Smart plugs are increasing in popularity as more and more of the population are making their homes a ‘smart home’. Smart plugs are an essential part of the transition as they allow you control over mundane devices easily through the use of your smart phone or voice, allowing for a level of control that creates a much easier way of life. Not only do these smart plugs allow simple turning on and off of products but many come with inter-product connect-ability that allows the option to create a bubble of smart devices. If you are looking to create a smart home system or add to your existing one, read ahead as we have chosen our top 3 smart plugs and have answered some of the most popular questions around smart plugs!
Hive Active Plug
The Hive active plug, sitting nicely in the Hive smart product ecosystem, is a paramount aspect of the connectivity that Hive Home is known for offering more varied actions and uses than that of the usual smart plug. This plug boasts an extremely easy set-up from the start, even for non-technical minded people by the use of the Hive app. Through this app you can name each individual Hive Active plug in your home for easy control and identification which makes things very clear when you are trying to set up actions within the app.
Much like other smart plugs, using the app, you can turn objects on and off with the simple press of a button on your smart devices giving you a level of remote control many would never have otherwise. Should you want to fall asleep with a device on but don’t want it left on all night, simply go into the action tab and set for the plug to turn off at a certain time or after a set time period.
However, one of the most attractive features of this particular plug is the interconnect ability with other Hive Home products. Through the app you can set up continuity actions, where if one this happens, that will happen. For example, should you have a Hive Motion Sensor and a Hive Active plug that is linked to a lamp, you could set so that if motion is detected the smart plug will activate turning on the lamp. This is handy as you can set it for convenience, so coming home in the evening you don’t have to worry about trying to find a light in the dark, or this could be a safety measure to ward off intruders.
The only downside to this plug is that you will need a Hive Hub to fully benefit from all the features. We do suggest that if you already own Hive Home products that this plug is the one for you, and if you are looking into installing a complete home smart system then with connectivity that Hive offers, look no further. On the other hand, you may want to consider what your budget is and what benefits you are looking for before committing to this plug.
Ikea Trådfri Smart Plug Review
Probably the biggest appeal of this plug is the price. At only £9 for an individual plug this is most definitely the most budget friendly option out there. Much like many other smart plugs out there you can control this one through the use of the Trådfri app, however an important aspect to bear in mind is that to fully utilize all possible features of this plug you must also purchase the Trådfri Gateway which will allow you to access the Trådfri app timing system to set timers for your smart plugs but this can only be done with a steering device.
This plug is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant through the use of a connected Gateway, so if you have already invested in another smart home system this Ikea product can fit seamlessly in creating a bigger smart home ecosystem of different brands. You can also get a range of different smart home products through Ikea, and if you purchase the accompanying gateway all of these smart home products can connect and allow you control through the Trådfri app.
However, one thing to note about this plug is that it could be considered basic compared to all of the other smart plugs on the market. It is being sold at a fantastic price and if you are looking for a very simplified smart plug then this is the one for you. On the other hand, there are many smart plugs that boast many features that this Trådfri smart plug does not. Features like energy monitoring, cost monitoring and total time on are features that are common amongst other smart plugs at a slightly higher price point.
Samsung SmartThings Outlet Review
£19.99 from Amazon – Find it here!
At a startling low price for the features this tiny smart plug holds, many of the features of this plug are usually reserved for those at a higher price point. Not only does this plug hold all of the basic features that are expected of a smart product, such as remote control and timing settings, but also features like energy consumption monitoring and programmable actions. This means that with the use of other connected smart products you can not only monitor the energy consumption that you are using within your home but also set the smart plug to react to triggers from other devices. For example, should you have a compatible motion sensor then you can program the plug to react, meaning if motion is detected the plug could turn on a lamp. This makes a brilliant security feature but also great for making life that much easier.
Another great feature of this smart plug is the connectivity that it has with other smart products, not only does it work with the big names and connect to Alexa and Google Assistant (however does not support Apple HomeKit) but also can connect to various other third-party smart products through the use of the SmartThings Hub.
Unfortunately, like most other smart plugs, to fully utilize the features of this smart product you will need to purchase the accompanying SmartThings Hub. It is not essential to the use of the product but allows you to access all of the possible features of the product. Something to keep in mind is that if have other smart products or are looking to invest in different brands but want a connected system, the SmartThings Hub has been designed to try and incorporate as many third party devices as possible to create an overall connected ecosystem of smart devices.
Smart Plug Frequently Asked Questions
What can a smart plug do?
Usually controlled by a smartphone app, you can use smart plugs to remotely control items in your home whilst also allowing for your energy use to be more eco-friendly. The use of smart plugs means you can turn a lamp off and on from your phone, ensure that you did turn your straighteners off when you leave the house and set your coffee to start brewing for when you wake up in the morning.
Are smart plugs dangerous?
Smart plugs pass the same safety testing and adhere to the guidelines that all other products that plug into the wall adhere to. The device should be safe as long as you use the product in the recommended ways and don’t overload the outlet.
Do smart plugs use electricity when off?
Most smart plugs will use a small amount of energy when in standby however in most cases it is only about 1 Watt. In actuality smart plugs can reduce energy consumption by up to 4%.
Do smart plugs need Wi-Fi?
Many smart plugs will work with a 2.4Ghz WiFi connection and can be used without the use of a hub.
Will a smart plug turn on a TV?
Smart plugs can be used with most electrical devices as long as it is in line with the power guidelines provided with each individual smart plug make and model.