Smart Outlets

A smarter and more energy efficient connected home

With smart wall outlets you can make your home smarter and more energy efficient without much effort. Use your smartphone or even voice commands to control power consumption of your devices and give your ordinary devices a range of clever, smart functionalities.

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What can smart outlets do for you?

Smart outlets provide quick, easy ways to try out smart home technology. You can hook up ordinary appliances that you already have to give them smart functionalities. This will make your favorite appliances much more convenient for a number of reasons.

Remote control

Many smart outlets allow you to control your ordinary devices remotely from a smartphone or tablet. Be it a coffee machine, space heater or fan, you’ll be able to control all the devices in one place. Each device plugged into a dual outlet can be controlled separately. And better yet, you can turn your devices off even when you’re not at home. So turn on the heaters as you start getting home and then turn off everything at once as you get into bed. Do you usually set up holiday lights? Well, with a smart outlet, you can turn them on and off without going outside in the rain or cold. (Just make sure you cover the outlets with protective boxes to make sure your smart outlet is weatherproof).

Scheduling

Scheduling is another convenient feature that make using your devices so much easier. For example, use this feature to have your space heater turn on in the morning without you having to think about it. And then schedule it to turn off by the time you leave for work. Smart scheduling is one way to make sure you’re saving energy, and money, where you can.

Voice assistance

Depending on which specific smart outlet you go for, it's likely to be compatible with at least one of the three major voice assistants. This will allow you to fully control connected devices using simple voice commands through either a Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit smart assistant device. Compatibility with other smart devices will allow you to create a truly connected home. The Google Assistant for example, is ompatible with over 10,000 devices from over 1,000 popular brands.

If you have kids...

Controls can be refined by restricting access. For example, you can make sure the TV is off until your kids have their chores and homework done. Small wall outlets can also be tamper resistant. And some of them have a customizable color night light!

Track energy usage

With charts and graphs of energy use over a certain length of time, it’ll be easy to spot where you can save energy. This isn’t only good for you and your wallet, but also the environment!

What should I be looking out for?

Not all smart outlets are created equally. Before choosing your smart outlet, check if it's compatible with any smart home voice assistants. A smart outlet may just work with one, or all three. The obvious feature about smart assistant compatibility is voice control. But through pairing and scenes created through the voice assistants, the devices you plug into the smart outlet can also be paired to other smart devices. But depending on the compatibility of the voice assistant the outlet connects too, the pairable devices change.

Check if the smart outlets need hubs to connect to the WiFi. Hubs may be annoying but they’re crucial for unlocking a number of smart features and functionalities. And they’re not always devices whose sole feature is to create WiFi connections. For Apple compatible devices for instance, an Apple HomePod, Apple TV or even an iPad can also function as a hub.

Other things you may want to consider:

  • Build: Check the kind of build your standard, traditional outlets already have. To optimize the outlet WiFi, a plastic box may be better than a metal box around the outlet.
  • Installation: When you’re installing the outlet, take note about where you’ll place the it. Closer to the WiFi router may be best to secure strong connection.
  • Additional ports: On the smart outlet, there may or may not be a USB port to charge your smartphone.

Installation: Should I call a professional electrician?

The directions behind smart outlet installation is simple. Remove the traditional outlet and connect the now-exposed wires to the corresponding terminals on the smart wall outlet. Instructions are included with the devices.

If you’re not comfortable working with electrical wires, then it may be better to have your smart outlet installed by a professional, licensed electrician. Especially if your wall outlet has aluminum wiring (as compared to copper). The aluminum wiring oxidizes in a way that causes arching and gets very hot. An electrician can use the proper wire nuts and make sure the wall outlet is up to date and code.