Help finding the perfect smart plug
September 25, 2020 9:21 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for recommendations on a smart plug with some fairly specific parameters, mostly importantly that can be controlled both by remote control and via iPhone and Android app. Snowflake details inside.

I am decently technically savvy but this new territory for me, and I'm floundering a bit with the tsunami of options. My google fu is failing me because I get pages and pages of results that meet only 1 or 2 of my 3 "must haves" below. The rapid speed of technology in this space is that I am also finding a lot of information for products that are out of date / no longer available.

This smart plug MUST:
- Be controllable by physical remote control
- Be controllable by iPhone & Android app
- Be reliable (the outlet to be used will be blocked by a large bookshelf, so it'll be a major pain if we have to constantly be resetting the plug)

Everything I'm finding seems to meet at the most 2 out of these 3.

Nice to haves but not absolutely necessary -
- Dimmer ability
- Can set up program to run automatically at certain times
- Expandable - able to add a second plug
- Preferably does not require a separate bridge

I do NOT need to be able to control it with Siri / Echo / Alexa or any other robot helper. I do NOT want to have to wire up a light switch / dimmer switch.

Thank you, Mefi!
posted by pineapplerunner to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Apart from having a separate bridge, I think the Lutron Caseta wall plug might do what you need. You mention dimming - the plug recommends that it only be used with lamps, so if you're planning on plugging something else into it, I'm not sure how well it would work.

It looks like the product I linked already has the remote included, but you should be able to buy the plug, bridge, and remote separately if you prefer.
posted by sagc at 9:36 AM on September 25, 2020

I’ve generally recommended the Hue ecosystem and the combination of the Hue Smart Plug and the Hue Remote will do what you need. There’s a good chance that a hub won’t be needed, though I can’t 100% promise that because I have not verified the Remote and Smart Plug can directly pair - but the remotes and bulbs can.

The Lutron stuff is also good but their hub is quite a bit more expensive and absolutely required for remote control from a phone.
posted by doomsey at 9:40 AM on September 25, 2020

2nding Lutron. The SmartThings hub works with Lutron stuff too
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:01 AM on September 25, 2020

I am in the Hue ecosystem and it's robust. The bulbs aren't cheap but generally are reputed to last forever and I'm really super happy with it so far. I literally knew nothing about smart home shit beyond my Nest thermostat, and I leaned on a friend who consults about these things -- Hue/Google is a good combo, but you can leave the google part out if you want.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:19 AM on September 25, 2020

I was going to suggest the wyze plug but I don’t know about a remote. But it is voice activated too.
posted by terrapin at 11:27 AM on September 25, 2020

IKEA Home smart (formerly Trådfri) might do it for you. Once paired, it'll stay connected well. Note, though, that it will need a gateway, and the app won't allow you to operate the outlet if you're away from home.

Like the Hue system, dimming is done inside the special LED bulbs rather than at the socket.
posted by scruss at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2020

We have WeMos - a product that I do not recommend. Their software updates are a nightmare of losing access, programming and doing resets. I'm not sure if they have dimmer capability on some of their products, which might eliminate them anyway.

I don't have a recommendation of what to purchase, but stay away from WeMos if resetting is going to be a problem. Let my frustration be a cautionary tale!
posted by 26.2 at 2:01 PM on September 25, 2020

(heh, I have a heavily hybridized system and many of my wall switches are wemos. they basically work—this is an improvement over when I first got them!—but the wemo app is a disaster. I bypassed it with a home-grown automation system. I entirely agree with the non-recommendation.)
posted by doomsey at 2:11 PM on September 25, 2020

Thank you all! We are going to try the Hue but it was great to have a couple of options to look at.

I also appreciate the caution on the Wemos - that matches what I was reading on reviews online.
posted by pineapplerunner at 3:04 PM on September 25, 2020

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