What is a smart plug and how do they work?

What is a smart plug? A smart plug, also known as a smart outlet, is a device that transforms your standard electrical wall outlet into a fully customizable and controllable outlet. Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, it allows you to manage your household electronics and lights from anywhere conveniently.

With features like pre-determined schedules, timers, or smartphone app control, a smart plug provides an effortless way to manage the devices in your home.

In my experience, having tried several smart plugs over the past year, I consider them a must-have for any smart home. Even if you don’t own any other smart devices, smart plugs offer the most straightforward way to start exploring this technology.

What does a smart plug do?

Smart plugs are innovative devices that transform ordinary appliances and fixtures into smart devices. With a smart plug, your plugged-in device gains expanded capabilities that it didn’t have before.

Consider a lamp as an example. Without a smart plug, you can only manually turn it on or off, using its physical or wall switch. However, you have various control options once you plug the lamp into a smart plug.

Before purchasing a smart plug, it’s important to review its features and capabilities. While most smart plugs allow for remote on/off control and scheduling, it’s a good idea to confirm which additional devices they can integrate with and any extra functionality they may have.

With a smart plug, you can set a timer within an app to turn the lamp on or off. You can also schedule the lamp to turn on and off at specific times during the day or week. If you forget to turn off your bedroom light when leaving for work, you can do it remotely using your phone.

Additionally, if you’re going on vacation, you can activate “Away Mode” and the smart plug will randomly turn your lights on and off throughout the day to give the impression that someone is home. You can even connect your smart plug to other devices and use voice commands to control them, such as saying, “Alexa, turn on the bedroom lamp.”

How does a smart plug work?

Most of the smart plugs available in the market function by plugging them into an existing outlet and connecting them to your home’s Wi-Fi network.

After plugging in the smart plug and enabling Wi-Fi, you can connect a device to the smart plug and start controlling it from your smartphone by using the corresponding app.

The app sends a signal to the plug to turn on or off at a specific time.

Usually, smart plugs do not require a smart hub for their operation. However, they can use smart hubs to communicate and function with other smart products.

How to easily set up a smart plug

Setting up a smart plug is a straightforward process that requires just a few simple steps, although some minor differences may occur depending on the specific smart plug model.

Here are the basic steps to set up a smart plug:

  1. Connect your cell phone to your home Wi-Fi network. Usually, the smart plug requires a 2.4GHz network, not 5G. If you have one Wi-Fi network, use that. In case of connectivity issues, refer to the Wi-Fi connectivity section below.
  2. Plug the smart plug into the desired outlet.
  3. Download the smart plug app from the App Store or Google Play and install it on your cell phone.
  4. Open the app and create an account.
  5. Add your smart plug to the app, following the app’s prompts. During this process, you will be asked to name your smart plug. It’s advisable to name it according to the device it will control (and possibly the room it’s in), for example, “Bedroom Lamp.”
  6. Once the smart plug is fully set up, plug your device into it and test it by turning it on and off in the app.
  7. Congratulations! You can now start scheduling your smart plug or setting up automation.


A smart plug is an excellent first purchase if you’re considering delving into smart home technology.

Not only are they affordable and easy to set up, but they also have many use cases and applications.

If you have any further questions I haven’t covered, please leave them in the comments section below.

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