Smart plugs are a great way to automate things around your home and make your life that little bit easier. Smart plugs go in between your device and the wall socket, allowing it to be controlled via Wi-Fi. There are many different types of smart plug around, from a wide range of different brands. In my set up I currently use Wemo smart plugs and Samsungs smart plugs, as they are compatible with my SmartThings hub.
One of the most common things a smart plug be used for is to turn on a lamp or other forms of plug based lighting. Triggering lights to come on at certain times or when you arrive home is great for setting the mood or showing the house is occupied.
By plugging in an electric fire and turning on the relevant switches for lights and heat settings. You will be able to turn on your fire via your smart app or have it trigger on certain events. Using an app called Stringify you can even get the fire to turn on before you get home based on the temperature outside.
If you work in an office all day and get home late, a smart way to cook dinner is by using a slow cooker. You can prep the food either the night before (and store in the fridge) or in the morning. Then before going to work, set up the slow cooker on the right setting and with the right contents. By using a schedule you can set the plug to come on at a particular time and start cooking.
You can then monitor voltage through your smart plug app to make sure it is working correctly. Either you can set a timer to finish cooking or plan for it to finish when you arrive home, so your food is nice and hot just when you need it.
If you’re worried about leaving things turned on cooking, you could also set up a smart camera to watch over your slow cooker. Various sensors around the home also monitor temperatures to make sure the house is OK.
Warning: Please check guidelines with food and how long things can be left out for.
By filling your kettle up the night before and turning the switch on to boil (but without switching on the smart plug). When waking up in the morning you can switch on the smart plug or schedule it to start and your kettle will boil automatically. Perfect for getting in that early brew in the morning before work.
Similar to the heating situation, you can also have fans attached to smart plugs allowing you to turn them on or off. You can also schedule them or have them come on at particular temperatures (using Stringify).
Radios that turn on straight away and go to a pre-set station can be a great smart plug idea. You can configure the radio to come on at particular times and turn off when you leave the house. Coupled with the kettle it could make a great pre-morning routine.
Making sure things are turned off
My partner uses straighteners, which can get very hot. We constantly worry about them being left on and causing a fire. A smart plug can be used to monitor the current and turn off the socket if needed.
Smart plugs are the future of home automation and are only set to get cheaper and smarter. They will eventually replace timer plugs as you will have more control over the switch. Smart plugs are a great place to start as you can begin making your home more automated right away. Apps such as IFTTT and Stringify are great for triggering actions based other things such as the weather and contain a whole host of possibilities.
If you have any creative ideas on how smart plugs can be used, please let us know in the comments below or reply to our post.