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How to turn any old outlet into a smart outlet

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Can you control your lighting, heat and air, television, and other products at home by way of an app on your smartphone? If the answer is no, then you probably haven’t made moves to ready your home for the way of the future.

Smart homes are typically built from the ground up, with special wiring to help you control various processes inside your dwelling with the touch of a remote or a special app. But if you aren’t interested in going that route and need a quick fix, you can always invest in select smart plugs that turn any regular outlet into a way to get your home connected to the smart home tech that’s making lives easier across the globe.

Smart plugs are simple products that let you plug into an existing outlet and connect items to your Wi-Fi network. For instance, you can set your lights to dim at a specific time automatically or adjust your thermostat without ever leaving the comfort of your warm couch.

No idea where to start? We’ve got you covered with some of the best plugs you can buy to turn any outlet in your home into a smart outlet. Smarten things up!

Best Smart Plugs

Leviton Decora DWI5P Smart Plug, $30.29, Amazon

This simple and utilitarian plug connects to your Wi-Fi network without the use of a smart hub to keep it all wrangled together. It’s wide, but slim, so you can keep your bottom plug free if need be. The dual-band device will run on products that use both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks as well, so it’s simple to mold to just about any need. Most importantly, it’s only about $30 on Amazon per outlet and can connect to a special app to help you get everything on the same page. No more getting up to turn out the light when you’re already in bed for you!

Currant Wi-Fi Smart Outlet, $59.99, Amazon

This plug is a bit pricier than Leviton’s option, but it gets the job done and offers two outlets you can control via app for a little over the price of one. You only need one product over two, as well, so there’s no need to buy two. So you save a little bit of money while doubling up on the available outlets, which is always good for anyone on a budget.

TP-Link HS110 Wi-Fi Smart Plug, from $24.03, Amazon

This particular plug is an affordable alternative that’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana to make things simpler than ever to set up all over your home. It also has one very interesting feature: energy monitoring that helps you track how much energy each of your devices consumes. You can also use an app to control it from anywhere, setting times and schedules to avoid wasting energy. It handles everything for you, and it won’t break the bank.

TP-Link HS300 WiFi Smart Power Strip, $79.99, Amazon

If you have too many devices to buy one or two smart plugs here and there, consider this smart power strip with six outlets and USB ports. It’s a bargain for six outlets, plus you can protect your items from power surges since they’ll all be plugged into a unit that’ll keep them safe. The device can also monitor energy usage and charge three devices that use USB ports at once. This way you can charge your phone and then have it handy to control the other items in your home!

Things to know before buying smart plugs

  • Some plugs may only be used inside. They’ll typically be white if you’re supposed to use them inside, but make sure you read instructions and product listings carefully. Many plugs meant for use outside in the elements are black, but this won’t always be the case. Make sure you know what’s going on with your plugs before assigning them indoors or outdoors.
  • You may need to purchase a smart hub in addition to your smart plugs. If you don’t have a hub, you may not be able to use all the features available to you with each particular switch. Some plugs come with their own proprietary smart hub, but you can buy them from just about any seller on Amazon or wherever you decide to purchase it. Just make sure whatever product you choose to buy has one with it so you don’t have any setup headaches in the future.
  • Not every smart plug supports Apple’s HomeKit app. If this is important to you, you’ll want to make sure you seek out this information before purchasing a plug, because you don’t want a rude awakening when you go to use the plug later. Similarly, not all plugs will work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Make sure you find out if they will before purchasing, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Check for grounded or ungrounded plugs before setting them up all over your home. This could mean the difference between damaged electronics or an electrical fire should a storm roll in, and you don’t want to spread any electrical issues that occur in your home – the product description should very clearly state whether a plug is grounded or not.

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