So you’re looking for a smart plug that is compatible with Alexa but you’re not sure which one is the best. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite smart plugs that are compatible with virtual home assistants.
What is a Smart Plug?
A smart plug looks about the same as a regular plug but it has various “smart” features such as the ability to connect to Wifi and turn the connected appliance on or off through the internet.
Smart plugs allow you to turn a regular appliance into a “smart” appliance, and then control it via a home assistant, such as Alexa, Google Home, or Homekit. From there it’s simply a matter of using a voice command to turn on the device.
The end result is complete appliance automation. You can do things like turn on your coffee machine, control lights, air conditioning units, heaters, and more. Smart plugs have a lot of practical uses, and, for the most part, they’re not very expensive.
Without further delay, let’s get into the list.
Best Smart Plugs for Alexa:
Notable Feature: Budget-friendly, Works Exclusively with Alexa
To start off our list we have a great smart plug from Amazon themselves. As you might expect, the Amazon smart plug is compatible with other Amazon devices. In fact, the Amazon smart plug is only compatible with Alexa, no other voice assistants will work.
As for features, It can automatically connect to a standard 2.4 GHz Wifi network, the faster 5 GHz networks are not supported yet. The set up is very simple, and everything is straightforward. Simply plug the smart plug into a power outlet, turn it on, and you should get a notification from the Alexa app on your phone with more instructions.
You will need to use the Alexa app on a mobile device or tablet to change settings and assign it to a name or group. Overall, it’s a very easy convenient smart plug and it works perfectly with Alexa devices. However, there’s one important downside:
Some reviewers mentioned the Amazon smart plug can trip electronics and it could be a fire risk. I recommend using this plug with devices that don’t require much power such as small lights or lamps.
Notable Feature: Compatible with All Home Assistant Devices and Apps
The Teckin smart plug is a very handy device that can not only help you control appliances when you’re away from home but you can also create schedules.
As you might expect, it connects directly to your Wifi, and any of the home assistant apps should be able to find it. The smart plug is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and other smart-home apps. The app the company recommends is Smart Life.
Setting up the smart plug is really easy too. To start, plug it on and turn the power on. Next, download the Smart Life app on your phone, tap “add device”, choose the type of device, and it should find the plug. You can use other apps to configure the smart plug too.
Note: The Teckin smart plug only works with 2.4 GHz Wifi networks.
Notable Feature: Budget-Friendly, Monitors Energy Usage and Savings
Here we have a budget-friendly smart plug from Gosung that is compatible with both Alexa and Google Home Assistant. It does not seem to work with Siri.
At first look, the Gosund Wifi smart plug doesn’t have that many features, but the app unlocks lots of special features and monitoring tools. What’s great about this particular smart plug is the app (called Gosung on IOS and Google Play) allows you to set a schedule, monitor energy usage, and even voice control.
The energy usage monitor is particularly useful, it not only shows you how much energy your connected devices use but also how much energy you save. While it doesn’t have many super-advanced features, for the most, the Gosund smart plug gets the job done.
One downside is the plug can be a bit bulky and block nearby sockets.
Notable Feature: Extra Safety and Child-proof Features
This Meross smart plug is another good choice. There are a couple of features worth talking about.
For one, the plug is designed to be as safe as possible, with overload protection and a fire-retardant case. The shell is quite small too, so you don’t need to worry about it blocking other sockets, a problem most smart plugs struggle with. Secondly, the app has a “scene” setting which you can use to create all kinds of custom themes.
Besides those features, it’s compatible with SmartThings, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and even IFTTT. You can also use the Meross app for other features, such as schedules, timers, and it even monitors energy usage. As you might have guessed, it only works with 2.4 GHz Wifi networks. No hubs required.
The TP-LINK Kasa smart plug is one of the most budget-friendly options on our list. While it’s cheaper than the other plugs, the features are about the same. It’s worth mentioning that there are many TP-LINK smart plugs to choose from, and they even sell smart power strips.
The TP-LINK smart plug is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Samsung SmartThings. Not to mention they have their own app, which is called Kasa, and it’s free on both IOS and Google Play. No hubs are required, simply connect it directly to a 2.4 GHz router.
The app allows you to create a schedule and timers. You can also choose “Away” mode which turns off devices when you’re not home, an easy way to save power. The cheapest smart plug on the list does not have energy monitoring but the others do. Definitely worth checking out.
What to Look for in a Smart Plug:
While most smart plugs will work as intended, there are a few features you might want to keep an eye out for.
Schedules & Timers
The smart plug you choose should at least have the option to create schedules and timers. You can set a schedule for something like turning on a coffee machine every morning or similar schedules. These are arguably the most important features you need.
Most smart plugs don’t have built-in voice control but voice control can be added with apps like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. It’s best to look for a smart plug that is compatible with your preferred home assistant.
If you have a Samsung phone, that would be Google Assistant or SmartThings. There are more smart plugs for Android devices, but there are still lots that work with Siri. Also, smart plugs work great with Alexa.
Warning: Check Supported Voltage
Smart plugs can’t handle any wattage. Plugging a device that consumes a lot of power into a smart plug could lead to issues, the most extreme would be a short or even a fire.
Most smart plugs will send an overheating message to your phone when they’re struggling to handle the wattage. Make sure to pay attention to the rated wattage of the smart plug you buy and double-check if the appliance you want to connect is under the limit.
Why Won’t My Smart Plug Connect to My Wifi?
The most common reason you smart plug won’t connect to Wifi is because your Wifi is using a 5 GHz broadcast. To change that, you’ll need to enter your router’s settings and change the broadcast mode to 2.4 GHz. Most smart plugs do not work with 5 GHz Wifi networks.
Do You Need to Port Forward Smart Plugs on Your Router?
Most smart plugs do not require port forwarding because they use UPNP protocol which automatically opens ports on your router. However, the router needs to be connected to the internet.