What is a smart outlet?
You may have heard of “smart plugs” before. They’re the awkward-looking, plug-in bricks that connect to your wall outlets. They are another addition to the ever-growing list of smart appliances that are available to bring your home into the modern world. Aside from being awkward plug-ins rather than actual outlets, “smart plugs” also have limited features.
TP-Link has created a solution for this, and it’s their new TP-Link Kasa KP200 Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet. It’s an actual wall outlet and it even has a step-by-step wiring guide to help replace existing in-wall outlets in the Kasa Smart app. The Kasa app is used to remotely control not only the KP200 Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet, but all TP-Link smart devices in your home using a free web-based service called IFTTT (If This Then That).
What makes this outlet “smart?”
Several of the consumer smart devices that are currently available require a hub for Internet connectivity. TP-Link’s new smart outlet connects directly to your home WiFi router. Each outlet on the unit is individually controlled and has its own status LED. Each outlet can be programmed to turn on or off on a set schedule or run on a timer. You can also create a “scene” through the Kasa app. A scene is a preset group of smart devices that can be programmed, customized, and activated simultaneously from a smart phone or tablet. TP-Link’s new smart outlet also supports voice control commands though voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft’s Cortana.
Is it worth buying?
Possibly the most useful feature of the TP-Link Kasa KP200 Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet is that it has the ability to track energy consumption by individual outlet. Energy consumption can be tracked daily, weekly, or monthly. This product isn’t currently for sale, but it just recently passed through the FCC’s certification database. Justifying the purchase of one of these smart outlets will depend on its official price, but if you wanted to replace all of your outlets in your home, there will no doubt be competitors that sprout up in the near future.
(Image Source: iCLIPART)