It’s becoming clear that 2022 is the year of eye-watering energy bills. With analysis experts Cornwall Insight estimating average household bills could reach £4,200, there’s no better time to invest in some tech to help you cut down on your usage.
One of the simplest ways to control your household energy output is by using Wi-Fi-connected smart plugs. These little plug-in wonders easily switch off lights or appliances that even the best of us have the habit of occasionally leaving on when we’re not using them, cutting down your electricity use and saving money on your bills. According to Ocean Finance, using smart plugs could save you an average of £100 off your electricity bill over two years.
The TP-Link Tapo P100 Smart Plug – now 40% off at Amazon
You can grab this set of four smart plugs for a massive saving right now at Amazon – control any electronic device in your home wirelessly or via voice control when integrated with either Amazon Alexa or Google Home – helping you reduce your energy use and save money on your electricity bills.
What is a smart plug?
There are a variety of smart plugs on the market, and they all look relatively identical. They work almost like adapters – they plug into your power socket and typically have a physical power button on their top or side and have a socket of their own on their front for you to plug in whatever appliance you want the smart plug to control.
While all smart plugs pretty much look the same, some plugs are smarter than others. To get the most out of them, you want to ensure they have a well-designed smartphone app to control the plug wirelessly or, better yet, integration with whichever smart home system you use (Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit, for example – personally, I use Amazon Alexa).
Which is the best smart plug?
After doing some initial research, I opted for the TP-Link Tapo P100 Smart Plug. I first bought a pack of four last year. I started using them to control the lights around my home – a standing lamp in my living room, a desk lamp in my office, a bedside lamp in my bedroom and a table lamp in my hallway. Through the smart plug’s connection to Amazon Alexa, I can set routines and control the lights via voice commands and preset Alexa routines.
If you’re not an Alexa household, don’t worry – the TP-Link Tapo can also work with Google Home or can be controlled via the Tapo app if you’re not already set up with a smart home assistant.
How to use smart plugs
Once the smart plug is plugged into the wall and switched on, you follow a few simple steps to connect the plug to your Wi-Fi network. Then you can control the plug wirelessly over Wi-Fi, either via the plug’s accompanying smartphone app or through integration with your smart home system, controlling the flow of power to whichever appliance you have plugged into the smart plug.
So now, instead of running around my flat frantically flicking switches, I can simply tell Alexa to “turn on the hall lamp” or “turn off the desk lamp”, and the power to each of these devices is switched on or off via the smart plug. After using these plugs for a year, I can honestly say they’re one of the best home purchases I’ve made.
And if like me, you have multiple smart speakers around your house, you can control any smart plug connected device via voice control remotely. So, if you’re in the one room and remember you’ve left the light in another, you can turn it off without leaving the room – particularly useful for when you’re already in bed and realise you’ve left a light on in the living room, for example.
Depending on which smart home system you use, you can even group devices together to turn off all smart plugs at once.
I also set routines in the Alexa app to automatically turn connected smart plugs on and off at set times of the day – including sunrise and sunset. I use this feature every day, so now my hall lamp turns on automatically at sunset, and all connected devices automatically turn off at midnight – eliminating the chance of me accidentally leaving something switched on overnight.
The ability to set these smart plugs to routines and timers is particularly useful for parents – meaning “lights out” can be automatically set to whichever time you decide (and prevent even the sneakiest of kids from squeezing in an extra half hour of FIFA before bed).
After six months of using these TP-Link Tapo Smart Plugs to control my lamps, I loved them so much that I ended up buying four more smart plugs, which now control two additional lamps, my fan and my television – eliminating the £12 it costs to keep a TV on standby from my annual energy bill (every little helps!)
The best part of all? The TP-Link Tapo P100 Smart Plug is currently on sale at Amazon – with 40% off the usual RRP of £49.99, you can pick up a pack of four smart plugs for just £29.99 – you’d be mad not to.