There are many fantastic automation tools and solutions out there. However, have you ever wondered whether your not-so-smart electronics could be automated? If you do, then meet Amazon Smart Plug which works seamlessly with Alexa to provide you with basic automation. It retails for just $24.99 which makes it an essential building block for home automation using Alexa.
Amazon Smart Plug is made to transform any non-smart device into a smart one. One of the basic functionality that you will get by connecting a device to a smart plug is the turn on and off ability. However, it doesn’t come free from all the flaws, especially if you want to get started with these the smart plugs.
Installing the smart plug is not easy with every wall outlet out there, and you might need to do some tinkering before you can start using it. In any scenario, smart plugs do provide you a great cheap alternative to make your home a smart one, rather than replacing the dumb things with smart ones.
Pros & Cons of the Amazon Smart Plug
While the beautiful design and utility of the Smart Plug cannot be overstated, it would be wise to assess all of the advantages and drawbacks of having such a product, especially if we are talking about multiple plugs.
While some appliances would have incredible advantages when connected to this product, such as the stove, others would be more of a gimmick that can be done much cheaper and easier.
You can easily buy this Smart Plug off Amazon and would be able to install it in seconds once it arrives.
Amazon Smart Plug comes with a clean design. There is nothing fancy going on with the design; after all, they need to be non-intrusive — keeping the core design of your home intact. The smart plug looks similar to that of a regular plug. The rectangular shape is coupled with one LED indicator and one power button. The dimensions of the smart plug are 1.5 inches tall and 3.2 inches wide. As you can see, the design is minimalistic, and you can use it the smart plug with most of your wall sockets.
Installation and set-up
Getting started with the Amazon Smart Plug is not accessible in all the scenarios. You may find yourself stuck with some plugs, but, in most cases, you can install it with confidence and ease. To make setting it up more user-friendly, it comes with the Amazon’s Frustration-Free Setup program. The program covers the necessary steps you need to install the smart plug into your home automation successfully.
If you have an Amazon Echo device, it will be easy to install these plugs. All you need to do is connect the smart plug with your same home Wi-Fi on which the Amazon Echo device is connected. Once done, automatic setup starts and your smart plug is ready to use. You need to access the go-to Alexa app and click on the “add hardware” button. However, the steps are not straight forward, and many users may find themselves stuck in getting it to work.
Capabilities and Features
Great! You got it installed. Now, what’s next? You can now turn on and off the device connected to the smart plug. All you need to make sure that connection to the smart plug is through the same Wi-Fi network and you can easily turn switches through an app.
When it comes to specification, Amazon smart plugs are not so different! They are adapter type and hence goes into the wall socket for which it is designed for. There is no specialized training or knowledge required for these plugs. The Input is rated at 100-120 VAC, 60 Hz and 15 Amp, whereas the Output is rated differently based on resistive, inductive, motor and incandescent. The operating temp is 0-34 degree, and it comes with an IP30 rating. In short, the Amazon smart plugs area ideal to be used indoors. Just do not use it to with critical equipment. For example, a piece of medical equipment or any functionally sensitive equipment.
Controlling the smart plug can be done in two simple ways. You can use Alexa to manage your appliance or use the Alexa app on your phone to get things done.
Scheduling your appliances
One of the most amazing features is the option to schedule the appliances. For example, you have a bedroom lamp that you want to control according to the natural light. By scheduling it, you can make it turn on when it is almost sunset. Similarly, you can set it to turn off during sunrise. The feature is known as routines, and you can easily access it by going through the Alexa app.
To schedule an appliance, you first need to open up the Alexa app. Then go to the devices tab which should be present at the page bottom-right. Now, choose “Plugs” at the top. Once done, select the plug for which you want to set schedule. Press the “Create a routine” and follow the steps as guided by the app. In no time, your appliance is now ready to work on a schedule you just created.
Incompatibility and other flaws
You might be thinking it is a smart plug, what else it should have offered in the first place? Power Monitoring. Other competitors such as Belkin and TP-link offers power monitoring in their smart plugs. Another big issue that we encountered is its incompatibility. The Amazon Smart Plug is not compatible with the other smart home systems including Google Home or the Apple HomeKit — which makes Amazon Smart Plug limited. If you want to change to other automation systems, then you have to change the whole setup completely. That’s not feasible or future proof. However, if you are into Alexa based automation, then you are good to go with these smart plugs.
Other things that should have made into the plug include a weatherproof option, USB ports, Surge protection, and color options.
Should you get it?
Amazon Smart Plug is a step forward in providing an affordable way to automate your house appliances. It’s cheap, easy-to-install and works as intended. However, the limited functionality and compatibility issues go in its way to be recommended for everyone. If you rely on Google Assistant or other automation types, then you should not go with the Amazon Smart Plug. However, if you love Alexa and what it has to offer, you are good to go with it. After all, it only retails at $24.99.