The Best Smart Plugs

By Cullen E. McGrail

February 3, 2021

Smart home technology is not only a cool and convenient way to control things around your home with just your voice, but it truly makes you feel like you’re living in the future. Once you’re using Alexa or Google Assistant to play your favourite music, or see what the forecast is looking like, you'll see the added benefits that Google Home or Amazon Echo devices bring. With smart plugs, you can take it to the next level.

Smart plugs are a sophisticated little device that you plug into a wall outlet and connect to your Wi-Fi. By using your phone or your smart home device, you can control its power using your smartphone or tablet devices. What does this look like? For example, let’s say you have lamps around your house that you want to automatically turn on when the sun sets, and turn off when it rises again. A smart plug can give you that kind of control, whether you're in the house or not.

Likewise, if you've already snuggled into bed, but forgot to turn off a light outside of your room, you can use your smartphone or tablet device to turn it off. Oh, the convenience!

When it comes to smart plugs, there are a variety of different designs. Much like regular extension plugs, you can get power bars or single units. We’ve assembled some of the best models to choose from. Whether you're using it in the garage or for your new home-office suite, there's something for everyone. Check out the best ones below.

1. Editor's Pick: Teckin SP10-2-CA

ProsCons
  • Certified works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • FCC- and ETL-approved product
  • Can be used with all of your lamps, thermostats, coffee makers, etc.
  • Will only work with 2.4GHz connections, not 5.0GHz

Key Specs

Amperage Capacity: 10 amps
Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 5.5 cm

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This is a great little smart plug that fits into a standard wall outlet like a wall wart from your phone cord. By downloading the Smart Life app, you’re able to build in schedules or timers for each and every individual smart plug you buy. As a portable unit, this is perfect to keep with your Christmas lights for the tree and the house so you never have to remember to turn them on or off. You can let the plug do the work for you and save some money on your energy bills as well.

2. Best For Controlling Multiple Outlets: Gosund Smart Socket

ProsCons
  • Comes as a 4-pack
  • Works between -10 to 45° Celcius
  • Certified to work with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Needs to be reconnected to Wi-Fi network at times

Key Specs

Amperage Capacity: 10 amps
Product Dimensions: 10 x 10.5 x 6.1 cm

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This version from Gosund offers a few different abilities from the previous model. While still being that wall wart style of smart plug, You’re able to create different groups that allow you to control multiple outlets at one time. You can easily set categories like “downstairs lights” or “kitchen” and with one click, you can control the smart plugs from your phone or tablet. You can even set scenes such as a morning or evening “look” for your home.

3. Best Smart Power Strip: Gosund Smart Power

ProsCons
  • Portable
  • East to setup
  • Certified to work with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • AC outlets aren’t spaced enough for clunkier plugs

Key Specs

Amperage Capacity: 10 amps
Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.8 x 6.6 cm

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If you’re looking to get a smart plug/power bar combo, this is the one for you. Don’t worry about having to connect it right to the wall where it might be out of reach, it comes with a 4" extension cable so you can get the outlets where you need them. As well, one unit features three AC and three USB ports so you can control the power to your USB-reliant devices. It offers some surge and overload protection as well, so you can rest peacefully knowing your electronics are safe from power spikes.

4. Best Hub Connected Plug: Sonoff S31

ProsCons
  • Pairs well with Amazon devices
  • Easy to setup
  • Doesn't work with Google Assistant devices
  • No UL rating

Key Specs

Amperage Capacity: 15 amps
Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.4 x 5 cm

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We find a different kind of smart plug with this model, as this one requires a smart home hub to work — specifically, this one utilizes the ZigBee Protocol (any smart home device from the Amazon Echo line uses ZigBee). It allows you to set all of your traditional lighting and appliances at scheduled times. You can also create custom looks for your home and easily adjust settings on your smartphone using Alexa.

5. Honorable Mention: Kasa HS103

ProsCons
  • Available in a 1- or 3-pack
  • Available in Lite (10a) or Mini (15a)
  • Creates Smart Actions (eg. turning a porch light on)
  • Longer setup process than other models
  • Incompatible with some internet routers

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This smart plug has a cool little feature — Away Mode. You can design an "Away Mode" setting so that if and when you leave home for an extended period of time, the smart plugs can remember your most frequent light settings and intermittently turn on your lights. Don’t worry about having to get someone to house sit if you don't own any plants or pets. You can simply schedule your "Away Mode" setting during the evenings. It comes in a pack of three so you can control the lighting or light sources in multiple rooms.

Can I Plug Everything into My Smart Plug?

Most smart plugs should only be used with your electronics and devices that have on/off switches of their own. They are not ideal for things like touch lamps and scheduled coffee makers. Some of the more complex electronics, such as TVs and speakers, have shut-down protocols buil into its software and/or remote so using a smart plug on top of that could damage your electronics.

My Smart Plugs

While we use Bluetooth for many wireless connections in our homes already, it wasn’t made to be compatible with smart plugs. Bluetooth doesn’t do well through walls, so trying to turn off the basement lights from the second-floor bedroom wouldn’t work out very well. That’s why all of these smart plugs require a wireless internet connection instead. This is an important point to consider.

As mentioned above, some smart-plug products don’t connect with every internet router out there. See if the smart plugs you buy work in concert with your internet setup. Keep in mind that most smart plugs are not compatible with 5.0GHz connections. They need to be connected to a 2.4GHz connection only, or a dual-band internet system.

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