Six things you didn't know you could do with a smart Wi-Fi plug

Ring Pathlight Official Lifestyle
Ring Pathlight Official Lifestyle (Image credit: Ring)

There's a reason why so many of us are constantly swapping out devices for better, smarter ones that can be automated and used with voice assistants. But what if you could do all of that with your existing devices and transform ordinary kitchen appliances, lights, and fans into connected ones? The best smart Wi-Fi plugs will let you do that while also saving you some money at the end of the day. Smart plugs are some of the most affordable smart home products out there, and they're extremely easy to install. On top of making life easier, these are six unique ways a smart Wi-Fi plug can help you upgrade and automate your smart home.

1. A smart Wi-Fi plug makes existing devices compatible with voice assistants

Amazon Smart Plug with coffee maker

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

Many of us already own a smart speaker such an Amazon Echo (4th Gen) or a Nest Audio, and while it's nice to use these solely for playing music or asking what the weather will be, they serve a much greater purpose than that. These speakers and their respective voice assistants are capable of automating your home and are compatible with a number of smart home devices such as smart light bulbs, smart thermostats, and more.

Smart devices are great, but they don't come cheap. If you don't necessarily want to invest in brand new devices, a smart Wi-Fi plug is an easy solution to make your existing devices smarter. How it works is that you plug in and install smart Wi-Fi plugs into the sockets you want to use, and once set up, you can operate whatever is plugged in through an app. This means that you can plug in a reading lamp, coffee machine, fan, humidifier, etc., and turn the socket on or off with the touch of a button. Better yet, you can pair your plugs with Google Assistant or Alexa and use voice commands to operate your device.

2. Control devices remotely with a smart Wi-Fi plug

Caseta Wireless Lifestyle

Source: Caseta Wireless (Image credit: Source: Caseta Wireless)

A smart Wi-Fi plug is connected to your home Wi-Fi as opposed to Bluetooth, meaning that as long as your Wi-Fi network is up and running, you can control anything that is plugged into a smart Wi-Fi plug while you're away from home. This is extremely useful if you're in a rush to get out of the house and forgot to turn off the bathroom light or you accidentally left the curling iron on. And if you have a few fans or space heaters lying around, this means you can cool down or heat up your space before arriving back home.

3. Set up schedules for your devices through a smart Wi-Fi plug

Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer Light Switch

Source: Caseta Wireless (Image credit: Source: Caseta Wireless)

Another advantage of having a smart Wi-Fi plug is that you can set schedules for your plugged-in devices. So, for example, if you boil water every morning, you can set up your kettle to turn on before you wake up, or if you like to have the radio play your favorite morning talk show at a specific time, you can also have it turn on without moving a finger.

Setting up a schedule is also handy for monitoring your children's screen time. For example, you can pick a time every evening when you want a TV or gaming console to turn off and send your kids to bed, and the same goes for lights out. You can even have certain smart plugs turn off at a specific time during the night, so devices like your cell phone aren't overcharging.

4. Use a smart Wi-Fi plug to monitor energy usage

Kasa smart plug

Source: TP-Link (Image credit: Source: TP-Link)

One of the best features of a smart Wi-Fi plug is that it can monitor the amount of energy your devices are consuming. This not only helps you identify which devices use up the most power so you can cut back on that time, but it ultimately helps save money on your electricity bill at the end of the month.

We don't typically need devices like a computer or television to be plugged in all the time when we're sleeping or at work, but it can be a hassle to unplug everything every day. A smart plug like the TopGreener Heavy-Duty Smart Wi-Fi Plug does the job for you. These smart plugs are the best for monitoring energy usage and tracking power consumption.

5. Install your smart Wi-Fi plug outdoors

Govee String Lights

Source: Govee (Image credit: Source: Govee)

Did you know that certain smart Wi-Fi plugs like the Ring Outdoor Smart Plug can be used outdoors and will withstand rain or snow? Using a smart Wi-Fi plug outside is a great way to automate water sprinklers to water your plants on a consistent schedule or to turn on your outdoor string lights when guests come over with a quick voice command.

They're also useful for turning on outdoor lights like ones on your porch as you come back home from work, and they're a wonderful addition to holiday decorations. Instead of getting out of bed because you forgot to turn off the Christmas lights, you can just grab your phone and do it in the app. If you could use a smart plug, these are our top picks for the best outdoor smart Wi-Fi plugs.

6. Make hard-to-reach sockets accessible with a smart Wi-Fi plug

C By Ge Lighting Lifesetyle

Source: GE Lighting (Image credit: Source: GE Lighting)

Every home seems to have a socket that is hard to reach. Whether it's hidden deep behind the couch or blocked by furniture, a smart Wi-Fi plug can make these plugs easily accessible by voice or through an app. Though you can physically turn a device on or off from a smart Wi-Fi plug, you don't have to, which is the beauty of it.

With a smart Wi-Fi plug, you can make use of sockets that are inconveniently placed throughout your home. If you need to expand the number of outlets that you have access to, you can also upgrade to a smart power strip and control each device plugged in separately.

Upgrade your existing devices with smart Wi-Fi plugs

A smart Wi-Fi plug is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to start making your home and the devices you own smarter. By connecting to Wi-Fi, you're able to operate your plugs through an app or voice commands, set schedules, and control everything even while you're away from home. This is useful for making it look like you're at home when you're actually on vacation, and it makes walking into a dark house after work a thing of the past.

One of the simplest ways you can get started with smart Wi-Fi plugs is when it comes to home lighting. Smart light bulbs like Philips Hue bulbs are expensive and can add up very quickly, so if you're not ready to take the plunge, a smart Wi-Fi plug is a great way to try out smart lighting by transforming transform cheap bulbs into voice-compatible ones.

Olivia Lipski

Olivia Lipski is a freelance writer for Android Central and loves testing out the latest smart home tech and discovering the best cell phone plans. When she's not busy running around NYC trying to find great food or coffee, she's in her kitchen trying to make it herself.