Best smart plugs: These gadgets will turn any electrical outlet into a smart socket

Rob Schultz / IDG
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Every room in your house has them: power outlets, and they’re about as dumb as technology can be. To create a true smart home, you need to upgrade the way your wiring works, so that it can be controlled, managed, and monitored from afar.

You could hire an electrician to rip out your existing outlets and replace them with smart in-wall models, but there’s an easier, less-expensive way: Stick a smart plug in those outlets. They work just the way they sound: The outlet in the wall doesn’t change, you just configure the add-on plug using an app, connect it to your network, and use it to control whatever’s plugged into it.

Smart plugs are handy in all kinds of ways. Some models have built-in dimmers, so you can adjust the brightness of the lamp that’s plugged into them; others can power small appliances, such as a fan or space heater. Others can be scheduled, so you can make your home look lived in while you’re away on vacation, or so that you can limit the hours your kids can play video games or watch TV.

Which smart plug is best for your home? Here are our top choices, plus a shopping guide that will help you decide which one is right for you if none of our picks fits your needs. You can also click here to see a list of the all the smart plugs we’ve reviewed to date.

Updated July 31, 2019 to add review of the Braumm P11 WiFi Smart Plug, one of the more uninspiring products you’ll find in this category. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, and there is a companion in-wall switch that uses the same app, but there’s nothing innovative about this product, either.

Best smart plug for most people

Leviton’s Decora DW15P smart plug is our new favorite in this category. It connects to your network over Wi-Fi, so there’s no hub required. And its slim form factor means you can plug two of them into the same duplex outlet. But what renders it unique in this class of products is that it’s a dual-band device, meaning it can operate on both 2.4- and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. That’s a great feature if you live in an area that’s saturated with devices operating on the 2.4GHz frequency band.

Runner-up

The Currant WiFi Smart Outlet costs quite a bit more than Leviton’s offering, but in addition to looking prettier, it delivers two independently controllable smart outlets while consuming just one receptacle.

Best smart plug for power users

The hub in Lutron’s starter kit can control more than just the smart plugs that come with it. It also supports Lutron’s in-wall dimmer switches and you can use it to schedule and automate Lutron’s line of Serena powered window shades. What’s more, you can incorporate the kit into a broader smart home system, and it’s compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, too.

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Source : Macworld