All Seasons Blog

Understanding Smart Plugs

Matt Rogers - Thursday, May 16, 2019

The latest in the All Seasons Smart Home blog series

Understanding smart plugs: Forget to turn off the curling iron this morning? A smart plug can let your phone control anything you plug into an outlet. So turn off the curling iron right from work.

Smart Plugs: A Good 1st Step

Want to try to smart home products, but worried about the cost? Smart plugs are easy and inexpensive, and a great 1st step to making a smart home. They have several names: smart switches, outlets, and strips. Without any installation or large purchases, you can upgrade the appliances you have already, your current lighting, your garage door, and anything else you have that plugs into an outlet.

Plug the smart plug into your outlet, plug your coffee maker into the smart plug, and shazam! You have a smart coffee maker you can control from your smartphone. Easy, right? But choosing the right plug for your needs can be confusing. So we’re going to give you a short intro to smart plugs, and the features they have. It’s worth the time it takes to read this: smart plugs make it easy to automate just about anything in your home.

IFTTT (If This Then That) Services and Applets

IFTTT is divided into Services and Applets.

A service is for automatic actions—things you want to happen every time certain conditions are met, without you needing to do anything. These trigger > action relationships used to be called recipes, but were recently renamed applets. Like apps, anyone who wants to study how can code applets, and smart plugs that support IFTTT will offer them for your use. IFTTT on your smart plug gives you the ability for more control of your devices.

Power Usage Statistics and History

Do you know how much energy your devices and appliances are using? Get a smart plug with energy monitoring features and track the energy your devices and appliances draw. By knowing what things around your house are drawing more power, you can end up saving a ton of money on your power bill. It can also be fun checking out your energy usage for each device in your home.

Rules and Schedules

Rules allows you to create time-based schedules. For example, you can set a rule that will turn on a connected kitchen light and coffee pot at the same time every morning.

3rd Party Support

3rd party support means that your smart plug can be controlled by devices from different manufacturers. For instance, if you want to be able to turn on a light with Alexa, your smart plug needs to have 3rd party support. If you want to mix and match devices from various manufacturers and use with all three major voice assistants, this is a must.

Now It's Time to Shop

Now that you have the basics of the features smart plugs have, you can go shopping! Each smart plug offers different combinations of the features above. The important thing is deciding what you want you smart plugs to do, what you will plug into them, and how much you want to spend. Then you can take the 1st step to making your home a smart home.