Smart Outlet Handbook


Smart outlets or WiFi enabled "smart plugs" are the next generation of devices that stand in between your wall socket and anything you want to plug into it (oven, lamp, server) these new devices allow you to: 

  • Instantly turn on and off any device from your smartphone - from across the world or just your living room.
  • Save money and conserve energy over time by eliminating standby power
  • Measure and record the power usage of any device, and increase its operating lifespan through more efficient use and scheduling.
Below we take a look at a few of the solutions currently on the market.

Off-the-shelf // DIY & Open Source // Additional Resources

Off-the-Shelf

 

wemo-smart-outlet

Belkin WeMo Switch

Description:
"WeMo Switch - If it plugs in, you can turn it on or off with WeMo. Just plug your lamp, or fan, or stereo (almost anything) into the WeMo Switch, and you're ready to control it with the WeMo app. And WeMo is completely modular. With multiple WeMo Switches, you can control as much or as little of your home as you like."

Price: $49.95

Resources:
More Details 
alertme-smart-plug

Alertme Smart Plug

Description:
"Plug an appliance into a SmartPlug and see how much energy it’s currently using as well as help control it. While appliances that have ‘standby’ settings may not cost a lot on their own, a house full of them could save plenty. By fitting them with SmartPlugs and turning these appliances on or off at the socket, either online or using your smart phone, you can control your energy use even if you’re out."

Price: £25.00 (Needs SmartEnergy (£49.99 ) or SmartMonitoring system (£149.99)) 

Resources:
More Details 
modlet

thinkeco: modlet

Description:
"Did you know that many of your appliances use power even when you're not using them? That means your electricity bill keeps climbing while you sleep or are at work.

The modlet eliminates this wasteful energy use by automatically turning off power to your appliances when they are not needed, so you can effortlessly save on your electricity bill."

Price: $50 Starter Kit 

Resources:
More Details 
ecobee-smart-plug

ecobee Smart Plugs

Description:
"Smart Plugs: A really smart way to understand and manage your energy usage. At ecobee, we're not just all about thermostats — we're about energy solutions. That's why we've manufactured our very own Smart Plugs, to give you another way to understand, manage, and reduce your energy use. By adding Smart Plugs to your ecobee Smart Thermostat (Smart Plugs are not compatible with the ecobee Smart Si or EMS products) you'll be able to monitor and manage them through your existing ecobee Web Portal."

Price: $49

Resources:
More Details 
meterplug

MeterPlug

Description:
"MeterPlug plugs in between any appliance and the AC outlet. It measures your consumption and sends that information over Bluetooth to your smart phone, where the app displays your real costs."

Price: $50

Resources:
More Details 
plugaway

Plugaway

Description:
"PLUGAWAY produces simple-to-use, super affordable Smart Plugs & LED Bulbs, that let you wirelessly control and monitor your home from your phone - Even better, it will be open & firmware free."

Price: $30.00 (Pre-order)

Resources:
More Details 
digi-smart-plug

Digi XBee Smart Plug

Description:
"The Digi XBee Smart plug is an intelligent outlet that has the ability to measure and control electrical devices plugged in via a standard electrical outlet. A key benefit is more efficient usage of energy, resulting in decreased costs. Part of Digi's Drop-in Networking family, the Digi XBee Smart Plug integrates with ConnectPort® X gateways to centralize input from multiple Digi XBee Smart Plugs into an energy management solution.

Load consumption information from attached electrical devices can be communicated for monitoring or control of the attached appliance. Information including on/off status, operating range and erratic behavior can be determined and used to initiate subsequent actions, such as powering off a device."

Price: $84.00

More Details 
zuli

Zuli

Description:
"Control your lights and appliances from your smartphone, and teach your home a thing or two.

The Zuli smartplug communicates with your smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy, giving you unmatched control, monitoring and automation at an affordable price."


Price
: $45 (pre-order)

Resources:
More Details 
safeplug

SafePlug

Description:

Slash Your Bills! Protect Your Family - Make your home energy efficient, safe and secure with SafePlug Energy Manager system. Although energy costs are rising, SafePlug can reduce your electric bill by hundreds of dollars per year. Once installed, SafePlug Energy Manager pays for itself quickly.


Price: $49.95 (Needs Energy Manager Kit)

Resources:
More Details 
plugwise

Plugwise

Description:

The power of Plugwise is that the platform gives you insight into your energy consumption on device level. In that way, you can see precisely how much energy you are using, when and on what. That, in turn, enables you to make smart choices that provide the greatest possible energy savings, without the need for you to make any sacrifices in terms of living comfort. In no time, you can prepare switching programmes for your connected appliances that fit with your lifestyle.


Price: $149.95 (Two switch kit)

Resources:
More Details 
iris-smart-plug

Iris Smart Plug

Description:
"Iris is your one-stop solution for creating the smart home of your dreams. With the DIY expertise you expect from Lowe's, Iris lets you set up a reliable and easy to operate system customized to your home in about an hour.
  • Add convenience of turning lamps, electronics and appliances on and off remotely
  • Increase awareness of power consumption by monitoring individual appliances
  • Program schedules for electronic devices for convenience
  • Extends Iris Home Monitoring system by using alarm events as a trigger to turn on devices"

Price: $29.99 (Need Iris Home Monitoring System)

Resources:
More Details 

Additional Options

 

Monitoring Only Devices:

kill-a-watt

Kill a Watt

Description:

Electricity bill are rising. Now you can cut down on costs and find out what appliances are actually worth keeping plugged in. Simply connect these appliances to the Kill A Watt™, and it will assess how efficient they really are. Large LCD display will count consumption by the Killowatt-hour, same as your local utility. You can calculate your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, even an entire year. Also check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Now you´ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money.


Price
: $24.95

Resources:
 

DIY / Open Source:


smart-outlets

Impowered electrical outlets

by MidnightMaker

Description:
"This instructable will show you how to hack an off-the-shelf power adapter to make an internet enabled power adapter using the Electric Imp. This lets you turn on or off any mains powered device plugged into the adapter over the internet using a smartphone or web browser."

Price: $60+
  • Stanley Remote Powered Outlet. $16
  • Electric Imp $29.95
  • Electric Imp carrier board $12.95
  • 2-Channel Relay Board $9
  • Complete part list 
More Details 
Additional:
  • Hacklet - A library, written in Ruby, for controlling the Modlet outlet by Matt Colyer
  • plugduino - ""The plugduino is featured in a step-byp-step instructable to help you learn a bit about how to wire a 120V circuit safely and how to use an arduino to control everyday real work devices."
  • Building a WiFi Outlet - Daniel Nordness


Additional Resources: 

HowStuffWorks "How Vampire Power Works"
- Open Energy Monitor project
- Conor Klein's Outlet Regulator that spits itself out of the wall when it's done charging the gadget you've plugged in
Will Smart Outlets Save Power or Waste Money?

News:

Cnet: A smart power outlet goes industrial
CNET: Researchers attack transistors to slay vampire power
Greif Cuts 2,400 kWh with Smart Plug Challenge

 

Related: Wireless home sensors, Connected home products