5 best smart plugs 2018: add intelligence to any power socket

If you can plug it in, you can turn it on with a smart plug and your smartphone. These are the best smart plugs available today

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These are the best smart plugs going right now and they represent shortcuts for adding smarts to almost anything in your house, from lamps to fans to wireless phone chargers.

Not all smart plugs are created equal though, and if you're going to invest in these devices then you want the best smart plugs in the business – which is exactly where we come in. 

We've picked out the best devices on the market today to simplify your purchasing choice, as well as supply some valuable buying advice for those in the market for an upgrade.

And, if you are in the market for a smart plug or two, then now's a great time to pick them up, as many smart plug makers are discounting many of their top models due to the Black Friday 2018 event.

best smart plugs

How to buy the best smart plug for you

Simply put, smart plugs can be operated over Wi-Fi from your phone – you can turn that corner light on and off with a tap, or even set it on a schedule. The majority of the smart plugs you come across will all have this basic functionality.

Some products let you take the idea a little further with zones (groups of plugs) and scenes (automated settings on a schedule or based on your movements). The good news is that most of the kit you come across will work with the popular smart home platforms, like HomeKit from Apple and SmartThings from Samsung.

That's really your first consideration – whether a smart plug works with the kit you've already got installed (or want to get installed). Then you can look at extra features, like turning sockets off when you leave the house.

Our pick of the best smart plugs you can buy

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch best smart plugs

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

1. Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

A smart plug for smart people

Specifications
No. of sockets: 1
Indoor/Outdoor Use: Indoor only
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Compatible with: Android 4.4 or later; iOS 9 or higher
Reasons to buy
+Wi-Fi and 3G/4G ready+Works with Amazon Alexa and Nest+Easy to set up and use+Part of modular WeMo system
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky, bland design

This is Belkin's top-of-the-line smart plug and you'll struggle to find anything better – it works with services from Amazon, Apple and Google, it can slot right into most smart home setups, and it can monitor your energy usage as well as letting you turn your appliances on and off from your phone.

Scheduling on and off times is simple – to make sure the kids turn the TV off when they're told to, for example – or you can just use it manually. It's fast, it's reliable, and as we've said it connects to a lot of different third-party apps and services, including the always useful automator tool IFTTT (If This Then That).

You might think it would be relatively easy to design a smart plug app, but you'd be surprised at the mess some manufacturers make of it. Thankfully the WeMo app is clear and straightforward on both Android and iOS, and we'd actually recommend other WeMo kit as well if you're thinking about extending your smart home.

best smart plugs

Hive Active Plug

(Image: © British Gas)

2. Hive Active Plug

A great way to extend your Hive system

Specifications
No. of sockets: 1
Indoor/Outdoor Use: Indoor only
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Compatible with: Android 4.4 or later; iOS 9 or later
Reasons to buy
+Part of Hive Smart Home System+Easy to set up and use
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive-Can only be used with the Hive Hub

Designed to work in conjunction with the Hive Hub developed by British Gas (though you don't have to be a British Gas customer to use it), the Hive Active Plug works in a similar way to the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch we just mentioned – you can turn your sockets on and off with a tap on your phone or on a preset schedule.

In other words, very handy for those times when you need to check whether you left the iron on, or just fancy boiling the kettle for a cup of tea while you’re still lying in bed upstairs. The only real catch is that Hive Hub requirement: the Hive Active Plug won't work without one, so this is only really an option for a specific subset of people.

Naturally the Hive Active Plug is controlled using the free accompanying Hive apps for iOS and Android app, and as well as a schedule you can also create actions that work in conjunction with each other (so switching on a lamp when a door sensor is triggered, for example). If you already have Hive kit installed, it's ideal. You can control the plug with the Amazon Alexa assistant too.

D-Link DSP-W115 Smart Plug best smart plugs

D-Link DSP-W115 Smart Plug

3. D-Link DSP-W115 Smart Plug

Ticks a lot of the boxes for a smart plug

Specifications
No. of sockets: 1
Indoor/Outdoor Use: Indoor only
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Compatible with: Android 4.4 or later; iOS 9 or later
Reasons to buy
+Works with a lot of digital assistants+Smooth and easy operation+Can operate in groups
Reasons to avoid
-D-Link range not the biggest

If you list all of the features you want from a smart plug, then it's likely that the D-Link DSP-W115 Smart Plug covers a lot of them – you can operate it from your phone, have it turn off when you leave the house, set it to come on and off based on a schedule, and operate it through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or IFTTT.

You might think of D-Link as a router company but the firm has a growing number of decent smart home devices now, and an elegant app to tie them all together. Even if this smart plug is the only bit of D-Link kit that you buy, it should still work well with the rest of your setup.

If you buy more than one of these, you can set them up into groups to (for example) turn all the lights off in a certain room or on a certain floor when you go to sleep. It's simple to set up, it's compact and well-designed, and it's definitely worth a place on our list.

Eve Energy best smart plugs

Eve Energy

(Image: © Elgato)

4. Eve Energy

Ideal for Apple HomeKit – and not much else

Specifications
No. of sockets: 1
Indoor/Outdoor Use: Indoor only
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 Smart
Compatible with: iOS 10+, tvOS 10+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up and use+Part of Eve Systems' smart home range+Works with Apple HomeKit
Reasons to avoid
-Works with Apple’s iOS, tvOS only-No Wi-Fi – Bluetooth only-Bulky design

There's a lot to like about the Eve Energy smart plug, but there's also a big caveat, which is that it only works with Apple gear. You're going to need an iPhone (or iPad) to operate this, and it's going to work best as part of a HomeKit setup. Sorry, Android users.

In fact, Eve Systems (formerly Elgato) used to specialise in TV tuner and video capture products for Apple devices before switching its focus towards smart home tech instead. Even if it is Apple-centric, this is a very powerful plug: you can create geofences, triggers, actions and scenes using the free accompanying Eve app or Apple Home.

Unusually the Eve Energy relies on Bluetooth 4.0 Smart rather than a Wi-Fi connection, which means you're going to need a 4th-generation Apple TV or newer, or an Apple HomePod smart speaker as an intermediary if you want to switch connected devices on and off away from home. Otherwise, you can control the plug directly from the app.

TP-Link HS110 best smart plugs

TP-Link HS110

(Image: © TP-Link)

5. TP-Link HS110

Amazon Echo-ready smart plug

Specifications
No. of sockets: 1
Indoor/Outdoor Use: Indoor only
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz)
Compatible with: Android 4.1 or higher; iOS 8 or higher
Reasons to buy
+Elegant, minimalist design+Works with Amazon Echo (sold separately)+Easy to use using Kasa app
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky – like most smart plugs

This smart plug from networking specialists TP-Link has everything you need to remotely control connected devices whether you’re at home or away. The driving force for the product is the free Kasa app for iOS and Android devices, which connects to the TP-Link HS110 via your wireless router. It can also be controlled with your voice, provided you have an Amazon Echo.

The Kasa app is easy to use and enables you to switch the smart plug on or off, create custom actions and set a schedule that can trigger connected devices to switch on and off automatically throughout the day. Everything works smoothly and as advertised and you can use it on its own or in combination with other TP-Link gear.

A step-up from the TP-Link HS100 smart plug, this one includes energy monitoring, so you can see how long a connected device has been active for – and how much it’s costing you when it’s switched on. It lacks support for Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings, but this is otherwise a very capable plug.