It's tough to justify spending big bucks on a basic power strip, but the $80 TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip though is worth it. Connect it to your home network via Wi-Fi and control it via the app to automate all six of its power outlets, along with anything they're plugged into, from anywhere. The strip's smarts don't require a hub to work either.
The Kasa Power Strip plays nicely with numerous smart home platforms and services, too. For instance, TP-Link's Kasa mobile app supports Google Assistant, Alexa and even Cortana. All three let you command the product vocally. I had no issues asking Alexa or Google Assistant to do things like, "Turn on plug 1" or "Turn off the coffee maker." If you like to tinker, there's a Kasa IFTTT channel. This feature ties the power strip into an even wider world of smart home gadgets.
You'll find other useful features tucked away within the Kasa app itself. Each plug tracks how much electricity it consumes over time (kWh). Power draw in real time is displayed here as well (in watts).
To set multiple outlets at once, and plugged-in devices, the app provides "scenes." Essentially scenes are macro commands you program yourself within the app. With a single tap, they can toggle the settings of multiple devices simultaneously.
I also like that you can choose individual product icons to label each outlet. The app's selection contains everything from lamps, light bulbs and space heaters to air conditioners, dehumidifiers and coffee makers. Additionally, the app's stylized comic book theme gives it a distinct, slick appearance.
And as power strips go, this one is quite easy on the eyes. Its glossy white rectangular shape has a low profile. White LEDs glow softly next to each outlet, indicating when they're active. It also has LEDs to indicate whether the power strip is electrically grounded or surge protected.
There are a couple of downsides to the TP-Link, both related to its three USB ports. They're nice to have, but they're rated at 5V/2A, which means they're not the fast-charging variety. Sorry, modern iPhone and Pixel owners. The ports also don't talk to the Kasa app, so you can't incorporate them in any scenes.
Despite the USB drawbacks, you'd still be hard-pressed to find a power strip that does this much at any price. That's why the $80 TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip is a good buy if you can afford it. Another more affordable smart power strip option is the older Quirky Pivot Power Genius. Its price has dropped to $24, but it has only four outlets, and only two of them are smart.