What is a smart plug?

Silver kettle, attached to a Hive Plug, sitting on a wooden kitchen counter with a blue tiled wall in the background

The smart plug is a simple little device – but the sorts of things it can do might surprise you. In this article we’re going to look at what they are, what they can do, how they help you save and how you can use them to control your home – just by using your voice.

What is a smart plug?

A smart plug (or WiFi plug as they’re sometimes called) looks like an ordinary plug adaptor that you might use on holiday. It works a little like one too: you connect your lamp, kettle or TV to one side and plug your smart plug into an electricity socket. Then things start getting quite clever…

What does a smart plug do?

A smart plug enables you to control appliances from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or Apple Watch over the internet. So you can turn things on or off from wherever you are.

How do smart plugs work?

Smart plugs connect to a hub over WiFi. A hub is a small device that plugs into your broadband router and links the smart devices you have in your home with an app on your phone. So as long as your broadband’s working – and you have internet wherever you are – you can control appliances remotely.

What can I use smart plugs for?

There are all kinds of smart plug uses out there. Firstly, they’re great for peace of mind. We’re all familiar with that “did I / didn’t I?” feeling when it comes to leaving the iron on (or anything else that should always be off when we’re not using it). With smart plugs, you can just open up the app and double-check. Then turn things off if you need to.

Some people use them for security too. Plug one into a lamp then turn it on and off when you’re on holiday so it looks like someone’s home. You can even set schedules so it turn things on and off automatically at certain times. (Like getting your smart plug to turn on the TV – then off automatically when it’s time for the kids to head to bed.)

Smart plugs can also help save on your electricity bills. Because you can make sure things are always turned off when you’re not using them.

Do smart plugs work with smart speakers?

Yes, some smart plugs like our Hive Plug work perfectly with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. So when you can’t get to the app, just say: “Alexa, turn on my plug!” Really useful if you have it plugged into a lamp in the hallway and your hands are full when you arrive home.

What’s the best smart plug?

TP-Link, Philips Hue and Amazon all make good smart plugs. But the great thing about our Hive Plugs is that, as well as doing all of the above, they work seamlessly with the rest of the Hive ecosystem, including our smart thermostat, lights, sensors and cameras. So you can get your home working around you. Without you having to do a thing.

If you have a Hive Motion Sensor, for example, you can link it with a Hive Plug that’s connected with your Christmas tree lights. Then, when the kids wake up on Christmas morning and creep downstairs, on go the lights automatically!

Still wondering why you should get a smart plug?

Smart plugs are really safe and very simple to set up. And if you’re asking yourself what you can use with a smart plug, the list is endless. Hair straighteners or electric heaters. The TV or the kettle. With a smart home plug like ours, you really can control just about any appliance… all from an app.

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