Last updated: June 18, 2020

Our lives seem to be increasingly intertwined with technology. We are no longer satisfied simply with smartphones or smart TVs. Today it is possible to own a device that helps us to control other devices that are not so technologically advanced. Do you have an idea of what we are talking about? Well, smart plugs are new gadgets that you can not ignore any longer.

The way you interact with your electronics or appliances can be completely transformed if you buy a smart plug. We have prepared this detailed and comprehensive guide to inform you about everything you need to know about these plugs. This device has the potential to change the way you interact with your home environment. Keep reading!

Key Facts

  • An intelligent plug, or smart plug, in addition to having all the features of a traditional plug, allows you to control any device that you connect to it through an application on your smart phone.
  • To control a smart plug via an application, it is essential that it is compatible with the version of your phone’s operating system. Luckily, on the market you will find that they all work with iOS and Android.
  • The other important aspect to consider is the compatibility of the smart plug with the maximum speed and network range of your wifi, which are measured in gigahertz (GHz). The most common are 2.4, 2.5 and 5 GHz.

Ranking: The best smart plugs on the Australian market

Preset the lights in your home to turn on at a specific time or set the coffee machine to turn on automatically. Do you think this would be useful for you? Smart plugs will to make your life easier and more comfortable, but in the midst of so much choice, it’s probable that you don’t know which model to choose. In the selection below we have selected the best smart plugs on the Australian market to help you make the best decision possible.

No. 1: TOPERSUN WiFi Smart Socket

Are you interested in this technology but not sure which plug to start with? The Topersun smart plug is the perfect entry point for introducing smart home technology in your house. This smart plug works with Amazon Alexa, echo dot and Google Home to manage your home devices through voice control, making everything so much easier. From the lights, electric oven, toaster, fan, air conditioning and even the coffee machine, this plug has so many fantastic applications for your home.

With a Topersun smart plug you will improve your organisational skills and time efficiency, help to save the environment as well as cutting down your energy bill. With free delivery in Australia, this smart plug is the perfect starting point for anyone looking to turn their home into a smart home.

No. 2: MONEIL WIFI Smart plug

Introducing the Moneil WiFi smart plug that supports easy voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Home to make your life an absolute breeze. The Moneil smart plug is not limited by distance and can easily cover the living room, bedroom, bathroom, balcony and other places provided the WiFi network is available in these locations.

This plug has a compact design that features 1 AC outlet & 2 USB ports, so that you can connect multiple devices to the same plug. The plug also features an electricity surge protector function to effectively absorb sudden high voltages which will protect the connected equipment from damage. This gives you great peace of mind knowing that your devices are always well protected.

No. 3: TP-Link Smart Plug HS100

With voice recognition integration, you can easily control the TP-Link smart plugs as they are compatible with the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Thanks to the free Kasa app, for iOS and Android, you can also have your appliances under your complete control from anywhere in the world. The “away from home” mode allows you to turn devices on or off to give the appearance that someone is present, even if you’re away from the house on holidays.

Easily installed, these smart plugs ensure total control of your devices without getting off the couch. You can easily set operating times and time limits for the lights or the fan to suit your needs. This makes it so easy to know that certain devices will stop working when you want them to. The WiFi level you need for these models is 2.4 GHz.

No. 4: Wi-Fi Smart Plug MSS310

Are you looking for a simple smart plug at a low cost? This smart plug by Meross is just over $20 for the single purchase, or $40 for the 2-pack. The smart Wi-Fi Plug MSS310 can be controlled from anywhere with the specially built Meross app that is compatible with iOS and Android. With this device you can put your life on a schedule, by setting automatic daily timers or creating on/off schedules so that your devices can turn on and off on their own.

Want to know how much energy each connected device is using or how you can save on your next power bill? With the MSS310 app you can check to see the status of connected devices from anywhere. It can even tell you real-time and historical power consumption of any device plugged into the smart plug so you can adjust your energy use as required.

No. 5: HomePro WIFI Smart Plug

The HomePro WiFi Smart Plug with RGB Light is a wireless power outlet that is compatible with the amazing Amazon Alexa, Google Home Assistant and IFTTT. With the custom built app, you can schedule the smart plug to automatically turn on or off based on the specific time, even if you are away from the home. Imagine turning on your air conditioning during the hot summer months when you are on the way home from work so that your house is fresh when you arrive. Well, with the HomePro smart plug you can do just that, and more.

The RGB light ring around the plug can be used as night light with a total of 8 optional lighting options that you can set via the app. The available lighting settings are night mode, reading mode, party mode, leisure mode, soft mode, rainbow mode, shine mode and gorgeous mode. For an intuitive and multi-functional smart plug at a cost effective price, check out the HomePro Smart Plug.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart plugs

Do these devices work with voice or remote control? What connectivity system do I need for it to be compatible with my mobile? There are so many questions surrounding smart plugs that it can be very difficult for consumers. That’s why we’ve carefully prepared the following section, with consumer questions in mind. By reading this section you can clear up all your doubts and choose the device that best suits your home.

Smart plug in

The intelligent home is gaining ground in the Australian market and intelligent plugs are essential allies in this quest.
(Source: Cittaliance: 119650099/ 123rf.com)

What exactly is a smart plug?

A smart plug is a device that, like any plug, plugs into a normal electrical outlet in the wall. Using a mobile application, which may vary depending on the operating system of the plug, it is possible to control other devices that are been plugged into the smart plug. This is done via activating or deactivating the device’s functions or by programming different actions.

Therefore, before buying a smart plug, it is necessary to know what devices you have, as each has unique characteristics. These plugs create added value when they are part of a connected tech-system, that is to say, when they are surrounded by other intelligent devices, creating an integrated technological home.

Men with smart plug

There are smart plugs that provide information about connected devices.
(Source: Daisydaisy: 119234989/ 123rf.com)

How do smart plugs work and how are they installed?

The system for configuring smart plugs is usually straightforward and very simple. It is likely that there are some small differences depending on the respective mobile application of each of these plugs, but the following steps can be applied to most smart plugs on the Australian market.

  1. Connect the smart plug to the electrical outlet in the wall.
  2. Wait for a coloured light to appear on the plug.
  3. Download and open the mobile application that corresponds to the purchased smart plug. In most cases, the application will ask you to register a user and a password.
  4. Physically connect the device you want to control via the smart plug.
  5. Pair your mobile phone with the smart plug using the application (in many cases, the application performs the pairing automatically). Sometimes the application will ask you to “add devices” manually.
  6. Set the wifi password to validate the connection between the mobile, the smart plug and the connected device.
  7. Depending on the properties and functionalities of the smart phone application, you can perform certain actions to the device that is connected to the smart plug. The on/off function is present in almost all applications.

What are the main functions of smart plugs?

Having a smart plug at home opens the door for turning a whole series of “not-so-savvy” devices into smart devices as well. To analyse the best features of smart plugs, you have to think about the home you have and what your needs are. Below we summarise the main features that exist in smart plugs, depending on the smart plug you buy of course.

  • Away Mode: Ideal for people or families that are concerned about security and want to turn on lights, TV or music devices to make it look like they are at home.
  • Voice control: Using the most popular virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Home), it is possible to use your own voice as a command to program the devices.
  • Connection with other devices: From the apps, you can synchronise different devices (such as a smart TV with intelligent speakers) to create a digital ecosystem.
  • Consumption monitoring: Many smart plug models allow you to control the consumption of connected devices. Some plugs can even program a device to stop working after a certain time or level of consumption.
  • Schedules and timers: Ideal for those people who follow fixed routines or schedules, and therefore want their devices to be activated at specific times.

How do I program applications and the voice control of a smart plug?

They are two different functions and are installed separately. The application to use depends on the model of smart plug purchased. The information about the application is always specified in the product description as well as the compatibility with the different smart phone operating systems. Therefore, when reviewing each plug, you must also keep in mind the type of mobile phone you have.

As far as voice control is concerned, most smart plugs allow you to integrate different virtual assistants. There are however some smart plugs that have exclusivity with a particular virtual assistant. This information is also indicated in the product description so pay close attention. The voice control does not require installation because mobiles or tablets automatically recognise the plug.

David VanderWaalLG’s marketing vice-president
“In the past you’d have to open the refrigerator, look through your ingredients, work out what has potentially expired, then look up recipes and make sure to set the right oven temperature. Now the smart kitchen is changing the game. It’s doing all that for you seamlessly and effortlessly”.

How many devices can I connect to a smart socket?

This aspect depends on the model of smart plug. There are some smart plugs that only allow you to connect one device at a time, while others come with multiple power outlets or even multiple USB inputs. If you have a lot of devices together indoors and want to control and sync them all from your mobile, it is a better idea to look for a multi-input smart plug model.

Are smart plugs only used indoors?

Once again, this aspect depends on the smart plug model. Generally speaking, the vast majority of smart plugs are designed for interior use but there are certain models designed specifically for the outdoors. Outdoor smart plugs are ideal for controlling outdoor lights or Christmas decorations. These plugs are specially designed to withstand rain, strong winds or even snow.

Men with phone

Traditional plugs are becoming more and more obsolete.
(Source: Theartofphoto: 38481544/ 123rf.com)

Are there any safety measures for using smart plugs?

Using smart plugs is totally safe for your home. All smart plugs require an earth connection, which is a safety measure that exists by law in Australia for all current buildings. If you live in a very old building, it is unlikely but possible that you do not have an earth connection. In this case you should consult an electrician regarding what security measures you require regarding the electrical circuit in your home.

Another factor to consider is the intensity of the current. In general, most smart plugs tolerate up to 10 amps. Make sure your appliances and devices are compatible with this intensity, otherwise you won’t be able to connect them to the smart plug.

Do I need a particular WiFi network to use smart plugs?

The vast majority of smart plugs that connect to WiFi function with the typical 2.4 GHz band, standard in current routers. However, if you have a next-generation router, it may have a dual band that includes the 5GHz in addition to the 2.4 GHz.

Remember that your smart plugs must be connected to the band they are compatible with.

Is it more convenient to use smart plugs with voice control or a remote control?

The first smart plugs invented were always sold with remote controls. Today, the trend is for them to be used through virtual assistants via voice control. As this trend continues to grow (Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are not the only ones), it is recommended to choose plugs that are compatible with voice control.

The following table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of both remote controls and voice control:

By voice control By remote control
Advantages No dependence on external devices or your mobile.

Takes full advantage of virtual assistants, which are being improved.

Virtual assistants learn your behaviours and habits.

Operations are more instantaneous.
Disadvantages Sometimes voice recognition is not accurate.

Some virtual assistants record everything that is said.

They operate at a maximum distance of 10 meters.

Their functions and operations are usually limited.

The batteries have to be replaced frequently.

Shopping Criteria

The intelligent home is gaining ground in the Australian market and smart plugs are essential allies in the transformation process. As we have explained, there are aspects that depend on the needs of the user, but there are other factors that you should keep in mind at all times. The following section is designed to guide you through the most fundamental criteria you should review before you buy a new smart plug.

  • Design
  • Consumption monitoring
  • Virtual assistant support
  • Number of entries
  • Versatility

Design

This may seem like a mere aesthetic criterion, but it is not. When it comes to the design of smart plugs, it is important to look at the size and shape of the plug. Some smart plugs are so bulky that they block the access of other devices (or switches). It is recommended to acquire a compact and discreet model that will not detrimentally affect other device connections.

Eric GriffithPC News Australia
“Home automation is exactly what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house, from window shades to pet feeders, with a simple push of a button (or a voice command).”

Consumption monitoring

In times of enormous and increasing energy consumption, it is beneficial to have control over the activity of your devices and their energy consumption. There are smart plugs that provide information about connected devices, such as exactly how much electricity they use. This can be very useful if you want to see savings on your next electricity bill.

Virtual assistant support

Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated and essential components for everyone who wants to create an intelligent ecosystem in their home. Therefore, if your smart plugs are able to be controlled by these creations, you will surely benefit from their many comforts and future advancements.

Number of entries

It may seem an obvious criterion, but you may overlook it. A smart plug with a single input allows us to control a single device, which can be limiting. Today there are smart plug models that offer multiple inputs (even smart plug strips exist) and USB ports. With multiple inputs, you will be able to connect several devices and manage them all via a single smart plug.

Versatility

Most smart plugs come with very complete and well-designed applications to manage them. However, there may still be basic models that only include very simple functions, such as on/off. Although they are useful, given the possibilities that exist, it is better to buy smart plugs with features that are as versatile as possible.

Summary

If you are planning on turning your home into a smart environment, don’t hesitate to buy yourself a smart plug. These are one of the best ways to build an intelligent home. These small devices allow you to control, usually through mobile applications, one or more appliance or device to organise and make your lifestyle more comfortable. All you need is a compatible WiFi network, a power outlet and a compatible smart phone.

If you already own a virtual assistant, your experience can be greatly improved, especially by utilising the voice control of these devices. With a smart plug you can turn your devices on and off, control their consumption, manage them when you are away from home or setup routines according to your lifestyle. The installation of smart plugs is fast, easy and intuitive. A system of smart plugs will open up a world of connection possibilities that you may never thought was possible.

If you liked this guide, please share it on your social networks so others can learn everything there is to know about smart plugs. You can also leave us a comment below and we will be happy to answer you. Thank you very much!

(Source of featured image: Daisydaisy: 119235065/ 123rf.com)

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