Smart home technology has really taken off in the last few years. Adding a few smart bulbs and plugs is an easy way to elevate your indoor space and make things more convenient. But have you considered adding smart tech to your outdoor space? If you’ve been wanting to spruce up your outdoor lighting, but hate the idea of constantly plugging and unplugging lights then outdoor smart plugs are the ideal solution for that.
With smart plugs, you can turn regular lights and other appliances into smart devices, letting you remotely turn them on or off. The best smart plugs also let you create custom schedules and commands using voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and the Google assistant. There are plenty of smart plugs designed for indoor use, but if you want an outdoor smart plug for your exterior lights or other electronics, you've got weather-resistant outdoor options as well.
These plugs are ideal for outdoor holiday decor, but they come in handy year-round as well, so really, any time's a great time to pick one up. Outdoor smart plugs are a great way to add smarts to summer patio lights, bug zappers, outdoor speakers and more. Whether you have Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri in your home, there's a plug out there that will work for you.
What to consider
There are few things you'll need to decide when shopping for an outdoor smart plug. Which voice assistant do you use? How many outlets do you want? Some models just have one outlet and some have two. With these questions answered, you'll be on your way to picking the plug that works best for your setup.
TP-Link's Kasa app is easy to use and Kasa devices are quick to set up. The Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug offers two outlets that can be controlled individually, and is rated to operate in temperatures from minus 4 to 122 degrees F. You can choose from voice commands, schedules, timers, scenes or sunrise/sunset modes, as well as an Away feature that randomizes powering outlets on and off.
Kasa products work with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you'll be able to ask your voice assistant of choice to turn on your holiday display. At around $20, it's a reasonably priced smart plug for your outdoor space. Read our TP-Link Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug review.
WeMo's Smart Outdoor Plug is a HomeKit-compatible option that offers two outlets and voice control for Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. It isn't the cheapest model you can buy, but WeMo's app works well and we've seen several good plugs and outlets from the brand over the years.
Rated for temperatures from 32 to 122 degrees F, this plug might not be the best bet for cold climates. There are two sockets, but unlike the TP-Link model, they cannot be scheduled or controlled individually. That could be a deal breaker, depending on your use case.
If you're looking for a single outlet option, Braumm's model works with Google Assistant and Alexa to control one device. The list price is a bit high given that you're only getting a single outlet to control, but it's weatherproof and rated for minus 4 to 113 F, so if a single outdoor outlet is all that you need, it'll get the job done.
In addition to status, timers, scheduling and scenes, the app also provides weather information, a handy addition for any outdoor device. You can also share control with other users if they also download the Braumm app to their mobile device.
This device from Wyze is about as affordable as outdoor smart plugs get, but it boasts some promising features -- especially for the price.
The Wyze Plug Outdoor includes two 15-amp outlets you can control independently. It's rated IP64 for protection against water and dust at a temperature range of minus 4 to 120 F. You can control the Plug Outdoor with physical buttons, voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or through the Wyze app.
You can also set the plug to run on various automations, such as dusk-to-dawn sensing, vacation mode, custom schedules and triggers based on other devices. Unlike most smart plugs, the Wyze Plug Outdoor includes energy monitoring. You'll be able to receive alerts when energy thresholds are exceeded and view consumption history in the app.
Smart plugs are adapters that control the power supply to the appliance plugged into them. They don't make any changes to your existing outlet. Smart plugs simply disconnect the appliance from power or reconnect it to power when they receive a signal (via app or voice command) to do so.
This isn't a good idea. Outdoor models are optimized for extreme temperatures and have IP-rated housings that protect them from elements like rain and dust. It's much safer to use a plug made specifically for the outdoors.
Most smart plugs will work in a limited capacity with Zigbee, Z-Wave or Bluetooth connections. However, to get features like voice commands with Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa and to control your plug when you're not close by, you'll need a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection.