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Smart Home

Best outdoor smart plugs to schedule your Christmas lights

Smart plugs make managing outdoor decorations and accessories a breeze with automation, voice control, energy monitoring and more.

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Plugs like the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug can keep your holiday lights on schedule. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Smart plugs turn regular devices and appliances into a working, automated part of your smart home. Create scenes, schedules and custom voice commands to turn on nearly anything you can plug into a standard wall outlet. Whether you have Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri in your home, there's a plug out there that will work with your platform. We rounded up all our favorite indoor smart plugs right here. 

When it comes to smart plugs for outdoor devices, the options are a bit more limited. You can still find a plug for your needs that can withstand the elements, but you'll likely pay more than you would for an indoor plug. Buying an outdoor plug is a great investment in your smart home year-round. Sure, these plugs are awesome for holiday lights, but they can smarten your summer cookouts or Fall tailgates, too. 

What to consider

There are few things you'll need to decide when shopping for an outdoor smart plug. First, which voice assistant do you use? Then, how many outlets do you want? Some models just have one outlet and some have two. It's also important to think about whether you want energy-monitoring capabilities. Some plugs allow you to monitor how much electricity your connected devices are using and even shut them off if they get too greedy. 

With these questions answered, you'll be on your way to picking the plug that works best for your setup. Here's a look at the smart plugs we've put to the test at the CNET Smart Home. 

Best overall

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The iDevices Outdoor Switch works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

iDevices Outdoor Switch

The iDevices Outdoor Switch works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri, a rare quality in smart plugs. It also includes energy monitoring, so you'll know exactly how much that giant inflatable snowman is costing you on your power bill. What you won't get is individually controllable outlets. The iDevices Outdoor Switch has dual outlets, but you'll have to switch them on and off simultaneously. There also isn't any compatibility with IFTTT for smart home integration recipes. 

When we originally reviewed the switch it had an $80 MSRP. iDevices has since dropped the price to $50, making it much more competitive among outdoor smart plugs. Power monitoring and the option to use this plug with all three major voice assistants makes it a great buy. 

Read our full review of the iDevices Outdoor Switch.

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Best for HomeKit users

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iHome Outdoor Switch has a seamless setup for HomeKit users and is an affordable $40. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

iHome Outdoor Switch

This outdoor switch from iHome is optimized for Siri and HomeKit. While it scored the lowest in our plug testing for its lack of dual outlets and bulky design, it still got the job done reliably, and HomeKit users will be happy with how simply and effortlessly it pairs with HomeKit and sets itself up. You can still use the plug with Alexa or Google Assistant, but the integration just isn't as seamless.

The iHome Outdoor SmartPlug also works with Nest "home" and "away" statuses, to turn the plug on or off accordingly. You won't get compatibility with IFTTT, so there aren't options for integrating your plug into any recipes. Bottom line: If you're not an Apple HomeKit user, this $40 plug isn't for you. 

Read our full review of the iHome Outdoor Switch

See it on Best Buy

Best on a budget

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The iClever Outdoor Plug includes two outlets and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Chris Monroe/CNET

iClever Outdoor Smart Plug

The iClever Outdoor Smart Plug works with Google Assistant and Alexa. Its best feature is the price. At just $32, it's the most affordable smart plug we've tested. It also includes two outlets that are individually controllable, so you can schedule and command each item on its own. The iClever Outdoor Smart Plug also works with IFTTT through the Smart Life service. 

iClever's IP44 rating makes it a questionable choice for anyone whose outdoor plugs might see heavy rains or deep snow accumulation, but it's still a great value for the flexibility of independent outlets and solid voice assistant integration. 

Read our full review of the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug

See it on Amazon

Honorable mention

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GE's outdoor smart plug faired the worst in our testing, but it's still an option that gets the job done.  

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

GE Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch

The GE Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch fell squarely in the middle when it came to smart plugs we tested. It works well, has just one outlet, and doesn't cost a lot. The hangup with this plug is that, unlike the other plugs we tested, it relies on Z-Wave smarts. So you'll need to have or purchase a Z-Wave hub to connect this plug to the rest of your smart home or a voice assistant. 

If you already own a Z-Wave hub and don't need more than one outlet, GE's outdoor plug is just fine. Still, there are other options with more features for the same money (see above). 

Read our full review of the GE Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch.

See it at Home Depot

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