Smart plugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are priced to suit any budget. They are also the main element of any smart home.
Forget about Internet connections, home networks and gadgets that enable remote control — smart plugs are where it all starts.
Here is everything you need to know about smart plugs and how they can help improve your smart home.
What is Smart Plug?
Smart plugs are located between the electrical outlet and the connected device. Various shapes, sizes and specifications are available. They all share a common quality: remote control. This is usually achieved using a Wi-Fi connection, although timers are used on older devices.
This allows you to set the plug to turn on or off at any time.
Wi-Fi smart plugs (such as TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Plug series) can be accessed remotely via an app or indirectly via IFTTT recipes creating an application-controlled outlet. The smart plugs are also compatible with Alexa (and Google Assistant) for added connectivity, making them ideal for any smart home project.
1. Wake up to Smart Plugs
What do you do the first morning? Perhaps you like to listen to the radio or enjoy a cup of coffee? You can warm up a croissant with butter and jam on it, starting the day off with all three.
Instead of getting out of bed and risking a barely conscious accident, why not use smart plugs to turn them on for you?
With less anxiety in the morning, you can focus on getting dressed and looking presentable. The benefits are multiplied if you have a family!
2. Enjoy preheated hair irons
Need to style your hair before going out? Why not set the smart plugs to turn on at the optimal time?
A timer or time-based app can be used to turn on the plug remotely, allowing the hair to heat up.
It may take a few days, but you should find that the hair irons are ready to use when you pick them up.
3. Fool of opportunistic robbers
Most burglaries are opportunistic crimes committed by thieves who are too lazy to even try to plan anything.
But what can a smart plug do to help?
If you’re away from home or staying for hours and are concerned about crime in your area, why not use smart plugs to control your light?
Here you can use a timer or an application. All you have to do to create the illusion of activity in your home is press a button on your smartphone to turn on the lights! Similarly, you can turn on the TV.
Used together with a wireless home security camera system, your property must be well protected.
4. Cook dinner while you’re at work
What other smart plug-ins can you use while working? How about cooking dinner?
I personally recommend that you rely on the pot for a healthier and tastier result than the microwave. Just add the ingredients before you head to work. You can activate the slow cooker remotely so that you have a very tasty meal to return home.
The budget will not expand to a smart plug with Wi-Fi? Just program your smart plug to be ready when you get home.
5. Feed your pet while working late
Think you won’t be home on time to feed your cat or dog? It’s always hard to leave pets out all day, but you wouldn’t want them to starve. While programmable, timed feeders are available, a trigger with a smart Wi-Fi plug is a good option.
After all, most nights you are at home to feed Fido. Connecting the ADF to a Wi-Fi smart jack is a smart backup.
6. Turn off the dryer at night
Clothes dryers have been proven to cause many house fires over the years. To avoid this, use a smart plug programmed to turn off the dryer after, say, midnight.
You can even buy Nest Protect using the IFTTT recipe to kill the dryer if smoke is detected. This has the advantage of ending a potential fire before it ignites.
Alternatively, you can program the smart plug to only turn on the dryer when electricity is cheaper to use.
7. Control your children’s consoles and TVs
A modern family home often has a children’s bedroom or playroom with a TV and game consoles. You may even have a computer, preferably with family safety software installed But what about TV and console?
Well, smart plugs come to the rescue again. Simply place between appliance and electrical outlet, setting a timer to turn devices off when agreed.
Also consider choosing a smart plug-in app to manage the time hardworking kids earn on their gaming console. This creates an application-controlled outlet for remote control of the console. Just don’t close until their game has been saved!
8. Remotely recharge device batteries
You are at work and you notice what a great day it is outside. While there’s little you can do to enjoy it at the office, a smart plug can help.
By leaving it connected to your garden trimmer’s battery, you can top it up in the middle of the day. By the time you get to the driveway, it’s ready to go!
Similarly, you can use a Wi-Fi connected smart plug to charge your vacuum cleaner. This can come in handy if you find your family dropping by and you need to tidy up quickly. Or make sure your electric drill is charged before you get home to build this IKEA wardrobe.
9. Keep warm in winter
Your lair, cave, office, or private study area… Whatever you call it, your lounge space can get pretty chilly in the winter. This is especially true if your space is a barn or attic.
What you need is a way to warm it up before you get in there. Why not connect an electric radiator to a smart jack and activate it remotely to heat the room in advance? If the radiator isn’t set too high and you don’t leave it alone for too long, you should end up in a nice, warm and cozy space.
10. Save money on your next e-purchase
How much do your electrical appliances cost to start? One of the main advantages of smart connectors is the ability to connect them to smart meters.
These devices can tell you what is being used and how often they are active.
Smart meters can measure how much it costs to charge a phone, tablet or laptop. You can use this information to estimate your electricity bill and choose a potentially more efficient device in the future!
Speaking of saving money with a smart product, you might consider investing in one of these smart sprinkler systems.
11. Warm up your bed before bed
Regardless of the season, if there is a cold spell or you live in a cool climate, an electric blanket is reasonable. This is doubly important if you are older and feel cold more than before.