Smart home devices are replacing our speakers, old light bulbs and even our refrigerators at a record pace. But what about the stuff in our homes that isn’t smart yet? That’s where smart plugs come in.
These nifty gadgets connect your regular lamp, fan, , kitchen appliance or nearly anything else to your smart home for automation and voice control. There are models for every voice assistant. Some even work with all three: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and .
With so many options out there, picking the best smart plug to turn on and off your newly connected devices means you’ll need to take a look at all your needs, your home’s connectivity setup, whether or not you want to use voice command and the platform you use to control it all — with “all” now including any wall outlet you choose.
We’ve tested dozens of the smart plugs from companies large and small, and these are our picks for the best smart plug to get the rest of your home online. Smart home devices, here we come!
TP-Link’s Kasa line of smart home products includes this space-saving smart plug. It works with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa via your Wi-Fi network, and the Kasa app (Android and iOS) offers plenty of detailed options for customizing scheduling, away modes and timers.
What you won’t get? Energy consumption data, a USB port or HomeKit compatibility. Still, if you’re interested in scheduling and using voice control and voice commands, TP-Link’s $14 smart plug is a great choice to control a light switch or other connected device.
At just $18, this smart plug is the most affordable on our list. It’s also the smallest. Pair that with energy usage monitoring and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa smarts and voice control, and you’ve got a great option for your socket or smart home.
The SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug won’t work with HomeKit, and there are no extra USB ports for charging — a smart power strip this is not. The SmartThings app (iOS and Android) doesn’t offer as many customization options and scheduling capabilities as TP-Link’s Kasa smart plug above, but SmartThings did impress us by creating an easy to set up smart plug from your socket that doesn’t need a SmartThings hub.
At $25, the WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug is affordable and comes with native Google Assistant, Alexa and yes, HomeKit compatibility.
The WeMo app isn’t our favorite app, and you won’t get energy monitoring with the WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug. Those shortfalls aside, this smart plug’s space-saving design and solid HomeKit compatibility make it easy to recommend to users in Apple’s ecosystem.
Best for outdoors
iDevices Outdoor Switch
The $80 iDevices Outdoor Switch is a great way to automate outdoor lights, fans, lamps, switches or other patio electronics. This outdoor smart switch works with Google Assistant, Alexa and HomeKit via your Wi-Fi connection and includes energy tracking and remote control.
While you will get two outlets, you can’t control them individually. If that’s a must-have for you, we’d recommend checking out the iClever Smart Plug, which uses the Smart Life app as its control center to remotely control your devices.
Other models we tested
There are dozens of smart plugs out there from companies large and small, and while we haven’t tested every single one, we’ve seen quite a few come through the CNET Smart Home. Here’s a quick look at other notable options.
- Alexa. While setup is easy, it isn’t as feature-rich as other models, which may be a deal breaker when you’re looking for a smart outlet. : A flagship for the brand, the Amazon smart plug costs $25 and only works with
- Satechi Dual Smart Outlet: This HomeKit friendly smart plug costs $30, and you will get two outlets and energy monitoring capability. There isn’t any compatibility with Google Assistant and or Amazon Alexa, which won’t be tenable if you’re all in on your Alexa app.
- : This $40 outdoor smart plug works with all three voice assistants, but you’ll only get one outlet.
- : This $60 behemoth does it all — energy monitoring, individually controlled outlets, a USB port and LED status lighting. However, the price and unattractive, oversized design are enough to keep me from recommending it. Everyone loves a smart outlet, but no one likes an ugly one.
- HomeKit, but blocks adjacent outlets. Alexa or Google Assistantintegrations aren’t as smooth as we’d like to see in our connected devices. : This $32 smart plug works well with
- Apple smart homes, but it didn’t perform as well in our testing as other HomeKit compatible devices. : This HomeKit-centered smart plug is another solid choice for
- SmartThings budget pick above and costs just a few dollars more at $23. You’ll get Amazon and Google Assistant smarts, as well. : This pint-sized smart plug is just slightly larger than our
- : This Wyze plug two-pack for just $15 is incredibly cheap, and it does the basics well. It works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but there’s no power monitoring.
Things to remember
Choosing the best smart plug for you begins with voice assistant compatibility. Choose a plug that works with whichever voice assistant you’re using, whether it’s a smart phone, a tablet or other device. You can usually find this information on the product box, website or in your voice assistant’s mobile app.
Next, consider where your plug will be placed and whether blocking other adjacent outlets is a concern. If so, be sure to pick a plug that isn’t too large. Most models described as “mini” will be space-saving.
Extra features like energy monitoring and USB charging can add even more control and convenience. No matter which smart plug you choose, bringing everyday products online with a plug is one of the simplest ways to automate and smarten your home.
Originally published last year.