One of the best holiday gifts you can buy this year is a smart plug

Amazon Smart Plug
Amazon Smart Plug (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

The big holiday shopping season has arrived. Perhaps you've heard a thing or two about it? Every retailer and product manufacturer is eager to sell you its latest and greatest toys, and while there are plenty of awesome gadgets to pick up right now, there's one I want to make sure you don't overlook — smart plugs.

Smart home tech has quickly gone from an enthusiast niche into a mainstream consumer space, bringing a ton of new customers that are eager to outfit their home with all of the smart speakers, light bulbs, and displays they can get their hands on. Whether you're shopping for yourself or buying a gift for a loved one, a smart plug is one of the most helpful and affordable pieces of smart home tech you can get.

For those that may not be familiar, a smart plug is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It's a plug that goes into any regular outlet in your home, and when you plug something else into it, it essentially makes that device "smart." Smart plugs can usually be controlled through an app on your smartphone, as well as by voice using the Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri if that's your jam.

Smart plugs are simple by design, yet extremely functional in day-to-day use.

The main function that smart plugs give to your devices is remote on/off control — basically turning that outlet on and off. It's extremely basic and doesn't sound all that exciting just to talk about it, but as someone that's been using smart plugs for a couple years now, it's hard to imagine life without them.

Despite this simple nature, you can get creative with smart plugs and make them one of the most useful additions to any smart home. Want hot coffee ready for you when you wake up? Fill up your coffee pot with grounds before you go to bed so all you have to do is use your phone or smart speaker to get things brewing. Turn a lamp into a smart one for less money than a smart bulb. Plug your TV into it for easy on/off controls. The possibilities are virtually endless.

There are a lot of smart plugs to pick from, but there are a couple that really stand out to us as the best choices:

  • Amazon's Smart Plug works beautifully with Alexa. If you're buying a gift for someone that has Echo speakers, this is the one to get.
  • If you don't want to spend as much, this plug from Gosund works with a companion app, Google Assistant, Alexa, and IFTTT for a little over $10.
  • Want all the smart plug features + the ability to monitor your energy usage/costs? The Wemo Insight is a fantastic (if a little bulky) choice.

There are certainly more gadgets than just smart plugs to look for this year, but for the smart home novice or enthusiast in your family, it's one of the best you can get. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they often don't cost more than $30.

What gifts do you plan on getting this year?

What about you? Will you be buying any smart plugs as tech gifts this year, or do you have something else in mind? Let us know in the comments below!

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.