Best smart plugs: Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit outlets tested

Get dumb tech online with these awesome Wi-Fi-connected plugs

The best smart plugs
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The aim of a smart plug is a simple one: to make the dumb devices in your house a bit smarter.

Whether you pick a smart plug or a smart power strip with Wi-Fi, they have endless uses; lamps that aren't compatible with smart bulbs, fans that require a button-push to turn on and AV kit that doesn't ever power down are just a few examples of how you can put them to use.

Inspiration: 8 ingenious uses for your smart plugs

The best smart plugs offer an array of extras – such as integration with Alexa, Google Assistant or HomeKit, energy monitoring and timers – but even the most basic ones make all your appliances and old tech instantly connected.

We've tested the top smart plugs on the market across a range of budgets, with an array of different features. Here are our favorites.

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Best smart plug: TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

Best smart plug: TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

Buy now: Amazon | $17.99

TP-Link's wordy smart plug is our pick for the best smart plug you can buy right now.

It keeps things simple, which is essential for any smart plug, particularly if you plan on filling your home with them.

Not just that, TP-Link's Kasa Mini is a good balance of price against features, offering essentials like scheduling (to specific days as well as times) and support for scenes that can include other TP-Link products, should you own them.

You won't get energy monitoring here, but you do get support for both Alexa and Google Assistant, built into a dinky plug that's a breeze to set up, use and stays mostly out of sight thanks to its dimensions.

We'll be honest, it barely pipped the Belkin Wemo to the top spot, and it's mostly down to that sub-$20 price tag – something you'll be thankful for if you plan to purchase several of these.

And if you're anything like us, once you've tried one smart plug, you won't be able to stop buying them. You'll be out of control.

The big missing feature is HomeKit, but, fear not, as Belkin's offers support for Apple's smart home platform. More on that one below.

What we love

  • Great price
  • It's tiny
  • Scheduling and Away modes

What we don't love

  • No energy tracking
  • No HomeKit
  • Loud when it switches off

Read our full TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini review.

The best smart plug for your automated smart home

Runner-up: Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug

Buy now: Amazon | $29.99

Belkin's Mini Smart Plug rolls in a compact design, wide compatibility and affordability for a tempting smart plug.

In terms of features, you won't get energy monitoring or any insight into how much money you can save - so forget that. But you will get a solid group of features.

Naturally, you can control your devices from anywhere and schedule when you want to them to turn on and off. There's also Away Mode, which will randomly turn your device on or off so that people think you're home.

Obviously this is most valuable if you're using the Mini Smart Plug with a lamp rather than, say, a blender.

It's also super compact. You won't be taking up much space on your wall outlet, which is great. Finally, Belkin has packed this thing with compatibility; no hubs required.

There's HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Works with Nest. It's just a shame the app is a big flakey.

What we love

  • Compatible with everything - even HomeKit
  • Compact - won't block adjacent outlets
  • The price

What we don't love

  • No energy tracking
  • Thin on features
  • App can be iffy

Best cheap smart plug: Wyze Plug

Best budget pick: Wyze Plug

Buy now: | $14.99

Wyze is finally getting into smart plugs, and it's an ideal pick for those who want a cheap option to explore.

The Wyze Plug comes in a pack of two for $15, which (for all you math fans) works out at $7.50 a piece, even if they can't be purchased separately.

That's incredibly good value, and the better news is that they still bring all the table stakes you'd expect. That means remote control, scheduling, Alexa/Google Assistant control, and timers.

What you won't get: HomeKit support or energy monitoring. Our biggest problem with the Wyze Plug came down to the integrations with other Wyze products like its motion sensor, which were uneven in testing. It's also still having some setup issues with iOS 13, but it's gradually fixing those.

However, if you're not planning on using those features, you're still looking at a good smart plug that can handle the basics, handle multiple assistants, and is so cheap you'll want to stock up.

What we love

  • That price
  • Google Assistant and Alexa
  • Scheduling

What we don't love

  • Software bugs
  • Wyze integrations are glitchy

Read our full Wyze Plug review.

Best Alexa smart plug

Best Alexa smart plug: Amazon Smart Plug

Buy now: Amazon | $24.99

This is the first smart plug actually made by Amazon. The benefit of that becomes apparent the minute you pop it in: this plug takes all of the hassle out of the setup.

As soon as we stuck it into the socket, the Alexa app detected it and - just like that - we were away. We didn't even need to add it manually to our devices, lest do any signing in or other messing about, as your home Wi-Fi is saved in the Alexa app.

You will want to give the plug a name so you can tell Alexa to turn on/off the right power socket, but otherwise there's little else to concern yourself with.

Just note that Alexa isn't built into the plug, so you'll need an Echo or other Alexa-packing device (even your smartphone will do) to control the plug.

The plug is also helpfully shaped so as to not block other sockets and there's a button on the left side for manual control should your Wi-Fi ever conk out.

At $25 it's also aggressively priced, close to cheapest alongside TP-Link on this list. You don't get some features found in other plugs, like energy tracking or timers, but you can add the plug into your Alexa routines. If you're already running an Alexa home, this feels like a doozy.

What we love

  • Amazon's breezy setup
  • That price
  • Alexa works a charm

What we don't love

  • No energy monitoring
  • Low on features
  • No Google Assistant / HomeKit compatibility

Read our full Amazon Smart Plug review.

Best HomeKit smart plug

Best HomeKit smart plug: Eve Energy

Buy now: Amazon | $49.95

If you're going all in for an Apple home, the Eve Energy is the smart plug for you.

If you're not homely with HomeKit, look elsewhere. While the Eve smart plug can be controlled within the Eve app, it will only work remotely if you have a HomeKit hub. - whether that be your iPad, Apple TV or HomePod - for all the extra functions.

Once set up, the Eve Energy is actually one of the most feature-packed smart plugs out there.

Inside the Eve you'll not only find energy consumption data for whatever's plugged into it - along with detailed graphs over scaling time periods - but you can also input your actual electricity rate for a more accurate reading, and you'll also get cost details and yearly projections for usage.

As usual, the European version is less bulky as the plug insertion is hollowed out. For US, Canada and the UK (plenty of other countries available too) you're essentially dealing with a square box with a little light that shines green when it's on.

Now, for the gripes. First of all, the Eve Energy is a bulky plug, much larger than the two above it on this list, both the US and UK versions we tested.

Second – and perhaps most annoying of all – the plug connects to a HomeKit hub using Bluetooth, which means it must remain in range to work.

Eve has a solution to this problem, the Eve Extend, which will stretch that Bluetooth range out further, but it's not the most elegant answer.

Finally, it costs $49.95, so consider whether you really need all of the extra data before you buy.

What we love

  • Energy monitoring
  • Child lock
  • Very responsive

What we don't love

  • Expensive
  • Bulky
  • Needs a hub for remote control

Read our full Eve Energy review.

Best smart plugs: Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit controlled options

Best for a multi-assistant home: ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2

Buy now: Amazon | $59.95

Yeah we know what you're thinking: that's one big plug. And you're not wrong. But that also means there's more to love - the Smart Outlet 2 is packed to the brim with greatness, even if it's a bit of an eyesore.

First of all, it supports all of the "Big Three" - Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit - so it's incredibly versatile. We found it easy to get set up with all three, too.

All you photo fans will have also noticed there are actually two outlets here; the ConnectSense is designed to to sit over a standard US two-outlet receptacle.

So while it's a bulky brick, it at least covers what's already on the wall. What you won't see in the picture above is the USB port on the side of the plug, meaning there's technically three outlets here. Told you it was versatile.

On top of the three platforms mentioned, ConnectSense has a bunch of its own great features, accessible through the companion app.

You can set scenes and schedules, maybe a "Good morning" scene that turns on one of the outlets and the bedroom lights to 50%. You can be quite specific here, and having control over the individual outlets is a big plus.

And for all you energy-aware folks, you can also see how much power you're sucking in the app.

What we love

  • Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit
  • Energy monitoring
  • Two outlets

What we don't love

  • It's a brick
  • Expensive for a smart plug

Read our full ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 review.

Best smart plug for energy monitoring

Best for energy monitoring: TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug

Buy now: Amazon | $22.99,

TP-Link has been in the smart plug game for years and, with the HS110, has fully embraced the digital assistant revolution, with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

The HS110 isn't quite as wide as the Eve Energy, but we'd hardly call it slender either.

You'll have no problems plugging in something else next to it on a double socket, but it does come out the wall a fair bit and is there really any need for such a bright Wi-Fi signal light? Makes it a non-starter for people needing a bedroom smart plug who don't like lights in their dark room.

Where it does get things right though is in the very-easy-to-use Kasa app - which also houses any other TP-Link smart home kit you might have. From here you can monitor kWh energy use, as well as runtimes, over daily, weekly or monthly time periods.

Also within the app you'll find options for setting count-down timers (a great idea for kettles, hair straighteners, and the like) and schedules.

There's also an Away mode feature where you can set regular recurring days or times where you want things powered on or off.

While this isn't one of the more expensive options on test, if you're in the UK you can pick up a cheaper version that looks just the same, but drops the energy monitoring feature.

What we love

  • Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Kasa app is well designed
  • Energy monitoring

What we don't love

  • Bulky(ish) design
  • Bright light is annoying
  • No cost monitoring

Smart plugs buying advice

Smart plugs: What you need to know

The premise is pretty simple - like those timers your mom uses when she goes on holiday, smart plugs simply slot directly into your power outlet and you then plug your kit into the socket they have built in.

Sure, it can sometimes make your plug sockets look a little bulky, but that's a small price to pay for all the extra control options.

Most, if not all, smart plugs have Wi-Fi built in so, as long as you've got a smartphone with a signal, you should be able to ping them a message to turn on or off.

There's usually a dedicated app for this - or there's a section in a brand's smart home app.

However, if you want to take things further and add your smart plugs to your home automations, be sure to check whether the one you're considering buying has Alexa / Google Assistant / HomeKit compatibility, or can be controlled using smart home hubs such as Wink, or automation apps such as IFTTT or Yonomi.

Because while the basic function is turning things on/off remotely (or without getting up off the couch, at least) smart plugs really come into their own once you start syncing them up with the rest of your connected tech.

For example, think of what devices you'd like powered down following a "Goodnight" voice command, or think of what tech you might want power killed to, if your smart smoke detector sensed fire or smoke.

As well as power up or down controls, smart plugs also offer additional extras such as energy use monitoring - with some devices even giving you a monetary value of how much your devices are costing to run.

TAGGED    smart home    buyers guides

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