS

Multiple outlets to maximize utility

Each outlet on a different control

Incorporates scheduling for ease

CONS

Doesn’t work with 5G networks

Only compatible with Alexa-enabled and Google devices

Requires Android 4.4 or higher

For those keeping an eye on price, the HBN Mini Smart WiFi Plug is a popular selection. It comes at a friendly price point, without compromising functionality. The single plug goes directly into the wall, letting you save space and time. It leads to a single, three-prong outlet to which you can attach any smart appliance. The outlet is grounded to prevent damage to both the plug and the appliance. Connecting to an application (compatible with most devices), you can control it by your voice alone. It features the ability to craft a schedule, letting you maximize your energy efficiency. The piece can be turned on and off manually by using the button on the structure. Sleek and unassuming, this affordable smart plug can go just about anywhere in the home. 

Despite having excellent utility, this smart plug only works on 2.4 GHz networks, meaning you can’t apply it to the newer 5G. As a result, it’s best to use this plug with existing smart technology to make the most of the devices you already have.

Key Features
  • Includes a remote and in-app control
  • Durable, low-profile design
  • Powered with 1875 watts
  • Enables you make a schedule
Specification
  • Brand HBN
  • Model U152T
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Affordably priced for all budgets

Outlet is grounded for safety

Compatible with most smart systems

CONS

Only includes a single outlet

Low-profile button can stick

Works only on 2.4 GHz network

For a simple solution that adds outlets to your house, we recommend the Gosund Dual WiFi Outlet Plug. Like some of the larger options on the market, this increases the number of power outlets available to you. Each smart plug turns one power outlet into two without taking up unnecessary space. Both smart plug outlets can be controlled independently. Additionally, each smart plug inserts directly into the outlet, so there’s no cord and charging station to store. This smart plug is compatible with voice command smart home systems. It can also be operated by an app or schedule. Group smart plugs within the app for quick access, and share control with everyone in the family. An intuitive app and simple operation make this smart plug a very helpful household tool.

Despite these smart plugs being highly compatible, it can be tricky to connect it to your WiFi network. It requires a continuous record of your information, so adjusting your settings may impact the smart performance.

Key Features
  • Each plugin has two outlets
  • Compact design to save space
  • Controlled by user-friendly app
  • Compatible with most smart home sets
Specification
  • Brand Gosund
  • Model WP2
  • Weight 8.01 ounces
PROS

Plugs directly into the wall

Comes with two plug-ins

App is compatible with most devices

CONS

Location must stay on all the time

Lacks personal information securities

Can be tricky to set up connections

For outdoor use, we recommend taking advantage of the dependable TECKIN Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet. Any smart plug can technically be used outdoors, but they usually don’t have the added protection needed to withstand exposure to the elements. This version uses durable construction, downward-facing outlets, and removable shields to protect outlets when not in use. We also like the ability to turn one outdoor outlet into two smart outlets with this device. Take comfort in its waterproof rating, impact-resistant body, and fireproof materials. Like indoor alternatives, this smart plug can be controlled with an app, smart home voice command, or daily timers. With outdoor-specific features and safe operation in temperatures from four degrees below zero to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, this is the only option we’d pick for outdoor lighting and devices. 

Though these smart plugs are useful, they can be difficult to set up in terms of the scheduling and timer. For best results, plan ahead and do a trial run for your outdoor lighting.

Key Features
  • Outlets face downwards for safety
  • Made of heavy-duty materials
  • Easy to control via the app
  • Automates outdoor lighting
Specification
  • Brand TECKIN
  • Model SS31
  • Weight 11.2 ounces
PROS

Durable structure built to last

Works indoors and outdoors

Includes fire safety features

CONS

Timer can be tricky to use

Can be tricky to connect to phone

Scheduling can be difficult

If you want a way to connect a few smart appliances, the AOYCOCR Mini Smart Plugs are a solid choice. Powered by 1100 watts, these energy-efficient pieces plug directly into your wall. The subtle design and white color let them blend in seamlessly, taking little space thanks to the compact structure. Compatible with both Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home, simply hook the parts to your wifi and navigate it using the application. Since you can control the plugs either separately or together, it lets you maximize utility. Within the app, there is the option for multiple users. This lets everyone in the household retain control over the devices. Requiring no subscriptions to perform, the setup is fairly efficient. Designed to minimize power expenses, the automatic shutoff feature adds a lot of value. 

While these plugs are very useful, the set only includes a single pair. Since each outlet lets you plug in a single device, larger setups may require more smart plugs.

Key Features
  • Includes two compact smart plugs
  • Easy to command and control
  • Works with Google and Alexa-enabled devices
  • Connects with most appliances
Specification
  • Brand Aoycocr
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 0.6 ounces
PROS

Features scheduling abilities

Energy-efficient accommodations

Compact design to save space

CONS

Can be difficult to connect to WiFi

Each outlet has only one connection

Side button subject to sticking

When you want to set up anything from your seasonal decorations to outdoor lighting, the KASA Outdoor Smart Plug is a great way to go. The heavy-duty construction enables this system to withstand rain, snow, and wind. With a black color, this plug stands out against natural surroundings. Worried about getting a good connection? This plug can receive WiFi signals from as far as 300 feet. That means you can set it up pretty much anywhere, provided your router is reasonably placed. The plug incorporates a surge protecting interior, adding safety to your lights, and the plug itself. You can connect the plug to either Google or Alexa-enabled devices, making it compatible with the main smart systems on the market. It’s sturdy and built to last over the long term. 

Despite being very effective, this smart plug only has a single outlet and short cord. To circumvent any issues with your outdoor designs, incorporate an extension cord, and plan ahead.

Key Features
  • Built to withstand extreme temperatures
  • Has a broad WiFi range 
  • Compatible with Google and Alexa-enabled devices
  • Enables voice commands
Specification
  • Brand TP-Link
  • Model KP400
  • Weight 11.3 ounces
PROS

Works outdoors and inside

Heavy-duty construction

Black design for winter visibility

CONS

Limited reach from cord

Only includes single smart plug

Relatively heavy plug

For those wanting to set up multiple devices in the home, the Etekcity VeSync Smart Plug is a worthy option. It runs on under 1000 watts, making it a very energy-efficient selection. Each of the four included plugs comes with a handy on/off switch at the side. You can easily sync them with your WiFi network, making setup a breeze. Need to control the system on the go? The in-app commands let you use your appliances from just about anywhere. When you’re at the house, the voice command features let you control the device quickly. The scheduling feature makes it simple to both cut down on your power bill and to enhance your quality of life. It works with both Google Home and Alexa-enabled devices, meaning you can integrate it into your existing smart system. 

While these smart plugs are handy, the voice control can be tricky to maneuver. So long as you speak in a consistent tone and within a reasonable range of the device, there is no issue with function.

Key Features
  • Comes with four plugins 
  • Low-profile design for compact setup
  • Compatible with Alexa-enabled and Google devices
  • Easy to set up the schedules
Specification
  • Brand Etekcity
  • Model ESW01-USA
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Voice controls for added ease

Enables automated lighting

Works through a user-friendly app

CONS

Only one appliance per plugin

Round design makes it hard to use both plugs on wall outlets

Voice commands can be glitchy

Best Smart Plugs Buying Guide & FAQ

When you’re on the market for a set of smart plugs, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First of all, identify the network you plan to use. Some only work on 2.4 GHz and not 5G; To avoid compatibility issues, check ahead of time. The next thing you need to consider is how many devices you plan to hook up to the system. If you plan to proverbially use everything but the kitchen sink, then quantity counts for a lot. Conversely, if this is just for lighting, you won’t require as many outlets. 

Ultimately, you want a system that works well physically and digitally. Consider both the structure of the plugin and the viability of the application. Be certain that your smartphone (or tablet) can use that particular software. Provided both sides of the plugs are relevant to you, then the smart plug will work. 

Benefits of a Smart Plugs

There are definitely a whole host of benefits to using smart plugs around the home. For one, you get to make the most out of modern technology. Chances are, whether it’s your lights, your television, or even your slow cooker, you have something with “smart” capabilities. By finding plugs that connect the device to the system, you can simplify the setup and integrate the whole home. 

Smart plugs enable you to slowly build up a smart home, instead of investing a massive amount on a whole system you will only partially use. This has both utility advantages and energy-efficient overtones. With smart plugs (especially those attached to products you use), you can prevent overdoing it. This protects both your power bill and improves the shelf life of your smart devices. Sometimes, it helps to supplement the stationary benefits of a smart plug with mobile tools like 12-volt splitters for your vehicle.  

This technology is particularly attractive to those who are on the road a lot. Since you can use both voice commands and in-app controls, you are always in touch with your home controls. Whether you need to turn the light on for someone coming home or want to use it as a deterrent while on vacation, smart plugs keep you in the driver’s seat. 

  • Improves energy efficiency in the home by scheduling devices’ functions.
  • Gives you remote access to your smart devices to maximize your control.
  • Lets you make the most of your existing smart-home setup by integrating the system.

Types of Smart Plugs

When you start the search for your perfect set of smart plugs, an important thing to consider is what type you are going to need. While most perform similar functions, different types are meant for unique locations. By identifying the correct fit, you can maximize utility and ensure the longevity of the smart plug itself.

Smart Plugs

Indoor

This type of smart plug spans a wide variety of styles and makes. In all cases, though, these plugs are suited for indoor use. Generally, they are lower profile and almost always white in color. This is to help them blend into the wall socket for a subtle effect. Indoor smart plugs are sturdy, generally, though aren’t designed to be exposed to outdoor elements. 

With one (or more) three-prong attachment on the face, indoor smart plugs usually go directly into the wall. There are also options that present as a surge protector and give you the option of multiple outlets. Usually, there is an on/off switch at the side of the plug to give you a manual override. Since indoor plugs are usually closer to your router, they tend to be easier to set up than other selections. 

Outdoor

Outdoor smart plugs are those meant to work on appliances outside. Standing out in a few ways, outdoor pieces usually tout a heavier-duty construction. This is because these pieces are made of materials that withstand extreme temperatures. Instead of contracting and expanding in the cold, these smart plugs protect the internal circuitry and stay in place. 

Additionally, this type of smart plug isn’t as vulnerable to weather and debris. While not necessarily waterproof in all regards, this type of smart plug is resistant to precipitation. A couple of things to look into is how the device attaches to the outlet. Consider whether it plugs directly into the wall or has a cord. Finally, with this type of smart plug, it can be tricky to connect it to Wi-Fi. Best results come when it is in loose proximity of the router itself. 

Compact

This type of smart plug touts a low profile. Plugging directly into the wall outlet, these smart plugs are both lightweight and petite. This makes them ideal for equipping multiple appliances. Typically, this type of plug enables you to use both outlets on the wall socket. It maximizes the amount of space you can use. 

Usually, this type of smart plug runs on a 2.4 GHz network, making them compatible with most setups. While they are more vulnerable to damage, these are typically designed for indoor use. So long as they are protected, these smart plugs are energy-efficient. Some of the most popular on the market, it’s easy to find a home for this type of plug. 

Power Bar

Though less common, the power bar-type of smart plug is worth mentioning. Unlike a lot of other plugs that have either one or two outlets, the power bar style instead features multiple attachment points. It attaches to the wall through a cord that leads to a three-prong outlet. It provides the benefit of surge protection, which is ideal for homes with older electrical setups. 

Another virtue of the power bar setup is that you can attach all your smart appliances. It is particularly useful for rooms with multiple smart devices (like living rooms or kitchens). This lets you set up a single room in one go, saving time and simplifying the smart home design. 

How We Tested The Smart Plugs

When assessing the smart plugs, we considered quite a few criteria. First of all, the main factor is user-friendliness. After all, smart systems are all about convenience and utility. By looking into the application, compatibility, and range, we determined which smart plugs are best. Especially in terms of WiFi range (something dictated by your network), the wider the better. Of course, if this is a concern, you can always look into mobile WiFi boosters

The next thing we investigated is the circuitry and durability. Checking to see if there are protections against surges, we identified the top options. Additionally, by looking into the circuitry (and whether it overheats or shorts), we were able to determine reliability. From there, it’s a matter of finding the top options for both outdoor and indoor use. 

Added features also lent an edge to the system, with things like USB charging for phones and scheduling for energy efficiency. In keeping with an ecologically-forward outlook, we sought out the smart plugs that limited the flow of electricity and were easier to control. 

The Most Important Features of Smart Plugs

As with any smart device, there are some essential features to both utility and performance. By selecting systems that have all the features you most need, you can get the best value out of your smart plugs. So long as you know what devices you plan to attach and where you need to use the system you can find the plug with the most compatible features.

Smart Plugs

Controls

The key to this feature is how you are able to control the system. Consider whether there is a manual override switch. This usually looks like a button on the side of the plugin. All smart plugs feature a certain level of remote controlling ability. Check how you can engage the system to see how comprehensive this feature actually is. 

Most smart plug systems work via voice command. Additionally, there is usually an application that you can download onto your smartphone. This enables you to make adjustments from a distance. A critical feature, this speaks to both the utility and convenience of the plug. 

Connections

While all smart plugs will attach to your wall outlet, not all will do so in the same manner. Power bar and outdoor-type smart plugs usually have a cord in between the plug and the outlet. This feature can limit overheating. Conversely, indoor and compact smart plugs usually hook directly into the wall for easier placement around the home. 

The other aspect of the connections feature is in the supplemental function of the plug. Many incorporate a USB port at the side. This way you can charge your phone or tablet without having to remove the plug itself. Particularly useful for smaller living quarters, this is a valuable feature. 

Network

Ultimately, all smart plugs rely on digital communications that are relayed over your wireless network. However, not all networks are alike. Certain smart plugs are compatible with everything in the market, whereas it is not uncommon to see something that only works with a 2.4 GHz network. This compatibility makes or breaks performance, meaning this feature is definitely worth looking into. 

It also refers to the range of the smart plug itself. This is especially important to investigate in larger properties and for outdoor smart plugs. The feature of range refers to how far from the router the plug can get before it loses connectivity. Essential to performance, the network plays directly into whether or not your smart plug works. 

Compatibility

Another essential feature is the ability to work with your existing smart technology. There are two prongs to this feature. The first is its ability to work with the centralized smart system. While most options on the market let you choose between Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home, it helps to check compatibility beforehand.

On the other hand, you also want a smart plug that works with your smart appliances. Consider the network the device is designed to utilize. Ensure that the physical plug of the appliance can attach to the plug. So long as both of these line up correctly, you can use the plug to the fullest extent. 

Best Smart Plugs FAQ:

When it comes to modern tech, questions are totally normal. With new developments happening every day, it helps to learn everything you can. It helps find hidden features and extra benefits, as well as to learn how to use the smart plug. To help you along, we’ve addressed the most common inquiries.  

Q: What can you do with a smart plug?

Smart plugs work as everything from a trickle charger via USB to controls for smart appliances. Connect the device and control it via voice or the app. 

Q: How much do smart plugs cost?

These devices range in price from less than $20 to over $30. It depends on how many outlets you need and the quality of the smart plug itself. 

Q: Can I plug a heater into a smart plug?

Generally, yes, you can use a heater in a smart plug. Be sure to check the wattage rating beforehand to ensure safe results. 

Our Top Pick

After lengthy consideration, we’ve named our top pick: the Kasa Smart Plug. The set of four plugs is durable and user-friendly. Compact and safe for the home, these are popular controls. Compatible with most systems and featuring handy voice and remote controls, this is definitely a preferred choice. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all about the best smart plugs, you can pick the perfect choice for your home. Maybe it’s the Kasa Smart Plug, meant to set up a whole room. Perhaps you want to save with the TanTan WiFi Outlet Mini Socket (or one of the other awesome picks). Smart homes are all about choice and convenience, so get ready to make your life easier.

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