Best Smart Plugs In The UK For 2020: Control Your Home

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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 WiFi 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 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 app controlled 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 internet controlled power sockets for 2020 (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

Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link, WiFi Outlet, Works with Amazon Alexa (Echo and Echo Dot), Google Home and Samsung SmartThings, Wireless Smart Socket Remote Control Timer Switch, No Hub Required(HS100)

Editor's Choice
5/5

Excellent, affordable WiFi smart plug with Alexa and Google support

Smart Plug WiFi Socket TECKIN 13A Mini Plug Works with Amazon Alexa Google Home Wireless Remote Control Timer Plug, Need 2.4GHz WiFi No Hub Required (2 Pack)

Our Rating
4.5/5

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

Smart Plug, Meross WiFi Smart Socket Compatible with Alexa Google Home SmartThings Voice Control No Hub Required (2 Pack)

Our Rating
4/5

A reliable WiFi smart plug and a good deal price for a 2-pack.

Best Budget WiFi Smart Plug

TP-LINK Tapo Smart Plug Wi-Fi Outlet, Works with Amazon Alexa (Echo and Echo Dot), Google Home, Wireless Smart Socket, Remote Control Timer Switch, Free Tapo App, No Hub Required (Tapo P100)

Best Value
3.5/5

A compact WiFi plug from a leading company (But fewer features than the Kasa line)

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 the power socket in your wall. Then, you plug your other device – the one you want to control – into the smart plug, and you’re one step closer to having a smart home.

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 UK smart plug is basically a glorified toggle switch, that can be controlled remotely. That’s it, for the most part. (Some 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 WiFi 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 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 and start building a smart home.

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 app controlled 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 these smart sockets:

  • 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 plugs 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 remotely-controlled 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: Internet-controlled 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 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 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 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 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 usage. 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, for a fuller smart home experience.

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 2020

Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link, WiFi Outlet, Works with Amazon Alexa (Echo and Echo Dot), Google Home and Samsung SmartThings, Wireless Smart Socket Remote Control Timer Switch, No Hub Required(HS100)

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.

Smart Plug WiFi Socket TECKIN 13A Mini Plug Works with Amazon Alexa Google Home Wireless Remote Control Timer Plug, Need 2.4GHz WiFi No Hub Required (2 Pack)

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.

Smart Plug, Meross WiFi Smart Socket Compatible with Alexa Google Home SmartThings Voice Control No Hub Required (2 Pack)

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

Pros

  • Excellent price for 2 units
  • Supports both Alexa and Google Home
  • Slim design

Cons

  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi Band
  • A few buyers had connectivity issues

Features List

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

Meross WiFi Smart Plug

With WiFi smart plugs gaining popularity, the market got filled with an endless list of Chinese smart plug, with company names you’ve never heard of. 

That, however, doesn’t mean they’re bad – it just means you need to be careful with your picks – and the Meross smart plug seems to fit the bill with both features and reliability. 

The Meross WiFi smart plug has most of what you would look for – easy installation (though the app is not as friendly as some of the others), it supports both Alexa and Google Assistant, and it’s small enough so it won’t block adjacent sockets.

This is another great smart plug, if you’re willing to go with an unknown company.

TP-LINK Tapo Smart Plug Wi-Fi Outlet, Works with Amazon Alexa (Echo and Echo Dot), Google Home, Wireless Smart Socket, Remote Control Timer Switch, Free Tapo App, No Hub Required (Tapo P100)

Best Value
Price
4.5/5
Features
3.5/5
Overall
3.5/5

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Supports Alexa and Google
  • Easy to setup
  • Compact size

Cons

  • No support for IFTTT
  • Only works with 2.4GHz WiFi
  • Needs a new app (doesn't work with TP-LINK's KASA app)

Features List

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

TP-LINK Tapo P100 Review

TP-LINK’s products are usually excellent, and the Tapo WiFi smart plug is not different. However, this is a slightly cheaper version of the KASA line (our Editor’s Choice), which also comes with a few missing features.

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

It doesn’t support If This Then That, unfortunately, and it doesn’t work with TP-LINK’s existing KASA apps – so if you have KASA plugs, you’ll need a separate app. On the plus side, the compact size means it’s less likely to clog your entire outlet.

All in all, if you’re willing to settle on a couple of missing features, this presents great value for money.

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