The best smart outlets I've tried

From in-wall plugs to energy-monitoring power strips.

If you buy just one thing to make your home a little smarter, make it an outlet. Smart plugs can turn almost any modern electronic into a smart device, and most can be controlled using your existing voice assistants. Some even monitor your energy usage. Think about it this way: You can buy one plug and use it as a multipurpose smart adapter. There are lot of smart outlets on the market, but here are my favorites.

WeMo smart outlet

WeMo smart outlet
Great for remote temperature regulation.Amazon

With the WeMo Mini Smart Plug, you can control your A/C—or heater when it is cold—from anywhere. If the temperature spikes and you want to keep your poor pup a little cooler at home, use the smart plug to turn on the air conditioner. The plug connects via Wi-Fi and can be controlled from an app on your smartphone. Schedule devices in your home to turn on automatically. The plug works with Amazon's Alexa and can pair with the Nest Thermostat as well.

Topgreener Wi-Fi plug

TOPGREENER smart plug
These plugs require no hub.Amazon

This 15-amp outlet is a genuinely cheap option that you can control via Amazon's Alexa and/or Google Assistant. You can schedule when devices turn on and monitor your energy uses in the app.

Topgreener Wi-Fi smart outlet

TOPGREENER WiFi smart outlet
A smart outlet that looks like a regular outlet.Amazon

For a permanent smart home option, this in-wall, WiFi smart outlet is worthwhile. It’s a bit more expensive and requires installation, but it's also way less of an eyesore since it blends in with every other outlet in your house. Only the bottom outlet is smart, so you can only measure the energy use of and set schedules for products sent plugged in there. It requires no external hub and works with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Kasa smart power strip

Kasa smart power strip
Control each device separately.Amazon

This power strip by TP-Link features six outlets and three USB ports. Unlike most smart power options, you can control each of the outlets separately. Instead of turning the entire power strip on, you can just turn on a lamp or your A/C. It’s also got an energy monitoring function. The strip can be controlled via the app or with voice assistants. So if you want to turn off a light after you've snuggled into bed, you can just say "Alexa, turn on outlet one."

An outdoor smart plug

iDevices Outdoor smart plug
Control your holiday lights while you're spending Christmas in Hawaii.Amazon

The rain-tight iDevices outdoor switch lets you control and schedule outdoor electronics like lamps and holiday lights. The two outlets can be controlled with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit.

Energy monitoring smart switch

WeMo Energy monitoring smart switch
Like AIM, this smart plug has an away mode.Amazon

With the Wemo Insight smart plug you can monitor your energy usage from your phone or via Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, or Alexa. It also features an “Away Mode” that can turn lights on and off while you are traveling. You can also set timers and schedules via the smartphone app.

Anker's Roav VIVA Pro

Anker Roav VIVA Pro
Bring Alexa into your car.Amazon

You can also bring a smart plug—or in this case charger—into your car. Anker’s Alexa-enabled Roav VIVA Pro lets you play music, order food, or get directions. It also has two USB chargers, so you can keep your phone charged while driving.