- Smart plugs can control multiple connected devices, adding automation to lights or small appliances.
- Most smart plugs are simple, but more complex installations can control every outlet in your home.
- The Wyze Plug 2-pack is an affordable, flexible option that’s great for smart home novices.
Smart plugs or outlets rank among the most intuitive, flexible, and useful smart devices you can buy. These simple devices can add smart remote control and automation to anything that uses a standard home power outlet.
Smart plugs are the perfect entry point for smart-home devices but are also critical for any advanced smart-home system. You could add a smart plug to every outlet in your home or even replace the in-wall outlets with smart outlets for a seamless system.
Wyze, TP-Link, and Lutron offer a variety of options, whether you want a single smart plug, a power strip, or a whole-house system.
Here are the best smart outlets you can buy:
- Best smart plug overall: Wyze Smart Home Plug
- Best smart plug for future expansion: TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug HS103
- Best smart power strip: TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300
- Best smart power strip for Apple HomeKit: Eve Energy Strip
- Best smart plug for Apple HomeKit: WeMo Mini Smart PlugB
- Best outdoor smart plug: TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug KP400
- Best smart outlet: Enbrighten 55256 Smart Receptacle
- Best smart plug for a whole-home system: Lutron Caséta Wireless Starter Kit
The Wyze Smart Home Plug is an affordable, simple, reliable option for those new to smart-home devices or experts who need basic features.
Sold in a two-pack that’s less expensive than solo competitors, each Wyze Smart Home Plug is small enough to fit a pair into a standard home power outlet. The plugs connect to your home’s Wi-Fi through an app-based setup process and can be controlled with that same app after setup is complete.
The plug supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so it’s possible to control it through voice commands. Aside from turning plugs on or off, the Wyze app provides basic shortcut and scheduling features so you can automate when devices are powered on. Wyze also supports IFTTT integration for users wanting more complex automation.
While the Wyze Plug is often a great value, sales on competitors can sometimes dip prices lower. The Wyze product ecosystem is expanding but remains a bit limited compared to Philips or TP-Link. Apple’s HomeKit isn’t supported, either.
Still, the Wyze Plug is a smart choice for most people. It’s affordable, effective, and has options for expansion and customization without overwhelming novices.
The best smart plug for future expansion
TP-Link is well-known in the smart-home space, and the Kasa Smart Plug HS103 is among the company’s most popular products.
The TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug HS103‘s feature list is almost identical to the Wyze Plug. The Kasa 103 is small enough to fit two plugs in a standard power outlet at once. It connects over Wi-Fi and is controlled through an intuitive smartphone app.
The plug supports voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and is compatible with those ecosystems. TP-Link’s app includes basic automation and grouping, with more advanced automation available through IFTTT.
How do you choose between the Wyze and TP-Link Kasa plugs? It’s a choice between simplicity and expandability. Wyze’s app has a slight edge in approachability. Its product ecosystem, though not robust, is easy to understand. TP-Link’s Kasa ecosystem is massive and more difficult to navigate, but you can find products that Wyze doesn’t have, like smart LED light strips and light switches.
The best smart power strip
Smart power strips like the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 give you more flexibility and control over several devices.
Smart plugs are useful but are limited to just one or two devices. That doesn’t work in a home office, home theater, or any other room where multiple appliances are plugged in to a power strip. TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300 is a good solution.
You’ll find six power outlets, each of which can be controlled or automated individually. The surge protector also has three USB-A ports for charging smartphones or tablets, though they’re “dumb” ports that don’t support remote control or automation. For the outlets, you’ll be able to monitor energy consumption via the app.
This smart power strip supports most of the features of the Kasa Smart Plug HS103, including voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, though it’s not compatible with IFTTT. The Kasa Smart app can be used to group devices or set automation schedules. This is a Wi-Fi device, so no smart hub is required.
As with TP-Link’s smart plugs, this power strip is a great value. The price is as low as smart power strips go, yet the features offered are similar to more expensive alternatives.
The best smart power strip for Apple HomeKit
The Eve Energy Strip is an expensive smart power strip with a premium look that will fit in well alongside an organized, minimalist home office.
The Eve Energy Strip is ideal for those who don’t want to pair their $3,000 iMac with unattractive smart-home plugs. Based on its price and design, perhaps it’s not a surprise that Apple HomeKit is the only smart-home ecosystem it supports.
There’s more to the Eve Energy Strip than looks, though. HomeKit integration makes it wonderfully simple for users heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, and Siri voice control is supported. The power strip connects over Wi-Fi.
The intuitive app supports the usual features, like scheduling and grouping, and throws in energy monitoring. Eve’s energy monitoring interface is easy to understand and can help target devices that are consuming more energy than expected.
Eve’s product ecosystem covers some very specialized use cases. This includes water sensors, window sensors, and a weather station, all of which are HomeKit compatible. None of the company’s products are affordable, but they’re great if you care about the design and durability of your smart home devices.
The best smart plug for Apple HomeKit
The WeMo Mini Smart Plug has some great features, but its HomeKit support is its biggest draw for those who use Apple’s ecosystem.
WeMo’s Mini Smart Plug is among the smallest and most attractive sold right now, but those aren’t the only reasons to buy it. This plug’s killer feature is simple. It supports Apple HomeKit.
That’s not its only feature, of course. The WeMo Smart Plug also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It connects over Wi-Fi and has a simple, app-based setup process that’s among the most intuitive around.
Other smart plugs offer the standard range of features for less. A single WeMo is often sold for more than a pair of smart plugs from other brands. Still, the WeMo Smart Plug is the most affordable option for HomeKit fans, making it an easy choice for Apple enthusiasts.
The best outdoor smart plug
Built for outdoor use, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug KP400 offers voice control, easy setup, and scheduling options.
Most smart plugs are designed for indoor use, which means they aren’t resistant to extreme heat or cold and will fail if exposed to moisture. TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug KP400, however, has an IP64 weather-resistant certification. It is completely sealed against dust intrusion and can survive splashing water.
In addition to durability, the Kasa KP400 turns a single plug into two. That’s great because the average home never seems to have enough outdoor outlets.
The Kasa KP400’s features are otherwise the same as indoor plugs. It supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. It uses the same Kasa Smart app as other TP-Link Kasa products, so you can expect simple installation, plus support for groups and scheduling. The plug connects over Wi-Fi.
Despite its added durability, the Kasa KP400 is just a few dollars more expensive than indoor plugs, which makes it a great value.
The best smart outlet
The Enbrighten 55256 Smart Receptacle replaces an existing wall outlet with one that you can control with your voice or an app.
Enbrighten is among the few brands selling smart home outlets designed to be installed directly into a wall. The Enbrighten 55256 Smart Receptacle keeps the typical, flush look of a power outlet, which many homeowners will prefer. It’s also a better option for tight spaces where even small smart plugs could cause clearance issues.
The Enbrighten 55256 connects over the Z-Wave standard, which means you’ll need a Z-Wave-compatible smart-home hub. This smart outlet doesn’t have its own app. Instead you’ll use the interface provided by your hub to control it. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration remain available.
This smart outlet is operating on a different wavelength, both literally and figuratively, from other smart plugs on this list. It’s designed for smart-home systems installed by a DIY enthusiast or a professional. There’s nothing simple or intuitive about it.
Enbrighten offers a range of similar products that support either Z-Wave or Zigbee. While the 55256 is the model we list, we recommend you examine the entire product line before buying. The company’s products are best installed together as part of a system instead of added piecemeal over time.
The best smart plug for a whole-home system
Lutron’s Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge is meant for homeowners looking to build a large and complex smart home system.
Unlike other plugs here, the Lutron Caséta Wireless Starter Kit kit comes with a base station that is required to use the outlet. This is a must-have. Lutron uses its own proprietary wireless solution that is not compatible with Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-wave.
Despite this, Caséta’s Wireless Smart Bridge is broadly compatible with many smart home systems. It can be integrated with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Sonos.
The company also offers an extensive selection of powerful smart-home devices, including numerous switches and sensors. Lutron’s Caseta is designed for whole-home integration that will potentially control every light, fan, and switch in a house. It’s a reliable and attractive ecosystem that justifies its high price.
How to choose a smart plug or outlet
There are a few things to think about before buying a smart plug or outlet.
Smart plugs vs. smart outlets
Most of the products listed here are smart plugs. A smart plug is connected to an existing power outlet and other devices or appliances are connected to the plug.
Smart plugs are inexpensive, easy to use, and don’t require permanent installation. They’re great for both homeowners and renters. They do have downsides, however. Smart plugs add bulk to a wall outlet, which can be a problem if you have furniture directly in front of it. They can become confusing to manage as additional plugs are added, since each plug is listed and managed individually.
Smart outlets are an integrated solution that replaces existing hardware in the walls, so they’re not meant for renters. They’re more complex to install and may require a professional. They can be easier to use in the long run, though, if you intend to make every outlet and switch in your home a smart device.
Can you mix and match smart plugs and outlets from different brands?
There are dozens of smart plugs and outlets available. Most are easy to use out of the box but managing them can be a hassle as you try to expand your smart home.
Most smart plugs provide two options for control and management. The first is the app provided by the company that makes the smart plug. This will only work with devices made by that company.
Your second option is a broader platform like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. These can control devices from multiple brands, but the level of control you have over any specific device may be limited.
The existence of platforms like Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit means you can mix and match smart plugs and outlets from different brands. Compatibility between devices is not guaranteed, though, and you’ll need to install the app linked to each brand for initial setup.
You can mix and match if necessary, but your devices may not communicate as well as if they were from the same manufacturer.
What’s the difference between Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave?
All smart plugs and outlets are wireless, but they may use different wireless standards. Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave are the most common standards used today.
Wi-Fi, which is by far the most popular, is the same standard used to connect PCs, smartphones, game consoles, and other devices to your local Wi-Fi network. It doesn’t require new installation or setup of a wireless hub because most homes already have a Wi-Fi router. The only problem is network congestion. Large numbers of smart-home devices can clog up a Wi-Fi network, slowing connections or causing reliability issues.
Zigbee and Z-Wave are the other common wireless standards. They require a wireless hub that can communicate with compatible devices. Large homes may need multiple hubs. This adds to the cost and difficulty of setup, but Zigbee and Z-Wave tend to be more reliable when used to handle numerous connected devices.
It’s possible to use devices designed for different standards together if a platform is used as a bridge. For example, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi connected smart-home devices that are compatible with HomeKit will appear together in the HomeKit app.
With that said, it’s best to minimize mixing different wireless standards for the same reason it’s best to avoid mixing brands. The added complexity can make your smart-home system more difficult and time consuming to manage.
What we’re looking forward to testing
Manufacturers previewed dozens of new smart-home devices at CES 2021 in January. These included several attractive smart plugs that could be worth your attention when they hit store shelves.
- Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug: This is the first outdoor plug for Lutron’s popular Caséta smart-home system. It’s larger, more durable, and more expensive than the TP-Link Kasa plug that we recommend. The Caséta plug is likely overkill for most people but could be perfect for those already invested in Lutron’s other products.
- Konka Smart Plug: Konka, a Chinese brand best known for its televisions, announced a full line of smart-home products at CES 2021. This includes both single and dual-outlet smart plugs and a smart power strip. Pricing and availability haven’t been announced.