What is a Smart Plug?

By Smart Home Tekkie Team

A smart plug is a versatile device that can instantly transform your regular appliances into smart ones. By simply plugging it into a standard 120V household outlet and connecting your desired appliance, you are empowered to control these devices remotely. This nifty gadget works through a Wi-Fi connection and can be operated via smartphone apps or even by voice commands.

The functionality of a smart plug extends beyond just turning devices on and off. You can also schedule the timings, monitor energy consumption, and integrate them into your smart home ecosystem. Compatible with many smart devices and virtual assistants, these smart plugs make managing your home appliances a breeze.

Key Takeaways

  • Smart plugs enable remote control of appliances through Wi-Fi connections
  • Advanced features like scheduling, energy monitoring, and compatibility with virtual assistants enhance user experience
  • Adaptable and versatile, smart plugs fit into most home ecosystems, offering a convenient and affordable smart home solution.

Defining Smart Plugs

A smart plug is a device that transforms your regular appliances into smart ones, enabling you to control them remotely through Wi-Fi or voice commands. It is a wireless, Wi-Fi-equipped remote control outlet adapter that is controlled by an app on a smartphone or through virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri.

To use a smart plug, you simply plug it into a traditional electrical outlet, and then plug your desired device, such as a lamp or coffee maker, into the smart plug. Once connected, the smart plug allows you to:

  1. Turn devices on and off remotely using your smartphone, tablet, or voice-controlled virtual assistant.
  2. Schedule when devices should turn on and off automatically, helping you save energy and manage your daily routines.
  3. Monitor energy consumption of connected devices, so you can identify which appliances are the biggest energy users and find ways to reduce consumption.

Some benefits of using smart plugs include:

  • Convenience: You can easily control devices without needing to physically access them.
  • Automation: Smart plugs make it simple to create customized routines for your devices, ensuring they turn on and off at specific times.
  • Energy savings: By monitoring energy usage and scheduling devices to turn off when not in use, you can save on electricity bills.

In summary, smart plugs enhance your home by providing remote control, automation, and energy management for your devices, making everyday tasks more convenient and efficient. Just plug in, connect to Wi-Fi, and start enjoying the benefits of a smarter home.

The Functionality of Smart Plugs

A smart plug is a device that combines the power of Wi-Fi and mobile app technology to provide you with an advanced level of control over your electrical appliances. Utilizing a smart plug, you can remotely switch your devices on and off, set up automation schedules, and manage energy consumption through voice commands or an app on your phone.

With a smart plug, you gain full control over the electrical appliances in your home. Some key aspects of this control include:

  1. Remote Switching: No matter where you are, you can easily turn your devices on and off through the app on your phone.
  2. Schedules and Automation: You can set up schedules to automatically turn your devices on and off at specific times, making your home more energy efficient and convenient.
  3. Voice Commands: Many smart plugs are compatible with popular smart assistants, allowing you to control your devices through voice commands with ease.

To start using a smart plug, simply plug it into your traditional electrical outlet and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Afterward, you’ll be able to control the devices plugged into the smart outlet using an app on your phone or with voice commands through a virtual assistant.

Here are some common uses for smart plugs around the house:

  • Automatically switching lights on and off at designated times
  • Remotely controlling small appliances, such as coffee makers or fans
  • Monitoring and managing energy consumption of electronic devices

When setting up your smart plug, make sure to choose a reliable model that is compatible with your smartphone or smart assistant. This ensures a seamless integration into your smart home system and a more convenient, energy-efficient lifestyle.

Compatibility with Smart Devices

Smart plugs are an essential part of a smart home ecosystem, allowing you to easily control and automate various electrical devices. They are designed to work seamlessly with popular smart home assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. This compatibility enables you to control your smart plug with simple voice commands through your smart speaker or hub.

To make the most out of your smart plug, you should ensure that it is compatible with the smart home devices you own or plan to buy. Here are some implications of compatibility with different smart assistants:

  1. Amazon Alexa: Many smart plugs, such as WeMo Smart Plug and Amazon Smart Plug, are compatible with Amazon Alexa. This allows you to control your connected devices using an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or any other Alexa-enabled smart speaker.
  2. Google Assistant: Smart plugs like the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug can be used with Google Home or Google Nest devices. You can give voice commands to Google Assistant to turn on or off your smart plug.
  3. Apple HomeKit: If you’re an Apple user and your smart home runs on HomeKit, make sure the smart plug you choose is HomeKit compatible. Then, you can use Siri on your iPhone or iPad to control your smart plug and connected devices.

Some smart plugs also support IFTTT (If This Then That), allowing you to create custom applets and integrate with other smart home devices more effectively.

When considering a smart plug for your home, keep the following in mind:

  • Check the compatibility with your preferred smart assistant (Alexa, Google Assistant, or HomeKit) and ensure your smart speaker or hub supports it.
  • Look for additional features, such as energy monitoring or scheduling options, to enhance your smart home experience.
  • Pay attention to the maximum wattage supported by the smart plug, especially if you plan on connecting power-heavy devices.

By carefully selecting a smart plug that is compatible with your smart home ecosystem, you can increase efficiency, convenience, and control in your daily life.

Usage and Applications of Smart Plugs

In Home Usage

Smart plugs are extremely useful in your daily life, allowing you to automate and monitor various appliances in your home. Here are some common uses:

  1. Lights – You can schedule your lights to turn on or off at specific times, giving you more control over your home’s energy usage.
  2. Appliances – By connecting appliances like your coffee maker, you can have it automatically start brewing in the morning, saving you time and effort.
  3. Lamp and Fans – Control your lamps and fans remotely, or set timers so they only operate during specific hours to conserve energy.

Smart plugs work by connecting to an electrical outlet in your home. When you plug an appliance into the smart plug, it can now be controlled remotely through a companion app on your smartphone, enabling you to turn the device on or off, schedule its operation, and even monitor energy consumption.

Outdoor Usage

Outdoor smart plugs offer the same convenience and control as their indoor counterparts, but they are designed to withstand exterior elements. Some popular uses for outdoor smart plugs include:

  • Garden lights – Set a schedule for your garden lights to turn on at dusk and off at dawn, reducing energy consumption while keeping your outdoor spaces illuminated.
  • Fountains and Pumps – Automate the operation of water features in your yard by connecting them to an outdoor smart plug and setting a custom schedule.
  • Seasonal Decorations – Control your holiday lights or other outdoor decorations with ease, allowing you to set the perfect ambiance for any occasion without the hassle of manually plugging and unplugging the devices.

By utilizing smart plugs both indoors and outdoors, you can efficiently monitor and automate various devices in your home, creating a more comfortable and energy-efficient living environment.

Control Through Mobile Devices

Smart plugs allow you to easily control your plugged-in devices with the convenience of your smartphone, tablet, or any other mobile device. By simply downloading the manufacturer’s app on your phone or tablet, you can manage your smart plug remotely.

Once you have connected your smart plug to your mobile device, you can:

  1. Turn devices on and off: You can control any device connected to the smart plug, like lamps, fans, and coffee makers, with just a tap on your phone or tablet.
  2. Schedule devices: Set specific times for your devices to turn on and off, such as automatically turning on your coffee maker in the morning or turning off your floor lamp at night.
  3. Monitor energy usage: Keep track of how much energy your devices consume, helping you save on energy costs and reduce your environmental impact.

To get started, you need to follow these simple steps:

  • Download the app provided by the smart plug manufacturer onto your smartphone or tablet
  • Connect your smart plug to an available Wi-Fi network
  • Connect your device to the smart plug
  • Set up your smart plug within the app
  • Control your device through the app

By following these steps, you can transform any ordinary appliance into a smart device that can be easily controlled with your favorite mobile device. This allows you to create a more connected and efficient smart home, managing your appliances with ease and convenience.

Security and Energy Monitoring

A smart plug not only provides convenience in controlling your devices but also offers security features and energy monitoring. By understanding how smart plugs can improve security and help you save on energy consumption, you can make an informed decision on their benefits for your home.

Security Features:
Smart plugs come with various security features that give you peace of mind. For instance, some offer:

  1. Away Mode: This setting allows you to schedule your devices to turn on and off at specific times when you’re not at home, giving the illusion that someone is present.
  2. Group Control: You can group multiple smart plugs together and control all of them simultaneously with a single command.
  3. App-Based Control: Access and control your smart plugs using a mobile app available on your smartphone. This allows for remote control, monitoring, and scheduling of your devices.

Energy Monitoring:
Smart plugs can help you save on energy consumption by monitoring and displaying energy usage data. The energy-efficient features include:

  • Energy Use Tracking: Keep track of your energy consumption for each device plugged into the smart plug. This will help you identify areas where you can save energy and reduce your utility bills.
  • Scheduling: Most smart plugs allow you to pre-program schedules for turning devices on and off. By setting specific times, you can avoid wasting energy when devices are not in use.
  • Surge Protection: Some smart plugs come equipped with surge protection. This helps protect your devices from sudden voltage spikes that can potentially damage your gadgets and consume additional energy.

To sum it up, integrating a Wi-Fi smart plug into your home can enhance security and promote energy efficiency. Through innovative security features and in-depth energy monitoring, you can better manage your devices and reduce your energy consumption, ultimately leading to a safer and more cost-effective living environment.

Specific Smart Plug Models


The Amazon Smart Plug is an excellent choice when it comes to smart plugs. It is designed to work seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to control connected devices using voice commands. With its simple setup process and compatibility with Alexa routines, you can create customized automations to suit your needs. Some features of this plug include:

  • Easy setup with the Alexa app
  • Ability to create schedules and routines
  • Energy monitoring capabilities

Wyze Plug

Another well-known smart plug option is the Wyze Plug. Wyze offers two main options: the standard Wyze Plug and the Wyze Plug Outdoor. These smart plugs are known for their affordability while still providing impressive performance. They also work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control convenience. Features of the Wyze Plug and Wyze Plug Outdoor include:

Wyze Plug:

  • Affordable and reliable performance
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Scheduling and timer functionality

Wyze Plug Outdoor:

  • All of the features of the Wyze Plug
  • Added weather resistance for outdoor use


In addition to the Amazon and Wyze smart plugs, there are several other popular manufacturers of smart plugs, each offering unique features and capabilities:

  1. Geeni: Known for its affordable and user-friendly options. They offer smart plugs that work well with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  2. Lutron Caseta: Offers high-quality smart plugs that integrate well within the already established Lutron Caseta ecosystem, known for their reliable communication and performance.
  3. Tp-Link Kasa: Provides a wide range of smart plugs with various functionalities, such as energy monitoring, scheduling, and compatibility with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  4. Eve: Offers smart plugs designed specifically for Apple HomeKit compatibility, allowing you to control your devices using Siri.

When choosing the best smart plug for your needs, consider factors like compatibility, features, and pricing.

Voice Control and Assistants

Smart plugs offer a unique convenience by allowing you to control devices and appliances using voice commands. With compatibility for various voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant, smart plugs can be easily integrated into your smart home ecosystem.

Voice control lets you effortlessly manage your plugged-in devices without reaching for a switch or a remote. By simply using your voice, you can turn devices on or off, create routines, and even set schedules if your smart plug has that functionality.

Some popular voice assistants compatible with smart plugs include:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple Siri
  • Google Assistant

To start controlling your smart plug with a voice assistant, you’ll need a compatible device such as an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or an Apple device with Siri capabilities. Once connected and set up, you can use custom voice commands to control your smart plug, such as:

  1. “Alexa, turn on the living room lamp.”
  2. “Hey Siri, turn off the coffee maker.”
  3. “Hey Google, turn on the desk fan.”

These voice assistants also allow you to group multiple smart plugs together, so you can control several devices at once with a single command. For example, if you have multiple lights connected to smart plugs in your living room, you can say, “Alexa, turn off all the living room lights.”

By integrating smart plugs with these voice assistants, you can enhance your daily routines and make device management seamless. This combination of technology provides an unparalleled level of convenience and control, all with the power of your voice.

Smart Plugs and Internet Connection

Smart plugs are a type of wireless home automation device that operate using your Wi-Fi network. By connecting to the internet, these Wi-Fi-equipped remote control outlets provide you with the ability to manage the power supply to your appliances remotely. This offers enhanced convenience and control over your home’s energy consumption.

To get started with a Wi-Fi smart plug, follow these simple steps:

  1. Plug your smart plug into an available electrical outlet.
  2. Connect the smart plug to your Wi-Fi network using the smart plug’s companion app on your smartphone.
  3. Plug the desired device or appliance into the smart plug.
  4. Use the smartphone app or voice commands to control the power supply to the connected device.

Some key benefits of using smart plugs in your home include:

  • Remote control: Turn devices on and off from anywhere with internet access, providing convenience and peace of mind.
  • Energy tracking: Monitor your appliances’ energy consumption to identify potential energy savings and reduce your utility bills.
  • Scheduling: Set schedules for devices to turn on or off automatically, allowing for greater energy efficiency and automation.

Keep in mind that an active Wi-Fi connection is required for your smart plugs to function properly. Ensure that your home’s internet connection is stable and accessible in the areas where you plan to install the Wi-Fi smart plugs. Additionally, some smart plugs might need to be connected to a specific smart hub for enhanced features and interoperability with other smart home devices.

In conclusion, incorporating smart plugs into your home automation system offers an easy and effective way to manage the energy consumption of your devices and appliances. By connecting to your Wi-Fi network, smart plugs give you the convenience of controlling your home’s power supply from anywhere with internet access.

Size, Design and Price

Smart plugs come in a variety of sizes and designs to suit your needs. Most smart plugs are compact in size, making them easy to install and fit in tight spaces. Some are designed specifically to accommodate larger plugs or wider outlets. In general, smart plugs are small, portable, and unobtrusive, allowing them to blend seamlessly with your home décor.

When it comes to price, you’ll find a range of options available. Some inexpensive smart plugs can cost as little as $8, while others may be priced around $20 or more. The price usually depends on the features and quality of the smart plug. Here are some factors that can affect the cost of a smart plug:

  • Brand reputation
  • Integration with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Energy monitoring capabilities

Two popular and affordable smart plug options include:

  1. Wemo Smart Plug
  2. Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Mini Plug (EP10)

Both of these options offer essential features, such as remote control, scheduling, and compatibility with voice assistants, making them great choices for those looking for an affordable and reliable smart plug.

In conclusion, smart plugs come in various sizes and designs and can be found at different price points, ranging from inexpensive options to more feature-rich and costly ones. When choosing a smart plug, consider factors such as size, design, and compatibility with your existing smart home ecosystem to find the perfect fit for you.

Special Features and Add-Ons

When it comes to smart plugs, there are several special features and add-ons that can make your smart home experience even better. These features enhance the functionality of these devices, providing you with more control, convenience, and seamless integration with other smart devices in your home.

Scenes: Smart plugs often support scenes, which allow you to create customized settings for multiple devices at once. For instance, you can set a “Movie Night” scene that dims the lights, turns on the TV, and starts the popcorn maker, just by using your smartphone or voice assistant.

Away Mode: Many smart plugs come with an Away mode, which can be used to simulate presence at home when you are out. By scheduling devices to turn on and off at specific times, you can create the illusion that someone is at home, potentially deterring burglars.

Nightlight Feature: Some smart plugs come with a built-in nightlight feature, providing soft illumination for those late-night trips to the kitchen or bathroom. This can be especially helpful for elderly family members or children who are still learning to navigate the dark.

  1. Weatherproof Smart Plugs: If you plan on using smart plugs for outdoor devices, make sure to choose models that are weatherproof. These are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, keeping your connected devices protected and operational.
  2. Integration with Third-Party Devices: To make the most of your smart home setup, consider smart plugs that easily integrate with third-party devices, such as voice assistants, smart hubs, and other smart home appliances. This will allow for easier control of your devices and more robust automation capabilities.

Here are some potential uses for smart plugs in your daily life:

  • Automatically turn off hair straighteners, ensuring safety when you forget to unplug them
  • Control outdoor lighting, fountains, or pool pumps with weatherproof plugs
  • Schedule pet feeders or aquarium equipment to activate at specific times

By exploring these special features and add-ons, you can make the most of your smart plugs and enhance your overall home automation experience. Remember to consider the unique needs and habits of your household when choosing the right smart plug features for you.

Understanding Compatibility and Integration

When setting up a smart plug, it’s essential to consider compatibility and integration with your existing smart home ecosystem. This ensures seamless control and an effortless user experience. In this section, we will discuss various aspects you need to keep in mind while choosing a compatible smart plug.

  1. Compatibility with smart home platforms: Make sure the smart plug you select is compatible with the smart home platforms you are using, like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. This compatibility allows you to control the plug and your connected devices through your preferred virtual assistant.
  2. Wireless connection: Most smart plugs connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Ensure that your Wi-Fi is stable and has good coverage in the area where you intend to use the plug. Some smart plugs also support Bluetooth connectivity for local control, but keep in mind that the range of Bluetooth is limited compared to Wi-Fi.
  3. Remote control: A key feature of smart plugs is the ability to control them remotely. This is usually done through a dedicated app provided by the manufacturer. Make sure the app is compatible with your smartphone or tablet and that it integrates well with your smart home platform.

To help you choose the right smart plug for your needs, consider the following factors:

  • Smart home platforms: Look for smart plugs explicitly designed to work with your preferred smart home platform, such as Alexa, Google Assistant, or HomeKit.
  • Wireless protocols: Check if the plug supports Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, and ensure that it is compatible with your home network.
  • Smart switches: In some cases, replacing your existing wall switches with smart switches might be a better option, as they can control multiple devices and offer more seamless integration with certain smart home platforms.

In conclusion, understanding compatibility and integration aspects will help you select the perfect smart plug for your smart home setup, enhancing your overall experience and convenience. Always remember to prioritize your smart home platform, wireless connection capabilities, and remote control options when making your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do smart plugs work?

Smart plugs are wireless, Wi-Fi-equipped remote control outlet adapters that can be controlled by an app on your smartphone or by voice commands. When you connect a smart plug to an electrical outlet and plug in an appliance or device, you can control that device remotely using the app on your phone or through a voice-activated smart assistant like Google Home or Alexa.

What are the benefits of using smart plugs?

  1. Convenience: With smart plugs, you can control your devices from anywhere, as long as you have access to your smartphone and an internet connection.
  2. Automation: You can create schedules to turn devices on and off automatically, which is especially helpful for things like lights, fans, or coffee makers.
  3. Voice control: When paired with a compatible smart speaker or assistant, you can control your devices with voice commands.
  4. Energy monitoring: Some smart plugs come with built-in energy monitoring, allowing you to track the energy usage of devices and potentially reduce your energy consumption.

Can smart plugs save energy?

Yes, smart plugs can help save energy by giving you more control over when your devices are turned on and off. By creating automated schedules or remotely controlling devices, you can prevent devices from consuming energy when they’re not in use. Also, with energy monitoring features, you can track which devices consume excessive energy and make adjustments accordingly.

Are smart plugs compatible with Google Home or Alexa?

Many smart plugs on the market are compatible with both Google Home and Alexa, allowing you to control your devices with voice commands through these smart home systems. However, some smart plugs may not support both platforms, so it’s essential to check for compatibility when purchasing a smart plug.

How secure are smart plugs?

The security of smart plugs depends on the manufacturer and the security measures they have implemented. It’s crucial to choose a reputable brand with strong security protocols in place. Always be sure to keep your smart plug’s software up to date and use a secure Wi-Fi network to minimize potential security risks.

What is the difference between a smart outlet and a smart plug?

A smart outlet is a built-in electrical outlet with smart features, while a smart plug is an external adapter that you plug into a standard electrical outlet. Both smart outlets and smart plugs can offer similar functionality, such as remote control and automation. However, smart outlets require professional installation and may be a more permanent choice for your home, whereas smart plugs are much easier to install and move as needed.