a blog from CenturyLink

What are smart plugs?

by | Sep 14, 2020

There are plenty of ways to make your home smart these days. More and more appliances are being made smart, able to connect to Wifi or Bluetooth and be controlled right from your phone. But not all home appliances are smart – yet. Plus some smart devices can expensive! Whether you’re waiting for your favorite home appliances to get smarter, become more affordable, or want to avoid creating e-waste and repurpose your current home appliances, you have an option: smart plugs.

Like an adaptor, a smart plug connects to your electrical outlet, and then allows you to plug your appliance into it. The smart plug will need to connect to WiFi to allow you to use it from an app on your phone, smart home hub, or from your home voice assistant. You can make anything from your coffee maker to lamps to fans in your home smart by just plugging it in to a wall socket.

woman bed make coffee

What to do with smart plugs

If your appliance has an on/off switch, it will work great with your smart plug. Here are some the best things you can use a smart plug for:

  • Make coffee from bed by using an app.
  • Turn your Christmas lights on while you’re out shopping so your house looks festive when you get home.
  • Turn on lights while you’re away on vacation to deter burglars.
  • Have dinner ready when you get home by turning on a crock pot during the middle of the workday.
  • Preheat your flat iron or curling iron so you can get ready for work or an event on time.
  • Control your children’s screen time by scheduling time for video game consoles or the television to be on and off.
  • Forget to turn something off before you left the house? You can now do it right from your phone.

woman smart plug lamp

Smart plugs are affordable and a great way to dip your toe in the waters of a smart home. Not only do they help you automate or control your appliances via voice assistant, some smart plugs can even monitor your energy consumption, helping you learn what devices use the most energy. You can curb usage by creating schedules for these devices, saving money and making your home greener in the process.

Smart plug tips

  • Think ahead. If you’re planning on adding more smart devices to your home in the future, or prefer one voice assistant over another, buy smart plugs that will be compatible.
  • Consider your space. Some models may be larger than others, so be sure to consider space when you’re purchasing a smart plug. You might even consider buying a smart plug strip.
  • Take it outside. To use smart plugs for Christmas lights or other features outside your home, choose a device that is specifically made harsh conditions, including rain and snow.
  • If you end up using multiple smart plugs, consider adding a WiFi extender to help distribute your WiFi signal to all your devices.

smart plug outlet

If you’re a beginner to smart homes or just looking to add some more automation to your home, a smart plug is a great place to start. Not only are they cost-effective, but they allow you to use the appliances and devices you already own – all from the palm of your hand. What appliance would you like to make smarter with a smart plug? Let us know on social media @CenturyLinkHome!

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<a href="https://discover.centurylink.com/author/kirstenqueen" target="_self">Kirsten Queen</a>

Kirsten Queen


Kirsten Queen is the Senior Content Marketing Manager for CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber. Since she started writing professionally, Kirsten has dabbled in nonprofit grant writing and communications, social media marketing, and now writes content about life with technology. In her free time, Kirsten likes to cook, garden, and hike in the mountains of Colorado. Her name rhymes with first, not cheer.