Smart power strips, available for as little as $20, give you the ability to schedule your devices to run whenever you’d like—all from the control of your phone or voice. Here’s everything you need to know about these super-powered smart plugs.
A Fusion of a Smart Plug and a Power Strip
A smart power strip looks like your average power strip, but you can control it (and each individual outlet) with a smart device or a voice assistant. The number of outlets in a smart power strip varies, so there’s an option for everybody. Most will come with USB ports to charge cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, freeing up power outlets for other devices. Some have the option of having half always-on outlets (the ones that you’re used to) and half smart outlets.
Note: Smart power strips and smart plugs aren’t quite the same! Smart plugs implement the same technology but only power a single outlet. Smart power strips have multiple smart plugs, so you can power multiple devices individually through only one outlet.
Getting Started with a Smart Power Strip
Smart power strips are easy to set up. One of the first things that you will likely do is connect it to your smartphone. Usually, the power strip comes with a QR code or a link to download the app for the device, and you will typically connect your phone via Bluetooth. This is an easy process, and every power strip will come with instructions to follow.
The phone app allows for a range of remote control possibilities. You can turn each outlet on or off, you can set up a timer or schedule for your power strip, and you can add custom automations to run at your command.
Smart power outlets often connect to Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa, so you can use them with your favorite voice assistant and automation tools. (For example, if it connects to Google Assistant, you can control it in the Google Home app on your iPhone.)
What You Can Do with a Smart Power Strip
One of the most popular features of a smart power strip is the ability to control it with a voice assistant like Alexa on an Amazon Echo, or Google Assistant on a Nest device. After you connect your smart power strip to your Wi-Fi network, you can use voice commands to turn individual outlets on and off. You could be saving energy in your home without even lifting a finger.
Many smart power strips allow you to customize the name of each outlet to make it easy to identify them for voice commands. So, instead of saying, “Hey Alexa, turn on outlet one,” you would say something like, “Alexa, turn on my Mac charger.” This leads to less confusion and also sounds much more natural when in use. This is also a great feature for people who work from home and have home offices. If you plug every device from your office into a smart power strip, a simple command like, “Hey Google, time for work” could have your whole area ready in seconds.
The timing and scheduling features of a smart power strip are incredibly useful for integrating this piece of smart tech into your daily routine. Imagine waking up every morning to a calming alarm and automatically, your lights turn on, the charger that your phone is on turns off, perhaps your terrarium or pet enclosure lights turn on to start the day, your coffee machine warms up, and your favorite song starts playing. It’s as if all of your Matilda-inspired telepathic dreams are coming true before your very eyes—all because of smart power strip technology.
It Can Save Energy, Too
In addition to turning things on, you can also schedule outlets to turn off at a specific time. This helps save energy in your home with less effort on your end, which is especially helpful if you or someone you live with is rather forgetful. If you have a pretty strict daily routine, you can make schedules for your power strips to run your devices exactly when you need them, completely eliminating the need to even use a voice command. Your power strip will just work for you around the schedule that you set, no voice command needed.
Other than the convenient benefits that smart power strips provide, they also provide environmental benefits. Some are capable of detecting when a device is in standby mode and will cut off all power to that device, saving energy that would have been used necessarily. It can save you money on your electrical bill and also cut your power usage.
Which Smart Power Strip Should You Buy?
If owning a smart power strip has piqued your interests, there are several available on Amazon and from other retailers, typically ranging from $20 to $50.
We recommend the AHRise smart power strip because it’s one of the least expensive on the market—but it’s not lacking in features. It has four always-on outlets, four smart plug outlets, and four USB outlets. There’s a master smart plug control that turns power on and off for the four smart plugs, and there’s also a master switch to turn the whole device on or off.
Setup with the AHRise “Smart Life” app is a simple process, where you’re able to program your needed schedules, automations, and timers. You can connect multiple smart devices to the smart device app and group them accordingly to make automations for different rooms in your home.
Most traditional power strips with the same amount of outlets typically cost between $15 and $25. This smart power strip typically costs only a few dollars extra, so this is an excellent value.
Inexpensive Smart Power
AHRISE Smart Power Strip
For only a few dollars more than a traditional power strip, you can get a smart one with extra features.
If you want to only have smart outlets in your power strip—without the always-on outlets—the Nooie Smart Power Strip is a more compact option with similar features.
Only Smart Outlets
Both of the above options are also surge protectors. This is important to note because not all power strips have that feature. If you don’t want a voltage surge to ruin your devices, then you should always go with a surge-protecting power strip.
Whether you want to automate a schedule for your devices to run at specific times, or you just want to be able to turn on every device in a room via the sound of your voice, a smart power strip is a great investment for your smart home.