Alexa Guide to Smart Plugs: Can Alexa Control Smart Plugs?

In the modern smart home ecosystem, voice assistants and smart devices seamlessly intertwine to create a more connected living experience. Central to this integration is the relationship between Amazon’s Alexa and smart plugs. 

For starters, can Alexa control smart plugs?

Alexa can control smart plugs. Once you’ve properly set up your smart plug with its own app and connected it to Alexa (as described in the previous summaries), you can use voice commands to control the devices connected to the smart plug. 

If you have a lamp connected to your smart plug, and you’ve named the plug “Lamp,” you can say, “Alexa, turn on the Lamp,” and Alexa will send a command to the smart plug to power on the lamp. Similarly, you can say, “Alexa, turn off the Lamp” to turn it off. 

You can also create routines in the Alexa app to automate the control of devices connected to your smart plugs based on specific triggers, such as time of day, sunrise/sunset, or other device status.

Here’s an article I wrote teaching how to set up a smart plug with Alexa and how to create a routine.

The remainder of this article will address key questions many users have: the capabilities of Alexa in controlling smart plugs, the fundamental purpose of a smart plug designed for Alexa, and the underlying mechanics of how these plugs interact with Alexa.

Amazon Alexa and Smart Plugs

What Is a Smart Plug For Alexa?

A smart plug is a device that you can plug into a standard wall outlet. It has its own outlet, so you can then plug another device, like a lamp or a fan, into the smart plug. The smart plug connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the power to the plugged-in device remotely using an app on your smartphone or tablet.

When a smart plug is labeled as “for Alexa,” it means that it’s compatible with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Once you’ve set up the smart plug and connected it to your Wi-Fi network, you can add it to your Alexa app. This allows you to control the smart plug using voice commands through an Alexa-enabled device, like an Amazon Echo.

If you want to learn more about smart plugs in general, I created a guide for that.

How Does a Smart Plug Work With Alexa?

A smart plug works with Alexa by connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network and communicating with your Alexa-enabled devices. 

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how that works:

  1. Setup: First, you plug the smart plug into an electrical outlet. Then, using the smart plug’s companion app on your smartphone or tablet, you connect the smart plug to your home’s Wi-Fi network.
  1. Device Connection: Once the smart plug is connected to Wi-Fi, you can add it to your Alexa app. This usually involves enabling the appropriate Alexa skill for the smart plug’s brand and linking your accounts.
  1. Voice Control: After the smart plug is set up in the Alexa app, you can control it using voice commands through your Alexa-enabled devices. 
  1. Routines and Schedules: In addition to basic voice commands, you can also include the smart plug in routines that you set up through the Alexa app. This allows you to automate when the plugged-in device turns on and off based on specific triggers. 
  1. Remote Control: Because the smart plug is connected to Wi-Fi, you can control it remotely from anywhere you have an internet connection. This means you can use the Alexa app to turn the smart plug on or off even when you’re not at home.

Both the smart plug and your Alexa devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. If there’s a problem with your Wi-Fi network, the smart plug may not work as expected.

If you need help, check out my Alexa smart plug troubleshooting guide.

Can Alexa Schedule a Smart Plug? How To Schedule a Smart Plug With Alexa

Alexa can schedule smart plugs. This is done by creating routines in the Alexa app. A routine is a series of actions that Alexa performs when a single command is given or a certain condition is met. 

Here’s how you can create a routine to schedule a smart plug:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Tap on the “More” option in the bottom right corner.
  3. Select “Routines” from the menu.
  4. Tap the “+” icon to create a new routine.
  5. In the “When this happens” section, you can choose the trigger for the routine. If you want to schedule the smart plug, you would select “Schedule” and then set the specific time and days.
  6. In the “Add action” section, you would choose “Smart Home”, then “Control device”. From there, you can select your smart plug and choose whether it should turn on or off.
  7. After you’ve set up the routine, tap “Save”.

I laid out the steps here, but you can check out this article for step-by-step with pictures for creating an Alexa Routine.

Now, Alexa will automatically turn your smart plug on or off at the scheduled times. This can be particularly useful for devices like lamps, fans, or coffee makers that you want to turn on or off at specific times of the day.

Can Alexa Set Timers For Smart Plugs?

Alexa does not natively support setting timers for smart plugs. While you can schedule routines to turn smart plugs on or off at specific times, there’s no built-in functionality for setting a timer that starts when you give a voice command (e.g., “Alexa, turn off the lamp in 30 minutes”).

There are workarounds using third-party services like IFTTT (If This Then That), which can create applets to control smart plugs with timers.

While you can’t set a countdown timer using Alexa, you can create a schedule that will turn the smart plug on and off at certain times. Setting a schedule on an Alexa smart plug is a straightforward process, as seen in the steps above.

Can Alexa Dim Lights With A Smart Plug?

Alexa cannot dim lights using a smart plug, even if the smart plug has that capability. Alexa can only turn smart plugs on or off. 

If you want to dim your lights using Alexa, you would need a smart dimmer switch or smart bulbs that have dimming capabilities and are compatible with Alexa. 

Smart dimmer switches replace your traditional light switches and give you the ability to control and dim your lights through the Alexa app or voice commands. 

I’m a fan of TP-Link Kasa, and would recommend the Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch HS220.

Smart bulbs can be controlled individually and offer more flexibility. For instance, you can dim one bulb while keeping another at full brightness. 

Can Alexa turn on your TV with a smart plug?

Alexa can turn on and off a TV using a smart plug but with some limitations. Here’s how it works:

When you connect your TV to a smart plug, you can use Alexa to control the power to the plug, effectively turning the TV on and off. However, this is equivalent to unplugging and plugging your TV back in; it doesn’t replicate the function of a remote control’s on/off button.

For most modern TVs, if you cut and restore power, they won’t turn back on to their active state automatically. They go into standby mode, waiting for you to press the power button on the remote.

So, while you can cut off power to the TV using a smart plug and Alexa, you likely won’t be able to turn the TV back on to a watchable state using Alexa. You’ll need to use the TV’s remote control or power button.

If you want full control over your TV through Alexa (like changing channels, adjusting volume, etc.), I would suggest considering a device like the Amazon Fire TV Cube or a TV that has Alexa capabilities built-in. 

This will be better for your TV in the long run than cutting the power to the TV. Another option is to use other HDMI-CEC devices to control your TV, such as Google Chromecast.

Alexa Smart Plug Ideas

Smart plugs can be used to make your home more convenient and efficient. Here are some ideas for how you can use smart plugs with Alexa:

  • Lamp Control: Connect your lamps to smart plugs. You can then use Alexa to turn the lamps on or off with voice commands or schedule them to turn on or off at specific times.
  • Morning Routine: Connect your coffee maker to a smart plug and create a routine in the Alexa app to turn it on at a specific time each morning. You could also include other devices in your morning routine, such as turning on the lights or starting the radio.
  • Energy Saving: Connect devices that use a lot of power to smart plugs, such as heaters or air conditioners. You can then use Alexa to ensure these devices are turned off when not in use, helping to save energy.
  • Security: If you’re away from home, you can use smart plugs and Alexa to turn lights or a radio on and off at different times to make it appear as if someone is home.
  • Cooking: If you have a slow cooker or an electric kettle, you can connect it to a smart plug and use Alexa to turn it on at a specific time so your meal or hot water is ready when you want it.
  • Holiday Decorations: Connect your holiday lights to a smart plug and use Alexa to control them. You can turn them on or off with voice commands or create a routine to control them at specific times.
  • Night Routine: Connect your bedroom devices like lamps, fans, or even electric blankets to smart plugs. You can then create a routine to turn them all off when you’re ready to go to sleep.

Remember, not all devices are safe to use with smart plugs. In general, avoid using smart plugs with high-current devices like stoves or washing machines, and always check the manufacturer’s instructions before connecting a device to a smart plug.

What Can You Use Alexa Smart Plug For?

An Alexa smart plug can be used to control a wide variety of electrical devices in your home. Let’s build upon the list in the previous section. Here are some examples:

  • Lighting: You can use smart plugs to control lamps, making it easy to turn them on or off with a voice command or schedule them to turn on or off at specific times.
  • Small Appliances: Coffee makers, electric kettles, toasters, and other small appliances can be controlled with a smart plug. For example, you could set your coffee maker to start brewing at a specific time each morning.
  • Electronics: Devices like televisions, stereo systems, and gaming consoles can be connected to a smart plug, allowing you to turn them off when they’re not in use to save energy.
  • Fans and Heaters: If you have a standalone fan or heater, you can use a smart plug to control it. This can be particularly useful for turning on a fan or heater just before you arrive home.
  • Holiday Decorations: Smart plugs can be used to control holiday lights or other decorations, making it easy to turn them on or off on a schedule or with a voice command.
  • Chargers: If you want to control when a device charges, you can connect the charger to a smart plug. This can be useful for devices that you don’t want to leave charging all the time.

If you want a list of even more smart plug ideas, I have that for you!

Smart Plug Brands Compatible With Alexa (2023)

Here is a list of brands that currently have smart plugs compatible with Alexa:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon Basics
  • +Style
  • Alphaworks
  • Amysen
  • Amzdest
  • Aoycocr
  • Atmoi
  • Bn-Link
  • BroadLink
  • CIBOU
  • Connectsense
  • D-Link
  • Defiant
  • Eaton
  • Enel X
  • Energizer Connect
  • Esicoo
  • Eve
  • eWeLink
  • EZVIZ
  • Feit Electric
  • GE
  • Geeni
  • Gosund
  • Govee
  • HBN
  • Hibro
  • iHome
  • Jinvoo
  • KMC
  • Laview
  • Legrand
  • Leviton
  • Linkind
  • Lloyd’s
  • Meross
  • Nexx
  • Nooie
  • Philips Hue
  • Powrui
  • Ring
  • Samsung
  • Sengled
  • Smart Life
  • SmartThings
  • Somfy
  • SONOFF
  • SuperHany
  • SwitchBot
  • TanTan
  • TECKIN
  • Tenda
  • Torteco
  • TP-LINK Kasa
  • TP-Link Tapo
  • TREATLIFE
  • Tuya
  • Vavofo
  • VeSync
  • Wemo
  • WiZ
  • Wyze
  • Xiaomi
  • Yale
  • Yutron

Can You Use A Smart Plug Without Alexa

You can use a smart plug without Alexa or any other voice assistant. Most smart plugs come with their own app that you can download on your smartphone or tablet. This app allows you to control the smart plug directly without needing a voice assistant.

To be honest, this is how I normally control my Kasa smart plugs. I use the Kasa app, just because I like it and can access features that Alexa can’t control, like a timer.

With the smart plug’s app, you can usually turn the plug on or off, set schedules for when the plug should turn on or off, and sometimes even monitor energy usage. If the smart plug is capable of dimming lights, the app is where you would be able to do that. 

The exact features can vary depending on the brand and model of the smart plug.

Using a voice assistant like Alexa can add extra convenience, as it allows you to control the smart plug with voice commands. It can also allow you to integrate the smart plug with other smart devices in your home for more complex automation routines. 

Josh

Hey, I’m Josh! Welcome to Expert Home Automation. Tech is what I do for a living and as a hobby. You can learn more about me here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts