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Best smart plug 2022: Make your house a smart home the cheap and easy way with smart plugs from £12

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You don’t have to spend a fortune to turn your house into a smart home - here's our selection of the best smart plugs on the market

We live in the “smart home” age – but it's a fair bet that only a handful of the appliances in your home are designed to be controlled from your phone, or via voice commands. A smart plug could be the answer. These simple little mains adaptors let you use an app or a voice assistant to effortlessly turn the power on and off – or, they can do it automatically to a set schedule.

There’s a wide range of smart plugs on the market, and it’s not always obvious what the difference is between them. Here’s our guide to choosing the right smart plug, and our pick of the best models. But first of all, here are two hot smart plug deals to cast your eyes over.

How to buy the best smart plug for you

The first thing to know about smart plugs is that, while they may be much smarter than your average power socket, they have their limitations. You can use one with any appliance fitted a three-pin plug, but their capabilities only extend as far as turning the mains power on and off. If an appliance requires you to press a physical button to operate it – as with, say, a dishwasher or a coffee machine – then there’s not much benefit to installing a smart plug.

However, these handy little gadgets still have plenty of uses around the house. For instance, you can:

Switch lights on and off: A smart plug can’t control your wall switches, but it will work perfectly with any plugged-in upright lamps. It’s more convenient than fumbling for a switch, and you can also schedule the lights to switch on and go off whenever you like – a simple way to deter intruders, as your home will appear to be occupied even if you’re away.

Wake up in the morning: A smart plug can help rouse you from your morning slumber, by turning on the radio or even switching on a kettle – just make sure it’s filled it with water the night before. You could even turn your lights on, as long as you’re not the type to hide under the duvet.

Keep your home safe: You can set a smart plug to switch on security cameras overnight, then disable them when you’re home – so they’re not running all the time, wasting power and storage. You could also use cut the power to domestic appliances when they're not in use, to cut the risk of electrical accident. At Christmas, why not rig up a smart plug to control the lights on your tree and manage any external lights that are connected indoors?

Reduce power consumption: Using a smart plug to turn off electrical items when they’re not needed isn't just about safety - it can save electricity too. Some plugs even have a built-in energy-monitoring feature that analyses each connected device’s power consumption, so you can see at a glance just how much energy your devices are consuming, and take control of your electricity usage.

Will a smart plug work on my home network?

Most domestic smart plugs connect to your router via standard 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, so you should have no problem. A few however use low-power networking systems such as Z-Wave and Zigbee to communicate with a wired hub – be aware that the hub may cost extra, and you'll need a spare Ethernet socket on your router to connect it to.

The other issue to consider is reach. If you want to install a smart plug at the far end of your home, or in your garden shed, you’ll need to make sure it has a stable connection to the router or it simply won’t work.

Do I need an Amazon Echo or Google Home to use a smart plug?

Not at all. Most smart plugs are designed to work with voice-assistant hardware, but there’s almost always a smartphone app too, which you can use to remotely control your smart plugs and set up schedules. Sometimes a website allows you to check your appliances and control them from anywhere in the world.

Can my smart plug respond to external events?

Probably, yes. Many smart plugs integrate directly with IFTTT or other automation platforms, so you can set up triggers to make them turn on and off in response to external events. For example, if you have a smart thermostat, you can set the fan to automatically turn on when the room exceeds a certain temperature. Or, if you have a motion sensor, you can set a security light to turn on whenever movement is detected.

Can I use a smart plug with a multi-way mains adapter?

Absolutely: electrically speaking, it’s just a switch. Plugging a mains adapter into a smart plug lets you turn multiple appliances on and off at the same time – although of course you won’t have the ability to turn them on individually. If that’s what you need, you’ll have to invest in multiple smart plugs, or a smart multi-way adapter.

What other features should I look out for?

A smart plug doesn’t have to be a complicated thing, but there are some bells and whistles that you might want to look out for. A visual status indicator lets you see at a glance that the plug is connected to your network and responding to commands. A physical button for manually toggling the power can be handy too: if you’re standing at the socket, it’s easier than pulling out your phone, and better than switching the socket off at the wall (because this will disable the smart plug altogether).

Some smart plugs keep logs, so you can track exactly when your appliances are switched on and off, which could be useful for troubleshooting. The most sophisticated models include a power meter, so you can see exactly how much juice your appliance is consuming, and perhaps tweak the schedule as needed.

READ NEXT: The best smart speakers, running Alexa and Google Assistant

The best smart plugs you can buy

1. Kasa HS100 Smart Wi-Fi Plug: Best all-round smart plug

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

TP-Link is a big brand in home networking, and this funky smart plug connects directly to your wireless network, with no need for a separate control hub. It can be controlled from the Kasa app for Android and iOS, even if you’re away from home, and also interfaces directly with Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT and Nest, so it’s guaranteed to slot into your lifestyle.

We’re particular fans of the Kasa HS100’s novel “Away Mode”, which randomly turns the plug on and off throughout the day, to make it look like you’re home. And an automatic timer option lets you set the plug to automatically shut off after a certain period – so you can use it as a safety provision for irons, electric heaters and other such appliances.

While the HS100 is big on features, it’s nicely compact, with a tasteful curved design. Two LEDs at the front let you see at a glance whether it’s connected, and whether the socket is switched on or off – though sadly there’s no power button. If you want even more from your smart plug, consider stepping up to the HS110 model, which includes a power consumption monitor and a handy USB socket at the side for charging mobile devices.

Key specs – Networking support: 2.4GHz 802.11bgn; Smartphone app: Yes; Voice assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana; Schedule: Yes; Power monitor: No; Buttons: Wi-Fi pair; Indicators: Network status LED, socket power LED; Dimensions (WDH): 77 x 67 x 100mm

2. Amazon Smart Plug: Best smart plug for Alexa

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon’s own-brand smart socket is expensive, but since it comes directly from the same manufacturer as the Echo, you can be certain it will work perfectly with Alexa, now and into the future.

Setup is a breeze – you just have to use the Alexa smartphone app to scan a QR code printed on the back of the plug. The app then prompts you to give the socket a name and set up schedules and routines as needed. The plug looks rather boxy, but it measures just 56mm wide, so it shouldn't block adjacent sockets. A single LED shines blue when the socket is powered on, or red if there’s a network error.

There are a couple of things to be aware of before choosing the Amazon Smart Plug. Predictably, it can’t be controlled from Google Home devices. More disappointingly, it’s also not currently supported by IFTTT, though we hope that’ll change before long.

A final possible niggle is that, while the Amazon Smart Plug has a handy on/off button, it’s tucked away at the side – so you might not be able to access it if there’s something else plugged in next to it. Overall though it’s a great choice for Alexa fans.

Key specs – Networking support: 2.4GHz 802.11bgn; Smartphone app: Alexa app; Voice assistant: Alexa; Schedule: Via Alexa app; Power monitor: No; Buttons: Power on/off; Indicators: Network/power status LED; Dimensions (WDH): 56 x 63 x 97mm

Buy now from Amazon


3. Devolo 9500 Smart Metering Plug: Best plug for smart-home enthusiasts

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

Devolo’s smart socket features an integrated power meter – so you can use the dedicated smartphone app or web portal to track the energy consumption of whatever you have plugged into it, and see how you might make efficiencies.

If you’re hoping to save money, however, then buying this particular smart plug might not be the best way to go about it. It’s well designed, with a clever combined status LED and power switch at the front, and support for both Alexa and Google Home – but it’s also the most expensive model we’ve seen. What’s more, on top of the unit cost you also need to shell out for a dedicated control hub, which must be wired up to your router. Devolo’s Central Unit costs a steep £110, though other Z-Wave controllers can be used.

Still, it’s certainly a versatile plug: as well as app and voice control, you can access it over the web via the Home Control portal, which supports schedules and automation for Devolo’s whole family of smart home products. That’s where this plug really makes sense – as part of a wider platform, to be installed and controlled alongside devices such as motion sensors, thermostats and radiator valves.

Key specs – Networking support: Z-Wave connection to wired hub; Smartphone app: Yes; Voice assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant; Schedule: Yes; Power monitor: Yes; Buttons: Power on/off; Indicators: Network status LED; Dimensions (WDH): 77 x 58 x 94mm


4. Hive Active Plug: Best for Hive owners

Price: £39 | Buy now from Amazon

From the same stable as the Hive online heating system, this smart plug frankly isn’t much to look at. It’s unobtrusive, though, and the dimple at the front is actually an LED that shines softly green to show that it’s connected to the network. It’s a shame that it doesn’t change colour to indicate the state of the socket, but we do like the big, clicky button at the top which lets you turn the power on and off.

Like the Devolo, the Hive plug is a great choice if you’re already using heating or home security devices from the same manufacturer. It integrates beautifully with the Hive smartphone app and the web portal, allowing you to set up complex routines that respond to other Hive devices and work with time limits and schedules. There’s also an Alexa skill and native support for Google Home, so you can switch the connected appliance on and off using only the power of your voice.

The downside is the price, which is particularly high for a smart plug that doesn’t contain a wattmeter. What’s more, if you don’t already have a Hive system in your phone you’ll need to buy a hub as well, for an extra £80. If you’re just dipping a toe into basic home automation, this probably isn’t the right starting place – but as an extension to an existing Hive setup it’s well worth a look.

Key specs – Networking support: ZigBee connection to wired hub; Smartphone app: Yes; Voice assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant; Schedule: Yes; Power monitor: No; Buttons: Power on/off; Indicators: Power status; Dimensions (WDH): 58 x 50 x 55mm