Smart Plugs - Bulb testers find them pretty much useless. — Bulb Community

Smart Plugs - Bulb testers find them pretty much useless.

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  • Dont get a smart plug to simply save money. Technically my devices are on a little longer now as its more conveniant to turne them on (schedule, remotely for security and voice control).
    I have 4 so far. 3 control lamps in the lounge and the 4th controls the electric fire light (for effect only)
    Before we used to perhaps sit in the dark longer than necessary, or the dogs were left with no lights on if we had gone out for the day. Now we turn all the lights on with 1 command, lights come on for dogs when dusk appears etc etc. So not saving money, but have conveniance.
    I have tplink hs100, got a bulk discount for buying 4. Work with smartphone app and my Amazon echo (possibly others, but not apple). The app shows runtime, but nothing else, but i didnt get them for measuring.
    Setup was easy if you understand the principle of these things, which is the same for Amazon. You connect your phone/tablet to the network ID the plug broadcasts when first plugging it in, instead of your home wifi. You now tell the plug what your home network settings are, then it restarts with those to join your home network automatically. Do this for each device. Now connect your phone/tablet back to your home network and you can now see them all thru the KASA app. Linking to Amazon is another step thru the ALEXA app, but not hard to then have voice control.

    I saw some of your testers complained about relliability. This has as much to do with the quality of your home network as much as anything else. The routers provided by broadband suppliers are cheap and cheerful and rarely provide the cover or reliability you need. I have a 3 bed semi. Cover is awful amongst the myriad of rooms. So i got a mesh-network setup (BT whole home wifi) and my network is amazing through the house and i dont have any reliability issues, it is constantly searching and fixing for the best cover for all your devices in your home.

    So setup your home network properly, understand how the setup principle works and dont expect them to save you money and you’ll have a better experience of the smart = convenianace
  • Quick, easy & basic solution for some things - use a plug-in timer sockets (I've even got a slightly more complicated one which I can set to 'random' for lights plugged in on holiday). I used it recently for my slow cooker (rather than just a light when on holiday) and it was perfect. I also make use of the timer function on my oven. Having said that, I love new tech, but can't find a good reason/excuse to buy smart sockets or Hive/similar - my heating and water is programmable already.
  • Hi Gang - As one of the testers I'd love to chat about them more. @the_future_is_bulb , I can see your point, but having to update your wifi router isn't something any of us were willing to do for it! Also, we think that when reviewing a product it really matters about how it will work with the existing infrastructure in their homes. Michael liked his, but also has an Amazon Alexa, so he had an additional level of integration that enhanced the experience. I had the same issue you did with the wifi and it just meant that outside my sitting room the plug wasn't much use.

    I think you raise a good point though, if you want a Smart Plug for turning the lights on earlier and adding additional security steps it could well be worthwhile. As a company that's trying to get people on cutting down their energy usage though, we see no benefit to smart plugs at present. For me it was just an expensive remote control for my lights!
  • I got several smart bulbs a couple of years ago via various Black Friday or other cheap deals. I use 3 of them - one Samsung, two TP-link - and have 3 more TP-links unused, which I may give to my brother. The TP-link plugs were very simple to set up on the home wifi just by using the WPS pairing on the router, but the Samsung one took a bit more messing with the app and needs its own hub. I much prefer devices that have a laptop interface instead of trying to download apps and then work out why they aren't working. If the smart plugs only worked via app, I wouldn't find them useful at all. I don't find the urge to faff with my phone all the time. At least with the Hive system, I can set the heating schedule on the laptop and tweak the actual temperature from the thermostats. I only ever use the app when I'm coming back from holiday and want the heat on before I get home.

    I use the plugs with my Amazon Echos to turn on the television and a couple of lamps using voice commands and device names. Most of my main lights are Hive bulbs, so having the lamps attached to smart plugs just means I can turn them on and off by voice with the other lights without the need to use Hive bulbs in them. The bedside lamp is the best use of a smart plug, as I can turn it on and off without having to stretch out of bed in the night. I don't know how much energy my TV might use on standby, but turning the plug off when I'm not actually watching the telly must save something over the course of the year.

    At the moment, I can't really think of any other devices I would need to control by voice. My Hive lights can be set on a schedule if necessary - I have the bedroom light set to come on automatically in the morning in the winter, as I don't function well when it's dark out, but don't need it in the summer.
  • edited September 13
    Fenny said:

    I don't know how much energy my TV might use on standby, but turning the plug off when I'm not actually watching the telly must save something over the course of the year.

    I'd be careful here as new TVs are often very efficient in standby, and a badly designed WiFi enabled smart plug could potentially be using as much if not more power!

    The largest power draw on modern devices when in standby tends to be the internal network devices, with wireless especially being right up there in terms of power draw.

    A low power LED (for example in a lamp, maybe 3W or so), may end up using less power being on constantly than being switched on and off by a smart plug (which uses power when the end device is on or off). 3W is only 600mA at 5V (quite a bit less than most phone chargers). 3W being switched on all the time in monetary terms is also only around £3-4/year.
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