Upsmarts Smart Plug Guide
At UpSmart Tech, we know quite a bit about smart technology and how it can benefit homes throughout the country. However, we also know that not everyone is completely up-to-date with the possibilities of a smart home. That’s okay because we all have to get to grips with this technology in our own way.
Don’t be put off using smart plugs around your home because you do not understand all of the technicalities surrounding them. They are smart products, in part, because they are genuinely easy to start using. Read on to find out everything you need to know about smart plugs in our easy-to-understand, complete novice’s guide.
What Are Smart Plugs?
A smart plug can go into any of your home’s electrical outlets. You can then plug any electrical appliance you like into it. Rather than turning it on and off manually, the smart plug will do so from any smart device with compatible software. You can also control smart plugs with your voice using Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. Some smart plugs connect to devices over your home’s Wi-Fi and some via Bluetooth. Either way, it means being able to control your appliances remotely.
How Much Is a Smart Plug?
We aim to keep pricing as low as possible at UpSmart Tech. That’s why although many smart plugs are priced in the region of £25 elsewhere, you can find high-quality ones on our site for under half that figure.
What Can You Do With a Smart Plug?
Upgrade Your Appliances
Don’t want to go to the expense of throwing out perfectly good electrical gadgets because they aren’t smart? If so, then simply plug them into the power through a smart plug and upgrade them at a stroke! Lamps, kettles, coffee makers and so on can all become smarter versions of themselves for very little outlay.
Control the Power to Appliances
Turning things on and off via a smart device is one of the main things you can do with smart plugs. Tell your computer to switch off without having to get up or instruct your electric blanket to come on before you go to bed. It is easy with a smart plug controlling them.
Make Control Zones
You do not have to only control devices individually when they are plugged into smart plugs. You can also create zones of control around the home. You might turn all the lights off upstairs at once, for example, or have all of your living room’s appliances work together by setting them to work in a zonal way.
Beef Up Home Security
With a smart plug, you can turn your lights and radio on and off to a set pattern or in a randomised way to make it seem you are in when you are away. Indeed, when you connect to your smart plugs from outside the home over the internet, you can alter the way you have them operating to keep would-be intruders guessing.
Get Appliances to Interact
Smart devices can operate together. By making use of IFTTT services, you can set one appliance to work if it is under the right conditions caused by another. For example, you might have a fan that comes on via a smart plug after your smart air-conditioning unit has switched itself off, thereby keeping your cool air circulating.
Track Electricity Usage
Smart plugs are great for turning off appliances that are not in use. This will lower your utility bills overnight. However, you can also use them to monitor electrical consumption and work out the best times of the day and night to have certain devices come on.
Control External Appliances
If you have Christmas lights set up outside, then you can control their display using a smart plug inside. Any outdoor appliances that you would usually plug into a power socket inside can be turned into smart ones this way.
How to Choose the Right Smart Plug
This will come down to your current set up at home. Some people will only want a smart plug that will work with their smart speaker but others will want something more versatile.
However, the more functionality you have with a smart plug, the greater degree of flexibility you will end up with. So, it is worth opting for something adaptable even if you don’t think you will want to use it in certain ways today. Remember that your needs might change in time.
Equally, you should make sure you choose a smart plug that is compatible with the standard three-pin UK-style of plug unless you intend using yours overseas, of course. It is also worth bearing in mind that some smart plugs are for indoor use only.
If you want to use with an external power outlet, then it is better to choose a waterproof smart socket instead. Finally, check the maximum power rating for the plug you buy, especially if you intend plugging in an appliance which uses a lot of power when it is operating.
Which Is the Best Smart Plug?
There are many smart plugs on the market, some from very well-known brands. Some of these products will only work with certain systems, however, and do not offer the degree of flexibility you might want to create a truly smart home. Some will only work over Wi-Fi while others provide Bluetooth connectivity, as well.
Therefore, we think the best smart plugs are the ones that function reliably no matter which device(s) you are using to control them and regardless of the wireless communication protocol you are using. In short, this should all go on in the background without you having to worry about it.
This is why we recommend Sonoff smart plugs. They work perfectly with the eWeLink app whether you are using an Android or an iOS device. Furthermore, you can get them to operate even when there is limited Wi-Fi service and they are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Google Nest.
Are Smart Plugs Safe?
The simple answer is that yes, they are. Smart plugs should not be overloaded – just like conventional plugs and power splitters. They come with automated cut-off features to handle any possible surges in power.
Are Smart Plugs Worth It?
Because they can be used with all conventional electrical appliances, they are a cost-effective way to make your home smarter. Smart plugs only start to offer less value for money when you are replacing your appliances for smart ones en masse.
How to Set Up a Smart Plug
Setting up a smart plug is not something you need a degree in computer science for. In fact, far from it! Just plug the smart plug into the power and your smart device – smartphone, tablet or voice-based assistant – will detect it automatically. If it doesn’t for some reason, search for it and add it just as you might pair Bluetooth devices, for example. Once the smart plug is connected, you can use an app or a voice command to start telling it what you want it to do.