Smart outlets: Comparison of the best models in 2020

smart_outlet-comparison

Thanks to this new generation of smart outlets, it is now possible to carry out remote controls and monitoring for several reasons. The most important one is undoubtedly to evaluate in real time its energy consumption, and possibly reduce it if necessary. But they also allow to save time and comfort by avoiding certain chores. And to achieve this, manufacturers offer several possibilities: programming scenarios and timers, turning appliances on or off remotely, and more.

1. Belkin Insight Switch

Belkin is an American brand specialized in the manufacture of computer hardware. Initially specializing in computer connectivity, the Los Angeles-based company has diversified and now offers telephone and network accessories. There is no shortage of smart outlets, accessories that are more and more in vogue. The brand offers its own model: the Belkin Insight Switch.

WeMo-Insight-Plug

A classic and simple design

As far as the design of this smart plug is concerned, Belkin took no risks and was content with a very commonplace appearance. The Insight Switch is made of white plastic and blends perfectly into any wall. The Insight Switch is so small (7 x 7.5 x 10 cm) that it’s so unobtrusive that you’d almost forget it. There’s an on/off button on top of the socket, next to a reset button to reset the connection. A sober design, which respects here the rules in this field.

As for the installation, it is based on a direct Wi-Fi protocol. After downloading the Wemo application, available on iOS and Android, a step-by-step installation is carried out with ease. It only takes a few moments for the user to complete the installation. Ideal for beginners.

Improved functionalities

While the Belkin Insight Switch’s design is unlikely to revolutionize the plug-and-socket industry, the Belkin Insight Switch’s functionality is second to none. The real surprise is the Wemo application, which is absolutely simple to use. In addition to the long-distance control available thanks to Wi-Fi, the application also makes it possible to measure consumption, activity time or standby time.

In addition to simply monitoring data, the application allows you to program an operating time slot. It is also possible to couple the application with the IFTTT, which allows to automate a certain number of actions (“If This Then That” for “Si ceci alors ça”). This multiplies the possibilities for more experienced users and avoids the need to use the application at the slightest incident.

Our opinion on the Belkin WeMo Insight

Behind its simple, even mundane design, the Belkin Insight smart outlet does its job. It takes just a few seconds to install and is easy to install. And the application offers many interesting possibilities and functionalities if you take a closer look at it. The only regret is that this plug cannot be used with a voice assistant. But compared to its price, it remains a rather interesting choice, especially for newcomers in home automation.

2. Tp-Link HS100

TP-Link has made technological tools its specialty. Like many of its competitors, the Chinese company entered the smart outlet sector by designing its model: the TP-Link HS100 smart plug.

TP-Link+HS100

Strictly standard design

The TP-Link HS100 smart plug does not differ from what is currently on the market. The plug is compact (10 × 6.6 x 7.7 cm), oval-shaped, white and made entirely of plastic. It is a proven formula that is in line with the standard. The on/off button, which allows manual control of the plug, is located on the front panel, just above the notch of the plug. It also indicates the status of the connection. Finally, on the top, there is the small button that links the smart outlet to the mobile application.

For installation, you need to download the Kasa application, which will allow you to remotely control the TP Link-HS100 socket and link it to the home Wi-Fi network with a direct connection. A simple method that is becoming more and more widespread.

Voice control of power consumption

Once installed and connected, the plug can be controlled remotely via the Kasa application. Note that this application is entirely in English, which can be a handicap for non-English speakers. Nevertheless, the link between the plug and the application is done in a few seconds and is very well explained.

But the big strength of the TP-Link HS100 smart plug is its compatibility with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The application offers a wealth of information about the socket: real-time consumption, global consumption and statistics over the last 7 or 30 days. All of which will delight consumers looking to save electricity.

In terms of functionalities, the Kasa application allows you to turn the outlet on and off in one click or automatically according to the time of day. TP-Link has also thought about the possibility of creating “scenes”. These are programs that allow the simultaneous operation of several devices. This is a limited option with only one socket, but it is possible to imagine a “lying” scene in order to switch off all the lights in the interior with one click, for example.

Our opinion on the Tp-Link HS100

The main advantage of the TP-Link HS100 smart plug is that it can be controlled with voice assistants. A real strength compared to direct competitors such as Belkin. For other features, nothing transcendental is offered, although the idea of “scenes” is very interesting and deserves to be further elaborated. There remains the application, to be translated to make it really usable by beginners in home automation.

3. Aqara Smart Outlet

With the Smart Outlet, Aqara is primarily targeting users of the Apple HomeKit. A choice that could satisfy fans of the apple brand and offers a few interesting features in addition to the usual designs.

aqara-smart-outlet

HomeKit-compatible outlet and socket

First, let’s focus on construction. At first glance, the construction of the Smart Outlet is rather compact and inspires a certain robustness. A power LED is present, as well as a classic on/off button.

But there is one surprising thing to note: the absence of a conventional earth connection, in favour of a system with a contact on the periphery of the socket. A design that will therefore not suit all appliances, especially those with a conventional system. It will be necessary, beforehand, to ensure good compatibility between the plug and the appliance. A curious choice, difficult to explain.

Once this constraint is over and the plug is connected, the installation is relatively easy. After downloading the Aqara Home application from AppStore, it allows you to connect and control all compatible Aqara devices, as well as compatible HomeKit devices from other brands. Of course, it also allows you to control light bulbs using Philips Hue, for example. Finally, there’s the pairing, which follows a procedure that is also unusual: you have to photograph the code written on the plug for it to be recognized by the application. A procedure that is theoretically effective, but which is delicate to follow in a dark environment.

Various functionalities

Once the Smart Outlet is operational, it is then possible to test its functionality via the application.

In addition, it is possible to associate the outlet with the part in which it is located and rename it to better identify it. It is also possible to configure programs for each outlet or group of outlets, and thus to switch on the units at a specific time. Finally, there is the possibility of obtaining a fairly accurate monitoring of the energy consumption of electrical appliances in the home, which is of interest to energy-saving enthusiasts. And all this can be controlled by voice thanks to Siri.

It all sounds quite convincing. Aqara offers other functionalities with the application, which can be used with other devices of the brand, such as a smart temperature sensor. Users can take full advantage of it.

Our opinion on the Aqara Smart Outlet

The Smart Outlet was intended for Apple HomeKit users and its functionality is complete and friendly. Now the integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa has been well developped. Indeed, the young company has chosen to offer a product for the general public that is very easy to work and at a very competitive price.

4. Koogeek Smart Plug

Koogeek is a brand that is still relatively unknown to the general public. This company, founded in 2015, has the ambition to provide all the essential equipment for the Smart Home of tomorrow. In its offer, we logically find the smart outlet soberly called “Koogeek Smart Plug”, intended for Apple and Alexa users.

koogeek smart plug

A compact format as compact as possible

The Koogeek Smart Plug is one of the most compact plugs available today (6.5 x 6.5 x 9 cm). It has a square shape, with rounded corners on the sides. The white colour of this connected plug is very sober and discreet. There is an on/off button on the top to switch it on or off manually. This button is also used to reset the plug if necessary. Simply press it for 10 seconds. The plug can withstand up to 2,500 W, which is more than enough power for any indoor device.

When the plug is plugged in, the second small “e” in the Koogeek logo lights up to indicate that the power is on. For the installation, the user has two possibilities: use the Koogeek Home application, or use the Apple HomeKit application. But in both cases, the socket will require a Wi-Fi connection to be installed and operated.

Basic but sufficient functionalities

Once the installation is complete, you can start enjoying the features. First of all, the Koogeek Home application allows you to manage all the brand’s peripherals, in addition of course to the connected socket. This one, beyond the classical functionalities, allows to follow the electricity consumption either in real time, or at different time intervals (daily or month by month). It is also possible to program hours of activity to adapt the plug to the user’s habits.

For Apple HomeKit enthusiasts, the application offers more possibilities. It allows you to integrate the connected outlet into the heart of an entire ecosystem, and to create different scenarios. But the main advantage of operating via the HomeKit is the possibility to control your equipment directly, via Siri. “Siri, turn off the light in the room” is therefore one of the phrases you can now say to your iPhone. For those who are not Apple fans, good news: the Koogeek Smart Plug is also compatible with Alexa from Amazon.

Our opinion on the Koogeek Smart Plug

With the Koogeek Smart Plug, the manufacturer offers a product of good workmanship from the outset. The device is very easy to install and handle. The real feat lies in the fact that it is compatible with two of the three main voice assistants (Siri and Alexa) as well as with Apple’s native application. All this at a competitive price.

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