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Transforming your space into a smart home doesn't have to cost a lot if you add a few gadgets like a smart assistant or some smart light bulbs and smart plugs — the last of these allowing you to affordably turn virtually any device into a smart home device. If you’re eyeing some of your non-smart tech and hoping to tell it what to do (or automate and schedule it), one of those smart plugs is one of your most affordable, easiest and best solutions.
What is a smart plug and how does it work?
A smart plug is an easy way to get hands-free or app-enabled control of devices and appliances in your home — and installation is typically simple, to boot. The smart plug should fit most regular outlets, connects to your Wi-Fi network and then lets you plug your gadget of choice — whether smart or not — into it. That’s it: Now you can communicate with the smart plug to turn on or off anything, from sunrise clocks to fans or humidifiers, through smartphone apps or smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart plugs are readily available at Shopping reader-favorite retailers, including Wayfair, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Apple and Home Depot. You can also order smart plugs from popular tech retailers such as Lowe's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Abt Electronics, B&H, Sam's Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club and directly through smart device brands like Lenovo and Phillips.
Best smart plugs
To help simplify your search for smart plugs in 2020, we rounded up six highly-rated bestsellers from reader-favorite retailers, all of them built by reputable brands.
Amazon created its highly-rated smart plug — and the top selling option at Bed Bath & Beyond — to be compact enough so it won’t block a second wall outlet. You can toggle on your fans, coffee makers or schedule lighting fixtures to turn on and off when you’re traveling. There’s also no need to purchase a smart home hub if you own the Amazon smart plug, which is compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Kasa's HS100 smart plug is an Amazon bestseller with a 4.5-star average rating from more than 45,200 reviews. Schedule your plugged-in devices and flip on away mode to help conserve energy or create the illusion that you're home via the Kasa smartphone app, which is compatible with Android and iOS. You also have the flexibility to utilize Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Microsoft Cortana for voice commands and can either grab a single or two-pack of HS 100 smart plugs.
If you have a limited number of outlets in your space, opt for Belkin's compact Wemo smart plug, a bestseller at Best Buy that is available in a three-pack or individually. You only need a steady Wi-Fi connection and the Wemo smartphone app to set up and control your plugged-in devices — no subscription nor hub required. It boasts integration with If This Then That (IFTT) alongside compatibility with the Apple Homekit, Google Nest and Amazon Alexa, too.
If you're not ready to invest in a high-end smart lamp such as the LED Dyson Lightcycle Morph, opt for the Philips Hue smart plug, which can transform any plugged-in lamp — yes, even those that don't utilize a Phillips Smart Hue bulb — into a smart light via Bluetooth. ABT’s bestseller enables you to bring winter indoors and control your holiday lights or automatically turn on your bedroom lights as your morning alarm. It's also compatible with the Philips Hue ecosystem — from lightbulbs to the Hue Bridge.
This Home Depot bestseller features grouping, enabling you to control multiple Wyze smart plugs in the same room via its smart app or Alexa and Google Assistant. You can set timers on your plugged-in devices, such as a 45-minute runtime on your air purifier or a 10-minute boil time on your kettle. Keep tabs on your plugged-in device’s activity by monitoring via the smart app, so you can save money by not burning too much electricity or air conditioning.
6. iHome control iSP6 Smart Plug (sold out)
Gift the Apple enthusiast in your life with the brand’s best-selling smart plug, which easily pairs with an iPhone or iPad. It’s also the only smart plug on this list that has Siri compatibility — and concurrently works with Google Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT, Google Nest, Wink and SmartThings to help fit into your lifestyle. Unlike other smart plugs on this list, too: If you want to remotely control your iHome smart plug while you’re away, you’ll need a 3rd generation or later Apple TV.
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