When we speak about smart homes, the first things that strike us are robotic vacuum cleaners, smart lights, smart speakers, etc but here is a device that makes ordinary appliances smart – smart plugs and switches! There are different ranges of plugs and switches launched by renowned companies like Amazon, Wipro, Syska, etc.
The right smart plugs and switches can bring a huge difference to your home especially for experiencing a smart home. It helps to completely control the appliances, set timers, schedule the process, check on the energy consumption level, and in some cases even remotely control them while one is not at home.
Practically, these solutions might not be the most exciting devices that one would find when compared to smart appliances but these would act as an aid in supporting these smart solutions to work efficiently.
With even one or two smart plugs and switches one can find the difference and experience better control. Selecting the best products with specifications that would fit your requirements is very important.
In this article, we will discuss the various features and uses of these advanced plugs or switches along with the unique qualities that each of these brands offers.
Also, read about: Create A Smart Home With Google Home And Samsung SmartThings
The function of a smart plug is to control the power supply of devices or appliances connected through it with the help of a smartphone or smart speakers. For example, to integrate home or space with smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, etc then the execution of commands using the smart plugs to control the appliances remotely.
These are cheap solutions and are getting cheaper to connect with products. The installation of smart plugs is also easier than smart switches. Another advantage over smart switches is that they can be easily removed, replaced, or relocated as it requires no major installation or fixing and can be simply unplugged and taken wherever required.
Smart switches are useful in tasks like controlling the lighting of the house rather than the appliances or devices. These are different from the smart plugs as it requires proper wiring and installation. Unlike smart plugs, these are not easily transferable as they are integrated with the electrical supply of the space. New technology and advancements have introduced wireless switches that can prevent such portability issues.
Hence smart switches can be broadly classified into two -wired and wireless. In some cases, instead of mounting the switches on the wall, they have provisions to be stuck on them. Now that we have a general idea about what exactly are smart plugs and switches, let us check out some of the choices available.
Amazon smart plug is a smart solution that can be plugged or added over to an ordinary outlet. It has a cuboidal shape and is compact so that it doesn’t block any of the nearby ports. This smart plug allows the user to control their appliances using the Amazon Alexa App from their smartphones (both Android and iOS) after linking it using this outlet.
Apart from controlling it using the app, it also allows voice-commanding or controlling of the appliances, which means that one can simply turn on and off their devices without actually reaching over to do it.
For example, if a toaster or coffee machine consisting of the required ingredients is connected via this smart plug then to initiate the preparation process simply command ‘on’ and enjoy it before heading out or at least with remote access switch it off whenever required without actually being there! Hence the summary of the main functions of this plug are:
Control all the appliances connected to it using the Amazon smart plug or the Amazon Alexa app from Android, iPhone, or iPad.
The app helps to set schedules or timers for all the smart plugs used in a home or space with help of commands or voice commands.
The Wipro smart plug fits directly into any normal or ordinary outlet, power strip, etc., and converts them into a smart plug. It is similar to the Amazon smart plug but it is controlled by both – Alexa as well as Google Assistant, hence, those who do not own an Amazon smart speaker can opt for this smart plug as this has wider control options.
All the devices can be either handled by using the Wipro smart app on a smartphone or by voice commands. It is ideal for heavy appliances also, such as – Water heaters, Microwave, and Air conditioners. This plug not only improves the home into a smarter solution but is also hassle-free as it doesn’t require any special hub for connectivity and functioning. It is compatible with the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi wireless network.
This smart switch is available with the Philips Hue starter kit and is a smart, wireless solution for controlling the lighting of the space or room. The Wi-Fi connectivity controls it and to instruct changes or commands the user uses the Hue app linked to it. The cost of this switch is $24. This smart switch has four buttons, a magnetic mounting feature that allows it to be stuck anywhere on the wall and one can permanently mount it if required.
Switchmate is an alternative to the Phillips smart switch and has a peculiar function. It is used to mount over any toggle switch that is already present and it then will physically move it when commanded using an application on the smartphone.
It doesn’t need mounting as it comes with magnetic provisions and it runs on a battery. Apart from the Switchmate app, Alexa and Google Assistant controls are also available.
In this article, we have discussed smart plugs and switches along with some of the useful options available in the market. Hope this helped choose the right solution for your smart space!