Is An Amazon Smart Plug Worth It
Smart plugs are completely worth the investment. Theyre a financially-friendly way of bringing smart functionality to older appliances. If Alexa is your primary system, then an is a great investment. However, if you dont use Alexa at all, then the Amazon Smart Plug isnt a smart buy.
It doesnt work with any other system besides Alexa. If you use Google Home or Siri, you will want to look into a different type of smart plug. There are a huge variety of plugs on the market, but they all serve basically the same purpose.
On the other hand, if you do use Alexa, then the Amazon Smart Plug is a great choice. It goes on sale often, and even its standard retail price is just $25. If youre looking for an affordable way to get started in the smart home world, then the Amazon Smart Plug is worth looking into.
Patrick is an Atlanta-based technology writer with a background in programming and smart home technology. When he isnt writing, nose to the grindstone, he can be found keeping up with the latest developments in the tech world and upping his coffee game. Read Patrick’s Full Bio
What Is The Amazon Smart Plug And How Can You Use It
We’re taking a closer look at the smart plug from the e-commerce giant and how you can use it as part of a smart home.
Smart plugs are a great technology for anyone looking to build a smart home. Instead of having to spend a fortune on new smart appliances, a smart plug can bring some top-notch features to your lights and much more at the fraction of the price.
And it shouldnt be a huge surprise, Amazon even has its own self-branded smart plug. Well take a closer look at the device and help you decide if it’s a good choice for your home.
Things To Consider Before You Choose A Smart Plug
#Smart plugs are designed to be used for indoor and outdoor purposed. Before purchasing a smart plug, make sure you go through all the features, because smart plugs for indoor use cannot be used for outdoor lights.
#Buy a smart plug that supports Wi-Fi. Having a Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug is easy to set up without any learning curve and does not need any additional hub.
#Most commonly available smart plugs only support Alexa and Google Assistant. However, if you are into the Apple ecosystem and want Siri to turn off the coffee machine or lights, buy a smart plug that is compatible with HomeKit and your Apple devices. The problem is that there are very few smart plugs available in the market that work with Apple HomeKit.
#Choose a smart plug that lets you set a schedule for turning devices and appliances on or off at specific times.
#Not every device is compatible with a smart plug. It depends on the watts a device use, so select the plug accordingly.
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Should I Buy The Amazon Smart Plug
The Amazon Smart Plug is a perfectly decent product. Indeed, if you just want simple on/off control using your voice or the Alexa app, then it does the job well. If youre after granular control, would like a greater number of features and wider voice support outside of Alexa, then there are far better smart plugs available for less.
This Is The Smart Plug
It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.
All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan and then plug it into the wall.
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Amazon Smart Plug Unresponsive
1. Update the Device
The plugs are designed for convenience and you dont manually need to update these plugs. The mechanism that these smart plugs work on requires them to be connected with the internet at all times so you will not have to worry about that part. The plugs will automatically update whenever an update is released and they are connected to the Wi-Fi.
However, if your plug is unresponsive, there are two ways that you can use to update the firmware on these plugs. To start with, unplug the smart plug from the power outlet for 15 seconds and plug it back in. Once the plug reboots, it will connect to Wi-Fi again and will check for updates automatically. It will prompt for the update and it will be installed on the plug and you will fix up the problem. Keep in mind that it might take a few minutes for the update so you will need to be patient and give it some time, lets say 10 minutes.
The second way for you to update your smart plug is to trigger an update manually through the application. All you need to do is access your application, navigate to the plug that is unresponsive, and click on the update button. However, you might not be able to see it there if it is unresponsive in some cases and the plugging out method would save the day for you.
2. Update the Application
How To Pair A Smart Plug With Alexa
Once you have a smart plug compatible with Alexa handy, you can start the pairing process.
The smart plug needs to be plugged in somewhere that your Wi-Fi can reach. It doesnt matter where your Alexa devices and smart plug are relative to each other. They dont have to communicate directlythey communicate over Wi-Fi. Just make sure that your Wi-Fi can reach them both.
Now, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap the Devices tab at the bottom of the screen.
Tap the plus icon in the upper-right corner. Three options will appear. Tap Add Device.
Tap Plug under All Devices.
Look for the device manufacturer or brand name of the plug that you wish to pair with Alexa. The brand names are arranged in alphabetical order, so keep scrolling down until you find yours.
Once you find your brand, follow the instructions in the Alexa app. It will guide you to download your brands app to set up your smart plug. If you cant find your brand, read the If You Cant Find Brand Name During Setup section below.
The setup process varies depending on the brand, but it should be similar to adding a new device in the Alexa app.
You will likely need to create an account, set your smart plug to pairing mode, and connect it to your Wi-Fi. The brand app will guide you with all of this.
When you set up the smart plug, you can turn it on and off in the manufacturers app.
Tap Set up device at the bottom of the screen.
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How Does A Smart Plug Work
Almost all smart plugs on the market today work by plugging them into an existing outlet and then connecting them to your homes Wi-Fi network.
Once the smart plug is plugged into an outlet and Wi-Fi has been enabled, you can plug a device into the smart plug and begin controlling it from your smartphone, using the accompanying app.
The app simply sends a signal to the plug about when to turn on or off.
Most smart plugs do not require a smart hub in order to use them. However they can leverage them in order to communicate and work with other smart products.
Amazon Smart Plug The Competition
The Amazon Smart Plug is one of the easiest to set up if you’re using it with Alexa, but it’s definitely not the only game in town.
One of the most popular brands of smart outlets, plugs, power strips, and light switches is TP Link’s Kasa brand, and they are also excellent products with their own app for things like scheduling.
There are also plenty of companies making smart plugs for use outdoors. In addition to the aforementioned Kasa brand, you’ll find products from Ring, BN-Link, and Etekcity.
One other perk you’ll find with other brands is that they not only work with Alexa but can be bundled into smart homes “powered” by Google Alexa or Samsung’s SmartThings. For a lot of people, that’s a very important factor in the buying decision.
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Make Sure The Device Is Updated
The first step you should take if you encounter any errors is to make sure both your Amazon Alexa app and your are updated to the latest version. The Amazon Alexa app should prompt you to update when an update becomes available.
Your should also automatically update over Wi-Fi when updates are released, but if it doesnt, unplug the device from the outlet for about 15 seconds and then plug it back in. This should prompt an update.
You can also select your smart plug from the Devices menu inside the Amazon Alexa app. Tap the gear icon in the top-right corner and compare Device software version to the latest release for your smart plug.
Does Amazons Smart Plug Work With Homeassistant
HomeAssistant is a useful technology for controlling your smart home locally: no internet is required, and no monthly subscription fees need to be paid. Its a nice, open, free technology. But one downside is that it doesnt always work well with smart devices that arent open and free technologies like the Amazon Smart Plug! HomeAssistant isnt magic: if Amazon dont have a public API to control their smart plug, HomeAssistant will struggle to control it.
Thankfully there might be a way forward, even if it requires some technical knowledge. One option you can explore is creating a binary sensor. This alternative method would require some knowledge of coding, as coding would be involved. You will need to create input booleans as well as binary sensors.
When you pair a binary sensor from Home Assistant with Amazon Smart Plug, inside of an Alexa Routine, youll be able to control the smart plug from Home Assistant
in theory. Whilst this approach has been proven to work, it is more of a workaround and Amazons software updates do sometimes make this approach unreliable, as a user on the HA forums mentions:
so basically there is no way to directly integrate this plug the input_boolean wokaround sometime is desynced with the real state of the plug, ie when turning off the plug from the button on it
Francesco, 31st March 2021, HA Forums
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Amazon Smart Plug Should You Buy It
If you primarily use Google Assistant to control the smart products in your house, no. Don’t buy this in the hopes that someone gets it working. Buy one of the other smart plugs out there that already work.
If you don’t need a smart plug to work with Google Assistant, this is a great product and we all should support products that promote easy setup.
4.5out of 5
I have to judge a product on its intended purpose and unashamedly give the Amazon Smart Plug 4.5 stars, with the half-star loss because it could be $5 cheaper. It’s by far the easiest smart product to set up I’ve ever come across, and it could be the poster child for any “it just works” campaign. Amazon’s Alexa platform is excellent, and the company is on the verge of beating Google at its own game innovation. The Smart Plug can be worked into custom skills and might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
I heartily recommend this to anyone who is happy to stay inside the Alexa ecosystem and think it’s one of the best products Amazon has ever built even though it’s also one of the most simple.
This article was originally published in October 2018. It was updated in November 2021 with the following changes.
- Added information about competing products.
- Verified that the technical specs haven’t changed or that a revision doesn’t make this product obsolete in its current version.
Amazon Smart Plug
Why Use Smart Plugs
Anytime you want to make your dumb appliances and devices smarter, you can plug them into a smart plug and enjoy the ease of controlling them from the palm of your hand on your smartphone.
Whether youre looking to turn your lamp off when youre not home or turn the coffee pot on from your bedroom, smart plugs provide you with the functionality you need to get the job done.
Lets face it: no one likes getting out of bed in the morning to turn on the coffee machine.
Or how about realizing that you forgot to turn off the hall lights once youve snuggling down under the covers for the night. Ugh.
You can make these situations a thing of the past by plugging those appliances into a smart plug.
Smart plugs allow you to make appliances and devices in your home automated, more efficient, and tailored to your personal usage preferences.
And with indoor and outdoor smart plug options available, you can be confident that no part of your home will be left out of your smart home upgrade.
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Amazon Echo Flex Or The Amazon Smart Plug: The Perfect Solutions
In the last couple of years, Amazon have started releasing a lot more smart devices. One of them is the Echo Flex, a plug-in device which then has Alexa on it. But what does this mean, and can it do away with an Echo+smart plug combo?
The short answer is no. The Echo Flex is plugged into a wall socket, and it then provides a simple way of communicating with Alexa. As in, you can quickly issue a voice command and itll respond accordingly.
But the Echo Flex doesnt have a pass through socket on it. As in, you cant plug other devices into it. It also has a fairly small speaker which isnt optimized for playing music. In other words, the Echo Flex isnt a replacement for a smart plug, and its also not a replacement for a proper Echo device. Its more of a way of allowing you to easily control your smart home in rooms where you may not want a full Echo device.
Finally, theres the Amazon Smart Plug. This was released on 11th October 2018 and it is a smart plug to rival the massive range of smart plugs on the market. At $25 , its slightly pricier than some of its rivals, but its not too expensive.
Amazons smart plug works the same way as any other smart plug, and it also doesnt contain Alexa itself. You still need a separate Echo device in order to manage the smart plug.
Due to this, the Amazon Smart Plug is also not a replacement for a smart plug+Echo bundle: it is literally one of many smart plugs that you can use alongside an Echo.
About Tristan Perry
Amazon Fire Tv Stick Faqs
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have to be plugged in to work?
You can try to use the Amazon Fire TV Stick with the USB power from your TV alone, but it is unlikely this will be enough. Youâre much better off plugging your TV Stick into the mains instead.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have Bluetooth?
Yes, the TV Stick is Bluetooth enabled. Read on how to pair a Bluetooth accessory with your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have YouTube?
To use YouTube with the Amazon Fire TV Stick you can download the YouTube app from the Amazon App Store.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick need WiFi?
Yes you need WiFi to power the TV Stick. The device does not have an ethernet port so WiFi is the only way to connect your device to the internet.
What channels do you get with the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
View this list of channels that can be downloaded through the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Editor’s note: Article updated May 2021
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Ways To Turn On Your Smart Plug
Alexa voice command
Alexa, turn on .
If youre using your smart plug to control a light, remember that you cant tell Alexa to dim the light because the smart plug functions as an on/off switch .
Via the Alexa app
Go to devices on the bottom navigation bar > Plugs > toggle on and off.
As part of a routine
Say you want your bedroom light to turn on as part of a morning wake-up routine.
In the Alexa app, go to the hamburger icon on the upper left > Routines > + icon on the upper right. Tap When this happens > Schedule > pick a time and Repeat setting > tap the Done button at the bottom. When youre back on the New Routine tab, tap Add action > Smart Home > Control device > first plug > toggle on > Next. This will bring you back to the New Routine tab one more time where you can tap Save in the upper right corner to create your new routine.
How To Control The Amazon Smart Plug With Your Voice:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Tap the devices tab on the bottom-right.
- Choose “Plugs” on the top of the page.
- Choose the menu button on the top-right
- Next to the name “First Plug,” tap “Edit name.”
- Name the appliance something simple, like “living room lamp.”
- Now you can say “Alexa, turn on the living room lamp” or “Alexa turn off the living room lamp.”
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