In recent years, more devices are becoming “smart”.
Smart phones become more powerful after each upgrade, that they’re practically become mobile-phone sized computers.
Smart doorbells double as security devices, and smart switches and plugs can turn your lights, small appliances and electronics on and off at certain times—you can even do this via remote access.
Top Picks: 5 Rated Smart Switches & Plugs
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With the emergence of smart devices comes the smart home. With a few simple clicks on your smart phone or smart device, you can control everything from turning your lights on to turning on your slow cooker remotely so that your pot roast is perfectly cooked when you come home for dinner.
In this smart device controlled world, what are the best smart Wi Fi switches and plugs you can buy for your smart home?
What Are Smart Home Light Switches And Plugs?
Smart home light switches and plugs are, in essence, your normal light switches and plugs, but have the capability of connecting to the internet. This means you can set a time for them to switch on or off, or access them remotely via your smart device.
Both devices have the ability to turn any of your regular electronics, appliances and lights into smart devices, thus turning your home into a smart home.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve had a long day at work, and you come home to an empty, dark, quiet house. You turn on the lights one by one, put on some music, grab something instant to eat as you’re too tired to cook. You watch some TV after but fall asleep, abruptly wake up in the middle of the night with the TV still shining on your face, get off the sofa to turn off everything you’ve turned on earlier, then crawl to bed, but you can’t go back to sleep anymore.
On the other hand, if you have smart light switches and have your appliances plugged into smart plugs, you can set a time for everything to automatically turn on.
When you come home, the lights are switched on, your favorite music playing in the background, and your slow cooker has just finished cooking your dinner, as you’ve “instructed” it to start cooking while you were in the office. You have your dinner, then fall asleep while watching TV.
Forgot to turn off the TV and lights? No worries, they turn off by themselves at the particular time you’ve set.
Having a smart home is worry-free. No more worries about accidentally leaving the oven on upon leaving the house. You don’t only gain peace of mind, but it cuts down your electricity bill too.
And, let’s be honest, having a home you can control through your home is pretty awesome: it’s kind of like living like the Jetsons.
How Does A Smart Light Switch Work?
Most smart light switches need to be installed into your regular light or fan switch wiring in order to work, although there are products that can work with your existing light switch perfectly well. Check out this video to learn more...
After making sure that your power’s turned off, remove your existing light switch from the wall and install your smart light switch into its wiring. Turn the power back on, and check if you’ve wired it correctly by flicking it up and down like a regular switch. If your light’s working then you’ve installed in correctly.
Next, download the app that corresponds to your smart light switch, search and add your powered smart light switch, and then join it to your network. If the connection is successful, you can now control the smart light switch via your smart phone or smart device. You can control it anywhere you are, as long as you are connected to the Internet.
Think of all the possibilities. For example, if you’re on vacation, you can still set your switches to turn on a certain time, or turn them on yourself via your smart phone, and make it seem like someone’s still in your house. This can be a good burglar deterrent.
How Do Smart Plugs Work?
Smart plugs are literally plug and play. Just plug the smart plug into an existing outlet, then plug in your appliance or electronic device into it. Next, download the app that corresponds to your smart plug, search and add.
Join it to your network—take note that this step will vary from app to app. If the connection is successful, it’ll show up on the list of the app, and you can now control the smart plug via your smart phone or smart device.
If you turn the plug off, then the appliance or electronic device plugged into that plug will be turned off as well.
Do Smart Plugs & Switches Work With Alexa?
And if being able to control your smart plugs and switches with your mobile or smart device isn’t cool enough, a lot of smart plugs and switches are integrated with Amazon’s Alexa powered devices.
In other words, they can be controlled by voice. Imagine entering your kitchen and saying, “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights. Alexa, turn on the oven plug”, and everything seemingly turns on by itself!
And in case your smart plug or smart switch isn’t integrated with Alexa and you can’t add it directly, don’t fret: as long as your device is IFTTT compatible, you can still take the long route by creating recipes through IFTTT and getting it to work with Alexa. How to do this will, of course, vary from device to device.
Best Smart Wi-Fi Switches and Plugs
TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch (HS200)
- Compatible with Alexa and Google devices
- Remote Access
- Easy installation and pairing
As long as you’re connected to the Internet (or your Wi Fi, if you’re at home) you can control the lights or any device that is connected to the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch via the Kasa app.
The app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The light switch features an away mode, where you can set the lights to turn on and off by themselves randomly, giving the illusion that someone’s at home even if you’ve gone away.
While you can schedule the lights to turn on and off with the sunrise and sunset timer, the times cannot be offset. Voice-control is possible if you own an Alexa or Google powered device, both of which this product is fully integrated with.
Wemo Light Switch (F7C030fc)
- Fully customizable scheduling capability
- Remote access
- Compatibility with Alexa devices
- Versatile: can work with anything that a switch can control
The WeMo Light switch is a great device because it’s so versatile. With this product, you can essentially control anything a normal light switch can control through your smart phone, smart device, or hands free voice control with your Alexa device.
It is also IFTTT compatible, making it possible for you to create extra instructions for the WeMo Light Switch.
Scheduling option is fully customizable— you can set your lights, lamps, fans or any small device connected to the switch to turn on and off any time you want to.
There is also an “Away Mode” that turns your lights on and off randomly to give the illusion that there’s somebody home.
TP-Link Smart Plug (HS100)
- Easy to install: this smart plug is literally plug and play
- Remote Access allows you to control any devices plugged into the Smart plug• Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are compatible.
- Away Mode: Make it seem like somebody is at home by turning on or off devices different times
One of the best things about this Smart Plug is the ease of installation—it is basically a plug and play device.
Using the Kasa app, you can use your smart device to virtually control any devices that are plugged into your smart plugs— remotely if you are connected to the internet, Wi Fi if local.
Hands-free, voice control option is also available as the TP-Link Smart Plug is integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google devices.
One great feature of the TP-Link Smart Plug is its Away Mode, where it will randomly turn devices on and off to make it seem like the house is not empty. Great burglar deterrent.
Leviton DW15S-1BZ Decora Smart Wi-Fi Switch
- Compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google devices
- Easy remote access
- App is compatible for both iOS and Android
- Automatic scheduling feature
With its simple white frame and streamlined look, the Leviton Decora Smart Wi Fi Switch will easily fit in with your décor.
Setup is a breeze: once the switch is wired and connected to your phone or iOS or Android smart device, you can easily control the lights in your house with it or through voice control via Alexa or Google devices.
The Decora features a timer, where you can schedule when you would like your lights to be turned on or off.
There is also an automatic sunset and sunrise option to turn your lights on when it gets dark and off when the sun comes up.
GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Lighting Control Smart Switch
- Compatibility: It is compatible with Z-Wave certified hubs, Wink app compatible
- Customizable themes
- LED indicators
The design is simple, although the shiny white plastic material may look a little cheap for some buyers. The LED indicators make the switch easily located in a dark room.
The GE Z-Wave is compatible with Z-Wave certified hubs and utilizes the Wink App. What’s nice about this switch is the customizability—you can easily create themes for your lighting per room through the app.
Hands free, voice control option is available as this product is compatible with your Alexa devices. With a little programming, you can tell Alexa to “Turn on the living room lights and go dim”.
Lutron P-PKG1W-WH Caseta Wireless In-Wall Dimmer
- Ease of Access: Control all of your lights anywhere at home with just one remote.
- Versatility with bulbs and dimmable LEDs
- Compatibility: Connects with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Logitech, Samsung Smart Things, via Lutron Smart Bridge.
- Dimming capability
The Lutron Caseta packs a lot of features. Using the Lutron Smart Bridge, it features great compatibility by being able to connect to a variety of devices: Alexa, Google, Apple Homekit, Logitech, Samsung SmartThings, among others.
When it comes to lights, it works with dimmable LEDS, incandescent and halogen bulbs. If you’ve got your home set up with the Lutron Caseta, all you conveniently need is just one remote control to control everything.
And of course, the dimming capability works great if you want to set the mood in your home.
Koogeek Smart WiFi Light Switch
- Compatible with Siri and other Apple devices
- Power Consumption Monitor
- Easy pairing
If you are using an iPhone or an Apple device, then the Koogeek Smart Wifi Light Switch is your best bet as this light switch is integrated with Apple and iOS products, and easily controllable with an iPhone, an iPad, your Apple Watch or even your Apple TV. However, it’s not compatible with other platforms like Android or Alexa.
This product has a power consumption monitor, so you can easily check your light consumption and the state of your bulb with the Koogeek Home app.
Insteon SwitchLinc Remote Control Switch
- Connectivity: The device can be connected with Amazon Alexa for voice control.
- You can remotely control any electrical load like motors, fans, and fluorescent lights.
- High Voltage Capacity: up to 1800 Watt.
- Dual Band Insteon technology: faster performance and reliability.
The Insteon Switch Linc features a high voltage capacity—up to 1800 watt—which makes it possible to connect not only lights and fans, but other small devices too.
Hands free voice control is possible with Amazon Alexa devices, though the Insteon hub that makes this possible is sold separately.
The dual band Insteon technology makes the device perform faster and increases reliability, as it repeats the messages sent to the devices via both wireless messages AND power lines.
While it’s nice to look at, the design is a bit bulky though, which may make installation a bit of a challenge.
Elgato Eve Light Switch
- You can easily turn on or turn off your lights with your iPhone and other iOS devices
- Integrated with Siri, so you can control the Elgato Eve Light Switch with your voice
- Bluetooth low energy technology
The Elgato Eve Light Switch’s simple and sleek design will fit in any room motif. Setup of this product is made easy with Bluetooth low energy technology, which means it doesn’t need to use a gateway or a hub, making it less prone to cyber attacks.
Once connected, you can easily turn your lights on and off with a tap through the app on your iPhone or other iOS devices.
The Elgato Eve Light Switch is integrated with Siri-powered devices, making the lights in your house voice-controlled.
However, as this product uses Bluetooth, there may be delays on the response of the switch. Then again, a few seconds of waiting for your light to turn on never hurt anyone, so it’s really not that big of a drawback. Unless you are particularly OCD or impatient...
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
- Works with Alexa and Nest
- Optional randomized lights feature
- Compact size
No hub required. The Wemo mini plug doesn’t require a hub to operate. It can be controlled via the Wemo app (free) or use Amazon’s Alexa or Nest to do the controlling.
Plug in a light and use the Away Mode which randomly turns the lights on and off increasing the illusion that someone is home.
It is IFTTT compatible, so you can get really funky with the Wemo plug!
A smart plug or a smart switch is a handy thing to have around the home, for both convenience and safety purposes.
If you’re torn about which one to buy in creating your smart home, try to consider these factors:
- What platform does the smart plug or smart switch app run on (wifi and/or smart hub)?
- Do you already have that platform so you won’t have to buy a new one for compatibility’s sake?
- Check the features to see if they suit your needs.
Thank you for reading this article! Hope you enjoyed it, and found it informative.
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