The best smart plug for Alexa
Smart homes are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Today, it's possible to automate a variety of functions in the home. The easiest way to get acquainted with smart technology is with the use of smart plugs. Once they are installed in an outlet, you can plug in a variety of home appliances and control them using your voice-enabled Alexa device.
If you're interested in upgrading to smart plugs for Alexa, read our buying guide, which includes reviews of a few of our favorites at the end. Our top choice is TP-Link's Kasa Smart WiFi Plug, which has handy features and doesn't require a hub.
Considerations when choosing smart plugs for Alexa
Plug size and shape
Alexa-enabled smart plugs are available in a variety of sizes, from units that cover up an entire outlet to ones that leave space open for you to plug in another device or add a second smart plug. Plugs vary in shape (wide rectangles, squares, ovals), and some feature more than one outlet, which allows you to control multiple devices at once.
Indoor vs. outdoor
Most smart plugs are designed for indoor use, but a select few can be used outside. Use outdoor plugs to control Christmas, patio, or garden lighting according to the time of day or weather. Outdoor smart plugs with condition automation have built-in sensors for temperature and humidity and allow users to create conditional settings (e.g., turn the AC on if the outdoor temperature goes over 80°F).
The power capacity of a smart plug limits the types of devices supported by a plug. A smart plug that allows you to control your air conditioner, for instance, needs a higher power capacity than one needed to control a single living room lamp.
Ease of setup varies according to the brand of smart plug and its associated smartphone app. Lower-quality plugs often work with clunky, unintuitive software. Research the plug's setup process before purchasing.
Smart plugs are available in single and double outlet models. If you're selecting a dual-outlet model, you have to choose between dual- or single-power control. With a single-power smart plug, the included outlets are controlled by the same power button. A dual-power control plug features a separate control for each outlet. Naturally, dual-control smart plugs are a lot more versatile -- if you have your lamp and espresso maker plugged in, you may turn them on or off independently of one another.
Power usage analysis
Some smart plugs record electricity use information, either displayed in the accompanying app or delivered to you via email. If you're interested in monitoring your electricity use and discovering more about the efficiency of your appliances, look for a plug with this ability.
Scheduling is a useful money-saving feature available with many smart plugs. Create a schedule to turn lights on as you return home from work and shut them off when no one is home.
This feature turns lights on and off at random intervals so that it appears as if someone is home when you're out or on vacation. It's a useful deterrent for would-be burglars.
You won't pay much more than $35 for an Alexa-enabled smart plug. At the higher end of the price range, plugs have more features like scheduling and power-usage monitoring. The most expensive smart plugs are designed for outdoor use and allow for condition automation.
Q. Do I need a hub to use a smart plug?
A. No. Many Alexa-enabled smart plugs do not require the use of a hub.
Q. Can I use different brands of smart plugs in a single home?
A. In theory, you can install different brands of smart plugs in your home, but then they all need to be controlled via a separate app, which is quite inconvenient.
Smart plugs for Alexa we recommend
Best of the best: TP-LINK's Kasa Smart WiFi Plug
Our take: A feature-packed option from a reputable name in smart technology.
What we like: Has a convenient scheduling feature. Compatible with a variety of WiFi routers. No hub required. Allows users to create custom names for plugs and use them with Alexa. Also features an Away mode.
What we dislike: Secure 2.4GHz required to function.
Our take: A popular Alexa-enabled model with an affordable price tag.
What we like: Accompanying app is free. No hidden monthly fees. No hub required. Risk-free satisfaction guarantee. 2.4GHz WiFi enabled.
What we dislike: App doesn't always work reliably.
Choice 3: Supernight's WiFi Smart Plug
Our take: A handy smart plug that doubles as a sensor-activated night light.
What we like: Quick to set up and pair with Alexa. Features two outlets. The night light features a dusk-to-dawn sensor.
What we dislike: Not 5GHz compatible.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds
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