Best Smart Plugs & Switches Reviews 2018

When thinking about smart home devices, the first things that come to our minds are usually the smart video doorbells, smart LED lights, smart home hubs, or similar high-tech devices.

However, we often forget that the very basic building blocks of our smart home are the smart plugs and light switches. They are the ones that connect your house and the various smart home devices, and they also have the capability to transform some non-‘smart’ devices into smart ones. Yet, some of us never really understood the concept behind smart switches and smart plugs, much less their importance.

So, before we delve further into this Best Smart Plugs and Switches Buying Guide, let us learn the basics of smart plugs and switches and the different types.

Smart Plugs and Switches 101

To transform our ordinary home into a smart home, there are generally two major approaches: first, we can upgrade our old devices one-by-one into their smart counterparts. Generally, the newer smart models are more expensive, and the process of changing every device in your home can be a pain.

However, for some devices, this is the only approach you can take. For example, you will need to change your older doorbells with a smart home doorbell if you want the features. The same thing also applies to smart connected TVs.

The second option is to turn your older devices into smart ones with smart plugs and smart switches. Although this won’t work with all devices like stated above, this is generally a simpler and more affordable approach that we will recommend for smart home beginners.

The Different Types: Smart Plugs VS Smart Switches

The difference between a smart plug and a smart switch should be self-explanatory enough: a smart switch features a manual switch where you can manually control your devices, while your smart plug will only act like a power outlet with smart connectivity.

So, the real question is, which is the right one for you?

In general, a smart switch will always give you more versatility with manual control. Generally, we will still want a normal wall-switch control for our smart lighting, as well as several other devices.

Smart plugs won’t give you the luxury of manual control, but will instead give you more flexibility as you can plug any device you want without hard-wiring. Also, most smart plugs offer the power-monitoring feature that is rare with smart switches.

So, smart plugs are generally better for automating or scheduling devices.

How Should I Choose My Smart Plugs or Switches?

The most important thing to answering this question is knowing which devices are already part of your home. In general, some devices, smart home protocols, or smart home hubs, will work better with a certain switch or plug than other brands/types.

Now, this might be too broad, but in our product recommendation section below, we will list which protocols/hubs are supported by our recommended plugs/switches.

An easy way to tell is to check both your device/appliance and the plug/switch packaging. Most likely they will at least list what protocols are supported: some will list generic Wi-Fi or BlueTooth, some will list Z-Wave or ZigBee protocols. Make sure your device or hub is compatible with your preferred switch/plug, and vice versa.

What Features Should I Look For?

Rather than looking at certain features, the most important thing is to find the most affordable switch or plug possible that meets your particular needs. So, you should first understand your own needs.

The smart plugs or switches will typically include these features, or some combination of them: motion or sound detecting automation, smart scheduling, energy monitoring and saving, surge protection, dimming, and integration with other smart home devices or hubs.

Generally, the more of those features are included, the more expensive the product will be. Also, the more precise the automation and scheduling is, the more expensive they are.

So, it is important to first understand your needs: how precise would you need the automation? Do you need energy monitoring for a certain device? Do you need motion detection? Is the electricity in your area quite unstable you need a surge protection?

By answering those questions (and more), you can make a better purchase decision.

Top 10 Plug-In Smart Outlets

1. TP-Link RE270K: 2-in-1 Smart Plug and Wi-Fi Extender

TP-Link is one of the most reputable brands in the world of digital appliances, especially for network-related devices. Their products are famous for being decent while being relatively affordable, and that’s no different with the RE270K.

The TP-Link 270K is not only a smart plug but can also act as a Wi-Fi extender, which is TP-Link’s specialty.

TP-Link RE270K Smart Plug

Here are the key features of the TP-Link RE270K:

  • Wi-Fi Extension feature, a rare feature among smart plugs, and can work with any standard router or gateway
  • 300 Mbps max speed on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and 433 Mbps max speed with 5GHz Wi-Fi
  • Free companion app (Kasa app) to control plugged devices from your smartphone
  • Integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • An ethernet port so you can also connect wired devices
  • The smart plug supports up to 15A of power

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Very easy and fast installation
  • Excellent Wi-Fi extension as an extra feature
  • Reliable Kasa app, very easy to use and working as intended
  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google assistant
  • Onboard on/off switch, can act as a semi-smart switch

CONS:
  • A relatively flimsy build
  • The design is relatively long, so will block the outlet below in a 2-plug outlet
  • Relatively expensive compared to others

Our Verdict

The key value of the TP-Link RE270K is its ability to also act as a Wi-Fi Extender. Coming from TP-Link, a network device expert, the quality of the Wi-Fi extension is also exceptional. As a smart plug, it also offers all the core features, thanks to the reliable Kasa app.

If you happen to have Wi-Fi dead spots in your house and also in need of a smart plug, the TP-Link RE270K is a nice 2-in-1 solution.

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2. TP-Link HS100

Another product by TP-Link, but this time, it’s a basic smart plug without the Wi-Fi extension feature. As a result, the TP-Link HS-100 is more affordable, almost half the price of the TP-Link RE270K. The TP-Link HS-100 is the entry-level smart plug of TP-Link, while we will also review the more premium products.

However, that’s not saying the HS-100 is sub-par, as it offers quite a decent value as an affordable smart plug. Let us first take a look at the key features of the TP-Link HS-100.

TP-Link HS-100

Key Features

  • Voice control integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Free Kasa App to control the connected device from your smartphone or tablet
  • Smart scheduling including away mode to turn devices on and off when you are away from home

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Relatively affordable for a smart plug
  • Plug-in design, very easy to install and use
  • Can handle 120V AC voltage
  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Reliable Kasa App for scheduling and automation

CONS:
  • Relatively basic core features, no energy monitoring feature
  • Limited third-party integration
  • Requires two power socket

Our Verdict

The TP-Link HS100 is a great entry-level smart plug offering all the core features of a basic smart plug. The free Kasa app is fairly reliable and easy to use, and the physical unit itself is very easy to install.

Although the features are fairly basic and there is only limited third-party integration, it is fairly affordable and does the job well as a simple smart plug. Great choice for those with a tight budget or those who just want to try a smart plug unit.

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3. TP-Link HS-105

Another one from TP-Link, which as the name suggests, is a more premium version of the HS-100. Many similar features are shared between the two smart plugs, with the key difference being the TP-Link HS-105 uses only one power socket, while the HS-100 will block two adjacent sockets. The HS-105 is also slightly more expensive.

First, let us discuss the key features of the TP-Link HS-105, where you will notice many similarities to the previously discussed HS-100.

TP-Link HS105

Key Features

  • Compact design, only use 1 power socket without blocking the adjacent socket
  • Voice control integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Free and reliable Kasa App to control the connected devices from your anywhere
  • Smart scheduling including away mode to turn devices on and off when you are away from home

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Plug-in design, very easy to install and use
  • Can handle 120V AC voltage
  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Reliable and easy to use Kasa App for scheduling and automation
  • Uses only one power socket without blocking adjacent ones

CONS:
  • With the main difference being only the size, it is more expensive than the HS-100
  • Limited third-party integration

Our Verdict

The TP-Link HS-105 is essentially the exact same smart plug as the HS-100, with the only difference being the size and the ability to only use one power socket. This feature can be handy if you are planning to use multiple smart plugs at once and only have limited power sockets available.

However, if size is not an issue, you might be better off with the TP-Link HS-100.

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4. TP-Link HS-110

Yet another smart plug by TP-Link, and also another one belonging to TP-Link’s HS-series of smart plugs. If you can see the pattern, the HS-110 is the more premium version of both the TP-Link HS-100 and HS-105.

Being the most premium version of the HS-series, we can obviously expect extra features from the TP-Link HS-110. So, let us first discuss its key features.

TP-Link HS110

Key Features

  • Energy monitoring feature can monitor energy usage of any plugged device
  • Voice control integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Free Kasa App to control the connected device from your smartphone or tablet
  • Smart scheduling including away mode to turn devices on and off when you are away from home

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Quite precise energy monitoring feature, useful for certain devices and appliances
  • Plug-in design, very easy to install and use
  • Can handle 120V AC voltage
  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Reliable and easy to use Kasa App for scheduling and automation
  • Uses only one power socket without blocking adjacent ones

CONS:
  • More expensive than the previous two, with the key difference being only the energy monitoring feature
  • Limited third-party integration
  • Will block two power sockets

Our Verdict

As you can see, the key difference between the TP-Link HS-110 and the previously discussed HS-100 and HS-105 is only the energy monitoring feature. It is seemingly a very simple additional feature, but energy monitoring is actually very important for your smart home. (http://www.energylens.com/articles/energy-management)

The energy monitoring feature on the HS-110 itself is pretty accurate, as you can use the Kasa app to monitor energy consumption of any plugged device in real-time. You will also receive weekly and monthly summaries, so you can plan ahead to better manage energy consumptions in your home.

In our opinion, the extra bucks you pay for the HS-110 is worth it if you really want an energy-efficient smart home.

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5. Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug

The first on this list that does not belong to TP-Link is the popular Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug. The WeMo Mini is definitely one of the most popular smart plugs available in the market, and not without its reasons: it is affordable, it is compact and only need one power socket, and it does the job well.

So, first let us take a look at the key features of the Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug.

Belkin WeMo Mini SmartPlug

Key Features

  • Great third-party integration with Nest, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT protocol
  • Easy plug-in installation, no hard-wiring necessary
  • Only requires one power socket, and can stack two WeMo Mini in the same outlet with two sockets
  • Smart scheduling feature in conjunction with the free smartphone/tablet app
  • Away mode allows you to randomize light when you are not home

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Very affordable considering its rich features
  • Easy to install and use with a plug-in installation
  • Compact size, won’t block adjacent socket, can use WeMo Mini in one double-outlet
  • The nest integration is nice. For example, your plugged devices can schedule themselves based on Nest Thermostat
  • Great third-party integration with IFTTT recipes

CONS:
  • No integration with Apple HomeKit or Siri
  • The WeMo app is sometimes not reliable
  • No energy monitoring feature

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a compact smart plug with great third-party integration, the Belkin WeMo Mini is a solid pick. The IFTTT recipes support and integration with Nest products are an excellent feature to have.

The only major downside is the lack of energy monitoring, which is common with mini smart plug. Still, an excellent overall pick.

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6. Belkin WeMo Switch

Another one by Belkin, and as the name suggests, the Belkin WeMo Switch is the bigger older brother of WeMo Mini, occupying two electrical outlets instead of one. Actually, the WeMo Mini was released with a sole purpose: making the WeMo Switch smaller to occupy just one outlet.

So, the key features offered by both model are mostly identical.

Belkin WeMo Switch

Key Features

  • Great third-party integration with Nest, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT protocol
  • Easy plug-in installation, no hard-wiring necessary
  • Smart scheduling feature in conjunction with the free smartphone/tablet app
  • Away mode allows you to randomize light when you are not home

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Very affordable considering its rich features
  • Easy to install and use a plug-in installation
  • Since this is an older model, you can get great bargain price
  • The nest integration is nice. For example, your plugged devices can schedule themselves based on Nest Thermostat
  • Great third-party integration with IFTTT recipes

CONS:
  • No integration with Apple HomeKit or Siri
  • The WeMo app is sometimes not reliable
  • No energy monitoring feature
  • Takes up two power sockets

Our Verdict

The Belkin WeMo Switch is identical with Belkin WeMo Mini in all ways except one: the size. Yet, because it is an older model, you can expect great bargain price in purchasing a Belkin WeMo Switch. If the size and the fact that it will occupy two vertical sockets at once are not an issue for you, the Belkin WeMo Switch can be a more affordable pick.

Still, one of the best option if you are looking for a smart plug with a wide range of third-party integration.

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7. iDevices Switch WiFi Smart Plug

iDevices might not be as big as a company as Belkin or TP-Link, but has launched several successful smart products in the past, including the popular iGrill.

The iDevices Switch is also a popular choice among smart plugs and switches. The first thing you will notice is the sleek, modern design with a touch of light purple, which looks really nice.

Yet, the iDevices Switch isn’t all looks and no substance, as there are several unique features on the smart plug.

iDevices Switch WiFi Smart Plug

Key Features

  • Voice command integration with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant
  • Excellent app for your scheduling and automation purposes
  • Smart scheduling feature allowing more versatility
  • Energy monitoring feature included

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Very affordable for its rich features
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Energy monitoring feature
  • Excellent app for remote access
  • Easy plug-in installation
  • Integration with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant/Home, and Amazon Alexa

CONS:
  • Limited third-party integration (no IFTTT and no Nest support)
  • No dimmer functionality
  • Energy monitoring feature is somewhat limited

Our Verdict

For its very affordable price, the iDevices Switch offers very nice and complete feature package compared to other products in its price range. It is quite versatile as a smart plug, but we can say that the iDevices Switch is a jack of all trades, master of none.

Although it offers a wide range of features, it lacks the depth offered by other products on this list. For example, the TP-Link HS-110 offers a more in-depth energy monitoring report. On the other hand, the Belkin WeMo offers more detailed scheduling with the ability to adjust contingencies.

Still, overall a very decent and affordable pick if you are looking for a smart plug with a nice look and complete core features.

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8. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control

A product from General Electric, obviously one of the biggest companies in the world, and there will be several differences from the GE Z-Wave Plus Smart Switch over the previous smart plugs we have discussed.

First, when all the previous smart plugs we discussed before are designed for plug-in installation, the GE Z-Wave Plus will require a hardwiring installation.

Second, it requires a Z-Wave hub to work properly, such as Samsung SmartThings, Pulse, Trane, Wink, Honeywell hubs, and several other options.

Sounds complicated enough? Yet, there are some interesting features only available from the GE Z-Wave that might suit your needs.

GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control

Key Features

  • A very smart lighting controller with excellent automation and dimming function
  • Seamless integration with Z-Wave protocol devices
  • Can act like a master switch for the whole house, where you can link it with four other GE switches

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Does one job only and does it really well: controlling Z-wave connected lighting
  • Can link up with four add-on switches to act as a master system
  • Excellent dimmer and automation functions
  • Seamless integration with various Z-Wave hubs: SmartThings, Pulse, Trane, Wink, Nexia, Honeywell, HomeSeer, Smart Security, Harmony Home Hub Extender, Vera, Connect and Iris
  • Excellent wireless range
  • Works with all types of light bulbs

CONS:
  • Requires in-wall installation
  • Can only control lighting and not other devices

Our Verdict

The GE Z-Wave Plus is a little different compared to other products we previously discussed because it is strictly a smart lighting controller. If you happen to own a Z-Wave hub and wants a smart switch to control your lighting, the Ge Z-Wave Plus is simply one of the best choices available.

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9. Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini

Etekcity is admittedly, a fairly unknown brand in the world of smart home devices. Yet, the Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini is an interesting device with a nice combination of features.

First, it is really small and will only occupy one power outlet. It also integrates perfectly with Amazon Aleza, among other nice features.

Let us take a look at the key features of the Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini.

Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini

Key Features

  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa (including its own Alexa Skill)
  • Energy monitoring feature, a rarity in mini smart plug
  • Easy installation and set-up with a plug-in approach
  • Smart scheduling and remote access with the free smartphone app

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Extremely affordable and you get 2 smart plugs in one package
  • Nice energy monitoring feature
  • Perfect integration with Alexa with its own ‘VeSync’ Skill
  • Compact and only use one power socket
  • Very easy to install

CONS:
  • Limited third-party integration besides Alexa
  • Relatively basic core features
  • Flimsy design

Our Verdict

The most interesting value in choosing the Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini is its affordability, especially since you get two smart plugs in one package.

Although it is very affordable, it does pack a nice combination of core features. The energy monitoring feature is a rarity among mini-sized smart plugs, so it is definitely a nice feature to have.

Although it doesn’t have the depth of other products listed here, it does have decent core features. An excellent on-budget pick.

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10. Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch

Another one by Etekcity, and as with other products from the same brand on this list, one is more premium than the other. In this case, the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Switch is the more affordable option. Considering the previously discussed Etekcity Mini Smart Plug is already very affordable, this is definitely a nice option to look at for those with tight budget.

So, how will the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Switch fare against its cheaper brother? Let us take a look at its key features.

Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch

Key Features

  • Remote control included, useful when controlling hard to reach devices
  • 5 outlet receivers and 2 remote controls included in the package
  • Programmable outlets

Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • Very affordable, excellent for those looking for inexpensive option
  • Easy installation and the remote control is fairly reliable
  • Versatile scheduling with the programmable outlets

CONS:
  • No remote access or smartphone app
  • No third-party integration
  • Limited core features

Our Verdict

With the very limited features, it is hard to categorize the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Switch as a smart plug at all. However, it does have some glimpses of the core features of a smart plug: it can schedule connected devices, and you have some form of control through the remote transmitter.

For those who don’t need as much of automation or remote access, and simply want your devices to be a little smarter, the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Switch can be a decent, very affordable pick.

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Best Smart Plug-In Outlet

With all the smart plugs and switches we have reviewed having similar core features to each other, and each having their own advantages, it is really hard to choose just one of them as our best pick.

However, after much considerations and careful comparisons, our choice goes to:

TP-Link RE 270K

With the core features between the reviewed being similar, especially among the ‘premium’ products, the extra feature of the TP-Link RE 270K that can also act as a Wi-Fi extender is a nice distinguishing touch.

As a smart plug, the TP-Link RE 270K is also fairly reliable, and the accompanying Kasa app is also very decent and stable. You can also connect a TV, PC or game console to the RE-270K with a LAN cable, where it can relay your internet connection.

That’s not saying the other products we have reviewed don’t have their own values, as each offers some unique features, more depth, or simply being a more affordable option.

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Best On-Budget Choice

Again, this is a hard pick, since each of the on-budget choices we have reviewed also has some unique features and offering different values. The key consideration we had when making this choice is that although the smart plug is affordable, it also has to offer reliability and decent core features.

So, our choice goes to:

TP-Link HS-100

Another product by TP-Link, showing the reliability of their brand. The TP-link HS-100 is a very affordable smart plug offering decent core features. Basically, it is the same product as the RE-270K above, except that it doesn’t have the Wi-Fi extension feature of the RE-270K.

Again, that’s not saying the other affordable options are not great, as there are some areas where they fare better than the TP-Link HS-100. For example, if you want the energy monitoring feature, the TP-Link HS-110 is a better pick.

On the other hand, if you want a more compact option that will occupy only one power socket, there are several options you can choose from our lists above, such as the TP-Link HS-105, Belkin WeMo Mini, or Etekcity Smart Plug Mini.

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Nevertheless, the TP-Link HS-100 is an excellent on-budget pick offering a very decent core features: a nice voice-command integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, very reliable Kasa app, nice scheduling and automation capabilities, and very stable connectivity.

Conclusion

While choosing the right smart plug or switch can be confusing with all the available products on the market, you can make a better purchase decision by following our tips and product recommendations above.

The first thing you will need to do is understand your own needs. Not everyone requires that much of automation, while others might not need energy monitoring.

As we have mentioned, the key in choosing the right smart plug is to look for the most affordable option that can fit your needs. After that, you should look for compatibility and integration with your owned devices.

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