With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’
Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.
It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.
If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.
This is the smart plug
It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.
All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.
How to connect the Amazon smart plug to an Echo
Once you’ve plugged it into the wall you’ll see a blinking blue light the plug. That means it’s time to get the smart plug to talk to your Amazon Echo. This enables all of the smart features I talked about above. Here’s how to connect it:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- You should see a white box on the home screen that says “Your Smart Plug is ready to use.”
- Tap “Turn on.”
- Now you’ll see a screen that shows the plug is on.