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Best Smart Plugs 2021: Turn dumb things into smart things

A smart plug is just about the most convenient and useful bit of kit that you can add to any smart home. From making a dumb light smart to controlling when your tools charge, a smart plug gives you control over devices that you’d normally have to adjust manually.

There are plenty of different types of plug available, from simple one-socket ones, to power strips that let you control multiple devices. Here, I’ve rounded up the best selection of each, so that you can find the right smart plug for you.

With a home full of smart technology, all plugs are tested for compatibility with all voice assistants and smart systems, such as IFTTT, so you can rely on this being the best choice.

Learn more about how we test smart plugs

We test smart plugs in the same way, so that we can compare different models from different manufacturers. For each plug we make sure that we connect it via all methods available. We also see how easy it is to plug in other devices next to the smart plug.

We have a host of smart home kit in our test lab, so we test smart plugs for compatibility with all types of smart system, including Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT.

A tiny smart plug with lots of features
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Pros

  • Very small
  • Doesn’t require a hub
  • Good app

Cons

  • No geolocation

An updated to the older smart plug, the TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim is a much thinner smart plug. In fact, it’s so thin that it won’t block any sockets if you use it in a double wall socket.

TP-Link’s Kasa app is excellent, giving you all of the features that you’d expect, including timers, schedules, an away mode (this randomly turns the plug on and off, so you can fake occupancy by, say, connecting the plug to a lamp). The only thing that’s missing is geolocation to trigger the plug automatically based on where you are.

However, you can add this feature using the IFTTT service. There are Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control, and you can even hook the plug up to Samsung SmartThings if you want to control everything through there. Most importantly, this plug is really cheap, so what more could you want?

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim review

The most flexible smart plug that you can buy
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Pros

  • Works with HomeKit
  • Excellent size
  • Can use without Hue Bridge thanks to Bluetooth

Cons

  • Slightly fiddly accessory setup

Designed to work with the Philips Hue lighting system, the Philips Hue Smart Plug can work with either Zigbee (if you have a Hue Bridge) or Bluetooth. The former is the best option, and we recommend this smart plug for those that have a full Hue system. There are two main reasons. First, Zigbee has better range and reliability than Wi-Fi and, secondly, if you have a network failure, you can still operate the smart plug using a Hue remote control.

Connecting to the Hue ecosystem gives this smart plug another advantage: it’s the only smart plug that we’ve tested that works with Apple HomeKit, so you can include this product in all of your automations. Otherwise, there’s Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT support.

Installation through the Hue app is a little fiddly and, if you just want to control this plug via a device, you’ll need to put it in its own room or Zone. If you don’t have Hue already, then one of the other products on this list will do a better job; if you do, then buy this one.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Philips Hue Smart Plug review

An excellent value smart plug, particularly when bought in a four-pack
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Pros

  • Decent app, particularly if you use Smart Life
  • Compatible with lots of other products
  • Excellent value as a four-pack

Cons

  • A little expensive for one

The TCP Smart WiFi Plug is tiny and won’t obscure a second socket, so you can even use it next to larger plugs. Its default software is pretty good, but this plug is compatible with the Smart Life app, which opens it to working with tonnes of other devices from lots of other manufacturers.

In the app, you get basic control, but you can add automations, making your plug work how and when you want it to. Smart Life also brings IFTTT, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

While one of these plugs is quite expensive, they’re cheaper if bought in a two- or four-pack, making them excellent value if you need more than one device.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: TCP Smart WiFi Plug

A handy power strip that lets you control three devices individually
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Pros

  • Convenient design
  • Powerful app
  • Great value

Cons

  • Short power cable

You can plug any multi-way strip into a smart plug, but what if you want to control multiple devices individually? The best way to do that is with the TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip. This product gives you three individually controllable sockets all in one neat device, and you get two USB devices for charging, too. The main power cable is a little short but that’s our only complaint.

Controlled via the TP-Link Kasa app, each socket can have its own name and icon, giving you full individual control, including schedules and power toggling. Individual control spills over into other places, too, with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings and IFTTT support.

More importantly, the price of this product makes it cheaper than buying three individual smart plugs and plugging them into an extension strip.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip review

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FAQs

What type of smart plug do you want? 

Smart plugs are available as either single plugs or as strips, with multiple individually-controlled sockets. The latter is a good choice if you’ve got multiple devices that you want to control close together.

What size plug is best for you?

Some smart plugs can be quite large, obstructing the second socket in a double socket. Our reviews tell you how big each smart plug is, so that you can find the right type for you.

What protocol do you need?

Smart plugs can work on multiple protocols, although Wi-Fi is the most common. With Wi-Fi, you just connect the plug to your home network, so all you need is a strong enough signal where you want to plug in. If you get a smart plug that uses a smart home protocol, such as Zigbee, you’ll need to have a compatible system, such as Philips Hue.

What integrations do you want?

Smart plugs are best when integrated into other systems. At a minimum, you’ll want your plug to work with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can have voice control. Look out for SmartThings or HomeKit integration if you want to integrate your plug into routines. IFTTT support is also useful if you want to automate how your plug works.

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