The best smart outlets you can buy
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- Smart outlets are about convenience and safety: They let you remotely power-down devices unintentionally left plugged-in, and automatically switch on lamps, radios, air conditioners, and more.
- You can make an empty home seem occupied by programming lights connected to smart outlets to turn on and off at set times.
- Most smart outlets are plug-and-play ready, while others can replace a wall outlet for permanent installation.
- The ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 is our top pick because it has two three-prong smart sockets and a USB charging port, is easy to set up and use, and can monitor energy consumption, among many other features.
I have to say, with apologies to my wife, that I've lost track of the number of times we've turned the car around just so she can run back inside our house and confirm she unplugged her flat iron. Once, she actually hadn't, so for a time afterward, her worries surged.Then, we got a smart outlet, and her fears subsided. Because now, we could not only check whether something was left plugged in but also kill the power to it - from anywhere on Earth, as long as we could access the internet with our phones.
Mine is just one example of how smart outlets can make our lives significantly more convenient. With the ability to remotely control home electronics and appliances, smart outlets are a smart-home component that brings any device into the Internet of Things. In simpler terms, it smartens up any dumb device, letting you "talk" to it from almost anywhere - through an app on a phone or with a command to a voice assistant (OK, Google, turn on the coffee maker).
With a smart outlet, you can also program it to automatically turn or off at designated times. For example, you can set an air conditioner to start cooling a room before you get home from work. Or, program lamps to come up, to help you wake up or create the appearance of occupancy in your home while you travel. You can also make sure potentially hazardous appliances, like space heaters or the aforementioned flat iron, never receive power during certain times of the day, like when there's nobody is in the house. (Do make sure that a smart outlet can support high-voltage equipment before you plug one in.) Beyond convenience, smart outlets offer enhanced safety and security.
The ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 is our overall pick, but there are others worth considering whether it's for their features or price. In our research and testing, we eliminated smart outlets that did not support at least one of the three popular smart home automation platforms (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit) for reasons of additional functionality and future-proofing. Note that you can have different brands of smart outlets operating harmoniously on a home automation platform.
And yes, you will need a wireless network set-up and internet connectivity. If you don't already have one, check our guide on the best routers you can buy for fast Wi-Fi at home.
Here are the best smart outlets you can buy in 2019:
- Best smart outlet overall: ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2
- Best budget smart outlet: Wemo Mini Smart Plug
- Best hardwired smart outlet: iDevices Smart Wall Outlet
- Best smart outlet multipack: TP-Link Smart Plug
- Best outdoor smart outlet: Tonbux Outdoor Smart Outlet
Read on in the slides below to discover our top picks.
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