Control your devices and appliances using smart plugs with Alexa

Published: Monday June 10, 2019 17:39

Let's make this clear: Whether they're marketed as smart switches, smart outlets, or any variation thereof, smart plugs are ultimately plug-in outlets (or power strips). They plug directly into a wall outlet or traditional power and have their own outlet you then plug into with the device you want to automate. You're not gaining or losing any outlets by plugging one in—you're simply making an existing outlet smart by connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network.

What Does a Smart Plug Do?

Once you're sure a smart plug will fit properly in your home, it's important to consider what it can do. Every plug we've tested lets you use your phone to turn control power—so if you've plugged in a lamp, for instance, you can turn it on or off no matter where you are. And most smart plugs also offer some form of scheduling. If you simply want to turn your connected coffee machine on at the same time every weekday morning, you can do that with any of the plugs on this list.

Scenes (this is the term most often used, but it might vary) let you program several devices to interact with each other. Some let you program scenes based on conditions such as temperature, humidity, and sunrise or sunset times. Others have preset "away" scenes for when you're on vacation, that turn connected devices on and off to make it look like someone is home. Scene options vary from plug to plug, so it's good to keep in mind what automation options fit your lifestyle.

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