In my quest to create an immersive and user-friendly home theater experience, I have been slowly integrating off-the-shelf smart devices to create a more hands-off, one button home theater without investing in high-end systems like Savant or Control4. My focus has been on incorporating devices and automations that enhance my room without introducing unnecessary complexity or cost; a hard task to do with the state of smart home tech right now. Among the useful gadgets I have implemented, smart plugs have been simple additions that have helped create a more immersive room. I want to share some of the smart plugs that I use in my theater as well as throughout my home.
In my experience, especially within home theater setups and for general household use, the Kasa Smart Plug HS103P4 has proven to be a simple and effective solution. It seamlessly integrates with a wide range of home automation platforms, offering convenient energy monitoring and device control – helping automate everything from lights and fans to appliances using the Kasa app or various other smart home platforms.
What is a Smart Plug
A smart plug is a device that allows you to control your devices remotely via an app or voice assistant. It plugs into a standard wall outlet and connects to your home Wi-Fi network or smart home hub. Then, using an app or smart speaker, it can turn on or off any device that is plugged into the smart plug, such as a lamp, fan, or coffee maker. They also possess the ability to set schedules, timers, and routines for your smart plug to help automate devices in the room.
The real power of a smart plug emerges when integrated into home automation platforms such as Google Home, HomeKit, Alexa, and SmartThings, enabling task automation and enhanced control over your connected devices. This allows you to have remote control or automation over devices that you would normally have to physically interact with. This gives you the ability to create your desired immersive atmosphere without introducing room complexity, enabling quicker and smoother content enjoyment.
What To Ask Yourself When Shopping for Smart Plugs
- Purpose and Compatibility: Will you be using it to control your TV, soundbar, projector, or other devices? Once you know what devices you want to control, you can narrow down your choices to smart plugs that are compatible with those devices.
- Features: Some smart plugs have more features than others such as timers, schedules, and geofencing capabilities. Others have energy monitoring features. Make sure the smart plug you choose has the features you need for your home theater setup.
- Power Usage: Not all smart plugs are created equal. Some have a maximum wattage that they are able to handle, so it is important to make sure that the smart plug you choose can handle the power draw of the devices you want to control.
- Size: Some smart plugs are larger than others, so make sure that the smart plug you choose will fit into the outlet you want to use.
- Matter Support: For future proofing, it would be a good idea to look for devices that support the emerging smart home standard called “Matter” which aims to enhance the compatibility across various smart home platforms.
Home Theater Applications of Smart Plugs
Below are several potential tasks that smart plugs can fulfill within a home theater environment:
- Device Control: Transform non-internet-connected devices into remotely controllable appliances. With smart plugs, you can conveniently turn on and off various devices in your home theater using your phone or other smart home devices.
- Lighting Control: Convert regular lamps or plug-in lights into smart fixtures, allowing you to adjust lighting remotely. Whether you are setting the perfect mood with ambient lighting or dimming the lights for an immersive cinematic experience, smart plugs provide easy control.
- Cooling Fan Automation: Ensure optimal temperatures for your AV equipment by automating cooling fans through smart plugs. For example, by connecting USB fans to a Kasa smart plug, you can schedule them to activate automatically when the associated device is powered on or when it reaches a certain temperature. Note that this may require integration with other smart devices.
- Automation: Smart plugs excel at automating tasks in your home theater. Craft schedules and timers to activate or deactivate devices according to your preferences. For instance, you can program a smart plug to simultaneously power on multiple components at the touch of a button or via voice commands. This streamlines setup and enhances overall user convenience.
- Energy Monitoring: Smart plugs equipped with energy monitoring capabilities enable precise tracking and management of power consumption within your home theater, aiding in identifying energy-intensive devices and optimizing energy usage for cost savings.
The Kasa Smart Plug HS103P4 is easy to set up, and is reliable and compatible with most smart home systems. Control appliances remotely via the Kasa app or voice commands (Alexa/Google Assistant), and automate your home with schedules and scenes. This hub-free, compact plug works on your Wi-Fi network, features a sleek design that does not obstruct neighboring outlets, and offers energy monitoring to track power usage and cut electricity costs. This is my go-to for current available smart plugs.
The Amazon Smart Plug offers simplicity, value, and Alexa integration at an affordable price. It supports routines, schedules, and timers through the Alexa app or compatible speakers. With a physical button and LED status indicator, control is easy even without the Alexa app. While currently Alexa-exclusive, potential compatibility with other voice assistants like Google Assistant and Siri could be considered in the future.
The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip (HS300) expands a single wall outlet into six smart outlets, each with independent control. This model offers energy monitoring and seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home (excluding Apple HomeKit). Additionally, it boasts three USB charging ports for your devices. Among the tested smart power strips, the HS300 stands out with its robust build quality, the highest number of USB ports, and an extended power cord.
By far, the SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug is my favorite smart plug, although I have not been able to purchase it for quite some time. It stands out as the most versatile plug I have come across and used with Samsung SmartThings. Its standout feature is the ability to program automations based on energy usage. If you can access it and use it with Samsung SmartThings, I definitely recommend it.
Other standout features include its compatibility with IFTTT, and also how highly compact it is. Measuring 1.5 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches, it will not obstruct neighboring outlets, ensuring utmost convenience.
More Smart Plug Options:
Here are some more options that are on the market; however, I have not tested them personally:
- Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A: This is a small and affordable smart plug that is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. It is easy to set up and use, and it has a number of features, such as scheduling, timers, and geofencing.
- Philips Hue Smart Plug: This smart plug is designed to work with Philips Hue ecosystem. It allows you to control your plugs with your voice or through the Philips Hue app. It also has a number of features, such as scheduling, timers, and geofencing. It is best to use if you have hue lights.
- Govee Smart Plug 15A: This smart plug is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. It is also compatible with the Govee Home app, which allows you to create custom schedules and timers for your devices. It has a compact design and is made of fire-resistant materials. It is best to use if you have other Govee products.
Amidst the rapidly growing smart home landscape, it is crucial to prioritize a streamlined experience over complexity. Instead of burdening yourself with multiple tasks before enjoying your favorite movie or game, leverage smart plugs with intention.
Make purposeful choices when incorporating smart plugs, focusing on enhancing your experience rather than mere convenience. As you expand your smart theater and home, consider the benefits of sticking to a single ecosystem. This approach ensures seamless compatibility among devices, avoiding the challenge of dealing with incompatible technologies.
If you do happen to come across the Samsung SmartThings Smart Plug or have any leads, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to us. I, for one, am eager to purchase more of these smart plugs.