How to use a smart plug: 9 clever ideas
Smart plugs can be far more useful than you may think. With some out of the box thinking, it’s easy to find several unique ways of using a smart plug. They’re not just for saving electricity or remote control! Come with us as we explore how to use a smart plug in the home.
If you’re new to home automation, smart plugs are a cheap way to experience how technology can upgrade your life. You can use them to control devices remotely and even schedule when you turn things on and off. Great for ensuring you drink that morning coffee on cue!
However, they offer more than remotely turning a device on or off. You can use smart plugs to improve your life by completing tasks more efficiently.
So, if you’re looking for new and interesting ways to use the best smart plugs, you’ll want to keep reading. Here are 10 creative ways of how to use a smart plug in your home.
#1 Reach those hard-to-reach places!
Plugs are typically well located within a room. That is until you start putting furniture in the room! If you have a small garage or attic, you’ll know it can be a real pain to find a socket, let alone have a cable long enough to use it!
Sadly, a smart plug won’t make it easier to plug something into the outlet. You’ll have more control over the devices after plugging them in. Great news if you have lights in your garage or attic and constantly struggle to turn them on/off.
#2 Use IFTTT to cheat!
Many smart plugs work with IFTTT, allowing you to automate several devices at once, without needing a computer programming degree! If you haven’t used IFTTT before, the software does the heavy lifting, allowing you to build complex automations in minutes.
With the same lamp, you can use IFTTT to automatically turn it on at sunset and off at sunrise. Ideal if you’re not home often or find turning lights a hassle!
Another example is to link your smart thermostat with a portable heater. When the temperatures drop, your heater automatically turns on, warming up the room you most often use, keeping your bills low. When your thermostat notices a temperature rise, it can switch off the heater.
#3 Restart your router, remotely
Your Wi-Fi router can be a tricky beast to manage. And in most homes, it’s hidden out of sight or balanced on top of a tall bookcase. Not ideal if you need to reset or adjust it.
If you’ve converted a bedroom into a home study, you probably don’t want to run up and down the stairs to restart your Wi-Fi router. Well, unless you’re desperate for a cup of coffee and need to get some steps in!
You can use a smart plug to turn off the power to your router for 30 seconds or so. After which, you can turn it back on. Doing this effectively restarts your router, so long as your device doesn’t have battery backup! In which case, you’d need to remove the batteries to reset it.
A smart plug is convenient for restarting your router. That said, you shouldn’t use it to turn your internet connection on or off. If you want to limit internet access, the majority of routers work with an app allowing you to control internet access by device.
Turning your router off on demand could interfere with other connected devices, such as smart meters and security cameras. So be careful when connecting yours to a smart plug.
#4 Upgrade your morning routine
Getting up in the morning can be tough. The bed can be much more comfortable than the day ahead! Thankfully, with a few smart plugs, your day can get off to a more pleasant start.
For example, you could sync your bedside lamp and radio to greet you with your alarm to help you wake up and get motivated to start the day.
If you use an electronic toothbrush, you can schedule it to start charging when you wake up and stop after a few minutes (no need to have it charging all day).
Another idea is to program your curling iron to heat up 20 minutes after waking up. Fantastic if you’re constantly waiting for them to heat up as part of your morning beauty routine.
Prefer to wake up with coffee? We’ve got you sorted! You can use a smart plug to automatically brew a pot in the morning. Don’t forget to fill your bean-to-cup coffee maker with grounds and water the night before.
#5 Get dinner cooked on time
Most people dream of getting home to a cooked meal after a long day at work. And while you can pre-set your oven to come on at the right moment to make this happen, it can be risky as you can’t check it remotely.
You can use your smart plug to start your slow cooker at the perfect moment, ensuring you come home to a cooked meal. There are plenty of recipes to try, and many could be your new favourite dish!
It’s a good idea to try this when you’re at home before remotely starting your slow cooker from the office and encountering a problem.
#6 Alexa, turn off the lights!
Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant can control your smart plugs (most are compatible). These virtual assistants work with many home automation systems, including Z-Wave, Lightwave, Control4, and Crestron, offering even more control over your smart devices.
So rather than having to find your phone, scroll through the seamlessly endless list of apps you have installed, and then finally switch the light on/off, just speak and let your virtual assistant take care of it!
Be careful to name the smart plug something unique, as this will allow you to quickly turn devices on/off. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to try a million different options to switch off a single lamp!
#7 Outdoor lights
Use outdoor smart plugs to automatically turn your lights on or off and save money on your electricity bill. Ideal for the winter, Christmas, and always lighting the path to your front door. Far more convenient, and you’ll save energy as well.
#8 End the day with a smile
Nothing matches a warm bed. But having to remember to plug in an electric blanket and adjust it can be the last thing you think of. Thankfully, with a smart plug, you can turn it on a few minutes before you hit the sack!
Don’t worry. You can turn off your electric blanket using a timer function on your smart plug. So you won’t burn the house down or wake up sweaty!
You can also use your smart plug to control your bedside lamp, which can be a pain to operate. Plus, the timer function means it’ll switch off after you fall asleep, saving you money and reducing the annoyance you cause to others in your home.
#9 Impress the kids with magic
As you can control lights using a smart plug, your kids will think you have magical powers as you can operate them without touching the socket. You can even use a bit of stagecraft to make it even more exciting.
Try pointing at the light and exclaiming “abracadabra” before you hit the button. Magic! That said, you’ll tire of it way before they do. So plan how the “batteries will run out” or the light will “stop working” and save your sanity.
That’s how to use a smart plug
That’s just a few ideas of how to use a smart plug in your home. There are plenty more ideas. As with other smart home devices, the only limit is your imagination and the other devices you own. So consider how to use a smart plug, and you’ll probably come up with some cool ideas!