As smart home additions continue to grow in popularity, so do the best smart plugs. These useful tools are used to control the energy output from your outlets to your appliances, which means the power supply can be controlled remotely. Not only that, some of these handy plugs can be used to analyze energy use, so they can help you lower your bills.
While this is old news for most, you can also argue that we’ve barely scratched the surface on what these plugs can really do. That’s why we’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide on things you never knew you could do with a smart plug. One read of this and you might end up buying more to extend your smart home and take advantage.
10 things you can do with a smart plug
1. Preheat your bed — Who doesn’t love a toasty bed ready and waiting in the evening? With a smart plug you can make this dream a reality. All you need is an electric blanket, such as the Degrees Of Comfort Plush Electric Blanket ($69.99, Amazon (opens in new tab)).
By connecting your electric blanket to a smart plug, you can schedule exactly when you want it to start preheating your bed. Plus, you don’t have to worry about remembering to switch it off either, as the smart plug will take care of that too. Just remember that you will have to deactivate it if you spend a night out of the house or want to stop using the blanket through the summer.
2. Have your morning cuppa ready and waiting — Wake up to a fresh cuppa Joe with a smart plug. Simply plug it in with one of the best espresso machines or best coffee makers — although you will need a model with a physical on switch — and set it to brew as you wake. Just make sure it’s ready and waiting by topping it up with water and coffee the night before.
You can use the same technique with one of the best electric kettles if tea is more to your taste. But bear in mind some coffee machines and kettles already come with smart capabilities that let you schedule their activity, so check that out first.
3. Prep dinner from the office — If you’re short on time, then you’re going to love this tip. By connecting a smart plug to a slow cooker, or one of the best Instant Pots, you can set it to start cooking while you’re at work. That way, dinner will be served once you’re through the door.
Don’t use this technique with any other cooking methods though. Slow cookers are designed to be safe to use while you’re not at home. However, you should be present when using other methods, such as the oven or a pressure cooker.
4. Make your washing machine and dishwasher smart — Some smart plugs can connect to an app which displays the energy use. You can set the app to alert you when the power usage falls, which means you’ve got notifications on demand when a washing machine or dishwasher cycle finishes.
Some of the best washing machines and best dishwashers already come with smart capabilities. But, if yours doesn’t, this is a cost-effective way of getting some of the same perks.
5. Schedule your lights — This is arguably one of the most well known uses of a smart plug, but many of us still don’t take full advantage of it. By connecting your lights to a smart plug, you can schedule exactly when you want your lights on and off — you can even sync them with the sunset using IFTTT.
This can also come in handy when you’re out of the home — by lighting up the interior, you can easily deter burglars. Of course, if you own some of the best smart light bulbs, you can do this already, but if you don’t, this is a great way to save some expense for the same outcome.
6. Light up the outdoors — As you’ve made the effort indoors, you might as well do the same for your outdoors too. You will need one of the best outdoor smart plugs for this environment though, so it can better endure the weather.
With one of these, you can schedule exactly when you want your outdoor lights to switch on and off. So you can help guide yourself home, or keep burglars at bay while you’re away. If you’re looking to save money in the garden, you could also take a look at some of the best solar lights.
7. Save water in your garden — While you’re at it, you can also connect an outdoor smart plug to your sprinkler system. By doing this you can limit when you want it on and off to help lower your water bills.
This also comes in use if it starts to rain or if it’s a particularly hot day — a smart plug will let you power the sprinklers regardless of the schedule.
8. Give yourself peace of mind — Do you worry about whether or not you switched something off after you left the house? You’re not alone. Thankfully, a smart plug can solve this issue, whether you’re dealing with hair straighteners or one of the best space heaters.
All you need to do is access the app to check power isn’t being supplied to the appliance.
9. Reach outlets you could never reach before — We’ve all got that one annoying outlet that’s out of reach or hidden behind a piece of large furniture. With a smart plug, you can finally access it and switch it on and off with ease.
This is great if you want to leave something plugged in, without running up a high energy bill — think lamps, phone chargers and the best air purifiers.
10. Lower your energy bill — Some of the best smart plugs, such as the Kasa Smart Wifi Plug w/Energy Monitoring ($39, Amazon (opens in new tab)) can track how much electricity you're using through that outlet, and get reports on which appliances are using the most juice. Armed with that information, you can set a schedule to use those devices when energy prices are lower, or use them less often.