A smart plug can turn any of your home appliances into smart products, letting you control them even when you're away from home. We've rounded up some tricks that can save you time and money, and give you peace of mind.
There's only one difference between a 'normal' plug and smart plug, but it's a big one - wi-fi support. With a smart plug in the wall, you can interact with it using your smartphone or tablet.
As smart plugs can be controlled remotely, they'll come in handy if you want to turn on an appliance while you're out of the room. You can also plan ahead and schedule the plug to turn on and off at certain times, perhaps if you want a heater to warm up for example. And you can pick them up for under £30.
If you're jetting off on holiday, you may want to schedule actions with your smart lights before you head off. Setting them up to turn on every so often in the evening while you're away will give the impression you're still at home.
You might want to tell your neighbours about your crafty plan, but people walking past your house won't have a clue.
Some slow cookers already come with dedicated mobile apps that let you use them remotely. But if your slow cooker isn't internet-enabled by default, a smart plug lets you make the upgrade.
You can control the supply to your slow cooker with a smart plug. So you might decide to turn on the slow cooker remotely via your mobile just before you start your journey home from work.
If you need to limit the time your little ones are sat in front of a screen, a smart plug will let you schedule viewing times. You can use these to control the power to a TV, smartphone charging ports or an internet router.
You can combine the smart plug's powers with parental controls that come pre-installed with iPhone models and most Android smartphones.
If your phone runs on iOS, head to Settings > Screen Time. From there, you'll be able to confirm your identity as a parent, configure screen times and monitor app use.
On Android, you can try downloading the free Family Link app from the Google Play Store. This app keeps a record of app activity and lets you set daily screen-on time limits.
Using a smart plug, you can schedule temperature changes for fans and plug-in heaters. You might want to drift off with the fan on, but a smart plug will stop it from running all night long. In other words, you'll be able to use your smart plugs to conserve energy and potentially save money.
Amazon's own smart plug comes with built-in Alexa voice support. That effectively adds voice control to any electrical socket in your home, letting you turn gadgets on and off without having to reach over to the plug. All you'll need to do is say, 'Alexa turn on plug'.
With the Alexa smartphone app, you can create routines for your Amazon smart plug. You can create a morning profile that switches on the lights and starts up your coffee machine with a single voice command.
Being able to control plugged-in appliances wherever you are is an obvious benefit if you don't want to be or can't move around, such as in later life.
With the end of the year fast approaching, now could be a good time to invest in some smart plugs to control your Christmas decorations.
If you're concerned about energy use, a top-notch smart plug will give you peace of mind. You'll be able to use your smart plug to switch off the Christmas lights automatically at set times each evening, with the action being repeated for as long as it needs to be.
Smart products are all about cutting corners. The best internet-enabled gadgets are flexible and make your life easier, automating mundane tasks and leaving you to enjoy your free time. They come in all shapes and sizes, with popular picks including smart doorbells and smart thermostats.
Each type of smart product is designed to help you out with specific tasks. We've tried and tested these smart products in the Which? test lab: