The Best Smart Plugs For 2020
Smart plugs are a quick and easy way to take your non-smart electronics and turn them into semi-smart devices.
By using smart plugs with your existing electronics at home, you can add smart functionality to anything that draws power from the wall. You can do things such as create the ability to turn them off and on remotely, by voice or even on a schedule.
Smart plugs intercept the power from your wall outlet and allow devices to use that power based on rules and controls you setup.
But, like all smart products, there are a variety to choose from, and some are naturally better than others. We’ve included a selection of smart plugs below and reviewed them to help you make the right decision when buying smart plugs.
So, which is the right smart plug for you?
Why Are All These Smart Plugs 2.4GHz WiFi Only?
Unfortunately, every smart plug we could find only supports 2.4GHz WiFi and not the much more modern (and faster) 5GHz. I can only assume that the manufacturers want to save some money here, and therefore are opting for the cheaper outdated tech.
Although, perhaps they have compatibility in mind. Knowing that they can only fit one wireless chip inside, they have opted for the older technology simply because they know it’s more widely compatible – who knows.
Some customers seem to have had a hard time setting these up, perhaps due to poor instructions and lack of customer support. BUT if you’ve set this kind of thing up before, then you probably already know what you’re doing, and most users reported a very easy setup. In fact, most of the customers with issues seemed to have more trouble getting their WiFi router to broadcast a 2.4GHz signal in the first place.
Do Smart Plugs Use a Lot Of Power?
The short answer is no. While smart plugs are always on, they use very little power when they’re essentially waiting for instructions from the wifi network.
Will a smart plug pay for itself in energy savings? The answer is maybe. For example, your phone charger doesn’t draw enough power while not in use to warrant using a smart plug. In this case, a smart plug would simply be installed for convenience as opposed to power saving. However, if we’re talking about larger devices i.e. your TV, surround sound, game console etc. then yes, using a smart plug to control when it can access power would be cost effective and a smart plug would likely pay for itself in as little as 71 days.
Are Smart Plugs Secure?
The security of your smart plugs (and any smart home device) relies entirely on what it’s connected to. As we’ve seen, all smart plugs only work on the 2.4GHz wifi band, and so the security question arises – is your 2.4GHz wifi band secure? Most smart devices store some data locally, and so if someone was to gain access to your network, there’s a potential for them to view that data.
The other concern is over apps and cloud data storage. The level of data that smart device companies collect and store varies from product to product. It’s important to read up first, and checkout their terms and policies to determine if you’re comfortable with the data being collected.