A small investment in affordable smart plugs could save you a bundle over time, and make your entire house that bit more clever in the process.
Right now we’re all trying to figure out easy ways to reduce our regular outgoings, whether that’s shopping around for the best energy bills or changing up our go-to supermarket. But many don’t realise how much cash could be saved just by making their ordinary household technology and appliances a little smarter – with very minimal upfront costs.
So we’re not talking about spending thousands on the best new smart fridge or throwing away every inefficient device in your home, but rather adding some smart plugs to minimise the energy wasted by technology left on standby (or even that lamp you always forget to turn off!). You can then control your electronics using just your phone, or one of the best smart speakers if you want to dive further into the automated homeworld.
According to research by Ocean Finance, enlisting smart home products in the fight against rising bills has the potential to save you more than £400 over just two years, with smart plugs just one of the quick, inexpensive fixes available.
With a smart plug, you can set routines for your electronics to turn on only when they’re needed, and some even turn your devices off and on depending on whether you’re home or not. The same is true of smart bulbs, and you can read more about these in our guide to the best smart lighting.
Our pick of the best smart plugs to get you started – from £14.99
TP-Link Tapo P110 Mini Smart Wi-Fi Socket
The Tapo P110 is a compact smart plug that gives you a choice between controlling your appliances and devices with a smartphone or tablet, or a smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on board. Away mode automatically powers the plug down when you’re not at home, and you can also monitor your power usage in real-time within the app – handy!
Wiz Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Plug
Another budget smart plug, this one from Wiz also works with Siri so, if you’re in an Apple household, could be the best choice. The smart plug lets you set routines, use voice control and switch them on and off from anywhere (as long as you have your phone with you). It’s also incredibly easy to set up.
Amazon Smart Plug
A slightly more expensive option at £24.99, the Amazon Smart Plug is still a bargain when you consider how much it could save you over time. Of course, the plug works with Echo devices, but you can use it even without a smart speaker, with the ability to set routines and schedules within the Alexa app.
Ideas for what to use with a smart plug
- Lamps and fairy lights – who doesn’t want to walk into their bedroom and see that it’s already turning into a cosy oasis? Connect your bedside lamp or mains-powered fairy lights with a smart plug and set them to come on 5-minutes before bedtime.
- Coffee machines, microwaves and other small appliances – appliances left in standby mode can be big energy wasters, especially when many of them aren’t used after breakfast time. Have your smart plug schedule switch them off when they’re not needed.
- Space heaters and fans – ever leave the house before panicking that you’ve left the space heater going? Well, smart plugs not only let you check on things from the bus, the office or a friend’s house, but can often also switch off automatically when you’re a certain distance from home.