Do you ever wish you could start your coffee maker from the comfort of your bed? Or have you ever gotten to the office and realized you left your hair straightener on and then had to go back home to turn it off? If you had a smart plug, you wouldn’t have those dilemmas.
Smart plugs allow you to control pretty much any electronic device remotely via your smartphone. To use a smart plug, you plug it into an existing outlet and then connect your “dumb” device to it, rendering it smart. Once a “dumb” device become smart, you can control it from your smartphone, and in some cases, talk to it via Google Assistant, Apple HomePod, or Amazon’s Alexa.
Here are some of the most creative uses for smart plugs.
10.) Monitor Your Vampire Power
Have you heard of vampire power?
It’s the power your electronics are using when on standby. While it may not be much for a single device, it can add up based on the number of devices you have.
Here are some of the biggest standby power users:
- Desktop computers
- Gaming consoles
- Microwaves, blenders and other kitchen appliances
- Phone chargers
Depending on the number of standby devices you have, vampire power can make up to 10% of your monthly energy bill!
Smart plugs can help reign in these costs. How? Just connect your appliances and power-suckers to smart plugs and turn them off (either via a schedule or manually) when you leave the house or go to sleep. You’ll save power (and money) without even thinking about it.
9.) Start Dinner From Afar
If you have a slow cooker, you know how great they are — but also how frustrating they can be should your schedule change and you’re not able to get home in time.
Do you have a recipe that wants you to cook it for 4-6 hours on low? With a smart plug, you can prep everything in the slow cooker and then turn it on remotely precisely 6 hours before you return home. This way, you can ensure your meal will be cooked perfectly rather than being dried out and overdone.
8.) Freshen Up Your Home
Do you enjoy a good plugin air freshener? We do too, but unfortunately, they’re not safe to leave on all day. This is where smart plugs can come into play.
If you enjoy keeping your home smelling fresh, consider plugging an air freshener into a smart plug. You can schedule the air freshener to go on for one hour a day or even three times a day but in thirty-minute increments. You can program it for any amount of time. It’s up to you.
7.) Help You Get Into the Holiday Spirit
If you celebrate Christmas or any other holiday that allows you to decorate your home with lights, you know how wonderful they look but how annoying they can be to turn on and off each night — especially if you have multiple light displays in different rooms. Smart plugs can help.
Consider using a smart plug to control your entire holiday light display. You can schedule the lights to go on at a specific time and off at a certain time so that you never have to lift a finger.
6.) Brew Your Coffee
While we wish we had someone to bring us coffee in bed every morning, that’s not always an option. However, with smart plugs, you can at least have someone (or something) make your coffee every morning so that you can awaken to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Coffee makers are one of the most popular dumb devices people like to make more useful with smart plugs. If you’re on a set schedule, you can program the smart plug to turn on your coffee market at a particular time each morning. If not? You can hit start from your smartphone whenever you’re ready for the pot to start brewing.
Unfortunately, smart plugs can’t put the grinds or water in the coffee maker for you, but you can do that the night before.
5.) Limit Your Kids’ Screen Time
Do your kids love their screen time?
If so, they’re not alone, but new studies say you should limit the amount of time your children watch television, iPads, and other devices. The World Health Organization says that kids between the ages of 2-4 shouldn’t exceed more than one hour of screen time each day!
Whether you want to prevent your little ones from watching TV or reign in the amount of TV your older kids are watching, you can schedule your smart plug to turn off your TV at a specific time each day or night.
Don’t want to schedule a TV blackout for a set time each day or night? You can still control the TV from afar by using your smartphone and turn it on or off whenever you desire.
4.) Chill Your Home in Advance
Do you have a window AC unit? If so, you likely don’t want to leave it running all day while you’re away. But at the same time, you enjoy coming home to a cool house rather than walking in the door, turning the AC unit on, and sweating it out while you wait for the AC unit to cool the house. Smart plugs can help.
While some AC units come smart, others don’t. If your AC unit is dumb, plug it into a smart plug. You’ll instantly up its IQ. This way, you can either program your AC to go on and off on a specific schedule or turn it on remotely an hour or so before you return home.
3.) Get Notified When It’s Time to Put Your Laundry in the Dryer
Laundry isn’t the worst household chore, but one of our biggest issues is remembering to transfer the wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Do you fall into the same boat? If so, a smart plug can help.
Depending on your washing machine, you may be able to plug it into a smart plug and have the plug send an alert to your phone when the laundry is complete. You can also do this for some dryers, though not many.
Most washing machines plug into a standard 120V outlet. If yours does, then you can plug a smart plug into the outlet and then plug your washing machine into the outlet.
You’ll need a smart plug that can monitor energy usage, however. It can send you an alert when for a specific wattage. Create a rule and have your smart plug send a notification to your phone when the power consumption goes below five or ten watts. You’ll never forget to put your laundry in the dryer again.
2.) Make It Look Like You’re Home (Even When You’re Not)
Going on vacation but don’t want potential burglars to know your house is empty? Smart plugs can help.
If you’re going away, consider putting your lights on a schedule so it will look like someone is home. Perhaps you can have your kitchen lights go on from 6 PM – 8 PM as though you’re cooking dinner, your bedroom lights on from 9 PM – 11 PM, or your living room lights from 11 PM – 1 AM as though you fell asleep on the sofa watching TV.
1.) Warm Up Your Hair Tools
If you’re good about sticking to a rigid morning routine, consider having your hair tools turn on a set time each morning so that they’re warmed up and ready to go as soon as you’ve dried your hair and are ready to curl it, straighten it, or other.
This way, you won’t have to wait an extra five minutes or so for your tools to warm up. They’ll be ready as soon as you are!
There are hundreds of creative uses for smart plugs. These are just a few of our favorites!
If you haven’t invested in a smart plug just yet, check out our favorite smart plugs for 2019. They’re affordable, easy to use, and will make your life so much easier.