It’s a question I see a lot: do you need a smart plug for every device?
The short answer is no – you don’t need a different smart plug for every device in your house. You can have one smart plug controlling a single power strip.
However, there are clear advantages to having each device on its own smart plug, as we will see below.
Do You Need A Smart Plug For Every Device?
For example, you could have a TV, a sound system, and a PlayStation all running off the same smart plug. The advantage of this is that when you go to bed, a single command will turn off all those devices together.
The way to do this is to plug a power strip into your smart plug. Any device you plug into the power strip will then be controlled by that smart plug. This is quite safe to do. Just make sure that the combined wattage of the appliances doesn’t exceed the maximum wattage of the power strip or the smart plug.
That being said, there are nevertheless some good reasons for having a separate smart plug for each appliance.
Control each device separately
Having each appliance on its own smart plug allows you to control each appliance separately.
For example, if your slow cooker is on its own smart plug, you could turn it off while away from home, using the app on your smartphone. But if the slow cooker is on the same smart plug as your breadmaker, you’d be turning off your breadmaker as well. And you might not want to do that.
Measure energy consumption
Some smart plugs allow you to monitor energy consumption. This is useful if you want to see which of your appliances guzzle the most electricity. But if you have multiple appliances running off the same smart plug, you won’t be able to do this.
Avoid tripping circuit breakers
Circuit breakers are designed to trip once the consumption exceeds a certain load. Too many devices connected to the same outlet can trip your circuit breakers. If this happens while you’re away from home, it could be quite inconvenient.
How Many Devices Can a Smart Plug Handle?
The number of devices a smart plug can handle is determined by the maximum wattage of the smart plug. Wattage is calculated as amps x volts. So, for example, an Amazon smart plug is 15 amps x 120 volts (the US electricity grid) = 1800 watts.
To work out how many devices your smart plug can support, just add up the amps of the devices you want to connect. Here is an example:
- Slow cooker = 2 amps
- Kettle = 12.5 amps
- Total = 14.5 amps
14.5 x 120 = 1740 watts (so a slow cooker plus kettle would be fine on an Amazon smart plug).
Can You Overload A Smart Plug?
If you connect too many appliances to a smart plug, you can definitely overload it. That’s why you should always be aware of the maximum wattage of your smart plug.
Here’s the amperage of some of the main brands of smart plugs:
- Amazon smart plug = 15A
- OHMAXX Mini Smart Plug = 10 A
- TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Mini Plug = 15A
- Meross Wi-Fi Smart Plug Mini = 15A
- VOCOlinc Smart Plug = 15A
- JUANWE WiFi Smart Outlet = 10A
- Minoston Outdoor Smart Plug = 15A
- Amysen Smart Plug = 10A
- Wemo WiFi Smart Plug = 15A
- Ring Outdoor Smart Plug = 15A
- Wyze Smart Plug = 15A
How Do You Control Smart Plugs?
There are three ways of controlling smart plugs:
- using an on/off button on the plug itself
- using voice commands through an assistant such as Alexa or Google Home
- setting a schedule in a smartphone app that turns your smart plug on and off at set times of the day and/or particular days of the week
Things To Consider Before Buying Smart Plugs
The main things to consider when purchasing a smart plug are:
- Compatibility with voice assistants
- Energy monitoring
- Scheduling and scenes
- Away modes
Is it compatible?
Make sure the smart plug is compatible with your voice assistant. Most smart plugs will work with voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Home. But it pays to check this before you buy.
Does it measure energy consumption?
Some smart plugs allow you to monitor the amount of energy used by the connected appliance. If this is something you want, then make sure the smart plug supports energy monitoring.
Does it allow scheduling?
If your smart is compatible with your voice assistant, chances are it will allow scheduling. But again, make sure of this before you buy.
Does it offer ‘away’ mode?
‘Away modes’ allow you to schedule your appliances to turn on and off at set times of the day and night. This is an added security feature because it makes it look as if your house is occupied, even when you’re away on a trip. Not all smart plus support ‘away modes’ so this is something you need to check before buying.
How bulky is it?
Finally, have a look at the ‘bulkiness’ of the smart plug. Some smart plugs take up more space than others: they can completely block the other outlet. So try to choose a smart plug with a small profile.
You don’t have to have a different smart plug for every device. You can plug a power strip into a smart plug and run several appliances off the same smart plug.
But when you do that, you lose the ability to separately control each device. Also, if you are using smart plugs to measure energy consumption, you need a separate smart plug for each appliance.
So while you run more than one appliance on a smart plug, the ideal is to have one smart plug for each device in your home.