Thanks to evolving technology, so many amazing gadgets, and devices are invented to make our lives better. One of these super gadgets is the smart plug. At first glance, the smart plug looks like a regular electrical plug that can protect your home appliances and other electronics from electrical faults. However, there is so much more to this unique invention.
What is a Smart Plug?
The smart plug is enhanced with wireless connectivity to enable you to remotely control any electronic appliances you plug into the device. It works like any other plug, but with the added smart features. You can remotely control the plugged electronic appliances from your smartphone or tablets within a range specified by the manufacturer of the smart plug or through the internet.
How it works
Smart plugs are very easy to use. Here’s the thing, it can turn any of your electrical devices into a smart tool to conveniently function the way you want. Smart plugs do not need any elaborate setup process. All you need to do is insert the plug into your conventional wall socket. Next, plug in the device you want to use and connect the smart plug to a network.
Connectivity options for smart plugs are via Wi-Fi or an internet USB (most smart plugs have two or four USB ports).
You can communicate with the smart plug via mobile apps designed by the manufacturer, or your regular virtual assistants such as Alexa. After plugging in a device, you can remotely perform functions such as activating the electronic device, shut it down, or set schedules according to your plans.
For example, in your kitchen, you can plug an electric kettle into the smart plug. When this is done, you can set the timing for heating water and turn off the kettle remotely.
Smart plugs can be used indoors and outdoors. However, you must check the user manual to confirm if the brand or model you have can be used outdoors (it is usually indicated). Otherwise, all models of smart plugs are suitable for use indoors. Before this smart device can be used outdoors, it must have adequate waterproofing as established in the manufacturer’s information book.
Who needs smart plugs?
Everyone can use smart plugs. They have become so popular in the tech world because of the convenience smart plugs provide. In addition, features that allow you to plug and remotely control multiple devices with your smart plug have made them even more popular.
Smart plugs can be found in almost every setting because of their versatile use. You can find them in the kitchen, rooms, and also in commercial buildings with offices and shops. In our homes, we virtually need almost all the devices and gadgets we use to be connected to a source of power. Smart plugs offer a cheaper alternative to homeowners who need to use their smart features.
Newly built smart homes come with the improved electrical sockets as a standard. But you can avoid the huge costs of remodeling your entire home to make it smarter by using the smart plugs. With these plugs, everything you connect to it turns into a smart device.
Here are some of the awesome ways you can use smart plugs
Wireless controls in your home
You can use smart plugs to wirelessly control your lights, television, coffee maker, and many other electronics. All it takes is the tap of a button on the smart plug app, and you can turn on or stop any of these devices from functioning. And you can set timers to determine when they start working and stop.
Managing children’s screen time
Smart plugs can help you control how long your children watch the TV at any time. Without checks, children can spend long hours watching their favorite shows, but they need to sleep or do homework. You can set the timer of a smart plug connected to your TV to shut down the system after a few hours.
Monitor energy consumption
This is one of the cost-effective features of using a smart plug. You can check the energy consumption of different electronic equipment used frequently in your home. The report you get can be used to determine which gadgets are consuming too much energy. When you discover the ‘culprits,’ changes can be made to reduce your energy bill.
Knowing how much energy the devices in your home consume is very helpful when shopping for these gadgets. You can check the rating for products on sale to make comparisons before purchase. Choosing devices with lower ratings can help reduce your energy consumption.
Remotely shut down all devices
Imagine the luxury of turning off all your electronic devices from the comfort of your bed. You can forget the days when you had to walk around the entire house switching off stuff one after the other. Now, with a smartphone, you can shut down the entire system, leaving only necessary things on and then go to sleep.
In the morning, get ahead of your day by starting your laundry or making coffee before you get out of bed.
Are smart plugs risky to use?
Considering they will be frequently used, it is normal to express fears about the risks of using smart plugs. However, chances of an electrical problem are very low because the manufacturers make these products based on the standard electrical consumption ratings in their target market.
If you plug in a device that consumes a lot of electrical energy, your smart plug will supply the energy needed for the device to function smoothly. However, you will be able to see the amount of energy consumed on the mobile app.
The worst that can happen with smart plugs if there is every an upsurge of electric current is a shutdown. They have circuit breakers which cut power supply when an electrical fault is detected.
There are different brands of smart plugs in the market. You will also find a wide range of models. For example, some smart plugs have only two outlets for regular plugs; you can also find smart plugs with USB ports. Depending on its intended use, you can buy bigger or smaller sized smart plugs with the number of output points you need. Some common smart plug brands that exist in the market are Belkin Wemo Smart Plug, Eve energy, and the Hive Active smart plug.