Do Smart Plugs Save Energy?

And do they save you money?

What to Know

  • Smart plugs typically use far less energy than other plugs and you're likely to save money over time by using them.
  • To ensure you are saving the most money possible (and using the least amount of energy), make sure your smart plug is set up properly.

This article teaches you how smart plugs can save you energy and money in your home, as well as looks at the issues that can occur by using them. 

How Much Energy Do Smart Plugs Use?

Typically, a smart plug uses about 1 Watt of power when in standby mode depending on the type of connection it uses. Because a smart plug is connected to something else in your home to work correctly, it's always somewhat active. However, if you have a smart plug that connects via Wi-Fi, it's likely to only ever use about 1 to 2 Watts at the absolute most each day. 

If your smart plug connects via the ZigBee or Z-Wave standards, expect it to use even less. The average consumption is about 0.3-0.6 Watts. Whichever type you go for, the energy usage is negligible on your bills. 

Can Smart Plugs Save You Money?

For the most part, yes. While you'll need to spend money on buying smart plugs initially, due to the energy-saving capabilities they offer, you should recoup your expenses over time. 

As always with any smart technology, it's important to set your smart plugs up correctly so they switch on and off at the right times for your needs.

Are Smart Plugs Worth It?

For many users, smart plugs are worth it. They use less energy than other devices providing they're set up correctly. 

Research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and CLEAResult found that using smart plugs saves between 1 and 4.58% of energy usage or about 500-1000 Kilowatts each year. That works out as about a month's worth of energy for many households. 

That's because a smart plug will use less energy than the device the smart plus is switching on and off. Imagine a device that's always left plugged in; it's not in use, but still drawing power. Some of these devices can use a significant amount of power. This power draw is known as a "phantom load." Each item adds a tiny amount of power to your electricity bill, but it can really add up. That's why using a smart plug can help.

It's important, however, to use your smart plug efficiently. Just installing the device itself won't necessarily save you energy and money, but setting it up so other devices only switch on and off as needed will save you money and help you consume less power. 

What Issues Do Smart Plugs Have?

Smart plugs have to pass the same standard safety guidelines as any other electrical device you'd plug into your wall socket. That means, providing you buy from a reputable source, you won't have to worry about any issues.

The other potential issue is the risk of hacking. Particularly in the early days of smart plugs, some devices were vulnerable to hacking attempts. These days, that risk is much lower. Again, make sure you buy from a reputable brand to ensure your device is safe. If it's too good to be true, steer clear.

FAQ
  • How do smart plugs work?

    Smart plugs are easy to use. Take your smart plug and plug it into your outlet. Next, plug your compatible appliance into the smart plug. Then, link your smart plug to the home assistant you're using, such as the Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. The smart plug controls the power supply via your smart assistant's app settings as well as your home hub and Wi-Fi network.

  • What smart plugs work with Alexa?

    A variety of smart plugs are compatible with the Alexa smart assistant. Amazon makes it easy with a list of smart plugs that work with Alexa, including products by Belkin, iDevices, TP-Link, and more.

  • What smart plugs work with Google Home?

    Google has a list of Google Assistant-compatible smart plugs and devices, so you can make sure you're getting a plug that will work for you.

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