The best smart plugs and switches can make a huge difference to your smart home, allowing you to control appliances, set schedules, and in some cases, keep an eye on your energy use, even when you’re not at home.
Sure they may not be the most exciting smart home device you can buy. We know grabbing one of the top smart speakers, setting up a colorful lighting system with the best smart lights or one of the best robot vacuum might seem more useful and appealing. But all of these will work even better if your home is kitted out with at least one or two smart plugs or smart switches.
So, where do you get started with smart plugs? With most smart home products these days, there are a lot of models available, and choosing the right one for you can be tricky.
With that in mind, we’ve ranked the best smart plugs and switches we’ve tested to help you decide the best smart plugs and switches for your home.
Best smart plugs and switches ranked
The Eve Energy smart plug is the best you can buy in our eyes, although it has one small flaw – while it’s HomeKit-enabled, it won’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant. Simple to use, it keeps track of the energy consumption of the devices plugged into it – and if you provide specific details from the energy provider – the total cost, too.
The smart plug connects over Bluetooth, or Thread smart home technology – if you have a HomePod Mini or an Apple TV in your home – so you’ll be able to control even when you’re not at home. Thread is more stable than Wi-Fi and puts an end to smart home devices failing to respond.
Like most of the best smart plugs, its all-white design is simplistic, but don’t let that fool you – it’s got plenty of handy features such as the ability to create schedules.
Read our full review: Eve Energy smart plug
If your home is all-things Alexa, then opting for the Amazon-branded smart plug makes perfect sense. It may not be the cheapest smart plug on the market, but it integrates well with Alexa routines – making setting-up automations for your home a simple task.
The relatively bulky smart plug connects to the internet over Wi-Fi, so it can still be controlled even when you’re not at home, and was extremely simple to set-up thanks to a QR code that did the hard work for us.
On test, it proved to be responsive both when controlled by the app or Alexa. There’s no energy monitoring function, neither is there an Away mode to help deter intruders by randomly turning devices on or off, but it’s still a solid smart plug.
Read our full review: Amazon smart plug
The Belkin WeMo Insight is a neat little device. Well, it’s not exactly “little” considering it’s bigger than it looks in the pictures, so be prepared for a bulkier plug that covers the top outlet if you place it on the bottom one (the same isn’t true if you reverse the order).
That said, we consider the Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug to be the best light switch on the market. We like that it gives insights into your energy usage, and it gives you estimates on how much you’re spending on energy, too. This is great if you’re looking to cut down on your monthly power bill and be a little greener at the same time.
The one big drawback is that you do most of your work with the WeMo Insight in the app, and the app leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, you can turn off and on devices from the app home screen, but once you start going deeper, you run into trouble. It’s difficult to remove devices from the app, which is annoying.
One redeeming quality of the app is that you can use it to integrate your plug with other services, such as IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and (unofficially) Samsung SmartThings.
The only one missing from this smart plug house party is Apple’s HomeKit, though you can connect using a HomeKit Bridge, which Belkin sells. For more flexibility, check out the Belkin WeMo Dimmer Light switch.
Read our full review: Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug
For Alexa and Google Assistant-based smart homes, this compact smart plug is a worthy choice. While it lacks the energy monitoring and HomeKit support, it’s slim, easy to use and even has a handy Away mode that will turn the plug on and off at random time – ideal if its connected to a radio or lamp and you to help deter unwanted intruders.
Like all of the smart plugs in this line-up – the plain all-white design won’t win any prizes for style but it offers almost all of the functions we’d expect, such as being able to set schedules and even create automations where other TP-Link branded products work in tandem alongside the smart plug.
Read our full review: TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim KP105
Hive began as a manufacturer of smart thermostats, but has grown into one of the biggest names in smart home devices of all kinds, including lights, cameras, locks and plugs. It’s one of the most affordable ecosystems to get into – cheaper than Philips Hue, if you’re interested in trying smart lighting.
The Hive Active plug requires either a Hive Active Heating thermostat or Hive Hub, but once you have that, it’s simple to set up and use. You can create a schedule (with up to six time slots per day), trigger the plug using the Hive app on your phone, or link it to a Hive switch or sensor.
Not only is it one of the cheapest smart plugs around, the Hive Active Plug is also relatively small, making it one of the most discreet (if not stylish) options available.
Sure, you’ve decked out your home in smart LED bulbs, like the Philips Hue, but if these aren’t connected to a smart switch, you lose connectivity if the lights aren’t controlled with a smartphone.
That’s where smart switches like the TP-Link HS200 come in. This well-designed switch may be connected, but it also gives a satisfying click, just like old-fashioned models.
But the similarities with old-school switches end there. This switch taps into an app called Kasa, which is equally well-designed. From the app, you can create different scenes that turn on or off certain lights, or set lights to turn on when your home’s motions sensors detect movement, for example.
The switch does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask both to flight the TP-Link switches in your home on or off.
It may not be quite as good as the Belkin WeMo Smart Plug (above), but the TP-Link will make your home a more connected creature, which is great if you’re looking to take your home into the 21st century.
Unfortunately this switch is currently only available in the US.
Read our full review: TP-Link HS200 Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch
If you’re looking for a cheap and simple smart plug, then head to your local Ikea to check out the brand’s TRÅDFRI range of smart home products, which has this minimal but reliable smart plug on offer.
You can control it via an app, operate it manually or program it to work on a schedule. It has HomeKit support, so it’s a solid option if you already have a few smart devices hooked up to the Apple ecosystem.
How do smart plugs work?
Smart plugs can be inserted into your current power outlets and connect to your home Wi-Fi network, so they can be controlled using an app for your smartphone
As well as being able to turn the plug on or off from the app, many also let you set schedules so they turn on or off automatically at set times, while some even keep track of how much energy the appliance connected to the plug is using.
Do smart plugs save energy?
Smart plugs can save you money, but only if you’re the sort of person that forgets to turn off electrical devices. For example, if you leave your laptop constantly on charge, even when the battery is full it will continue to use energy, or perhaps you regularly forget to turn side lamps, or the radio off when you leave the room? If so, then using a smart plug could be the answer.
Do smart plugs work with Alexa (and other voice assistants)
Many smart plugs will work with Amazon Alexa, as well as Google Assistant and Siri so you can use your voice to control the smart plug, either by asking a smart speaker, or smart display, or by using the voice assistant on your smartphone or tablet. You can also create automations controlling several smart home devices at once with one command, or when a certain situation happens. For example, if your home security camera detects motion, a DAB radio connected to a smart plug could switch on to give the impression there’s someone at home.
It’s worth noting that not all smart plugs work with all voice assistants, so if your smart home is well established, make sure you opt for a model that integrates with your current setup.