When you think of smart devices, your first thought is likely about expensive learning thermostats or home security cameras. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to begin transforming your house into a smart home. Really, all it takes is a TP-Link Smart Plug or two, which sells for less than $30 each.
In this article, you’ll learn more about how this tiny device can turn any dumb device into a smart one. You’ll also learn about similar products on the market and how to integrate them into your home.
Yes, It’s Smart
Once set up, the TP-Link Smart Plug can help you easily manage your home electronics and appliances anytime, anywhere. To get started, just insert the plug into your wall outlet. Next, download the free Kasa app from the App Store or Google Play Store and follow the directions to connect the plug to your home network.
The best thing about the TP-Link Smart Plug? It doesn’t require a separate hub like other smart home products. You just need Wi-Fi in your home to access all of the product’s functionality.
There’s a lot the TP-Link Smart Plug can do. Here are some examples:
- Connect the plug to a light and schedule a time for when the power turns on/off. Perhaps at dusk and sunrise. Or use the plug’s away mode to turn your devices on/off at different times of the day. This way, strangers will think you’re at home, even when you’re not.
- When the plug’s connected to an electrical device such as a curling iron, a fan, or a coffee pot, set a time limit. Your appliance will then turn off automatically, guaranteeing you some added peace of mind. If a time limit isn’t ideal, you can always turn off the plug using the app from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
- Rather use your voice? When paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can operate the smart plug using only your voice. Commands like “Turn on the living room light” or “Turn off the TV” can make your life a lot easier if your hands are full or you’re entering a dark room.
- Use the plug for certain electronics (such as a television or desktop computer) that you don’t want your children to have access to after a certain time at night. No power? No late-night gaming.
Add Energy Monitoring
Some smart plugs on the market have now added an energy control feature. The one on the TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug analyzes a device’s real-time and historical power consumption. The data is then shared in an easy-to-understand format on the app.
Using this data, you can get a better idea of how much energy you use in your home. Better still, you can find out which devices are using the most energy, and adjust your usage accordingly.
Different Prices and Styles
There are three TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plugs available. The HS100 ($30/£22) is the base model while the identical HS110 ($40) includes the energy monitoring system. The HS105 ($35/£30) is a compact version of the HS100.
Looking to buy in bulk? Discounted two-pack kits are available.
More Than Smart Plugs
One of the biggest advantages of using a TP-Link Smart Plug is the company that created it. TP-Link has been making networking products for over 20 years, and it’s one of the few wireless networking companies to manufacture its products in-house.
Besides smart plugs, the company’s lineup of smart home products include switches, cameras, light bulbs, and range extenders. TP-Link’s most popular overall home products include the Deco M5 Whole-Home Wi-Fi system, plus routers, network expanders, modems, and gateways.
Smart plugs have become an important product in the smart home industry. Besides TP-Link, it seems that everyone is releasing this type of product for the home. Among the many alternatives available are the following.
The D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug ($20) allows you to turn your devices on or off from your smartphone or tablet. You can also use it to create schedules. For voice control, it works with Amazon Alexa. For additional use, you can pair the smart plug with D-Link’s Wi-Fi Water Sensor, Wi-Fi Siren, Wi-Fi Motion Sensor, and Wi-Fi HD Camera.
With the iDevices Switch ($49), you can monitor the energy usage of any device plugged into it. Use the switch to create unlimited schedules or a scene to turn on multiple devices with one command.
Use Apple HomeKit? The iDevices Switch is one of the few smart plugs that’s compatible with Apple’s protocol. It also works with Amazon Alexa.
The ConnectSense Smart Outlet ($60/£60) includes two Wi-Fi connected sockets that you can control and monitor separately. Featuring Siri voice control through Apple HomeKit, the device also includes a 2.4 amp USV charging port for smartphones and tablets.
Like other smart plugs, the ConnectSense allows you to create scenes to control your home. For example, you can use scenes to turn on your lights, close your garage door, and more.
As its name suggests, the Elgato Eve Energy ($50/£45) device puts great emphasis on tracking your home’s power consumption. It does so by using Bluetooth Smart technology instead of Wi-Fi, setting it apart from the majority of smart plugs on this list.
Apple HomeKit-compatible, Eve Energy is one of four smart home products currently on the market from Elgato. There’s also a temperature and humidity monitor, wireless indoor sensor, and wireless outdoor sensor.
The Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($35) is Wi-Fi-enabled and works with Amazon Alexa. It requires only Wi-Fi, not a separate hub. It features a sleek form factor allowing you to stack two plugs in the same outlet — a significant limitation faced by users of other smart plug models.
Use the Wemo Mini Smart Plug to schedule when devices turn on/off, or select the security-based away mode to turn your devices on and off randomly throughout the day. You can pair the device with Amazon Alexa and Nest for added benefits.
Some Things to Remember
When selecting a smart plug for your home, make sure that it’s a current model. You don’t want to be stuck with an unsupported device, especially since the smart home market changes so quickly! Additionally, you’ll want to confirm that the device doesn’t require a separate hub to operate. With voice control growing in popularity, you are likely to achieve the best functionality with a plug that has Amazon Alexa and/or Apple HomeKit compatibility.
Finally, look for a discount. While smart plugs are cheaper than many smart home gadgets, depending on the number you wish to buy your overall investment can get expensive very quickly. Luckily, these items are often on sale at certain times of the year, especially around holidays like Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Do you already use smart plugs in your home? Which model(s) do you use and what is your favorite use for them? Leave your comments below!