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Best WiFi Smart Plugs In The UK For 2019: Control Your Entire Home

Our homes are getting smarter and smarter these days, with voice-controlled devices, smart thermostats and app-controlled security cameras. Yet, many devices that we use are still “dumb”, and stand in the way of making our home truly smart. The solution? A smart plug.

Imagine being able to turn on the kettle with one tap on your smartphone. Or imagine turning on that 100-years-old lamp you got from your grandmother – with a voice command.

By using the best WiFI smart plugs, you can turn regular power sockets – and anything connected to them – into smart devices that can be controlled either with an app, or with voice assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

However, while smart plugs are pretty easy to use, there are a few things you need to consider before you choose the right one for you. So in this review, I’ll take a look at the best WiFi controlled smart plugs for 2019 (that are available in the UK), and explain some of the things to look out for before you buy.

Quick Look

Best Overall WiFi Smart Plugs

Editor's Choice
5/5

Excellent, affordable WiFi smart plug with Alexa and Google support

Our Rating
4.5/5

Slim-sized, good quality WiFi smart plugs – and excellent value for money.

Our Rating
3.5/5

A bit pricey, and only works with Amazon Alexa, but highly reliable.

Our Rating
3/5

Slim, USB-powered, and perfect for hiding behind your telly

Best Budget WiFi Smart Plug

Our Rating
4/5

All the important features, quite reliable – and very cheap.

What Is A WiFi Smart Plug?

Despite the name, a “Smart Plug” is a pretty simple concept – it’s a power socket that plugs into your power socket. Then, you plug your other device – the one you want to control – into the smart plug.

The “smart” bit comes from the fact that the plug then connects to your WiFi network at home (some work with Bluetooth), and can be controlled via an app on your phone or a voice-activated device like the Amazon Echo.

Remember how most UK power sockets have a toggle switch? A smart plug is basically a glorified toggle switch, that can be controlled remotely. That’s it, for the most part. (Some smart plugs add a nifty capability of being able to monitor your energy consumption – more on that later).

So what’s the big deal about that, and why are smart plugs becoming so popular? Because we’re getting used to being able to control everything from our phones and Amazon Alexa devices – and we want to add older devices to this “smart” revolution.

Installing and using these smart plugs is usually quite simple – you plug it into the wall, then download and install an app on your phone (the best smart plugs have both Android and iOS apps). You use the app to connect the plug to your WiFi network, and that’s it – now you can switch the plug (and the device connected to it) on and off with a tap on your phone.

Man controling smartphone

Additionally, you can usually set timers and schedules – so you can turn the device on every day at 11:00. You can also connect multiple plugs and devices together for a single “plan”. You would still need a plug for each device – but they’re so cheap these days, it’s easy to connect multiple devices.

If you add a voice-controlled device such as the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, you can then control your smart plug with the voice assistant. So you would say “Alexa, turn on the kettle” – and voila, you have hot water on the way.

What Can I Do With A WiFi Smart Plug?

The perfect example of a use case for smart plugs are lamps and lights. Yes, these days you can buy smart light bulbs that connect to your WiFi by themselves, but if you’re using older lamps, and don’t want to replace your light bulbs – then a smart plug can be used to control any type of lamp (as long as it connects to the power socket.)

Other than lamps, there are a few additional interesting uses for smart plugs:

  • Scare burglars away: While you’re away, even in a different country, you can turn devices (and lights) at home on and off from your smartphone. Or you can schedule them to turn on at certain hours. That’s a much more useful trick than just leaving one light on – because potential burglars will see things switching on and off and are more likely to think someone is at home.
  • Turn the heating on and off: Turning your boiler heating system “smart” is a bit more complicated and usually requires special systems (like the Hive). But controlling simpler heating devices that connect directly to a power socket is easier. So you can turn them on before you get back home, or schedule specific hours. In addition, if you’re like me and you’re always terrified you forgot to turn the heating off – you’ll be able to check (and turn off) via your smartphone.
  • Turn the Christmas lights on and off
  • Create connected device “plans”: With a tap, or at a certain hour, your TV and soundbar will turn on and your lamp will turn off, for example. Hey, even add your electric blanket to the mix. So with one command, everything in the room is ready for you. Just remember – each one of these devices needs to be connected to a separate smart plug.

The possibilities are endless. And sure – controlling your light and your TV with your voice, instead of getting up to push a button, IS a bit lazy. But it’s fun, it’s convenient, and it truly makes technology work for us…

Which Is The Best Smart Plug? Things To Consider

First, there are two things you need to remember, that aren’t related to the smart plug at all:

  • The device you want to control needs to have a permanent “On” position: A smart plug basically does one thing – start and cut the electricity to the device connected to it. So if your kettle turns itself off with a switch that you need to then push again – a smart plug won’t help. If your radio has an “On” button, but then you also need to press another button to hear anything – a “Smart Plug” won’t help. You can test this out easily with the power toggle switch on your regular power socket – cut the electricity, then turn it back on, and see if your device turns itself on again.
  • You need a WiFi connection near the plug: The smart plugs connect to the network via a WiFi connection. Therefore, you must have a good WiFi reception where you intend to position the smart plug. If you need help with that, check out my review of the best WiFi range extenders. (Some smart plugs work with Bluetooth instead of WiFi, but in my opinion, that’s much more restrictive – so I’m only looking at WiFi smart plugs in this article.)

 Best WiFi Smart Plug UK

Now that the basics are set, here are a few other things you need to watch out for before you buy:

Easy To Use Apps

The whole point of a smart plug is being able to connect it using your phone (and a voice assistant – see ahead). However, if the plug comes with a cumbersome, difficult-to-use app, then it’s not worth the money – or the hassle. Instead of saving time – you’ll be struggling to understand the app.

In addition to the app being easy to use, make sure it works with your smartphone. The best WiFi smart plugs will have both iOS and Android support. Some plugs also support Windows 10 PCs – but that’s less common.

Supported Voice Assistants

A smart home gets really smart when you control it with your voice – no need to even look for your phone…

However, there are three major voice assistants in the market today: Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Home and the Apple Homekit. and you need to make sure the smart plug you want to buy works with the voice assistant you have.

Amazon Echo on nightstand

All the devices in this article are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant (which is part of their Echo line of devices, as well as some 3rd party devices.) Most of them also work with Google’s Voice Assistant.

If you want to be 100% sure that your smart plug will work correctly with Amazon’s Alexa, look for the “Works with Alexa – Amazon Certified” logo:

“‘Works with Alexa’ is a certification program that raises the bar on responsiveness, reliability, and functionality, ensuring customers have the best smart home experiences.”

Smart plugs that work with Apple’s HomeKit, however, are not very common in the UK at this point – which is why I’ve excluded them from this article, for now. (If you still want one – take a look at the Eve…)

Smart Plugs That Need A Hub

Most smart plugs are WiFi-controlled and connect directly to the network, where they can be controlled with your phone or voice assistant.

Some smart plugs, however, need an additional central “hub” that connects them all together. Then, your phone/voice assistant talks to the hub, instead of directly to each plug.

While this can sometimes offer more advanced functionality (especially if you want to connect multiple devices around the house), it also complicates things and makes them more expensive. Therefore, all the smart plugs reviewed here work by themselves, without needing an additional hub.

Energy Monitoring

Some smart plugs can monitor your device’s energy consumption. So if you leave the radio on for two hours, you can see how much it’s going to cost you in electricity bills. It’s a useful feature if you’re looking to conserve energy and save money by giving you more data about your devices – but consider whether it’s worth the extra cost for a plug with that feature.

IFTTT Support

If This Then That (IFTTT for short) is a service that lets your devices and apps and software “talk to each other”. You can set simple (or complicated) rules that help your devices work together. For example – if your security cam senses movement (which an app detects), IFTTT can automatically tell your smart plug to turn on the radio at home.

The possibilities are truly endless – but you need a smart plug that supports connectivity with IFTTT, so look out for that.

Cord Busters’ Best WiFi Smart Plugs 2019

Editor's Choice
Price
4.5/5
Features
5/5
Overall
5/5

Pros

  • Great Price
  • Supports Amazon and Google
  • Manual On/Off Button
  • Easy to use app, controls all TP-Link devices

Cons

  • Big and a bit bulky
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi Band

Features List

  • Voice Assistants Supported: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Apps: Android and iOS
  • Energy Monitoring: No (But available in a similar model)
  • IFTTT Support: Yes

TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Review

Picking an Editor’s Choice is not always easy, but this time it was a breeze – a combination of a well-known manufacturer (TP-Link), an affordable price, and all the important features you would want from a smart WiFi plug.

Setup is fairly easy – you install the app (either iOS or Android), connect the device to your WiFi network, and that’s about it. The TP-Link app is very easy to use, and you can use it to control all your TP-Link devices (including other plugs, smart light bulbs, etc’) – which is convenient.

TP-Link kasa uses

Pairing with an Amazon Alexa or a Google Assistant device is also fairly easy (though there’s no Apple Homekit support), and the If This Then That support means you can create some nifty tricks. (For example – when your Uber drops you off, the heating can turn on automatically…).

The plug itself is a bit bulky and might block adjacent sockets or other big plugs, so keep that in mind. It has a manual on/off button, which is useful if you need to turn something off without using the app.

All in all, this is an excellent, reliable smart plug that is highly praised by most buyers.

Price
4.5/5
Features
4.5/5
Overall
4.5/5

Pros

  • Excellent Price (For 2 plugs)
  • Supports Amazon and Google
  • Manual On/Off Button
  • Slim, space-saving design

Cons

  • The Android app needs some work
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi Band

Features List

  • Voice Assistants Supported: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Apps: Android and iOS
  • Energy Monitoring: No
  • IFTTT Support: Yes

TECKIN Mini Smart Plug Review

Once you start using WiFi smart plugs, you’re not going to stop with one – the whole point is having the ability to control, well, everything around your house. So getting two high-quality plugs at such a good price, is great value for money.

The Teckin WiFi smart plug ticks most of the boxes – installation is fairly easy, it supports both Alexa and Google Assistant, and it’s quite small so it won’t block adjacent sockets.

Their Android app (which you use to control and schedule) isn’t perfect – it’s a bit confusing to use, and could use some more work (though apparently it’s being constantly upgraded). The iOS app, as is often the case, is better.

All in all, this is a great smart plug, if you’re willing to go for a relatively unknown Chinese company.

Price
4/5
Features
3.5/5
Overall
3.5/5

Pros

  • Easy setup and perfect pairing with Alexa
  • Manual On/Off Button
  • Easy to use app

Cons

  • Only supports Amazon Alexa
  • A bit pricey
  • No direct IFTTT support
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi Band

Features List

  • Voice Assistants Supported: Amazon Alexa
  • Apps: Android and iOS
  • Energy Monitoring: No
  • IFTTT Support: No

Amazon Smart Plug Review

If you’re part of the Amazon Alexa eco-system, then Amazon’s own WiFi smart plug is a strong contender. It’ll be super-easy to pair with your Echo device, and you can usually rely on Amazon’s reliable products. 

However, keep in mind that you are limited with this smart plug: it does not support the Google Assistant (or Apple’s Homekit), and at least for now, it doesn’t even support IFTTT (at least not directly – you might be able to use some workarounds.)

It’s also a bit pricier than some of the other models – but if you’re strictly looking for a plug that will work flawlessly with your Amazon Alexa device, this one fits the bill.

Price
2.5/5
Features
3/5
Overall
3/5

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • Manual On/Off Button
  • Modular and works well with other WeMo devices
  • Comes from a reputable company

Cons

  • Only supports Amazon Alexa
  • Expensive
  • A bit big and bulky
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi Band

Features List

  • Voice Assistants Supported: Amazon Alexa
  • Apps: Android and iOS
  • Energy Monitoring: No (Only on “Insight” model)
  • IFTTT Support: Yes

Belkin WeMo Swtich Smart Plug Review

I was a bit hesitant whether to include the WeMo Switch in this roundup or not – but because so many other reviewers mention it, I felt I had to give it a nod.

First, the good parts – Belkin is a reliable, well-known company, therefore build-quality is top notch. Setting up is fairly easy, and the app (both for iOS and Android) is very easy to use. It also has direct support for IFTTT, and it pairs smoothly with Amazon Alexa.

But that’s where the problems begin – the WeMo has no Google Assistant support, and for such a pricey product, that’s a big disappointment. As with many other smart plugs, it’s on the bulky side, and might block adjacent plugs. And, despite the reputable manufacturer, some buyers have reported quality-control issues.

If you’re planning to get into the WeMo eco-system with their lighting and netcams and a multitude of other devices, the Switch plug will fit inside perfectly. Otherwise, there are better options that cost less.

Best Value
Price
5/5
Features
4/5
Overall
4/5

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Supports Alexa and Google
  • Easy to setup
  • Manual On/Off Button

Cons

  • Build quality less reliable for some
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi
  • App and setup can get confusing

Features List

  • Voice Assistants Supported: Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Apps: Android and iOS
  • Energy Monitoring: No
  • IFTTT Support: Yes

Hyleton Mini Smart Plug Review

This smart plug proves that you don’t always have to pay a lot for decent products. If you want to “test the waters” with your first smart plug, this is an excellent entry point into the smart world. 

You get most of the important features – Alexa and Google Assitant support, an app to control the plug, scheduling and a countdown, and both iOS and Android support.

Setup is not as straight-forward as with some of the other plugs, and the apps are not as friendly (though they’re getting better). And with this being an “unknown” Chinese manufacturer, some buyers suffered from faulty units, though most were pleased.

Writer and news editor based in London, I cut the TV cord back in 2014 and never looked back. I watch A LOT of TV, and thankfully I can choose whatever I want to watch without depending on archaic channels.

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