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4 Simple Smart Plugs For Tech Savvy Baby Boomers

4 Simple Smart Plugs For Tech Savvy Baby Boomers

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Smart tech is making its way into every facet of our lives, and smart devices for the home are becoming increasingly popular with Boomers looking for ways to simplify things around the house.

Many such devices can be linked to an assistant app, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which allows you to control them via your smartphone or even your voice.

smart plugs

Smart plugs are a great, affordable smart device that you can buy and easily integrate into your home to turn a variety of “dumb devices,” such as lamps, coffee machines, fans and some appliances, into “smart devices.”

Many are available for just around 20 bucks (sometimes even less), so it’s easy to see why they are surging in popularity, especially in households that already have an Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit virtual assistant program.

This guide will run you through what a smart plug is, how much you should expect to pay, and things to keep an eye out for when comparing different models.

We’ve also researched and tested out many different smart plugs. We have put together our four top picks for you immediately below if you’d prefer to save yourself the time and hassle of shopping around for yourself.

Our Top Smart Plug Picks

Our top picks, listed in no particular order, can be purchased easily in a matter of clicks via the Amazon links we’ve provided.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

First up, priced at around $18, we have this affordable mini smart plug from TP-Link. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and can also be operated via the easy to use Kasa app on Android or iOS smartphones.

You can use it to control devices with your voice, set timers, and program an away mode. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer energy monitoring capabilities and doesn’t have a USB port.

Pros:

  • Very affordable and compact smart plug
  • Compatible with a good selection of virtual assistant programs
  • Can be used for voice control, setting timers and more

Cons:

  • Doesn’t monitor how much energy a device uses
  • Doesn’t have a USB port
  • It isn’t compatible with Apple HomeKit, so it’s definitely not the best option for boomers who are already using this software.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug With Energy Monitoring

At around $25, This smart plug is essentially a variant of the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini – and its main advantage over the former is it has energy monitoring capabilities.

The monitoring capabilities mean you can track how much electricity a device is using, which makes it great for boomers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint or are trying to cut back their spending on energy bills.

For this extra feature, you’ll be charged an additional ten bucks, but the cost savings you could make over time could make it well worth the extra money for many users.

Pros:

  • Pretty affordable and compact smart plug
  • Allows you to monitor how much electricity a device is using
  • Compatible with a good selection of virtual assistant programs
  • Can be used for voice control, setting timers and more

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a USB port
  • Isn’t compatible with Apple HomeKit, so it’s not the best option for boomers who are already using this particular virtual assistant software

SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Next, we have another bargain smart plug. The SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug costs just $18 and is one of the most compact smart plugs money can buy.

Like the previous two models on our list, it is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but not Apple Homekit. Its smart features include voice control and energy monitoring.

Unfortunately, unlike TP-Link’s smart plugs, it doesn’t allow you to schedule programs and set timers or an away mode.

Pros:

  • Affordable and extremely compact smart plug
  • Compatible with a good selection of popular virtual assistant
  • Has energy monitoring capabilities and other smart features

Cons:

  • Doesn’t allow you to schedule programs
  • Doesn’t have a USB port
  • It’s incompatible with Apple HomeKit

Belkin WeMo Mini WiFi Smart Plug

Last but not least, we have this fantastic smart plug from Belkin. At just under $30, it’s a great choice for households already using Apple HomeKit, as it is compatible with the system and with Siri (unlike many of its rivals), and can also work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Its compact design is also a big plus – and although it does offer the core smart functionality of other smart plugs when connected to a device, it doesn’t provide energy monitoring.

Pros:

  • Compatible with the three most popular virtual assistant programs in the US
  • Has a compact, space-saving design
  • Offers a good selection of smart features

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer energy consumption monitoring
  • Doesn’t have a USB port

What Are The Benefits of a Smart Plug?

Once a device has been connected to a smart plug, you can use an assistant app to control it with your voice via your Wi-Fi network. So, in a way, smart plugs are similar to the clapper light, though they are considerably more advanced and can be used to make several devices other than lamps smart.

Some smart plugs also allow you to schedule commands in advance. Scheduling can be a great way to make your day easier and more automated. For example, some models allow you to schedule your coffee machine to begin making coffee at a pre-determined time automatically. Others will enable you to program an away mode.

Many models also allow you to closely monitor how much energy a particular device is using, which makes them great for budget and eco-conscious boomers.

How Much Should I Expect to Pay For a Smart Plug?

Smart plugs cost as little as $15, while others cost close to $70. For some of the more expensive models, you’ll get a smart plug with multiple outlets, energy monitoring capabilities, and other additional features that may or may not be of interest to you.

It’s best to look at a few different models to get a better sense of what’s offered at each price point instead of setting a fixed budget from the get-go.

Once you’ve checked out a few smart plugs, you can begin making a shortlist of models and then slowly narrow down your options until you’re left with the one that’s best for you.

Things to Look For in a Smart Plug

As there are several different manufacturers and smart plugs out there, you’ll have plenty from which to choose. To avoid getting bogged down when comparing different models, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the important things to look for and compare.

Price is an important factor for boomers and all buyers to consider, but there are several other things to consider.

Compatibility

Some smart plugs are only compatible with a single virtual assistant program, while others can be integrated with and used via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. So, it’s good to keep compatibility in mind when shopping around.

A smart plug doesn’t need to be compatible with every virtual assistant app out there – it’s more about ensuring that it can work with the virtual assistant you have (assuming you already have one.)

Size

There’s a fair bit of variation in the size of different smart plugs. This may not seem like a particularly important point as plugs are usually hidden out of view and are rarely carried around. Still, it is something to consider, as some of the larger smart plugs can block adjacent sockets, rendering them useless.

As a general rule, smaller smart plugs are preferred – and they usually have “mini” in their name so you know they won’t obstruct adjacent sockets.

Functionality & Features

While the vast majority of smart plugs unlock the same core “smart” functionality of a device, some models do have extra features, such as energy monitoring. The relevance of these features depends on how useful they’ll be to you and whether you think the value they add is worth the extra money.

Number of Outlets

Some smart plug models have several outlets, allowing you to connect multiple devices to them. This can often be more cost-effective than buying multiple smart plugs, but it can sometimes be difficult to connect several devices to the same plug, as they may not be located close together.

Warranties

As with any purchase, it’s always a good bonus if the product comes with a free manufacturer’s warranty so you can get your smart plug repaired or replaced if it gets damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Devices Are Compatible With a Smart Plug?

Pretty much every device in your property – from appliances, such as your microwave or oven, to lamps, TVs and coffee machines – can be plugged into a smart plug to make it “smart.”

How Many Smart Plugs Should I Buy?

How many plugs you need ultimately depends on how many devices you want to connect and give smart capabilities. Also, bear in mind that you may not need a smart plug for each device, as some models have multiple outlets that allow you to plug in multiple devices which are close together.

Will I Need to Replace Them Frequently?

If you buy a smart plug from an established manufacturer, you shouldn’t need to replace it often, since it is built to last. However, there are several unbranded, smart plugs on the market, which are considerably cheaper than most other models but are also of far lower quality and are prone to get damaged.

Final Thoughts

Buying a smart plug is the easiest way to make your home a bit “smarter.” When utilized with certain devices, smart plugs really can make your life much easier and save you a considerable amount of time

They are relatively affordable and require no technical knowledge whatsoever to install (you simply plug them in and connect them to your virtual assistant app). They are great even for boomers who aren’t tech-savvy.

Instead of just buying the cheapest smart plug on the market or the one with the most features, carefully think about how each one will add value to your life. Be sure to check whether or not it’s compatible with whatever virtual assistant system you’re already using.

A Quick Smart Plug Summary

  • Smart tech is being integrated into every part of our lives, making things easier to do or completely automating the process.
  • Smart plugs can be a great way to make your home “smarter” at a pretty low cost, so they are ideal for people who want to try out smart tech for their home without having to spend a lot
  • A smart plug can make pretty much any device in your home – including appliances and lamps – “smart.”
  • Most models allow you to control a connected device with your voice via a virtual assistant app like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant – and some have other features, such as energy consumption monitoring, which makes them great for eco-conscious boomers.
  • You can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $70 on a smart plug. There are cheaper unbranded models out there, but we advise against buying them as they are usually low quality and are prone to breaking.
  • Aside from price, there are several things you should look out for when comparing different smart plugs, including the number of outlets they have, their size and compatibility, and what exact smart capabilities they provide.
  • You’ll most likely need to buy several smart plugs if you want to make many of your home devices “smart” even if you’re buying models with multiple outlets, as they are only useful for devices located near each other.

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