Regardless of whether you are a Smart Home addict, or someone who is just interested in the Smart Home gadgets, this post will give you genius ideas on how you can use smart plugs to automate some of your daily routines.
Even if you feel like a beginner and probably think of building your own smart home solution, the smart plugs are the ideal start – they are easy to use and there aren’t any necessary preconditions. By sharing some creative Smart Plug uses collected from people around the world, I am pretty sure that you will identify at least one case for implementing smart plugs in your home.
What is a Smart Plug?
A smart plug is an electronic device that looks like a power plug. Smart Plug can be plugged into a regular electrical socket, and the next step is to connect it to WIFI by following the installation guide provided by the manufacturer. The setup also presumes installing the appropriate application on your smartphone from where you can control the Smart Plug.
In general, the purpose of the Smart Plug is to function as a remote-controlled power switch which is achievable by having the appropriate application on your smartphone.
Think of Smart Plugs as the next level of the old-school programmable plugs, with the difference that you can control them using your smartphone from anywhere.
The idea behind implementing smart plugs is to add value to your life.
With that in mind, I curated the list of the best smart plug use cases, where people around the world share real-life examples of how they use smart plugs.
Note that for every smart plug, there is maximum wattage it can handle, which means you should be very cautious about which device you will plug in. This is especially important for heating devices.
Examples Of Best Smart Plug Uses
If you have a home gym you can schedule the smart plug to switch on the space heater 15 minutes before you wake up, so you can work out in proper conditions after you wake up;
The electric heater in the bathroom goes on 5 minutes before your alarm wakes you up.
Smart plug connected to a heater to warm up a hangar and plane in the winter.
Block Heaters or Engine Heaters
Having a block heater for the car connected to a smart plug makes it easy to be remotely turned on and off.
Heated blankets and Heated Mattress Pads
Connect your heated blanket to a Smart Plug and schedule the smart plug to turn on 20 minutes before you usually go to bed. You can also set the smart plug to turn off after a specific period of time which will prevent overheating or leaving it too long.
Advanced usage will be if you have a Virtual Assistant, such as Alexa, configured with your smart plug, you can say “Turn off the blanket” – and it will execute the command by switching off the smart plug.
An electric heater for the dog is another use case for smart plugs.
It can be any equipment that you want to monitor the power being used by it.
There are parents who have connected the TV in the kids’ room to a smart plug like Kasa Smart Plug Mini and know every time the TV is turned on.
Or, have the washing machine connected to such a smart plug, and know when the cycle is done.
Connect the oil diffuser to the smart plug, and make the house smell fresh on demand;
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Control stand-alone humidifier/dehumidifier based on humidity values. If you use smart thermostats, you can set up an automation that will tell the smart plugs when to kick in/out.
Although most modern air purifiers operate automatically, meaning they can be on standby, and turn on when air quality is not good – there are still old-fashioned air purifiers that need to be manually turned on.
This is a very good reason to have them connected to a smart plug, especially if you have air quality sensors installed in your home.
If you are a photographer, then you probably use a ring light. It might be helpful to be able to turn it on and off by voice when your hands are full with the camera.
Landscape lights – having them adequately connected to one or more smart plugs (this depends on the overall power that is allowed to run through the smart plug), makes it handy to turn the lights on or off. This could be achieved by either setting a fixed schedule or by using a home assistant like Alexa.
Another possible use is to have some of your lights connected to a smart plug, so when you are out of your home you can control them to make it seem like someone is home.
Plugging the pool lights in a smart plug is another great example to automate when they kick in/out without doing that manually.
Any other outdoor lights when it doesn’t make sense to go out in the middle of the night to turn them off (rope lights, landscape lights, pool lights, etc)
Old Dumb Lamp
Nothing better than turning on/off an old lamp from the palm of your hand. Simply plug the old lamp in a smart plug and use the smartphone as a light switch.
There are various examples of this: lamp in the living room, library lamp, fishing tank lamp, etc.
Turn on your electric tea kettle 5 minutes before you wake up, so you can make your coffee the second you get out of bed.
Hardly Reachable Places
Some garage door openers need to be rebooted once in a while to operate normally.
After you drive the car in the garage, and the garage door closes, the exhaust fan for the garage kicks on.
As long as they have hard switches, you can control any fan through the smart plug application. Leave the hard switch on, and take it from the smartphone.
Pedestal fans, etc.
Window Air Conditioners
Toggle your air conditioner by plugging it into a smart plug.
Have your air compressor turned off after working hours, so it doesn’t turn on by accident during the night time.
Wood Fireplace Blower
Use smart plugs to control the fireplace blower. Put the warm air circulation in the house on a schedule.
Having a coffee machine with a dumb rocker switch is ideal to be automated with a smart plug. Simply leave the rocker switch in the ON position, and set the timer to turn on the smart plug at the desired time in the morning before you wake up. Set it to turn off at some time in case you forgot to turn it off.
Put oatmeal in a mug, and schedule the smart plug to turn the coffee maker sometime before you wake up. You have a hot breakfast in bed.
Have a coffee grinder timed to grind enough coffee for either a single or double shot.
Know when the laundry is done by monitoring the power usage on the washer. This is achieved by having your washing machine connected to a smart plug with power monitoring, such as Kasa Smart Plug.
Using a smart plug with power monitoring to detect when the cycle starts/finishes via voltage change.
Backup Hard Drives
Plug your external hard drive into a smart plug, then set up the smart plug to be turned on to run a full data backup, or Operating System backup – based on your backup schedule. When the backup is done, turn off the smart plug.
Here is another inspiration from Reddit:
“Connected to my “offline” backup server. Backups run at midnight and take about an hour to complete, so I connected a smart plug to a dumb switch hooked up via ethernet to my backup server. At 1 am, the plug goes back off killing power to the dumb switch. This keeps my backup server secure 23/24 hours a day, without me needing to do anything, but doesn’t power the server down which is nice.”
Some projects take a longer time to be printed. It could be useful sometimes to have your 3D printer plugged in a smart plug. Once the printing is done, shut down the printer.
You don’t need to have your water heater turned on all day long. You can plug it in a smart plug and schedule it, so the water can be heated only in a specific time frame of the day. Especially if you live in an area with a daily/night tariff where the electricity price is different.
Either indoor or outdoor, scheduling and controlling your Christmas lights through smart plugs is always a clever choice.
For indoor, connect your Christmas tree lights with a smart plug so you won’t need to crawl under the tree to turn them on or off. Do that from your smartphone instead.
For outdoor, not having to go out to unplug lights at night has been voted as the best use. However, you need to ensure two important things:
- Make sure you have Internet connectivity at the spot where your smart plug is plugged in the electric grid
- Make sure the smart plug is certified for outdoor use. This is in the case when the smart plug is directly exposed to various weather conditions.
Equipment That Needs To Be Rebooted
Any type of equipment that needs to be rebooted from time to time, such as an old router, fiber converter box, etc. Practically anything that would turn on as soon as it’s plugged in that doesn’t have standby.
Would it be an electric shaver, power tools, garden tools, or any other battery-powered equipment you can use smart plugs to remotely turn on charging at a given time. Another example is to turn on phone chargers at a given time and avoid the risk to overcharge or overheat the phone battery.
Some e-bike owners use smart plugs to cut the power when the battery reaches 100%, followed by a notification sent on their phone when it’s done.
Other Creative Ideas
You can create a Home Automation scenario where you can tell your Home Assistant “it’s bath time”, and then he turns on the recirculating pump for hot water, bathroom fan, and plays music in the bathroom.
Make sure your wife’s hair straightener is not left on by mistake.
If your kids have a TV in their room, it is good to have it connected to a smart plug so they don’t watch TV when they are not supposed to.
Any other equipment that is not supposed to be turned on accidentally.
User smart plugs for my kids to turn on/off things. Like a sound machine or night light. Helps them know when they can get out of bed in the morning. Great for a “good night” routine.
What is your favorite use of smart plugs? Share it in the comments.