What Are the Methods for Using Smartphones to Control Smart Plugs and Outlets?

12 June 2024

In today’s connected world, managing your home’s energy consumption and enhancing convenience has never been easier. Smart plugs and outlets are at the forefront of this technological revolution, allowing users to control their appliances from anywhere using their smartphones. These smart devices integrate seamlessly with various ecosystems, providing users with flexible control options, whether through apps, voice commands, or automated routines. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different methods for using smartphones to control smart plugs and outlets, and how these methods can lead to greater energy efficiency and convenience.

Getting Started with Smart Plugs: A Quick Overview

Smart plugs are devices that plug into your standard wall outlets and enable you to control whatever is connected to them. These smart devices can turn your regular appliances into smart ones, giving you the ability to manage them remotely. To start using smart plugs, you’ll need a smartphone, the corresponding app for your smart plugs, and a stable Wi-Fi connection.

When setting up, plug the device into an outlet and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to connect it to your home network. Most smart plugs come with a free app that you can download from your smartphone’s app store. This app will become your primary tool for controlling the smart plugs, managing their schedules, and monitoring energy consumption.

Using Apps for Smart Plug Control

One of the most common and convenient methods of controlling smart plugs is via dedicated smartphone apps. Each brand of smart plugs typically offers its own app, such as TP-Link’s Kasa, Wemo, or the Amazon Alexa app. These apps provide an easy-to-navigate interface where you can control your smart plugs, set schedules, and monitor energy usage.

Features of Smart Plug Apps

Smart plug apps are designed to offer a variety of features that enhance your control over connected devices:

  • Remote Control: You can turn on or off any device connected to the smart plug from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. This is ideal for ensuring that your appliances are not wasting power when they’re not needed.
  • Scheduling: Set up schedules to automate when your devices turn on or off. For instance, you can program your lights to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.
  • Energy Monitoring: Some smart plugs come with built-in energy monitoring features that provide insights into your devices' energy consumption. This information can help you make informed decisions to reduce your overall energy usage.
  • Scenes and Automation: Create scenes that control multiple devices at once. For example, you can set up a “Good Night” scene that turns off all the lights and appliances when you go to bed.

How to Use Smart Plug Apps

  1. Download the App: Find the appropriate app for your smart plug brand in your smartphone’s app store and install it.
  2. Create an Account: Open the app and create an account or log in if you already have one.
  3. Add Your Device: Follow the on-screen instructions to add your smart plug to the app. This usually involves putting the smart plug into pairing mode and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Customize Settings: Use the app to name your smart plug, assign it to a room, and set up schedules or automation as needed.

By using these apps, you gain remote control over your appliances, making your home smarter and more energy-efficient.

Voice Control with Smart Assistants

Another popular method for controlling smart plugs is through voice control using smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri. These voice-activated systems allow you to manage your smart plugs without needing to pick up your smartphone.

Setting Up Voice Control

To use voice control, you’ll need to link your smart plugs to your preferred smart assistant:

  1. Install the Smart Assistant App: Ensure you have the corresponding smart assistant app (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Home) installed on your smartphone.
  2. Enable the Smart Plug Skill: In the app, look for the smart plug’s skill or action. For example, in the Alexa app, go to the Skills section and search for your smart plug brand. Enable the skill and follow the prompts to link your account.
  3. Discover Devices: Once the skill is enabled, ask your smart assistant to discover new devices. This will prompt the assistant to search for and recognize your smart plugs.
  4. Assign Names and Rooms: For easier control, name your smart plugs and assign them to specific rooms within the app.

Using Voice Commands

With everything set up, you can start using voice commands to control your smart plugs. Here are some examples:

  • Alexa Commands: “Alexa, turn on the living room lamp,” or “Alexa, turn off the coffee maker.”
  • Google Assistant Commands: “Hey Google, turn on the fan,” or “Hey Google, turn off the TV.”

Voice control is especially useful when your hands are occupied or when you want to control multiple devices simultaneously without having to access the app.

Integrating Smart Plugs with Home Automation Systems

Beyond smartphone apps and voice control, smart plugs can be integrated into broader home automation systems to create a seamless smart home experience. These systems, such as Samsung SmartThings or Apple HomeKit, allow you to control and automate multiple smart devices from a single platform.

Benefits of Home Automation Systems

Home automation systems offer several advantages:

  • Unified Control: Manage all your connected devices from one central app, simplifying your smart home control.
  • Enhanced Automation: Set up complex automation routines that involve multiple devices. For example, you can create a “Movie Night” routine that dims the lights, turns on the TV, and sets the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
  • Energy Efficiency: By integrating smart plugs with other smart devices, you can optimize your home’s energy usage more effectively. For instance, you can automate your smart plugs to turn off all non-essential devices when you leave the house.

How to Integrate Smart Plugs

  1. Choose a Home Automation System: Select a home automation platform that supports your existing smart plugs and other smart devices. Popular options include SmartThings, HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa.
  2. Set Up the Hub: If your chosen platform requires a hub (like SmartThings), set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Add Your Smart Plugs: Use the home automation app to add your smart plugs. This typically involves discovering new devices and assigning them to specific rooms or groups.
  4. Create Automation Routines: Use the app’s automation features to set up routines and scenes that control multiple devices simultaneously.

By integrating your smart plugs into a home automation system, you can achieve a more cohesive and efficient smart home environment.

Choosing the Best Smart Plugs for Your Needs

When it comes to selecting the best smart plugs, consider your specific requirements and the features that are most important to you. Here are some factors to keep in mind:


Ensure that the smart plugs you choose are compatible with your existing smart home ecosystem. If you use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, look for plugs that support voice control with these assistants. Compatibility with home automation systems like SmartThings or HomeKit is also a plus.


Different smart plugs offer various features, such as energy monitoring, scheduling, and remote control. Consider what features are most important for your use case. If you’re looking to reduce your energy consumption, smart plugs with energy monitoring capabilities will be beneficial.

Ease of Use

Opt for smart plugs that offer a user-friendly app and straightforward setup process. Check customer reviews to gauge the ease of use and reliability of the smart plugs you’re considering.


Finally, choose smart plugs from reputable brands known for their quality and reliability. Brands like TP-Link, Belkin, and Amazon offer well-reviewed and reliable smart plugs.

Controlling smart plugs and outlets using smartphones has revolutionized how we interact with our home appliances. Through dedicated apps, voice commands, and integration with home automation systems, managing your home’s energy consumption and enhancing your convenience has never been easier. By choosing the right smart plugs and using them effectively, you can create a smarter, more efficient home that caters to your lifestyle needs. Whether through remote control, energy monitoring, or advanced automation routines, smart plugs offer endless possibilities for improving your daily life.