Good Smart Plugs

I saw there’s some pretty good sales on smart plugs going on https://maxmywallet.com/awesomeware-wifi-smart-plug/, I was wondering if these “Awesome” brand ones are good.

If you’re a SmartThings household, I really don’t think it makes sense to use WiFi outlets, because using Z-Wave or ZigBee outlets will act as repeaters to extend and improve your Z-Wave or ZigBee mesh respectively (in most cases).

WiFi outlets are designed as “easy entry points” for households that don’t have a smart home Hub. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think any of them are compatible with “local execution”; since only SmartThings certified Things can run locally (i.e., near zero latency, and resilience when the cloud is down, at least for the operations of Smart Lights … like turning on a lamp when motion is detected).

I hope someone corrects me if I’m wrong… but I don’t think there is even a single standard for WiFi outlets, meaning that you’ll need to find or write a DTH for each specific brand, and you won’t get SmartThings Support to assist you if there is a problem.

So … quite a few strikes against WiFi outlets, what are the benefits? Lower price? Alternative App(s)?

@tgauchat, the lower price is the main benefit I can see. The main negative I see is the vast array of brands/types/interfaces. I initially bought TP-Link plugs during the holidays and now that there’s a working DH/SmartApp for them they are great with ST. I did just purchase two more smart plugs with energy meter because they were half the cost of the similar z-wave plug. But other than cost I fully agree it makes more sense to use z-wave or zigbee with the added benefit of extending the mesh.

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The other issue with using Wi-Fi plugs (or bulbs for that matter) is that they are using up slots on your Wi-Fi router. Many routers can only handle a maximum of 32 devices. Some are limited to 100. You can hit this pretty fast if you start using Wi-Fi home automation Devices. So before you start investing a lot in Wi-Fi devices, it would also be a good idea to check your router and see what your max limit is. Having to buy a new router can wipe out most of the savings you got from buying cheap Wi-Fi plugs. :disappointed_relieved:

https://kb.netgear.com/24043/How-many-clients-can-you-connect-wirelessly-to-a-NETGEAR-router

NETGEAR home routers can accommodate up to 32 clients per wireless band. If your router is dual band, the total wireless clients your router can handle is 64 (32 for the 2.4GHz and 32 for the 5GHz).
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However, since the router’s wireless channel is shared between all the wireless clients, adding clients will inevitably result in slower network access for all clients. This will be particularly noticeable if some of the clients are using a lot of wireless bandwidth, for example by watching a video or doing a torrent download.
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Therefore, the maximum number of wireless clients that will operate satisfactorily while connected to the same router will vary depending on what the devices are used for. It will also vary depending on how much wireless congestion or interference are present in the location where the router is installed.

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@JDRoberts, I hit a resource issue with devices and how much it could handle when I added the echo devices. All our phones, tablets, laptops, fire tv’s, roku’s, game systems, then echo’s it all adds up very quickly.

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Keep in mind most phones, newer tablets and laptops will support 5k, so you can fill up your 2.4k with smart devices if you want to and still have fast connection for your internet.

I assume that’s why most people are attracted to these kinds of plugs, too.

Usually someone either buys a WiFi plug or is thinking of doing so, and posts some variation of the question “these are really cheap smart plugs, how do I get them to work with SmartThings?”

Personally, I believe the cheaper price tag isn’t worth the extra steps required to get many of these plugs working with ST. For example, some require firmware flashing, or will only work indirectly with ST via IFTTT (introducing potential lag, which can sometimes be quite long).

Or they come direct from China, they may not have appropriate safety certifications (these are electrical devices, after all), if you get a dud you’ll have to personally travel to Shenzhen to RMA it, etc.

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I think you mean 2.4G and 5G, which is short for GHz, the frequencies that WiFi operates on.

That may help, but keep in mind it may not be the only limitation that consumer grade routers can run up against when it comes to connected devices (e.g. DHCP server limitations, total wireless throughput on your WLAN, internet connection speed etc).

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Another “issue” that isn’t brought up a lot about them coming from China is that some of them are malicious. It’s a wifi device that you are adding to your home network. Personally it doesn’t matter if it’s from China or the US if it’s a brand I trust. But if it’s some generic unknown brand and you want me to put it on my network??? No WAY! That’s like inviting the guy in a ski mask outside to come on in.

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I really wish I knew why the zigbee plugs are always 2x as expensive at least than the wifi ones.

They aren’t, if you look at comparable engineering and safety specs. :wink: For example, WeMo versus a typical zigbee ZHA plug.

The really cheap ones typically don’t have safety certifications and are usually less well-made.

If you look at the ones that are only half again as inexpensive, which may well have safety certifications, then it’s usually economy of scale. Just being able to sell to echo owners without requiring a separate hub is a huge market. :sunglasses:

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