Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug Review: Automate your dumb appliances

This is one of the simplest ways to get your non-connected gadgets into your smart home setup.

The Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug costs $30 and works with a typical wall outlet. Belkin

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The WeMo Mini Smart Plug lets you control and automate nearly any device in your home. Plug the WeMo Mini into an outlet, then plug a lamp, fan, or coffee maker into it and you’ll have control no matter where you are. The smart plug works with Alexa, Nest, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, which means you can also set up specific automation recipes and issue voice commands to your plugged-in devices.

Testing

Few smart home products are easier to setup or more straightforward to use than the WeMo Mini. You plug into an outlet, download and install the WeMo app, and then connect the smart plug to your Wi-Fi network. After labeling each WeMo plug with the name and a photo of the device it controls you can use your phone to either set specific schedules for that device or simply turn it on and off remotely when you want.

Over the course of a week, we tested our WeMo Smart Plug with a variety of floor and desktop lamps, a window fan, a coffee grinder, a hot water kettle, and a sleep machine.

Observations

After dealing with an ever-changing landscape of smart home hubs, cloud storage subscriptions, and interoperability issues, the WeMo Mini Smart Plug was a refreshing change of pace. If you have a Wi-Fi network and are capable of plugging something in, you’ll be able to figure out how to use it.

What’s particularly attractive about the WeMo, in addition to the $35 price tag, is its flexibility. The plug can be used in a variety of situations and functions both as remote power switch and as a smart device scheduler. It’s small enough so that you can fit two on top of each other in a standard double socket, and it enjoys broad compatibility with other smart home platforms and voice assistants.

Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug review double
The horizontal form factor makes it possible to use a pair of Smart Plugs in the same outlet. Belkin

During our week of testing, we used ours to control various lamps in our home using both the WeMo app and Alexa. We also plugged a hot water kettle into the Wi-Fi switch and set up a schedule that yielded perfect 203F degree water for pour over coffee brewing right as we got up in the morning.

All of the scheduling is done via the WeMo app’s rules page. Here you can set up any number of time- or day-based schedules. For instance, with two plugs you can turn a bedside table light on and a sleep machine off at a specific time or when the sun rises. There’s also a handy “away mode” that turns a lamp’s lights on and off at random intervals to make it appear as if you’re home. Because the WeMo works with platforms like Nest, you can also configure the plug to turn on a specific light when your Nest Learning Thermostat recognizes that you’re home.

In all of these scenarios, the smart plug worked almost flawlessly. Occasionally, the app was sluggish or would get hung up, but that seems to be the norm for pretty much every dedicated smart device app these days. Apple households may miss HomeKit compatibility and the ability to use Siri, but given all the other smart platforms that do work with the WeMo, that pining will probably be brief.

Conclusion

The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is a great smart home accessory for people who don’t like smart home accessories. It’s affordable, easy to setup and use, and lets you automate everyday devices in your home without committing to a single smart home platform.

Details

Price: $35

Dimensions: 3.8″ L x 1.4″ H x 2.4″ D

Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz 801.11n

System requirements: Wi-Fi router, Android 4.1 or higher, iOS 9 or higher

Grade: 4/5

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