Smart Outlets, or more commonly called Smart Plugs, are arguably the most convenient Smart Home device out there, and they are a great introduction to the Smart Home domain. As an easy explanation: once you plug in a Smart Outlet into any standard wall outlet in your home, you’re able to turn whatever you plug into the outlet on and off remotely. Typically, remote on/off switching is done so by the manufacture app from your Smartphone and also from a Voice Assistant like Alexa.
The one catch here is not all Smart Outlets work with Alexa. If you’re not paying close attention, you’ll wind up with a Smart Outlet that doesn’t work with your voice assistant or perhaps not even your Smartphone.
That’s where this blog post comes in! Read on to bypass the common pitfalls related to Smart Outlets. I’ll go over some general info about them, how they work and what you should look for and different uses for them as well as a few recommended Alexa Smart Outlets specifically.
- Why Choose Alexa Smart Outlets?
- The General Alexa Smart Outlet
- Smart Power Strips for More Smart Outlets
- Swap out the Wall Outlet with an Alexa Smart Outlet
- Alexa Smart Outlets Outside
Why Choose Alexa Smart Outlets?
When considering purchasing any Smart Outlet, the brand is something not to be taken too lightly.
With just a quick search on Amazon, you will find tons of different Smart Outlets that support Alexa from many different brands. All of which vary in cost and reviews. And while there are several affordable options that come heavily reviewed at your fingertips, I bet those same options are from brands that won’t exist in a year from now. And when they disappear, so too will your peace of mind, as the device itself won’t work or there will be greater security problems–all of which you don’t want to deal with.
All of that to say, I recommend shopping for the Amazon brand directly when looking to purchase Smart Outlets. Quite simply: Amazon isn’t going anywhere. What’s more, Amazon value’s customer privacy, so security updates will routinely happen with their brand-owned devices.
That being said, I have a word of caution regarding Alexa Smart Outlets, as there is one drawback to picking the Amazon brand. And that is: lack of support for other platforms! For instance, if you ever want to use your Smart Outlet with Apple’s Siri or Google’s Home Assistant, you should consider another brand’s Smart Outlets, like Phillips. Phillips does a good job of supporting all platforms out there, while still being a brand you can trust.
Now that you’d like an Alexa Smart Outlet, let’s dive into the few different types to consider.
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The General Alexa Smart Outlet
When considering which Alexa Smart Outlet to go with, you can’t go wrong with the small and dependable Amazon Smart Plug. It’s one of the better Smart Home devices available because it can be plugged in with almost anything–a toaster, lamp, coffee maker, Christmas tree, you name it–and it’s relatively cheap with minimal installation. And what’s more, since Amazon makes these directly, the device is guaranteed to work with Alexa.
All this plug needs is a Wifi network to connect to and an internet connection. Nice and easy.
I personally use a few of these in my office that connect to Alexa voice commands. For instance, whenever I end my workday, I tell Alexa to “turn off the office.” Alexa then turns the power off on all of my office electronics all at once. As funny as it sounds to have Alexa turn my lights off for me, it’s honestly the most used Smart Home feature in my house.
Smart Power Strips for More Smart Outlets
Next to consider is how many devices you’d like to have plugged in. If you only have one smart outlet, like with the first option, you can only control one item at once. So if you have more items you want to control, you’ll need more Smart Outlets.
There is one clever solution that’s just as convenient as a smart outlet that lets you plug in and control more items at once: Alexa Power Strip. With this device you can control 3 separate items all plugged in at once. It works exactly the same way as with the plug, but now you’re able to plug in more devices! Oh and don’t be fooled by the USB ports on this particular model as seen above. The device will charge things like your phone, but you won’t be able to turn the power on and off with these USB ports
The Alexa Power Strip especially comes in handy when you’re low on wall plug real estate. One of these lets you plug in 3 new devices for one wall plug, with the benefit of Alexa Control.
I personally use one of these in my bedroom. It lets me toggle multiple devices at once, like turning off the light and turning on white noise, with just a simple command: Alexa, good night.”
Swap out the Wall Outlet with an Alexa Smart Outlet
For those of you with a bit more of a “Do-It-Yourself” mentality, you can change out your standard wall outlet at home with a Smart Outlet directly. With this solution, you don’t have a bulky smart outlet attached to the wall. And whatever you plug into the outlet instantly becomes controllable by Alexa itself.
Just a fair warning: uninstalling one of these does require a bit more effort, including turning off power and removing the existing outlet. They aren’t for the faint of heart.
Alexa Smart Outlets Outside
My most recent Smart Home purchase was an Amazon Outdoor Outlet. When you need a smart outlet that can handle the weather, this is great choice.
This holiday season, I used one of these with some outdoor Christmas Lights. And with Alexa configured, I was able to turn on the lights right at dusk and turn them off around midnight, all without having to go physically outside and mess with the outlet in the cold.
And I also had the added benefit of this command: “Alexa, turn on Christmas.” Probably the most-used Alexa Command in my house over the holidays.
What Smart Outlets do you use, and what are you using them for? Let me know in the comments below.