Here you will find some ideas on ways you can use smart plugs. This article covers a list containing both common and unique smart plug uses.
- List of smart plug uses
- 1. Control home office equipment
- 2. For home theater systems
- 3. Uses to improve safety
- 4. Smart timer control for kitchen appliances
- 5. Power monitoring for energy usage data
- 6. Control hard-to-access outlets
- 7. Use smart plugs to control older or unique devices
- 8. Power up computers with remote access
- 9. Charging cycles for batteries not used that often
- 10. Internet availability control
- 11. Faster access to slow-starting devices
- 12. Home aquarium lighting control
- 13. Smart temperature regulation using an old freezer
- 14. Smart battery maintenance for power tools
- 15. Make your Christmas lights smart
- 16. Control your garden lights
- 17. Digital signage control
- Concluding the list of uses for smart plugs
If you already own one, you might wonder what else you could use your smart plug for.
Or, you may also be thinking of purchasing one, and it could be that you are questioning if the product itself will be useful enough for your needs to warrant a purchase.
These ideas may help you in both of those situations. Smart plugs are useful for most people, not just the tech-savvy type.
List of smart plug uses
Here is a list of what I think could be useful to various individuals. Some uses are unique, and others are aimed at everyday users.
You will soon see that smart plugs can be used for many different things.
Not only to have better control over everything but also to provide you with valuable information. A smart plug could also help you save on your power bill if used correctly.
1. Control home office equipment
I like to shut off my home office equipment while I am at work. This ensures all of the devices on standby are powered off and not wasting power.
Some examples of items that are commonly on standby include:
- Computers and computer monitors.
- Printers, scanners, or multi-function devices.
- Desktop speakers.
- UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply).
The same holds true for the entertainment system in my living room.
2. For home theater systems
This is a smart plug usage that is related to the last idea.
If you enjoy an audio system with booming bass and have neighbors or family members that live near you, this might help.
Hook a smart plug up to the sub-woofer of your home entertainment audio system.
This way, during certain hours, you can have it turned off automatically.
So if you are playing games or watching a movie, your neighbors do not experience droning bass at inappropriate hours.
Some examples of other appliances in your living room that could use power on standby:
- Gaming consoles.
- Set-top boxes.
- Streaming devices.
- Media Extenders.
- DVD Players.
Depending on how technology focussed you are, you might have many devices that could potentially waste power in standby mode.
A smart power strip would be an easier way to control multiple devices in an area like this.
3. Uses to improve safety
Use it with all products that have heater elements. Such as woman’s hair gadgets and nail equipment. A clothing iron is another example.
My wife always wonders if she remembered to turn the iron off after leaving the house.
Now you can make sure all of these devices have been shut off. Simply use an app on your phone to turn them off.
Other devices that create heat or draw lots of power when used:
- Space heaters.
- Curling tongs.
- Electric blankets.
- Counter-top or portable ovens and hot plates.
Out of the list of smart plug uses in the home, this one is aimed to help improve your safety at home when used with these or other similar appliances.
4. Smart timer control for kitchen appliances
The slow cooker works magically with one of these. It’s a good way to keep quality meals even if you are busy.
My slow cooker does not have a timer built into it. So it is perfect to start it about midday, so your meal isn’t overcooked when you arrive home.
I like to ensure the meat is defrosted first, then I leave it in the fridge overnight in a marinade.
I quickly put the meat into the cooker in the morning before leaving for work. This way, the meat gets to about room temperature by the time the cooker kicks on.
Another kitchen appliance could be your coffee maker. Have your coffee and water preloaded in your coffee maker and have it turn on automatically first thing in the morning.
Go straight to your kitchen after waking up and enjoy a hot cup of your favorite morning beverage.
5. Power monitoring for energy usage data
I also run my refrigerator and other freezers off a smart plug. This way, I can tell if they are running efficiently.
Keep an eye on their power consumption. If they start drawing excessive power, it is time to check them out.
It is just a way for me to avoid potential refrigerator failures and keep an eye on my power bill.
This idea can be applied to other appliances or devices to ensure they draw the correct power.
Try it with anything around the house, from your coffee maker to the TV. Compare what they are using with the manufacturer’s specifications.
So, if you are suffering from a slightly higher than normal power bill, you could use one to find the cause.
Make sure that the model you choose has a power monitoring feature.
6. Control hard-to-access outlets
This can avoid some frustration in your life. This will solve that problem if you have one of those ‘awkward to get to’ power points. It’s actually the perfect job for smart plugs.
Control those annoying outlets from your smartphone. No more crouching into difficult positions ever again.
Some possible difficult sockets to get to:
- Under or behind the bottom of staircases.
- Behind storage equipment like boxes or containers that are stacked.
- Under or behind desks.
- Behind drawers or cabinets.
- Behind bookshelves.
- Wall sockets are installed close to the ceiling or in high places.
7. Use smart plugs to control older or unique devices
Maybe you have a lamp with a special light bulb that’s difficult to replace with a smart light bulb.
Lights that are hard to convert into smart lights can still be controlled on and off by connecting up to a smart plug.
Another example would be something that does not have a power switch of its own. It can enable you to control it with ease.
Some examples of lamps that cannot be fitted with a smart bulb:
- Sealed bulb lamps.
- Low voltage lamps (12V, for example). Most of the time, they have an external power supply.
- Small fluorescent tube lamps.
8. Power up computers with remote access
If you are like me and work from a computer all day and sometimes forget to complete a specific task, this may help you.
Set up your work computer to startup automatically when power is turned on. This can be done from a single bios setting. You will also need remote access set up. After that, you’re ready to go.
Power up your smart plug using your smartphone and gain access to your computer remotely.
Yes, you can always leave the computer powered on, but that consumes power. This way, you can turn it on when you want and get that job done without having to travel back to the office.
After you are done, simply turn it off remotely and power it off.
- Powering up media servers in a non-local location.
- Hardware shut down and power up when software restarts aren’t available, or systems have frozen.
9. Charging cycles for batteries not used that often
This is for batteries that are used in various vehicles that don’t run all the time.
This is also true for possessions that don’t have their own charging capabilities. For instance, a boat battery.
After your trip out on the water, hook it up to your trickle charger in your garage, which is plugged into a smart plug. Then you have yourself the ability to keep the battery charging at the intervals that you want.
Simply setup up a daily or weekly schedule to maintain the charging on the battery. The next time you need to take your boat out, your battery is ready to go.
The same method could be used for a car or bike that stands during a short period in the year or another car, perhaps.
I always think keeping a battery operational rather than storing it is a fantastic idea.
Some examples of battery maintenance include:
- Quad bikes.
- Jet Skis.
10. Internet availability control
Some people like to turn off their modem or router during the day while no one is home or at night when they sleep. This is fine if you do not need to control anything over WiFi.
So a timer schedule using your smart plug can be set in the device to facilitate your needs. It’s also useful in case you are in a situation where you don’t want some people to access your internet during certain hours.
It is definitely something I would only do under specific circumstances, as everybody’s situation and lifestyle are different.
11. Faster access to slow-starting devices
Another option is to power up your media server so it’s ready when you need it. I have mine turned off during the day.
When I arrive home from work, it is already powered on for me, and all my media is ready for me to use when I walk through the door.
The same technique can be applied to other stuff that takes a few minutes to start up.
12. Home aquarium lighting control
This might be useful if you are into fish and have a collection of aquariums, especially with some custom lighting.
You can have them showcase your pretty specimens at the times you choose without having to turn on a series of switches.
I would recommend smart power strips with multiple outlets on one device instead of multiple smart plugs in this case. The individual power sockets can be controlled independently.
13. Smart temperature regulation using an old freezer
If you are a beer brewing person, you might like this one. I have an old chest freezer that I have set up on one that turns my freezer on and off at intervals. I can then maintain an excellent brewing temperature for my beer.
My thoughts are to someday take it a bit further. I could get a thermometer hooked up to a microcontroller that gives it information on whether to turn on or off.
This will lower the number of temperature fluctuations. I wonder what other things people would need to be kept at specific temperatures?
This is not one of the most common uses for smart plugs, but useful for those doing some home brewing on a budget.
14. Smart battery maintenance for power tools
If you are anything like me, you have many battery chargers for all the battery-powered tools. I sometimes wonder about the safety surrounding the running of all those chargers in my garage all the time.
Some of my cheaper or older ones don’t have great auto shut-off features when the battery has charged fully.
You can have them turned off at intervals of your choice to more safely regulate charging times for your tool’s batteries.
15. Make your Christmas lights smart
Plug your Christmas lights into a smart plug, and now you can control them on a schedule of your choice. So even if you are away on holiday for a short period, you can have them come on for everyone to enjoy.
They operate all kinds of lights, so you don’t have to be concerned if your lights are old, new, or even of a specific type.
16. Control your garden lights
This is perfect if you have garden lights that are connected to an outlet directly or a timer controlled using an old-fashioned timer plug socket.
Smart plugs allow you to control your outside lights using the schedule feature. Additionally, you can control them using your smartphone to turn them on or off at any time, even if you are away from home.
17. Digital signage control
This bonus tip is most likely to be aimed at business owners. If you have an open sign for your business, it’s great to be able to control it whenever you need to.
Sometimes with my kind of business, for example, there is no one around on the premises. On those days, simply pull out your mobile and power it off.
This could be true for other business signs like special hours or vacancies. I’m sure there are many more uses for smart plugs to control a sign.
Concluding the list of uses for smart plugs
Other uses include operating plug-in air conditioners, heat pumps, or heaters. The same can be applied to desk and floor-standing fans.
You can have them turned on by setting up a timer schedule, or you can turn them on from your smartphone when you leave your place of work. You will arrive home to a more comfortable living space.
I would caution that you be extremely careful when it comes to portable heating products like space heaters. I recommend having them turned on when you are 100% certain that no other items are within the safety radius of its operation.
This way, you can arrive home with the optimum cooling or heating in action.
You aren’t limited to controlling smart plugs just with an app. You can also use a voice command through Alexa or Google Home to turn your smart plugs on or off.
I hope you found these ideas for smart plugs useful so that you can improve your life and make things easier for yourself.