One of the simplest and easiest ways to integrate smart home tech into your life is via a smart plug.
A smart plug can turn ‘dumb’ tech, such as your favourite vintage lamp, into programmable smart tech that you can schedule or switch on via voice command.
It can also act as a safety net: plug in your hair straighteners or crockpot via a smart plug and you can switch them off remotely, giving you peace of mind if you’re out later than expected, or simply can’t remember whether you left them on.
As well as remote access, voice control, countdown timers and scheduling, you can, in many cases, see how much energy the plugged-in device is using. That’s useful now, more than ever, when we’re all trying to keep a closer eye on how much electricity our appliances and devices are using.
We’ve rounded up some of the market leaders and tested them out, to help make sure you buy the best smart plug, with the right features, at the best price. If you want to find out more about smart plugs, there’s further information after the chart.
Tapo P100 Mini Smart Wi-Fi Socket – Best overall
- Pros: Compact; Plenty of features, including away mode
- Cons: Can’t be used with the Kasa app
Tapo is a sub-brand from TP-Link. The P100 Mini Smart Wi-Fi Socket is one of the best smart plugs we’ve tested.
For starters, it’s one of the most affordable on the market.
The simple, compact design means you’ll be able to fit it even into cramped spots and we’ve found it quick and easy to get set up on the app. Once it’s ready to go, the app allows you to do the usual things like set schedules and timers.
There’s even an ‘away mode’ which will turn (probably a light) on and off randomly, to make it look like you’re still at home. There’s a button on the plug if you want to use it manually.
Like many plugs on the market, the Tapo P100 supports both Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can control it from a smart speaker if you have one. There is no additional hub required.
It’s worth noting, however, that you can’t use it with the Kasa app, so it isn’t ideal if you already have TP-Link smart plugs or other smart devices.
Unless you’re already locked into a different ecosystem, we can’t think why you would spend more on another smart plug.
Hey! smart plug – Best gift option
- Pros: Great features including power monitoring
- Cons: Wi-Fi needs to be strong during set-up
The Hey! smart plug is affordable, practical and easy to use, with no hub required.
Set-up is quick and straightforward (although you’ll need to make sure you have a decent Wi-fi signal during the process) and once the plug is connected, the well-designed app makes it easy to switch your plug on and off or schedule days and times to do so. You can also see at a glance the amount of power used by the device plugged in, broken down by day.
You also have the option to automate by weather conditions and device status or to set up a one-tap system that has your plug switch on at the same time as other smart products (so you can, for example, turn on all your lights at once). It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands if you prefer.
The plug itself has a compact design, meaning you should be able to fit it into any socket (including one on a power bar) and it won’t cover up the spot next to it, or cause problems if your socket is flush with your skirting board. It also features an on/off switch and status light.
Hey! products come with a set-up guide and are beautifully packaged, so they’d make a good gift – even for people with less tech knowledge.
TCP Wi-Fi Smart Plug – Excellent features in a compact plug
- Pros: Timer and conditional switching
- Cons: No energy usage monitoring
This TCP plug is an excellent option with pretty much everything you’d want in a smart plug at a very good price.
First off, it works by Wi-Fi, meaning that you don’t need a hub to use it. It also has all the features we’ve come to expect in the best smart plugs. It’s Alexa and Google Assistant compatible, so you can use voice commands to control it.
It has two forms of timer: the regular kind that allows you to set it to switch on and off on a schedule and a countdown timer, so you can set it to turn on or off a device (such as a portable heater warming you while you’re snoozing) after a certain amount of time.
You can also set it up as one of multiple devices that come on at the same time or automate its timings to switch on (or off) when one of a number of conditions is met, including outside temperature, humidity or sunrise and sunset time.
Get a couple of these and you have a cheap and efficient way of automating your home climate to respond to changes in the weather.
Importantly, its compact design means it won’t obstruct neighbouring plug points and it also features an on/off switch and status light, so it can be turned off without the app. It’s easy to set up and use as well.
It doesn’t monitor your device’s energy usage but for a few quid more, you can get the TCP model that does.
TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug – Alexa- and Google Assistant-compatible
- Pros: No hub needed; Alexa/Google compatible
- Cons: Plug size could be an issue
TP-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug is another one of our top picks. For a start, it’s affordable and, second, it connects via Wi-Fi directly to your router. So it doesn’t need a hub.
There are iOS and Android apps, but the icing on the cake is that it also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means that, while you’re at home, you can say, “Alexa turn on the light” and control your device hands-free.
Via the app, you can create schedules, turning the plug on and off as many times as you like, with different schedules for each day. Using your location, you can also choose sunrise and sunset as triggers.
There’s also a timer mode so you can turn the plug on or off after a preset time, which could be handy for a sleep timer or to turn off the TV once the kids have had enough screen time.
With a well-designed and good-looking app, no need for a hub and a decent price, the TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug is one of the best you can buy right now.
SwitchBot Bot – For wall switches
- Pros: Mechanical solution
- Cons: Harder to set up on rocker switches
The SwitchBot Bot isn’t a smart plug, but we’ve included it here because it can add smart functionality to wall switches (including rockers) and any other button or key that’s not on a smart plug-compatible device.
If you just want to use it to operate a switch from the comfort of your bed or schedule times to switch things off and on, you only need the SwitchBot Bot itself, but if you want to create scenes, you’ll also need a SwitchBot Hub. It’s compatible with Alexa, Google Home, HomePod and IFTTT.
The SwitchBot Bot operates mechanically via a little lever that pops out. It has an adhesive pad on the back and you just stick it to the switch you want to control. It won’t cover it, so you can still use it manually. It’s easy to set up and surprisingly effective and comes with a replaceable battery that should last for two years. You can buy it in black or white
If you want to use SwitchBot Bot to control a rocker, rather than an on/off button, you’ll need to use the loop and sticker provided, which takes a bit more effort to place properly.
D-Link Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug – Compact design for double plug points
- Pros: Compact; Has indicator
- Cons: Can’t access from your homescreen
As the name suggests, this is a smaller version of D-Link’s regular smart plug. The compact design will help you to avoid the plug getting in the way of anything around the socket and ensures you can get two plugs on a double socket point.
The design has also been simplified, with a single power button on the top and an LED indicator.
Otherwise, it works in the same way, so it’s incredibly easy to set up. You get Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT support, along with options such as scheduling from the mydlink app.
There’s currently no option to add widgets to an Android device’s home screen to quickly switch the plug on and off without opening the app, which is the device’s only shortcoming.
Energenie MiHome Wi-Fi Smart Plug – Supports 13 amp devices
- Pros: No hub needed; Uses Wi-Fi
- Cons: Poor instructions on feature set-up
Energenie has a range of smart plugs, but most of them require a £69.99 hub that connects to your router. This Wi-Fi Smart Plug, however, doesn’t. That’s great news, as it will talk directly to your router via Wi-Fi.
It can’t monitor how much electricity is being used, but it does support Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT, which are more useful features for a lot of people. It’s just a shame the instructions aren’t particularly clear on how to set this up.
Another benefit is its small size. It’s less bulky than most smart plugs and it shouldn’t prevent you from using adjacent sockets.
It uses the same MiHome app as Energenie’s other products and, if we’re brutally honest, it’s one of our least favourite apps because of its clunky interface. Make sure you don’t mistakenly install Xiaomi’s MiHome app: look for the Energenie one instead.
When you’ve added the plug in the app, you can tap ON or OFF to manually control the switch (even when away from home) but you can also set up timers. You’re free to create as many as you like for multiple power cycles each day and different times on different days.
Another point to note is that the MiHome WiFi Smart Plug supports 13 amp devices, whereas some of the cheaper offerings are limited to 10 amps – or less.
At this price, the minor flaws can be forgiven: it’s great value.
D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug – Has a status light
- Pros: Support for Alexa, Google Assistant & IFTTT
- Cons: May not fit plug point if flush with skirting board
D-Link’s Smart Plug is an attractive oval device with a glowing ring that tells you its status.
On the right are three buttons: one to turn the attached device on and off manually, another to turn the LED on and off, and a third to reset the plug or use WPS setup with your router.
Setting it up is simple via the mydlink app. You scan a QR code in the quick setup guide, and the plug should be detected. Then you can pick which Wi-Fi network you want the plug to connect to: like the TP-Link, no additional hub is required.
There’s support for Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT, so you can control it with your voice, or get it to turn on and off based on other triggers via an IFTTT applet.
The mydlink app lets you control the plug from anywhere, as well as giving you the option to set it to turn on and off on a schedule.
Efergy Ego Smart Wi-Fi Switch – Best for monitoring energy use
- Pros: Great value; Great features
- Cons: May obstruc- other plugs
The Efergy Ego smart switch can work as a regular timer, and can also switch devices on and off at random – useful when you’re trying to give the impression that your home is occupied when you’re away.
Its smartphone or tablet app will show you the energy usage of a device or strip of devices, plus their estimated cost over a period of time. Isolate the worst culprits and you’ll soon be making sure they’re properly switched off when not required.
The Ego also has the ability to learn and automatically turn off appliances that have been on stand-by for a long time.
There is also a group function for those with multiple Ego switches in their home. You can group them together and control them all from the group/scene page. The best application for this is to have all appliances in one room in a group.
The Efergy Ego is reasonably inconspicuous but still a little too bulky not to get in the way of other sockets’ flick switches. No hub is needed, so the smart plug price is all you pay, which is great value.
Eve Energy – Best for Apple HomeKit users
- Pros: Siri-compatible
- Cons: Bluetooth-only means limited range; Pricey
The Eve Energy is a smart switch that also monitors how much power the connected device uses over time. It’s an Apple HomeKit plug, which means it only works with iOS devices. However, this also means you can control it with Siri voice commands and that it benefits from the full encryption that HomeKit offers.
Rather than using Wi-Fi, the switch uses Bluetooth. This makes set up easy and also means you don’t need to have a hub connected to your router. However, it does limit the range over which it can be controlled. It will work in most UK homes, but if you want to control it when…