So you want to turn your C- home into an A+ smart home, but after hours of looking at every device ever made you still aren’t sure how to start. Not only are we here to help, we were once in the same place you are now.
I spent three days once trying to find a camera that would record my jackass neighbor’s kids jumping over my fence to get their baseball back. And when I found the one I wanted I still had to pay someone to install it. So even the nerdiest of tech nerds struggle with technology sometimes.
Starting a smart home is not the easiest of tasks. It can take years to get everything you want in place. And then the minute you think you are done, everything changes. It is both the curse and the joy of technology.
One thing that we have found that is an easy way to get you started is adding remote control outlets. Remote control may sound like old technology, but by using smart outlets you can get on the path to a fully automated home.
Remote control outlets are kind of like a gateway device. You add a few, and all you want to do is add more devices. But don’t worry, we fully support your smart home automation addiction. Building a smart home on a budget may take more time, but it is totally worth it.
Remote control outlets allow you to automate small appliances, like coffee pots and lamps.But that is just the beginning, smart plugs are kind of a gateway device, once you add them you become obsessed with adding more.
What else can your smart plugs do? They let you create schedules that set times for the device to turn on and off, or you can turn them on or off from the app or remote. They also make it easy by letting you control the majority of your home devices by just plugging them in.
To help you get started, or to help you add to your existing smart homes, we have put together a list of some of our favorite awesome smart home remote control outlets.
D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug
If you don’t want an overly complicated home automation plan, D-Link has a good way to get you started. For less than $30 you can add a smart plug that can control your lamps or other small devices. D-Link’s free app will let you turn the device on or off, set schedules and show you how much energy your device is using when it is plugged in and turned on.
While it isn’t IFTTT compatible yet, it is still a good way to get started on your smart home. This D-Link plug looks like a typical outlet, but it functions as a smart home device manager. You can grow your smart home by adding more remote control outlets. Adding more plugs will also keep your toaster from being jealous of the coffee pot.
D-Links Wi-Fi Smart Plug comes with an on and off button and a light that turns green when a connected device is on. The light will change to red if the device is powering on, or if there is an issue and it needs to reset. It will also stay red if the plug is not functioning properly.
Setting up your smart plug is easy, you plug it into an existing outlet, download the app and follow the steps. Finding the app may be the hardest part of the process, the app can be called “Smart Plug” in iTunes or “Mydlink WiFi Smart Plug” in Google Play depending on where you are looking.
There are instructions in the app on how to set up Wi-Fi connection, they also provide you the steps for completing WPS setup and manual setup. While setting up WPS is always the easier way to go, if you have to complete a manual setup you will need the six-digit number that is on a card that comes in the box.
You should keep your six digit code as it may be required if you have to reset or if you change your Wi-Fi provider. Once you have your plug connected to Wi-Fi you will be able to control it using the app, you can turn it on and off and even check the wattage and temperature.
D-Link Smart Plug, Wi-Fi, On/Off, Works with Amazon Alexa (DSP-W110), D-Link
- Wireless Type: 802.11n
The mydlink Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W110) is a compact and easy-to-use device that allows you to monitor and control your home’s electronic devices from anywhere. Use the free mydlink Home app to turn devices on or off, create on/off schedules and enable push alert notifications when a device has...
- Easy setup
- Allows you to control your device using an app
- App will tell you wattage and power used
- Manual setup can be challenging
- There is a 6 digit number on a card in the box that you will need to keep, if you have issues with the plug you will need that number.
Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch
If you have been dreaming of an electrical outlet that has a remote control, the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch is your dream come true. But before you ride off happily into the sunset, you should know, it has no app, just a remote.
Now I know what you are thinking, no app? I have to know where this tiny remote control is at all times? And the answer is yes. But the remote makes turning your lights on and off convenient. You don’t have to stop playing Candy Crush to turn the light on. Just grab your handy remote and BOOM! the light is on.
The outlets themselves are designed to reduce the amount of energy used, so you can save some money on your power bill. While having an app is a nice option, this is a great remote outlet for older people who may not be tech-savvy or have impaired mobility. Giving them something that makes their life easier is always a good idea.
It’s also affordable, which allows you to expand the number of outlets around your home. You can even control multiple outlets with one remote. While it isn’t as smart as some of the other outlets, it can make life easier for people who need a little help due to an injury or illness.
Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch for Household Appliances, White (Learning Code, 1Rx-1Tx), Etekcity
- Part Number: 025706344883
- Item Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.6 x 2.3 inches
- Item model number: ZAP 1L
- Batteries: 1 12V batteries required. (included)
- Size: 1Rx-1Tx
- Color: White
- Material: ABS
- Item Package Quantity: 1
- Switch Style: Remote
- Certification: FCC
- Batteries Included?: Yes
- Batteries Required?: Yes
- Average Battery Life: 50 hours
Command complete control over your outletsThe Etekcity Remote Control Outlet Switch lets you remotely control hard to reach appliances and devices. A strong RF signal works as far as 100 feet and through doors and walls without interfering with other electronics, allowing convenient control over...
- Easy setup
- Allows you to control your device using a remote control
- You can control multiple outlets using one remote
- It is a great option for older family members or people with impaired mobility
- It doesn’t have an app to allow you to control your lights
- It is not as tech savvy as some other outlets
While the first two outlets covered the basics, the Zuli Smartplug is here to make your standard switches a thing of the past. You can connect your lights and your small appliances and then enable them to adapt to your needs.
Zuli can even sense when you enter or leave a room using its Presence feature, you just need to have your smartphone with you. Presence also lets you set rules on when it turns on, you can set a five, 10 or 20-minute rule.
You may want to set up the Presence feature while you are at home alone. It’s kind of awkward and it’s not something you want your friends to record and turn into a .gif that will haunt you forever. But once your Zuli Smartplug has determined your presence you can start inviting people over again.
Zuli also works with the Nest Learning Thermostat. You can connect your Nest device to their app and add some additional features. You don’t need to plug your Nest Thermostat into the Zuli to use the Presence feature to control the temperature. And while that is pretty sweet, it’s a little disappointing to find out Zuli doesn’t work with IFTTT.
Another issue is the lack of an Android app, although it is on its way. But for now, it only works with iOS devices. But if you are looking for a smart plug that can work with the majority of home automation devices, this is the one you should consider.
Setting up your Zuli is super simple, the app will take you through the process step by step. You should be able to set up multiple Zuli Smartplugs in a matter of minutes. As soon as you have your Smartplugs synced you can use them right away.
The appearance of Zuli Smartplug is not that interesting, I mean at the end of the day it’s a plug. But it’s what is inside Zuli that matters. This smart plug also allows you to use your smartphone to manage your connected devices. You can schedule on and off times, use it as a dimmer, and monitor how much energy your devices are using.
It is also 100% reliable on Bluetooth, and it will integrate with Nest. Which makes it a strong contender in the smart plug category. We are looking forward to seeing how it develops and improves over the coming months.
Zuli Smartplug: Smart Home Control, Dimmer, Energy Monitor & Timer (Presence 3 Pack), Zuli
Control your lights and appliances from one beautiful app on your iPhone; Zuli works with the Nest Thermostat and Philips Hue – control both within the Zuli app; Set the perfect mood lighting right from your iPhone – Zuli turns any lamp into a dimmer; Zuli Presence knows when you're in a room and...
- Easy setup
- You can control Philips Hue bulbs using the app without using the smart plug
- Manages your devices by sensing your presence
- You can control it using a smartphone app
- It integrates with Nest and is the only Smartplug that does
- It is lacking an Android app
- It doesn’t work with IFTTT
- Currently, its connections with other devices are limited
- The Zuli Smartplug is not waterproof, so you shouldn’t use it outside of your home.
Belkin Wemo Insight Mini Wi-Fi Smartplug
Belkin has had one of the most affordable and user-friendly lines of remote control outlets in the WeMo. It has been a go to smart plug for people looking to start a smart home for a while now. But with the next evolution in the WeMo line, we also get a smaller plug.
The WeMo Insight Mini Smart Plug will automate anything you plug into it, and now it takes up less space to do it. When the switch is connected you will see a green indicator, if the indicator is amber you have a poor internet connection, if the light is blinking you have no internet connection.
The WeMo used to be larger, and would cover the other outlet. But you can use the other available plug with your WeMo, because the new design is significantly smaller. Other than losing some weight, the WeMo hasn’t changed much, but that is okay we like it just as it is. It still works with IFTTT, Nest, Google Home and Amazon’s Echo and Dot. But it still hasn’t found its way into Apple Home Kit, which is a bit of a bummer.
Because of the way it integrates with other devices and hubs outside of Apple HomeKit it is still one of the best Smartplugs you can buy. It is a great way to build a connected Smarthome without breaking the bank.
The apps for Android and iOS are the same ones you use for other WeMo devices. So if you already have them you will be familiar with how they work. If this is your first WeMo, the app is nicely laid out and easy to use. You can see each connected device and then you just need to tap the down arrow and get the vitals like power usage, and the amount of time your device has been on.
You can also set the WeMo to turn on and off by setting a schedule using the rules tab. You can also add rules that can turn devices off after a set period of time. So if you want to manage what you kids are doing when you aren’t there, you can get notifications.
Notifications will be sent to your smartphone and are stored in the WeMo app if want your notifications to be sent to your email you can create a recipe using IFTTT.
Wemo Insight Switch, Wi-Fi Smart Plug, Control Lights and Appliances From Your Phone, Manage Energy Costs, Works with Amazon Alexa, WeMo
- Size (LWH): 2.48 inches, 2.48 inches, 1.98 inches
- Weight: 3.84 ounces
Did you forget to turn off the curling iron? Are the kids still watching TV? Is the dog sitting in total darkness because you’re running late? The Wemo Insight Switch gives you control of your lamps and small appliances whenever you want, wherever you choose, and gives you on-demand reports about...
- Easy setup
- Works with IFTTT
- Smaller size doesn’t obstruct other plugs
- Lets you know the amount of power you have used, and the cost of that power.
- It doesn’t have a browser option for additional support
- App works well most of the time but not all of the time
What you need to know about Remote Control Outlets
Remote control outlets or “smart plugs” can make your life easier and get you on the way to building your smart home. While most of them do the same thing, some are savvier than others. So, you can start simple with plugs that can turn on and off devices, or you can look for Wi-Fi capable ones that can connect with other devices.
These outlets are made for small appliances. They cannot take on the voltage of larger items, like your HVAC system. But they work well on coffee makers, lamps and other small appliances you use around the house.
While they aren’t going to turn your house into an immediate fully function Smart home, they can help you get started by automating your lights and coffee maker. Amazon Echo or Google Home both have options that can connect certain remote control outlets. This will let you use voice commands to control your toaster.
But you need to know, like Oreos, one is never enough. So prepare yourself for lots of smart device shopping in your future. And if you need a security camera that can show your neighbor that their kid’s are lying about jumping your fence, I can give you a recommendation.