Technology is smart plugs come in., and smart home devices are cropping up for every room these days -- whether you need , , a or even a . But what about the stuff in our homes that isn't smart yet? That's where
These nifty gadgets connect your regular lamp, fan, , 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 . It's a quick and affordable way to get more out of your smart home platform.
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 commands or a larger smart home platform 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 -- these are our picks for the best of the bunch. We'll update this list periodically. Smart home devices, here we come!
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 Wi-Fi 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.
At just $12 on Amazon, or $20 for a two-pack at Home Depot, the Wyze Plug packs a punch without costing a bunch, turning your regular home appliances into smart devices. 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 worked well when we tested them out, 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 network's signal strength.
The WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug is affordable and comes with native Google Assistant, Alexa and yes, HomeKit compatibility. Not all smart plugs do (though the new universal smart home standard Matter, arriving later this year, might help with that).
The WeMo app isn't our favorite app, and you won't get energy monitoring, either. 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.
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.
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.
- 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. : A flagship for the brand, the Amazon smart plug costs $25 and only works with Amazon
- 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. : This HomeKit friendly smart plug costs $60, and you will get two
- : This $80 outdoor smart plug works with all three voice assistants, but you'll only get one outlet.
- : 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.
- HomeKit, but blocks adjacent outlets. Alexa or Google Assistant integrations aren't as smooth as we'd like to see in our connected devices. : This $32 smart plug works well with
- Apple smart homes, but it didn't perform as well in our testing as other HomeKit compatible devices. : This HomeKit-centered smart plug is another solid choice for
- SmartThings budget pick above and costs just a few dollars more at $21. You'll get Amazon and Google Assistant smarts, as well.
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.