Best smart plugs to buy in 2021 – CNET

Smart home devices are replacing our speakers, old light bulbs and even our refrigerators at a record pace. But what about the stuff in our homes that isn’t smart yet? That’s where smart plugs come in.

These nifty gadgets connect your regular lamp, fan, coffee maker, kitchen appliance or nearly anything else to your smart home for automation and voice control. There are models for every voice assistant. Some even work with all three: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. It’s a quick and affordable way to get more out of your smart home platform. 

Read more: Want to buy a smart plug? Read this first

With so many options out there, picking the best smart plug to turn on and off your newly connected devices means you’ll need to take a look at all your needs, your home’s connectivity setup, whether or not you want to use voice command and the platform you use to control it all — with “all” now including any wall outlet you choose.

We’ve tested dozens of the smart plugs from companies large and small, and these are our picks for the best smart plug to get the rest of your home online. We update this list periodically. Smart home devices, here we come!

Read more: These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home

Chris Monroe/CNET

TP-Link’s Kasa line of smart home products includes this space-saving smart plug. This smart device works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa via your Wi-Fi network, and the Kasa app (Android and iOS) offers plenty of detailed options for customizing scheduling, away modes and timers. 

What you won’t get? This WiFi smart plug doesn’t offer energy consumption data, a USB port or HomeKit compatibility. Still, if you’re interested in scheduling and using voice control and voice commands, TP-Link’s smart plug is a great choice to control a light switch or other connected device.

Read our TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

At just $15 for a two-pack, the Wyze Plug packs a punch, turning your home appliances into smart devices such as a smart light or a smart thermostat. We tested it at the CNET Smart Home, and the setup was straightforward.The Wyze Plug works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and comes with a physical on and off switch on the side of the plug. There’s no USB port on the side for additional charging. 

Voice commands in our testing worked well, and the plug’s size and design keep it from interfering with other outlets. There was noticeable lag powering devices on with the Wyze app, but your results may vary depending on your Wi-Fi strength. 

Molly Price/CNET

The WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug is affordable and comes with native Google Assistant, Alexa and yes, HomeKit compatibility.

The WeMo app isn’t our favorite app, and you won’t get energy monitoring with the WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug. Those shortfalls aside, this smart plug’s space-saving design and solid HomeKit compatibility make it easy to recommend to users in Apple’s ecosystem.

Read our WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug review.

The iDevices Outdoor Switch is a great way to automate outdoor lights, fans, lamps, switches or other patio electronics. This outdoor smart switch works with Google Assistant, Alexa and HomeKit via your Wi-Fi connection and includes energy tracking and remote control.

While you will get two outlets with this outdoor plug, you can’t control them individually. If that’s a must-have for you, we’d recommend checking out TP-Link Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug, which works with Google and Alexa and has a great companion app.

Read our iDevices Outdoor Switch review.

Other models we tested

There are dozens of smart plugs out there from companies large and small, and while we haven’t tested every single one, we’ve seen quite a few come through the CNET Smart Home. Here’s a quick look at other notable options. 

  • Amazon Smart Plug: A flagship for the brand, the Amazon smart plug costs $25 and only works with Amazon Alexa. While setup is easy, it isn’t as feature-rich as other models, which may be a deal breaker when you’re looking for a smart outlet.
  • Satechi Dual Smart Outlet: This HomeKit friendly smart plug costs $60, and you will get two outlets and energy monitoring capability. There isn’t any compatibility with Google Assistant and or Amazon Alexa, which won’t be tenable if you’re all in on your Alexa app.
  • iHome Outdoor: This $80 outdoor smart plug works with all three voice assistants, but you’ll only get one outlet. 
  • ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2: This $60 behemoth does it all — energy monitoring, individually controlled outlets, a USB port and LED status lighting. However, the price and unattractive, oversized design are enough to keep me from recommending it. Everyone loves a smart outlet, but no one likes an ugly one.
  • Koogeek: This $32 smart plug works well with HomeKit, but blocks adjacent outlets. Alexa or Google Assistant integrations aren’t as smooth as we’d like to see in our connected devices. 
  • Puregear Pureswitch: This HomeKit-centered smart plug is another solid choice for Apple smart homes, but it didn’t perform as well in our testing as other HomeKit compatible devices.
  • Eufy smart plug mini: This pint-size smart plug is just slightly larger than our SmartThings budget pick above and costs just a few dollars more at $21. You’ll get Amazon and Google Assistant smarts, as well.  

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Things to remember

Choosing the best smart plug for you begins with voice assistant compatibility. Choose a plug that works with whichever voice assistant you’re using, whether it’s a smart phone, a tablet or other device. You can usually find this information on the product box, website or in your voice assistant’s mobile app. 

Next, consider where your plug will be placed and whether blocking other adjacent outlets is a concern. If so, be sure to pick a plug that isn’t too large. Most models described as “mini” will be space-saving.  

Extra features like energy monitoring and USB charging can add even more control and convenience. No matter which smart plug you choose, bringing everyday products online with a plug is one of the simplest ways to automate and smarten your home. 

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