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The most inexpensive and modest component in the world of smart home technology, the smart outlet, may also be the most practical and easy to use. It’s small, portable, simple to operate through mobile apps, and doesn’t require a hub or other components. Of course, these plug adapters do have limitations; they should not be used for large appliances, and they cannot be used to perform complex actions inside of a device itself. They merely function to enable or disable the flow of electricity to so a device can be turned on or off remotely.

What Can You Plug into a Smart Outlet?

There are some things that it just doesn’t make sense to use these devices on, such as a phone charger or nightlight. On the other hand, the plugs can be extremely convenient for things like a coffee maker – you could connect it to a motion sensor in the bedroom so that it turns on when you wake up. Lights are evident – turn them on from your car before you go in the house, and dim them or shut them off after you’re already in bed. How is that for convenience?One glaring benefit of the smart outlet, even over the most advanced smart home technology, is that it can cut off power to energy-sucking devices like home entertainment components. Televisions and other home theater equipment are widely known to consume large amounts of energy even when it’s turned off. Many outlets now even include a feature that lets you see how much power your products are using, so you can identify the worst offenders and cut off power when you’re not actively using them.

The Best Smart Outlets

So, where do you start? With a bevy of brands, it can be tough to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Here are some of the most reliable, easiest to use smart plugs you can find:

  • Belkin WeMo Switch – there’s nothing particularly unique about this outlet, but it was one of the first and still considered one of the best. It’s incredibly easy to use, can be operated from an Android or iPhone through the mobile app, and because it is widely used, advice and help are easily obtained on the Internet. You can even set schedules for turning it on and off. And at $44, the price isn’t too painful. For a few bucks more, you can get the WeMo Insight, which has an integrated energy monitor.
  • Insteon On/Off – this is the most traditional looking of the options available today. It looks like a regular wall outlet, right down to the fact that it features two plugs. So even with a $62 price tag, you’re getting double the plug space. The downside is that you need either an Insteon controller device or an Insteon Hub to control it.
  • Aeon Labs Smart Energy Switch is more like a dongle, which allows it to be kept out of the way if you run out of space around your plugs. It has an energy monitor and is Z-Wave compatible.

There is no one perfect smart home solution for everything, and with the range of products available today you are sure to find just the thing for you. If you need some help with your smart home installation, contact ServiceLive Direct. We’ll get you in touch with the right expert electricians, home network installers, and any other professional you need to get your technology installed and working properly.

Sources:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-smart-plugs/

https://gigaom.com/2014/02/18/in-praise-of-the-humble-smart-plug-are-outlets-the-gateway-for-the-internet-of-things/

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About the author: Frank Jovine

 
 

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