Best smart plugs 2021: add app and Alexa control to any socket

Smart plug next to lamp


Robert Jones

Last updated

Our best smart plugs of 2021will transform your home: from automating your lights to turning on the coffee machine while you’re still toasty in bed, smart plugs and smart power strips can turn pretty much everything with a three-pin plug into a smart, app-controlled device that you can command like a Roman emperor. Maybe that last one is just us.

Whether you want to control a portable heater or fan, make existing lamps into smart ones or control anything else, you’ll find the best smart plugs for Apple HomeKit, the best smart plugs for Alexa, and the best smart plugs for Google Assistant in our list, so whatever you want to connect and whichever smart home platform you want to connect it to, you’ll find it here. That means you can control them via the best smart speakers, use them to control lamps that don’t need or can’t fit the best smart bulbs, and much more.

If buying smart plugs is your first step towards smart home tech, it’s worth thinking about the bigger picture: for example, some smart plugs work with the same app as other smart home technology, such as the best smart thermostats, to help you save even more energy. So it’s worth thinking about not just what you want to do today, but what you might want your smart home to do in the future too. 

It’s also important to think about the underlying technology, because not all smart plugs use the same standards. Some smart plugs connect to Wi-Fi, some use Bluetooth, and some require specific smart home protocols like Zigbee or Z-Wave. We’re going to explain everything that you need to know in the course of this rundown.

Smart plugs have really dropped in price recently, but don’t just look at the sticker price: compatibility, reliability and app support matters too, and our guide to the best smart plugs and power strips in 2021 takes those things into account. We’ve also included useful buying advice to help you find the perfect plugs.

And if you’re looking for the prices to drop even further before you commit to stocking up on smart plugs, you’re in luck because the best Black Friday deals are here to make all your dreams come true. Shopping the sales can help you get more bang for your buck and with our live prices below always displaying the lowest prices currently available, you can kit out your home with smart plugs and keep your bank balance happy at the same time.

The best smart plugs you can buy in 2021

Compact and reliable with a great app


Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim KP115 (also known as the TP-Link Kasa Mini with energy monitoring) brings you almost everything you could want from a smart plug and is accompanied by a polished app too. The combination means it won Best Smart Energy Product at the T3 Awards 2021.

Setup is as simple as plugging it in, and it’s small and discreet enough not to mess up the aesthetics of your kitchen or your living room. There are two versions of the plug, one with energy monitoring (KP115) and one without (KP105) that is slightly cheaper. Both allow you to see how long the plug has been active, and it works with Alexa, Google Home and Bixby.

Dive into the app and you can have the plug turn on and off based on a regular schedule, or do it manually. There’s also the option to set a simple timer: when it elapses, the plug will turn either on or off depending on your requirements. If you’ve got the right TP-Link accessory, you can get this smart plug to work with a motion sensor as well.

This Kasa Slim plug is already very cheap, but there’s an even more affordable option in the form of the Tapo P100 mini smart plug (TP-Link’s smart home line seems to be split in two, between the premium Kasa and more budget-oriented Tapo lines). 

2. Hive Active Plug

A great way to extend your Hive system


Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Designed to work in conjunction with the Hive Hub developed by British Gas (though you don’t have to be a British Gas customer to use it), the Hive Active Plug works in a similar way to other smart plugs – you can turn your sockets on and off with a tap on your phone or on a preset schedule.

In other words, handy for those times when you need to check whether you left the iron on, or just fancy boiling the kettle for a cup of tea while you’re still lying in bed upstairs. The only real catch is that requires a Hive Hub to control: the Hive Active Plug won’t work without one, so this is only really the best smart plug for those buying into the Hive system – but that’s not a bad idea, because Hive also makes good smart bulbs and a great smart heating system (among others), so you might feel the whole setup is right for you.

Naturally the Hive Active Plug is controlled using the free accompanying Hive apps for iOS and Android, and as well as a schedule you can also create actions that work in conjunction with each other (so switching on a lamp when a door sensor is triggered, for example). If you already have Hive kit installed, it’s ideal. You can control the plug with the Amazon Alexa assistant too.

3. TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip KP303

A smart power strip that delivers across the board


Reasons to buy

There are two versions of TP-Link’s smart power strip, but the six-socket HS300 seems to be very hard to come by at the moment, so where it is available, it can be heavily overpriced. Happily, the three-socket KP303 is still in ample supply.

With three smart outlets, each with independent control, as well as a pair of USB port connections for small appliance charging and power, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip KP303 delivers plenty of flexibility and features; it’s essentially three smart plugs in one.

Surge protection, energy monitoring, and remote control via the excellent Kasa Smart app are all on tap here, as too voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. There’s no Apple HomeKit, though.

The perfect smart power strip for a home office or appliance-rich living room.

The best smart plug for Alexa users


Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Designed to be used with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, the Amazon Smart Plug can be controlled using voice commands or through the Alexa app. It doesn’t require a hub and takes literally two minutes to set up. If you use the Google Assistant, or if you have Apple HomeKit, you’ll want to look elsewhere as it doesn’t support either of these. 

Keeping things very basic, this simple white device lets you power devices on or off. You’ll also be able to set schedules and routines to have them switch on at certain times of day, at sunrise or sunset as well as when triggered by an Alexa-compatible motion sensor. Unfortunately, there’s no IFTTT so it won’t work with other smart devices like locks. 

It works almost instantly, and it was very reliable. It’s just a shame there’s no energy usage monitoring like some of the other smart plugs on this list. 

Hue can do more with the right plug


Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Like all Hue products released after mid-2019, the Hue Smart Plug works without requiring a hub thanks to built-in Bluetooth. Which is fine, but while it’s more compact than most and, as you’d expect from Philips, impeccably well-engineered, we’d question why you’d spend on this if you were only going to use Bluetooth, especially as that means you won’t be able to make the most of everything the plug has to offer. There are stacks of Wi-Fi plugs that can do a lot more for a lot less.

If you’re already all-in on Hue, on the other hand, we can’t think of a better option. Hooking one of these up to a Hue Bridge gets you Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit support, making it just about the most compatible plug going. You can integrate it into your Hue zones and routines, it’s easy to set up, and we doubt you’ll find anything more reliable.

Hue works with loads of the other smart home brands too, so this will integrate with all kinds of other smart home gear outside of Philips’ stable.

6. TCP Smart Wi-Fi Plug

The smart plug basics with a few useful extras


Reasons to buy

Since our review the TCP Smart Plug has had a redesign, with the enormous forehead of its previous edition being sliced off in favour of a far more compact plug, but with the same extras on board like Alexa and Google Assistant integration. The previous edition worked very reliably, so this redesign is an easy call for one of the best smart plugs around.

You don’t really want to get lost in a maze of settings and menus when it comes to setting up or operating your smart plug, and thankfully this one is very easy to get up and running. Plug it into a spare socket, set up the Android or iOS app, and that’s just about job done.

The plug can be turned on and off using the app, you can set it to go on and off on a schedule, and you can even do a countdown timer (if you want the lamp to turn on in 30 minutes, for example). A no-nonsense smart plug that you can rely on, and it’s very affordable too.

7. Innr SP222 Smart Plug

A Hue-compatible Zigbee plug that looks great


Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Innr has broken the barrier in the past year or so: strong branding, good compatibility and quality products make the Dutch company a smart home brand to watch. And while its Hue-compatible smart bulbs (featured in our list of the best smart bulbs!) are probably the highlight of its line, don’t look past the Zigbee-packing Innr SP222 Smart Plug if you’re looking to add a little more flexibility to your smart home.

Not only is it compact enough to avoid clashing with just about anything else in a multi-socket arrangement, the SP222 is flexible enough to seamlessly connect to a host of existing smart home systems like Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and anything else which anchors itself to Zigbee. That does mean you’ll need a hub to use it; Innr’s own hub seems to be hard to come by in the UK, but if there’s a Hue Bridge or a SmartThings bridge sitting on your network already this will drop right in. Perfect for Hue users in particular.

8. D-Link DSP‑W118 Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug

A simple and reliable smart plug from D-Link


Reasons to buy

All you really need from a smart plug is to have it work reliably from your phone, whether you’re turning it on and off manually or setting it on a schedule, and the D-Link DSP-W118 delivers here. It’s not the first smart plug that D-Link has put out, and that expertise means it knows exactly how to put together a smart plug like this.

It’s worth mentioning the size of this particular D-Link smart plug, because it’s smaller than most at 8.4x6x6cm: that means you can squeeze two of these side by side on a double plug socket, something that stops a lot of smart appliances like this from being as useful as they can be.

On top of that you’ve got polished apps for Android and iOS to make use of, and there’s integration with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and the always-useful IFTTT as well. If you’re after a simple but great smart plug, then make sure you check out the D-Link DSP-W118 smart plug.

9. Eve Energy

Ideal for Apple HomeKit… but not much else


Reasons to buy

There’s a lot to like about the Eve Energy smart plug, but there’s also a big caveat, which is that it only works with Apple gear. You’re going to need an iPhone (or iPad) to operate this, and it’s going to work best as part of a HomeKit setup. Sorry, Android users, this isn’t for you.

In fact, Eve Systems (formerly Elgato) used to specialise in TV tuner and video capture products for Apple devices before switching its focus towards smart home tech instead. Even if it is Apple-centric, this is a very powerful plug: you can create geofences, triggers, actions and scenes using the free accompanying Eve app or Apple Home.

Unusually the Eve Energy relies on Bluetooth 4.0 Smart rather than a Wi-Fi connection, which means you’re going to need a 4th-generation Apple TV or newer, or an smart speaker as an intermediary if you want to switch connected devices on and off away from home. Otherwise, you can control the plug directly from the app.

11. TP-Link HS110

Another Amazon Echo-ready smart plug


Reasons to buy

This smart plug from networking specialists TP-Link has everything you need to remotely control connected devices whether you’re at home or away. The driving force for the product is the free Kasa app for iOS and Android devices, which connects to the TP-Link HS110 via your wireless router. It can also be controlled with your voice, provided you have an Amazon Echo.

The Kasa app is easy to use and enables you to switch the smart plug on or off, create custom actions and set a schedule that can trigger connected devices to switch on and off automatically throughout the day. Everything works smoothly and as advertised, and you can use it on its own or in combination with other TP-Link gear.

A step up from the TP-Link HS100 smart plug, this one includes energy monitoring, so you can see how long a connected device has been active for – and how much it’s costing you when it’s switched on. It lacks support for Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings, but this is otherwise a very capable plug.

How to buy the best smart plug for you

Smart plugs are typically operated over Wi-Fi (or occasionally Bluetooth) from your phone – you can turn that corner light on and off with a tap, or even set it on a schedule. Every smart plug has the same basic functionality.

Some products let you take the idea a little further with zones (groups of plugs) and scenes (automated settings on a schedule or based on your movements). Happily, most of the best smart plugs work with the popular smart home platforms, such as Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings.

That’s really your first consideration – whether a smart plug works with the kit you’ve already got installed (or want to get installed). Then you can look at extra features, like turning sockets on or off when you leave the house.