We can all agree that home is where the heart is. Today, easy-to-use and helpful electronic gadgets make us feel more connected to our homes—metaphorically as well as literally. One of the starting points towards making a home smart is by using smart plugs and sockets. Smart plugs enable us to control and monitor our electrical home appliances remotely throughout the day. In this article, we look at features that such smart plugs should offer for the best smart home experience, and the options available in the market.
Any home appliance that can be plugged in can be connected to a smart plug, be it TV, set-top box, coffee machine, water purifier, water geyser or air-conditioner. The essence of a smart plug lies in its ability to provide control through mobile devices like smartphone or tablet. Hence, most smart appliances are assisted by a mobile application, allowing you to control it from anywhere, as long as you are connected to the Internet.
Another essential feature of a smart plug is its ability to schedule the powering of appliances.
It is recommended to pick a smart plug that offers data analytics and insights on energy consumption by appliances. Usually, energy consumption data measured by a plug is stored on the cloud. Accompanying software programs analyse this data and represent the same in graphical or another referable form, which is viewable through a mobile or Web-based application.
If you want to connect high-load appliances like air-conditioners or geysers, you should look for a smart plug with higher load capacity—at least 16A current input compatibility and at least 2400W (or 2.4kW) power capacity.
An interesting feature in many modern plugs is the support for voice assistants, like Google Assistant or Alexa. If you own a Google Home or an Amazon Echo, you can control the smart plug through voice.
Some plugs also provide the option to custom-program their operations via if-this-then-that (IFTTT) support. This feature can be useful if you have basic knowledge of programming logics for electronic devices.
Then there are smart plugs that come with last state feature. In this feature, when power returns after a cut, the smart plug auto-starts, using the settings it was running on before the power cut.
It is important to verify that smart plugs are compatible with the pin type of the appliances you plan to connect. In some cases, a separate adaptor may be required.
Some popular options available in the market are mentioned in this section. You may explore other vendors as well, and pick one based on your usage needs, feature preferences and budget.
Nishica smart plug
This new entrant in the market brings a low-cost, easy-to-use device that can run any moderate-load appliance (up to 10A, 240V), like a TV, set-top box or coffee machine. It works with SmartLife mobile application (available for both Android and iOS), and has support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
It provides all essential features of a smart plug, like setting schedules, remote control of appliances and checking power on or off status in real time. A power button allows you to run it manually. It is available for ₹ 999.
WIQD smart Wi-Fi plug
This smart plug offering from WIQD is simple to use and can run up to 2200W power. It is Wi-Fi-enabled, and has support for Amazon Echo and Google Home. You can create schedules for appliances on specific times and days.
It has a smart power saver mode, too, to ensure electricity usage within set limits. With a year’s warranty, it is priced at ₹1299.
D-Link’s Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug comes in an attractive design. A useful feature of W215 is an inbuilt thermal sensor that automatically turns off appliances in case of overheating. It has maximum power capacity of 16A, 260V. So, smaller air-conditioners (about 1T volume) can run on it.
mydlink app enables you to track power usage and receive push notifications whenever the plug turns on or off. It can be purchased for ₹ 1399.
Thrumm Wi-Fi smart plug
Thrumm offers an easy-to-use, everyday smart plug for moderate-power appliances like TV, water purifier, set-top box and more. The plug supports load up to 10A, 240V. It is made of flame-retardant material to prevent risks at high temperature.
It also works with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Smart Life app provides energy consumption data. Overload protection ensures appliances are safe even in high-power conditions. A manual switch helps override the controls whenever required. It comes with one-year warranty, and is priced at ₹1499.
TP-Link HS100 is a Wi-Fi-compatible device that supports remote access control through its mobile application Kasa, allowing you to control it from anywhere, in addition to fixing schedules.
The smart plug can connect with Amazon Alexa. An interesting feature of HS100 is its away mode, which randomly turns appliances on and off while no one is at home. It imitates the presence of people in the house, reducing risks of theft or burglary. The smart plug also comes with IFTTT support. The gadget is compatible with 100V AC appliances. It is available for ₹1720.
Smarteefi smart strip
Smarteefi brings an interesting product in the form of a Wi-Fi-enabled smart power strip. It comes with three sockets, all of which can be controlled by Smarteefi mobile application (runs on Android as well as iOS). Each socket can be programmed separately.
Alongside usual smart power source functions, like remote controlling, timer and real-time notifications, it also supports last state preservation feature to resume functions automatically after a power cut.
The gadget can be voice-controlled, too. It is recommended for basic- and medium-load usage. High-load appliances should be avoided. It is priced at ₹2799.
The smart plug by Pert can be used for general-purpose devices as well as for heavy-load appliances (up to 3kW). It has over-heat protection to ensure proper functioning of high-power appliances like water pumps, air-conditioners (any volume), geysers and the like.
Pert plug provides detailed analytics of energy consumption to help you control your electricity expenses. It also sends real-time notifications in case there is a risk of appliance malfunction. It is priced at ₹3999.