The best outdoor smart plugs to schedule your Christmas lights


Smart plugs turn regular devices and appliances into a working, automated part of your smart home. With their help, you can create scenes, schedules and custom voice commands to turn on nearly anything you can plug into a standard wall outlet. Whether you have Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri in your home, there’s a plug out there that will work with your platform. 

When it comes to smart plugs for outdoor devices, the options are a bit more limited. You can still find a plug for your needs that can withstand the elements, but you’ll likely pay more than you would for a smaller, simpler indoor plug.

These plugs are great for outdoor holiday decor, but they come in handy year-round. Outdoor smart plugs are a great way to add smarts to summer patio lights, bug zappers, outdoor speakers and more. 

What to consider

There are few things you’ll need to decide when shopping for an outdoor smart plug. Which voice assistant do you use? How many outlets do you want? Some models just have one outlet and some have two. With these questions answered, you’ll be on your way to picking the plug that works best for your setup. 

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TP-Link’s Kasa app is easy to use and Kasa devices are quick to set up. The Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug offers two outlets that can be controlled individually, and is rated to operate in temperatures from -4 to 122°F. You can choose from voice commands, schedules, timers, scenes or sunrise/sunset modes, as well as an Away feature that randomizes powering outlets on and off. 

Kasa products work with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you’ll be able to ask your voice assistant of choice to turn on your holiday display. At $30, it’s a reasonably priced smart plug for your outdoor space. Read our TP-Link Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug review.

Read our TP-Link Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug review.

 

Molly Price/CNET

WeMo’s Smart Outdoor Plug is a HomeKit compatible option that offers two outlets and voice control for Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. At $40, it isn’t the cheapest model you can buy, but WeMo’s app works well and we’ve seen several good plugs and outlets from the brand over the years.

Rated for temperatures from 32 to 122°F, this plug might not be the best bet for cold climates. There are two sockets, but unlike the TP-Link model, they cannot be scheduled or controlled individually. That could be a deal breaker, depending on your use case.

Molly Price/CNET

If you’re looking for a single outlet option, Braumm’s model works with Google Assistant and Alexa to control one device. This $40 model is pricey for a single outlet, but is weatherproof and rated for -4 to 113°F. 

In addition to status, timers, scheduling and scenes, the app also provides weather information, a handy addition for any outdoor device. You can also share control with other users if they also download the Braumm app to their mobile device.

Read our Braumm Outdoor Smart Plug review.

 

Wyze

This $12 outdoor smart plug by Wyze is still in the preorder stage, but it boasts some promising features — especially for the price. 

The Wyze Plug Outdoor includes two 15-amp outlets you can control independently. It’s rated IP64 for protection against water and dust at a temperature range of -4°F to 120°F. You can control the Plug Outdoor with physical buttons, voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or through the Wyze app. 

You can also set the plug to run on various automations, such as dusk-to-dawn sensing, vacation mode, custom schedules and triggers based on other devices. Unlike most smart plugs, the Wyze Plug Outdoor includes energy monitoring. You’ll be able to receive alerts when energy thresholds are exceeded and view consumption history in the app.

Read our Wyze Plug Outdoor first take.

 

Best outdoor smart plug FAQs

How does a smart plug work?

Smart plugs are adapters that control the power supply to the appliance plugged into them. They don’t make any changes to your existing outlet. Smart plugs simply disconnect the your appliance from power or reconnect it to power when they receive a signal (via app or voice command) to do so. 

Can I use a regular smart plug outdoors?

This isn’t a good idea. Outdoor models are optimized for extreme temperatures and have IP-rated housings that protect them from elements like rain and dust. It’s much safer to use a plug made specifically for the outdoors. 

Do I need Wi-Fi?

Most smart plugs will work in a limited capacity with Zigbee, Z-Wave or Bluetooth connections. However, to get features like voice commands with Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa and to control your plug when you’re not close by, you’ll need a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. 



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