Wemo missing manual: Your essential guide to Wemo's plugs, switches and more

Plug into our guide on everything Wemo

Wemo missing manual
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When you're building out smart lighting on your home, you'll quickly want to replace all of those old dumb bulbs with new, brainier ones. That can be expensive, which can lead you down the more affordable path of using a smart switch or plug.

That's where Wemo now makes its bed. Belkin's smart home brand actually used to do a lot more, including smart bulbs, but that didn't work out, so it's back to focusing on plugs and switches. In the past year, that focus has led to Wemo spending more time on getting its products HomeKit-ready.

That may or may not have something to do with Apple's big manufacturing partner, Foxconn, purchasing Belkin, Wemo and Linksys for $866 million. That deal still has to go through regulatory approval, however.

That's not the entire Wemo story though. Read on to see how it all works and which devices you can purchase.

Wemo: The services

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

All Wemo switches and plugs work with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Getting started is pretty simple, requiring you to set up your device and then link your account to Alexa and Google Assistant. You'll then be able to control your switch or plug with either of the assistants.

Where things get a little confusing is when it comes to HomeKit. Originally, you would need the Wemo Bridge to enable HomeKit support. You don't need the bridge to use any Wemo device with either Alexa or Google Assistant, but you did initially need it for HomeKit, literally making this a HomeKit bridge. That bridge has gotten less important over the past year thanks to HomeKit's new software update feature. Wemo updated its Mini Smart Plug with HomeKit support in July 2018. Then, in November, it added HomeKit support for its Smart Dimmer.

HomeKit support will not arrive for either the Insight Smart Plug or Smart Light Switch. For those, you will still need that Wemo Bridge. The good news is that all of Wemo's current products are getting long in the tooth – meaning time for a refresh – and at CES it announced that a new line would arrive in 2019. That new line will have HomeKit support out the gate.

Wemo: The devices

Wemo doesn't have a lot of devices. There are two switches, two plugs and a bridge. That's not exactly a bad thing though, as it makes getting into Wemo's smart home a simple affair. One thing to note, however, is that Wemo has a new, redesigned line of smart switches ($39.99 for a single-pole or $49.99 for a three-way) coming later this year.

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

Wemo Mini Smart Plug

$34.99, Amazon | belkin.com

Wemo's latest smart plug is one of the best you can buy. It's wonderfully compact, so it's easy to place in a power brick or a wall outlet. Specifically on a wall outlet, you won't have to worry about blocking other devices from plugging in.

There's also great compatibility, with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant and Works with Nest support. The one big knock against the Mini is that there aren't many features. You do get schedules and a vacation mode, which will randomly turn your light on and off so it seems like you're home, but you're not getting energy monitoring. In sum, it's a simple on/off switch that's small and talks with everything.

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer

$79.99, Amazon | belkin.com

Like the Mini, the Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer works with nearly everything – there's HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest and even IFTTT support. It's also a dimmer switch, so you can get moody with your lights, and there are schedules so that you can sync your lights with the sunset etc.

Things get even better though. There's a Night Mode that'll turn on your lights to a lower light level at certain times, so when you're getting a midnight snack you don't blind yourself. If you have multiple Wemo devices, you can also control several with just the Smart Dimmer.

You can set up the Smart Dimmer's Long Press feature to turn off all your Wemo switches at once. That's a pretty handy feature to have in case you don't want to open up your phone or use your voice assistant to turn everything off at once.

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

Wemi Insight Smart Plug

£49.99, Amazon | belkin.com

The Insight Smart Plug comes with all the features that the Mini does, with some exceptions. First, you will need that Wemo Bridge to add HomeKit capability. It's sold separately, and it almost doubles the cost of getting the Insight.

You're still getting Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest and IFTTT support though. Schedules and randomised on/off switching is available too. The big new addition is energy monitoring. You'll be able to monitor consumption, and you'll get real-time reports on how much energy certain devices are using.

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

Wemo Smart Light Switch

$49.99, Amazon | belkin.com

The basic Wemo light switch comes with most of the features of the smarter Dimmer Switch, including all the compatibility. You're also getting that snazzy long press feature. So if you've got other Wemo devices, you can control all of them with a simple long push. What you won't get is HomeKit support without that Wemo Bridge. You also don't get dimming functionality – it's a simple on or off here.

Wemo missing manual: Everything you need to know

Wemo Bridge

$39.99, Amazon | belkin.com

You only need the Wemo Bridge if you're a HomeKit user and you want either the Smart Light Switch or Insight Smart Plug. That's it. If you're into Alexa or Google Assistant, you don't even need to consider it. If you're into HomeKit and want either the Smart Dimmer or Mini Smart Plug, you also don't need to worry about it.

TAGGED    smart home

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