With the holidays in full swing, retailers are slashing the prices of the best smart plugs we've tested. A smart plug is especially useful during the holiday season because it lets you control, schedule, and monitor the energy usage of your basic outlet-powered devices like a Christmas tree or decorative lights. I've used smart plugs for years to decorate my apartment and keep an eye on it remotely while I travel out of state to visit family.
Whether you just picked up a shiny new smart plug on sale or have had one sitting around the house there's a lot you can do with it. Keep reading to discover seven unique ways you can use these tiny plugs to make a big impact on your everyday routine.
TP-Link Kasa Matter Smart Plug (3-Pack): was $49 now $22 @ Best Buy
Over 50% Off! This smart plug from TP-Link is one of the best smart plugs for its small size and Matter support that works across all major smart home ecosystems. Its great app lets you schedule when the connected devices turn on and off and link it to smart assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. It's one of the cheapest ways to make any appliance "smart."
Automate your holiday decor
You can plug in seasonal decorations from festive lighting to fog machines to control them remotely or operate them on a set schedule. For example, you can program your Christmas tree to automatically turn its lights on during the day and shut off at bedtime. With multiple smart plugs, you can manage more complex props like animated statues, Christmas villages, and even inflatables.
Boost your home security setup with an Away Mode
When leaving my home to visit family out of state, I connect floor lamps, an old-school FM radio, and my living room TV to smart plugs. I can use my smart home app to schedule each device to turn on and off at different times. This creates the illusion that the house is occupied with gadgets operating in multiple rooms to deter would-be thieves.
Monitor and reduce energy usage
If you buy a smart plug with energy monitoring features you can see exactly how much power each connected device draws. You can then set the most power-hungry decorations or appliances to shut down fully when they're not in use. You'd be surprised how much electricity your animated statues and lights consume on any given day.
Add smarts to your older appliances
Dumb appliances like older fans, heaters, and air purifiers can be integrated into your smart home setup using a smart plug. For example, you can tell your smart assistant to turn them on, automate them to kick on in certain temperature conditions, or even run them before you come home so you can walk into a clean and cool environment. You can make your place more cozy for visiting guests by scheduling these devices to run before bed.
Wake up to fresh coffee on Christmas morning
In the same vein as the appliance tip above, simply connect your coffee maker to a smart plug and load it up with water, grounds, and leave a pot underneath it the night before. Schedule the plug to turn on five minutes before your alarm goes off and it will automatically brew a fresh pot of coffee that all of the adults can enjoy while the kids open gifts. Inversely you can place essential oil diffusers on a smart plug to fill guest rooms with the scent of lavender and peppermint at night to help them wind down.
Create a light-based reminder system
Schedule a specific lamp or colored smart light to turn on or off at certain times to remind you to take a specific action. For most people, this could be a reminder to take your medicine or have this light flash the night before garbage day to take the bins out to the curb. But if you have little ones into the "Elf on the Shelf" doll tradition you can set a light to discreetly remind you to move the doll around after the kids go to bed.
Maintain your holiday plants
From poinsettias to cactus you can connect grow lights for indoor plants to a smart plug to regulate how much energy it receives. Set on and off periods to simulate a natural environment for their growth. If you have an electric watering system you can schedule it to release a few milliliters of water to keep soil hydrated and healthy.
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Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine.
Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.