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Weighing 4 Popular Smart Plugs

We tested and evaluated 4 basic smart plugs: the Amazon Smart Plug, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Lite, the Etekcity Voltson Smart Wi-Fi Outlet, and the Wemo Mini WiFi Smart Plug. How do they weigh against each other?

It’s no secret that smart plugs can simplify your life, which is why if you’re in the market for a new smart plug, you’re likely looking for something that’s, well, simple.

Each smart plug’s app offers the ability to toggle the plug on and off, create schedules and routines, and create automatic timers, in addition to an away mode, which makes it appear that you’re still home.

In this article, we weigh 4 similar smart plugs – the Amazon Smart Plug, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Lite, the Etekcity Voltson Smart Wi-Fi Outlet, and the Wemo Mini WiFi Smart Plug – to determine which ones offer the most in ease of setup, ease of use, and overall value. 

Each of these smart plugs are similar in that they each have one outlet space, each have Wi-Fi connectivity, and are simple, lower-budget starter devices. Let’s evaluate their differences. 

Ease of Setup

As I opened the box for each smart plug, I was particularly impressed by Kasa’s packaging and simple setup guide. While all three of the other plugs contained a rather lengthy physical setup guide, printed directly on Kasa’s box is a concise two-step setup guide, which includes instructions to download the Kasa Smart app and follow the on-screen instructions. 

Each smart plug has an accompanying smartphone app that allows users to control their smart plug from the convenience of their smartphone. Once I had downloaded each app and began following the on-screen instructions, I noticed that the process for each was simple, quick, and efficient, but with a few differences. 

While the Alexa app connected to my Amazon Smart Plug allowed me to log into my Wi-Fi directly through the app, the WeMo, Kasa, and Etekcity apps required that I connect to the plug’s Wi-Fi and return to the app, which would automatically Wi-Fi-enable the smart plug. Whether this is a problem depends on your preferences, but I did enjoy not having to remember my Wi-Fi password each time I wanted to connect my smart plug.

Additionally, Wemo and Amazon required scanning a code located on the user guide while the other two plugs had entirely in-app setup process. I appreciated the more streamlined process with the Etekcity and Kasa smart plugs, but the scanning wasn’t a major inconvenience.

Ease of Use

Each smart plug’s app offers the ability to toggle the plug on and off, create schedules and routines, and create automatic timers, in addition to an away mode, which makes it appear that you’re still home. In function, they’re all quite similar, but which one best delivers its promises?

Overall, using these standard features was a smooth process with each smart plug. I was particularly impressed by Kasa’s unique runtime stats feature, which allows users to view how much energy their smart plug has been using. 

However, when it came to connecting the smart plugs to Alexa, I was most impressed by the Amazon Smart Plug’s setup process, but this is to be expected. You will have to jump through a few hoops to connect the other three to Alexa, including adding the specific smart plug’s skill to Alexa, but I didn’t find the process to be too difficult. 

Additionally, the on/off buttons physically located on the Kasa, Wemo, and Amazon smart plugs added to their ease of use in case you don’t have your phone handy.

Value

The cost of each smart plug varies. Here’s a breakdown of how much they cost on Amazon.com

While the Amazon Smart Plug costs the most for a single plug, is it worth the higher cost? It depends. While the other smart plugs are just as easy to connect to their accompanying smartphone apps, the Amazon Smart Plug is significantly easier to connect to your Amazon Echo if you’re looking to use a hub. 

However, if you plan on using your smart plugs solely through their smartphone apps, a more affordable smart plug may be worth it. The Etekcity smart plug comes at the lowest cost, coming in at just $9.50 for a single plug, but when evaluating both budget-friendly plugs, I preferred the Kasa smart plug’s functions and features and wouldn’t mind paying $14.99 each for the added value.

Bottom Line

Each of these smart plugs delivers as promised, but for overall value, I recommend the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Lite. However, if you’re looking for something slightly more high-end and streamlined, the Amazon Smart Plug doesn’t fail to deliver.

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