Tech Tips

Smart plugs: what they do and how to best use them in your home

If you’re wanting to start building your dream smart home and you’re looking for an easy place to start, smart plugs are your perfect solution. Smart plugs are one of the most affordable and easiest to use smart home devices. They allow you to turn almost any wired appliance with an on/off switch in your home into an automated one that can be controlled by a simple tap on your phone or voice command. Our experts share what you need to know about smart plugs, and give you ideas on the best ways to use them.

What is a smart plug?

Smart plugs are a simple way to automate the wired devices in your home. To set it up, all you have to do is plug it into an outlet and then connect it to your Wi-Fi network by following the directions in the compatible app on your phone or tablet. Then, you simply plug a wired appliance, like a lamp or a fan, into your smart plug and you’ll now be able to control them on your phone from wherever you are.

If you have a smart home hub, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can also connect your smart plug to it so you can enable voice commands like, “Alexa, turn on the bedroom fan.”

What are the benefits of a smart plug?

Besides the fact that talking to your house and having it respond with actions is just cool, smart plugs are great to add to your home if you’re looking to save money on your energy bill. By utilizing the scheduling feature of your smart plug’s app, you can schedule things, like your lights, to only come on during certain times of the day when you’re home so they’re not wasting energy in the meantime.

Smart plugs also come in handy for keeping your home safer from fire hazards. If you use heat-powered items daily, like a curling iron or a clothes iron, plugging those into a smart plug when using gives you the ability to turn them off remotely from your phone. So, just in case you get to work and realize that in your rush to get out the door you left it on, your smart plug can save the day.

What are the best smart plugs for using with Amazon Echo and Google Home?

Being able to sync up your smart plug with a voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa is one of the best features, and luckily, there are many smart plugs on the market that are compatible with both. Three of the more popular smart plug brands are the Wemo Smart Plug, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug and the Amazon Smart Plug. Which one is best for you will depend on which features matter most – there are many options to choose from, from compact design to the ability to group your smart plug with other smart devices in your home for simple commands.

Best things to use smart plugs for

Slow cooker

If you’re a fan of whipping up set and forget meals with your slow cooker, a smart plug will help you to control how long your food cooks – because, let’s face it, we all find ourselves being away a little longer than expected from time to time. If you find yourself in that situation, with a smart plug, you’ll be able to flip your slow cooker off from wherever you are to avoid ending up with rubbery, overcooked pot roast.

Christmas tree or holiday lights

Smart plugs can help to spread the energy-saving love all year round. To make sure you’re only running your holiday lights when someone is around to enjoy them, you can use your smart plug to set up a schedule for when your lights turn on and off throughout the day.

Coffee maker

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of fresh coffee. With a smart plug, you can either schedule your coffee maker to start brewing before you even open your eyes in the morning; or, you can flip the switch on the app when you wake up and let it brew while you enjoy those last few precious moments in bed, mindlessly scrolling through your phone before you start your day.

Air conditioners and space heaters

Smart plugs are great for helping to keep your home at just the right temperature if you’re someone who uses a small space heater or a window air conditioner unit. Schedule the heater to turn on right before you get home so it will be nice and toasty inside.

Outdoor smart plug

Smart plugs are not only great for automating devices and appliances inside your home, but also those outside. With an outdoor smart plug like the iHome outdoor smart plug, you can turn things on and off remotely, like the decorative string of lights on your patio or the pump that controls your water fountain.

Tap into our expertise

When you’re ready to start building your smart home, join Asurion Home+ and get 24/7 access to tech experts. From guidance on Nest thermostat installation, to tips on how set up your Google Home or troubleshooting Amazon Alexa setup, we can help you unlock your device’s full potential.

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