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Best Smart Plugs 2021: Turn dumb things into smart things

The best smart plugs right now

Smart plugs are an essential part of any smart home. Turning the dumb into the smart, with the best smart plug you can toggle devices on or off from anywhere in the world. Whether you want to turn on a lamp that you love, improving convenience, or check if you’ve left the iron on when you go out, smart plugs are surprisingly versatile additions to any home. We’ve tested tonnes of smart plugs, from big names to little brands, to bring you the best choices currently available.

What to look out for when buying a smart plug

You can skip down to our list of smart plugs if you already know what you’re looking for. If you’re not sure, then here’s a handy list of questions that you should be asking yourself before you buy.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. What do you want to use your plug for? Turning lights on and off is a common use, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, our guide to the best uses for a smart plug will give you some alternative choices.

The best overall smart plug is the TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim

TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug in socket

Specifications:

Plug type: Single plug | Number of plugs: 1 | Dimensions: 73 x 52 x 38mm | Connection: Wi-Fi | Smart assistants: Google Home, Amazon Alexa

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • No geolocation

Read our full TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim review

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?

The best smart plug for Apple HomeKit is the Philips Hue Smart Plug

Philips Hue Smart Plug hero

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

Plug type: Single plug | Number of plugs: 1 | Dimensions: 51 x 51 x 84mm | Connection: Bluetooth and Zigbee | Smart assistants: Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Slightly fiddly accessory setup

Read our full Philips Hue Smart Plug review

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.

 

The best multi-way smart plug is the TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip

TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip hero

 

Specifications:

Plug type: Single plug | Number of plugs: 3 | Dimensions: 39 x 260 x 64mm | Connection: Wi-Fi | Smart assistants: Google Home, Amazon Alexa

Pros:

  • Convenient design
  • Powerful app
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Short power cable

Read our full TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip review

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.

The best integrated smart plug is the Lightwave Generation 2 smart sockets

Specifications:

Plug type: Wall socket | Number of plugs: 2 | Dimensions: 39 x 260 x 64mm | Connection: Proprietary | Smart assistants: Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri

Pros:

  • Quality dedicated switches
  • Works with HomeKit
  • Looks neat

Cons:

  • Expensive

Read our full Lightwave Generation 2 Smart Socket review

If you don’t want a clunky old smart plug sticking out of your wall, the Lightwave Generation 2 Smart Socket is the way to go. You’ll need a bit of DIY skill to replace an existing double socket, but you get a far neater experience.

Each socket is individually controllable via the Lightwave app, and you can manually tap the power button to turn a socket on or off. From the app, you can set schedules, automatically turning your sockets on and off when you like; again, it could be a handy way of fooling people into thinking that you’re at home.

The main benefit of the Generation 2 kit is that the protocol used has state, so you can see if your socket is turned on or off. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support are built-in, but the sockets are also compatible with Apple HomeKit, which makes them a rarity.

Lightwave’s DIY approach gives you a neater finish, but the installation is trickier. If you plan to kit out the rest of your home with Lightwave light switches and sockets, this is the best option; for one-off control, a traditional smart plug is a better bet.

  • Best overall smart plug: TP-Link Kasa KP105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim
  • Best smart plug for Apple HomeKit: Philips Hue Smart Plug
  • Best multi-way smart plug: TP-Link Kasa KP303 Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip
  • Best integrated smart plug: Lightwave Generation 2 smart sockets