Our Guide to Smart Plugs

By James Betts 

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular as new technologies develop and emerge. Amongst these new products is the smart plug, which is gaining traction as voice-assistance devices enter homes more and more. In this blog we will be discussing what smart plugs are, what they can do and how to solve potential issues.

What are smart plugs?

Smart plugs are essentially exactly what they sound like – plugs that are smart! A smart plug lets you turn devices on and off via voice control or an app without having to flick the switch. The devices that you can use for voice assistance differ between brands, but as an example, products such as the smart indoor plug by Woox do not require a separate hub and work with Amazon Alexa (Echo and Echo Dot), Google Assistance and IFTTT.

What can smart plugs do?

Smart plugs can allow you to control a number of appliances in your home, such as:Dim or turn off lights – make it look like you are at home when you are away. In the Woox Home app this setting is called ‘away mode’. Lights can also be on for when you return home, making a safer and nicer environment to come home to

Turn your TV on or off – if you forgot to turn it off before you left the house, you can do so remotely via the app

Turn on the kettle – have your water brewed before you arrive back home!

Turn the iron off – you won’t have to worry about whether you turned it off or not. Just check in the app

Turn the water heater on – pre-prepare for a nice hot bath at the end of a long day

Turn fans on or off – great to make a room cool in sweltering heat

Get the air purifier up and runningAre smart plugs energy efficient?

Yes, they are very energy efficient. A huge benefit of installing smart plugs compared to regular plugs is that you can set them on a timer so that they can be on during specific hours. This can help with ‘away’ mode (adjusting settings so that your lights are on during certain hours) and even help you save electricity overnight. For example, if you know that your phone only takes four hours to charge, you can set this so that it switches off after four hours to avoid doing damage to your battery by overcharging.

Can smart plugs save you money?

Yes, given that you can control the times smart plugs are on, you can save money compared to plugs that would always be switched on. This means the plugs save more energy and are therefore more environmentally friendly, and in turn extends the service life of everyday small appliances by making them smart. If you can’t remember whether or not you turned off your appliances, you can check within the app and control the power to save electricity. Also, if you only charge your devices overnight, energy can sometimes be cheaper with some suppliers, so this is another way to save money.

Can smart plugs work without the internet?

No, they cannot. What makes smart plugs ‘smart’ is the connection to WiFi. Without access to the internet, voice-controlled devices and your app will not be able to work. However, schedules created inside some apps (such as the Woox Home app) will continue to work without an internet connection. As long as you have 3G/4G away from home on your phone or iPad, you can still control devices at home through the app.

Are smart plugs safe?

Yes, smart plugs are safe and do not pose a fire hazard as they have to pass the same safety guidelines as any other plug (most exceed standard tests anyway). Unless you overload the socket you should not have an issue with safety.Can smart plugs be used outside?

Yes, some smart plugs, such as the Woox R4051 Smart Plug, are specifically designed to control electricity outdoors. The plug features a waterproof cover that clicks over the socket. This is a great product to have particularly in the Winter months as it gets darker earlier and lights will be needed in the garden more, especially with Christmas lights!.

How to set up a Woox smart plug

To set up your Woox smart plug, first download the Woox Home app from either the App Store or Google Play.Plug it in, switch the Woox Home app to Discover mode and it should find your smart plug and install it automatically. There is a full guide within the app.

How to use my Woox smart plug

To use your Woox smart plug, simply speak to your voice assistance device to turn it on and off. You can also do this within the app, as well as scheduling, activating ‘away’ mode and setting up ‘scenes’ e.g. kitchen, where you can control all of your smart devices in one area.

How to reset a Woox smart plug

To reset your Woox smart plug, simply hold the on/off button for 10 seconds. When the LED light starts blinking, the device is reset.

In conclusion…Smart plugs are a great addition to any home and are a way for you to save energy, money and the environment. Not only is their setup beginner-friendly, it is easy to troubleshoot any issues such as WiFi connectivity and adjusting settings. If you are interested in creating ease within your home, shop our smart plugs online now.