by Jane Noble
Aug. 21, 2018
Unless you are are moving into a brand new house, most smart additions will be retrofitted. One of the easiest ways to join the smart movement is to add internet enabled electrical outlets, power strips and switches to your home.
Anything that is internet enabled can be operated remotely from anywhere that has an internet connection. That means anything you plug into one of these smart outlets can be operated from your phone. You can set timers from an app and establish behavioral rules so that products adapt to your lifestyle and habits. Smart outlets make life very convenient and can save energy by keeping unused appliances turned off rather than in the standby mode which continues to consume electricity.
There are many stand alone smart outlets available starting at around $19.99. Do some research and analysis to see what you really need. Try and imagine scenarios in which it would benefit you to be able to operate a switch remotely. The oven might be a good one to start with. Lighting is another. The fun of smart outlets is that you can try one for starters and see how you like it. Being able to measure and record the power usage of a device is an interesting education and is a great tool for more efficient use.
Some excellent features to look for and consider before you buy include:
Automatic intelligent charging protection. This stops sending a charge when it detects that your phone battery is already full. (Amcrest Wifi Smart Plug). I only just found out from a Sprint representative that I should not charge my phone overnight as this overcharges it and causes the battery to deteriorate more quickly.
Anti theft timer that can turn lights on and off randomly when you away to convince burglars you are home. (Ankuoo Neo Pro Wifi Smart Switch; Woods WiOn Indoor)
Energy tracking and reporting.
Proximity control that allows you to set the smart outlet to automatically turn on or off when you enter or leave a room
If you already have a smart hub product such as Amazon Echo, Nest, Wink or Apple Homekit, make sure the smart outlets you buy are compatible. Although most products integrate with IOS and Android , remember to double check since new products sometimes launch with only one application and add the other later.
If one smart outlet isn’t enough, try a smart power strip that allows you to control and monitor each plug separately. These are a great way to manage clusters of electronics such as all the units that make up your home theater system. (LockState Multi Outlet Power Strip)
Postscapes gives a detailed overview of the main smart outlets on the market. If you scroll to the end of their page they have a short questionnaire that will help you decide which is the best option for you.