www.makeuseof.com What Are Smart Plugs and What Do They Do?

Smart homes are no longer a fantasy or a futuristic concept. They are a new reality of today.

And smart plugs are an integral part of a smart home. If you've wanted to know what smart plugs are, how they work and what they can do, read on and find out.

What Is a Smart Plug and What Does It Do?

If you're looking at automating your home and making it smart, investing in smart plugs should be one of the top things on your to-do list. With smart plugs, you'll be able to control home appliances, save time and effort, and make your life easier and better. So what is a smart plug?

What if you had a remote control for your wired home appliances and devices? Smart plugs make it possible.

Think of a smart plug as a receiver of a remote-controlled device. That means that when you plug in a wired device like your air conditioner or coffee maker into a smart plug, it will give your device the ability to be switched on or off remotely.

Related: How to Install a Smart Plug to Better Automate Your Home

Yes, with a smart plug you will be able to control your appliance and even schedule its operation via the smart plug's app or even voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And you can do that in your home or from virtually anywhere else.

Smart plugs of various brands are available with different features like energy monitoring, weather-resistant for using outdoors, and with USB ports. A smart plug is designed to fit into your existing wall outlet. However, it also has an on/off button on it and a notification light. Now let's explore what those are for and how does a smart plug work.


How Do Smart Plugs Work?

To set up a smart plug, first, you need to plug it into a wall outlet. Then follow the instructions on its user guide. You'll likely connect the smart plug to your Wi-Fi network or your phone's Bluetooth via its companion app.

The button on a smart plug is an on/off button and can also be used to pair the plug to your Wi-Fi network. In some plugs, it also works as a reset button when the connection is lost or if the plug is not functioning as it should.

The notification light on the plug indicates various states—like when the plug is in pairing mode or not working properly. In some plugs, the light will start flashing when you plug it in and in others, you will need to press the on/off button.

Remember, when you're setting up the smart plug, the plug, its app and the voice assistant you're going to use must be connected over the same stable Wi-Fi network.

So once you have set up the smart plug, you can plug a device into it. Then you will be able to switch on/off your device from the smart plug's app or link it to a smart assistant to control it.

Also, a smart plug will only work with a device that turns on with a dedicated mechanical switch—so that you can leave that switch always on. For example, devices like an air conditioner, lamp, fan, coffee maker, or space heater.

www.makeuseof.com What Are Smart Plugs and What Do They Do?

Smart plugs won't be able to turn on a device like your laptop, as after the laptop charger is powered on from the wall socket you will also need to press the power button on the laptop to turn it on.

To use a smart assistant to control your device, you need to link the smart plug's app to Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. Then you could just say, "Alexa, turn on the bedroom light" or "Hey Google, switch on the heater." You can also rename the plug to make it easier to control.

You can even schedule the operation of your device to turn it on/off at your preferred time. Or make the device's operation a part of a routine, like turn it on/off after motion is detected.

Related: What Is the Amazon Smart Plug and How You Can Use It?

What Can You Use Smart Plugs for at Home?

Smart plugs can turn your dumb wired devices into smart ones that you can easily control. Let's explore a few scenarios to see where you can apply smart plugs to enjoy an easier, safer, and smarter life.

Make Every Morning a Refreshing Start

Imagine waking up every day with the basics sorted out for you.

With a smart plug, you could schedule your water heater to turn on a few minutes before you wake up. Or just use the phone app or voice assistant to turn it on as you stretch out before getting out of bed. The water will be ready for you to enjoy a hot bath.

You can even schedule your coffee maker to start brewing at your chosen time in the morning—and have an energizing cup with breakfast.

Welcome Home

Ensure that a warm and relaxing ambiance awaits you when you get home. Simply schedule your space heater to turn on just when you're about to reach home.

In the summers, schedule your air conditioner the same way for a cool welcome.

Secure Your Home When Away

When you're on a family holiday or away from home, you can schedule lights to turn on after dark. This will give the illusion of people being at home and ward off intruders.

Control the Outdoors

You can also control lighting and devices outdoors while being inside your home with outdoor smart plugs. You could switch on/off the gate lights, the decorative lights on your patio, or even turn off the water fountain on your lawn.

Related: Easy Ways to Bring Smart Home Technology to Your Patio

Enjoy Energy Saving Holidays

You can schedule holiday lights and patio lights to turn on and off every day to save time and energy. Or combine your smart plug with a motion sensor to light up the Christmas tree only when motion is detected near the tree.

Moreover, some smart plugs also offer energy monitoring, so you can know exactly how much power your device is consuming.

Set a Routine for Multiple Devices

Using multiple smart plugs and a smart assistant like Alexa, you could have the TV, lights, fans, and air conditioner turn off together with a voice command when leaving home.

Set Up Your Smart Home With Smart Plugs

As you know now, smart plugs are an easy way to automate devices. They can get a lot done and do not cost much as well.

So if you've wanted to create a smart home, why not start now—smart plugs are a great way to begin.

The Best Smart Plugs to Make Your Life Easier and Safer Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorNeeraj Paruthi(37 Articles Published)

Neeraj has been exploring new products and technologies, and writing about their wonders for over two decades as a professional writer and Creative Consultant. His love for tech and smart devices keeps him adrenalized and going for more.

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