Smart plugs themselves do not have timers built into them. But when you link a smart plug to a smart home app like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can turn your smart plug into a timer.
This article shows you how to set timers on smart plugs using Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Smart plugs are basically switches. They turn appliances on and off. What turns a smart plug into a timer is the home automation software.
In this article, I’ll show you how to set timers on smart plugs, using the two most popular home automation software applications: Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
With most smart plugs, you first need to connect the plug to its own proprietary app. Once you’ve done that, you link the plug through the proprietary software to your smart home hub.
It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s really not.
How To Set Timers On Smart Plugs – Google Home
The device I will use for this demo is the Teckin smart plug.
You’ll now be prompted to create a Smart Life account.
Once you’ve done that, plug your Teckin smart plug into an outlet. Ensure that the blue light on the left side of the plug is flashing.
Go into the Smart Life app and press the blue plus icon in the top right corner. You’ll now see a new screen that shows you all the different types of smart plugs that Teckin makes. Look for the section that says ‘Sockets’ and then choose the type of socket you have.
In this case, I’m using the WiFi socket:
The next thing you need to do is enter your Internet WiFi password into the Smart Life app.
The app will now ask you if your smart plug is blinking fast or slow. Choose the appropriate option.
The Smart Life app will now scan your smart plug and add it to the app. You’ll know when the device has been added to the app because the light will stop flashing and turn solid.
You’ll now see a new screen where you can name your smart plug. Give it a name that tells you which room of the house it is in (e.g. Living Room or Kitchen). This is the name you’ll be using in voice commands with Google or Alexa.
Now that your smart plug is connected to the Smart Life app and has been named, you are now going to add it to Google Home.
Open the Google Home app and press the plus icon in the top left of the screen.
Because we have already set up this device in the Smart Life app, you don’t need to set it up as a new device in Google. So press the ‘Works With Google’ option.
On the next screen, type ‘smart life’ into the search field and then choose the Smart Life option.
You’ll now be taken to another screen where you enter your Smart Life email and password.
Hit the ‘Link Now’ button and then authorize Google to have access to your Smart Life devices.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a screen where it asks you which of your Smart Life devices you want to add to Google Home. Go ahead and select the smart plug that you added to Smart Life. Google Home will then ask you to choose a home to add the device to and which room you want to add it to.
And that’s it – your smart plug timer has been added to Google Home.
You can now set up a schedule so that your smart plug works as a timer, turning your appliances on and off at different times of the day:
How To Set Timers On Smart Plugs – Alexa
So now that we’ve set up a smart plug as a timer on Google Home let’s do the same thing on Amazon Alexa.
This time, I’m going to be adding a Tapo TP-Link smart plug:
Go ahead and plug the smart plug into an outlet:
I’m going to be using my smart plug as a timer to turn the coffee machine on and off at a set time each day.
The first thing to do is download to your smartphone the app for your smart plug. In my case, this is an app called ‘TP-Link Tapo’.
Whatever brand of smart plug you purchase it will have its own app, and you need to add your smart plug to that app before going any further.
Next, follow the setup instructions in the smart plug app, and eventually, you will be asked if you want to link the app to Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Tap on Amazon Alexa.
Once the smart plug app is linked to Alexa, you’ll see a message like this:
Now go into the Alexa app, and you will see your new smart plug.
During the setup process in the TP-Link app, I called my smart plug ‘Kitchen smart plug,’ and so that’s how it now appears in the Alexa app:
Click on your new smart plug and then tap on ‘Create a Routine’:
Give your routine a name (I’ll call mine ‘Coffee Machine On’):
On the next screen, you’ll see a list of options.
Choose ‘Schedule’ (because we are going to be setting a daily schedule for the coffee machine to turn on and off at a set time each day):
On the next screen, you’ll see an option to repeat the action every day. If you want it to happen only on certain days of the week, you can edit this. I’m going to leave it so that it repeats every day.
Then tap on ‘Select’ to set the time. This is the time the coffee machine will turn on each day.
I’m setting the timer to 6.00 a.m.:
Then tap ‘Next’:
We have already set a time, but we now need to add an ‘action’. So go ahead and tap on ‘Add action’:
On the next screen, tap on ‘Smart Home’:
On the next screen, tap on the ‘Plugs’ option:
You will now see the smart plug you just added to Alexa:
The action we want for this routine is to turn the power on to the coffee machine. So make sure the ‘Power-On’ option is selected:
Tap ‘Next’. You now need to create a second routine, this time for turning the coffee machine off. Give the second routine an appropriate name (I’m calling mine ‘Coffee Machine Off’):
Tap on ‘Smart Home’ again (like we did for the previous routine), then tap on ‘Plugs’ again. And then tap on the name of your smart plug again.
This time, the action you want is turning the coffee machine off, so you need to select the ‘Power-Off’ option:
And that’s it – you have now created two routines:
- one for turning the coffee machine on
- the other for turning the coffee machine off
From now on, every day of the week, your coffee machine will turn on at 6 am and turn off at 7 am.
That’s how to create a scheduled routine in Alexa.
This article has shown you how to set timers on smart plugs using Alexa and Google Home.
Smart plugs work well as timers.
They allow you to set up schedules so that your appliances turn on and off at different times of the day and even on different days of the week. That way, your appliances are doing exactly what you want them to do.
But it’s not just the convenience. You’ll also be saving electricity by switching off your devices when they are not needed.