Smart plugs are the upgrade you need for the holidays

Smart plugs are the upgrade you need for the holidays

A Kasa smart outdoor smart plug powering holiday decorations.
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Whether you’re setting up a spooky display for Halloween or a cozy Christmas scene, you really should pick up a pack of smart plugs.

Why are smart plugs perfect for the holidays?

Over the years I have used a lot of different solutions for holiday lighting and accessories. Mechanical timers, digital timers, dawn to dusk sensors, timers with dusk sensors that run the lights for X hours then turn off, etc.

And while all of these various timers and tools worked well enough for many tasks, they all had a variety of shortcomings. What kind of shortcomings? If you’re particular about how your vacation lighting and accessories are set up (and how you control them), the list goes on.

Long enough that it finally pushed me to switch to smart plugs altogether. In fact, between smart plugs and smart lights, you can cover just about any holiday decorating and lighting need.

So what’s wrong with traditional timers and outlets? Mechanical timers get out of sync if you lose power. Mechanical and digital timers are a real pain to sync if that matters to you. Many timers are only 2-prong which rules out their use for any holiday decoration with a ground pin. There are very few traditional timers that also have remote control via radio remote control.

As a result, you’re stuck either just letting the timer run its course, not using a timer but using an outlet with a hand held remote, or crawling under trees or behind decorations unplugging things if you want to spin . the lights turn off temporarily.

On top of that, you can’t easily set scenes or control your decorations. Whatever “scene” you design playing with knobs and dials at the start of the season is the scene you’re stuck with, unless you go out in the cold and bother to new with all timers.

Smart plugs not only solve each of these problems, but they introduce more flexibility and possibilities beyond what traditional timers are even capable of. In short, it no longer makes sense to buy traditional timers.

As of this writing in October 2022, you can buy a two-pack of traditional digital timers for $18 or you can buy a two-pack of Kasa smart plugs for $18. Why pay the same amount for less features? (If you’re buying Kasa Smart Plugs, by the way, get a 4-pack, that’s the best deal.)

Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug

With two independently controlled smart outlets and an IP64 rating, what’s not to love about this outdoor smart outlet?

The same goes for outdoor timers. You can get a two-outlet digital timer for $24 or you can get Kasa’s two-outlet outdoor smart plug for $25. Again, given the flexibility you get by switching to smart plugs, unless you have a dire need to only use an offline analog solution, it just doesn’t make sense to use the old technology.

Make the most of smart plugs while on vacation

While you can just use the app to set timers and call it good, that doesn’t exactly take advantage of the flexibility offered by smart plugs.

Obviously, I’m an advocate for them, so let me go over some of the things you should do to get the most out of smart plugs while on vacation.

Buy from the same company

While you can mix and match smart plugs as long as they’re compatible with the larger smart home system you’re using, I highly recommend buying plugs from the same company for two simple reasons.

If you go with a company that has a well-developed product line and platform like Kasa (my smart plug company), you’ll likely have a smoother overall experience with fewer hiccups.

Plus, you’ll be able to use the company’s app independently of your smart home platform and, in Kasa’s case, completely on your own without even having a smart home platform. The application is simply refined.

Take advantage of advanced triggers

You can emulate a basic timer, and you can even emulate a twilight sensor by setting your smart plugs to turn on at sunset.

An example of a pre-dusk timer set in Google Home.

But you can also set this in a way you couldn’t on a traditional timer. You can set smart plugs to turn on X minutes before dusk, for example, so your decorations are on during the transition period.

You can link smart plugs to external sensors like cameras or motion detectors. Maybe not as useful at Christmas, but fun for automating Halloween decorations to work in a scare or two.

Create scenes and groups for every occasion

Just like with other smart home gear, you can group smart plugs into scenes. This makes it easy to group decorations, inside and out, so you can customize exactly what holiday vibe you put on or what stays for what part of the day.

For example, I usually have four “scene” layers active for a particular holiday. I have a scene for the outdoor lighting, a scene for the window lighting, a scene for the indoor lighting, and then an additional scene, or set of scenes, for the most active elements reserved for entertainment – the fog machine is for Halloween night and Halloween parties, for example, and not activated only with general holiday decorations.

Custom verbal command triggers are fun

If you use your smart plugs with a smart home assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant, it’s fun to set up specific verbal triggers for things.

Of course, you can stick to the basics like “Alexa, turn off the Christmas tree” to turn off the Christmas tree outlet, or “Hey Google, turn on the decorations” to turn on all the outlets for your holiday decoration scenes. .

An example of a Google Home voice command trigger that turns off the Christmas lights.

But you can create verbal triggers as you see fit, which gives you a lot of freedom. So in my house, if you want to shut down all the Christmas decorations inside and out, you can say, “Hey Google, Christmas is off.”

It’s not necessarily a hard-hitting productivity hack for your smart plugs, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if you have kids (or are just a kid at heart).

The best smart plugs of 2022


Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Echo, Google Home and IFTTT, No Hub Required, Remote Control, 15A, UL Certified, 2 Pack White

Wyze Smart Plug

Wyze Outdoor Smart Plug

Best Amazon Alexa Smart Plug

Amazon Smart Plug, for home automation, works with Alexa – A certified device for humans

Best smart plug for Google Assistant

Smart Plug Go

Best Apple HomeKit smart plug

Wemo Smart Plug (Simple Setup Smart Plug for Smart Home, Control Lights and Appliances Work Remotely with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit) (Pack of 1)


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