Smart Plug recommendations (2021)

I did a search and didn’t come up with the expected thread, but if there is one well established, then whoever does such things can move/merge this.

So, what smart-plugs are you guys using, and how do you like them?

I have a little of everything, but I’m looking to add to my hoard for several projects and general purpose.

What country are you in? The device selection does vary.

Also, do you have a preference for Z wave or zigbee? Or WiFi? Pocketsockets (a term we use in the forum for smart plugs in order to distinguish them from in wall receptacles) are often an easy way to add repeaters to your network, so many people like to have some zwave and some Zigbee. But if all of your battery powered devices are Zigbee, then you may want to concentrate on zigbee pocketsockets.

Features are covered in the device class feature FAQ, which also has some individual brand recommendations:

Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features FAQ) - #7 by JDRoberts

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In the U.S.

Well, it doesn’t matter so much to me if they are Zigbee or Z-Wave, but lately I’ve been gravitating toward Zigbee, mainly due to the variety of devices and relatively low cost. Energy monitoring would be a plus, as well as the repeating ability. I do like to mix it up with both protocols, though.

I will check out the Pocket Sockets, I know I’ve seen them, but not sure if I’ve paid much attention.

Thanks, JD. I’ll check out that thread, too.

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“Pocketsocket” is just a generic term for one of these, which plugs into the existing socket:

Instead of one of these, which Has to be wired into the wall:

Either can be any brand or protocol. :sunglasses:

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I see. heheh…

Amperage is another consideration, and as far as protocols and cost go, I suppose I should delve into the WiFi devices.

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Definitely check the max load, it’s surprising how many Z wave and zigbee pocketsockets only support 10 A. Even from high-quality brands.

It’s another reason I like the Meross Wi-Fi pocketsockets for some use cases: they’re inexpensive, but most support up to 16 A and have ETL safety certifications. And again, no custom code is required. :sunglasses: However the smartthings integration is cloud to cloud, so that’s the negative. (I use mine simultaneously with both smartthings and HomeKit, and HomeKit Integration is local, so I don’t have to worry about that. )

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I’m not averse to in-wall receptacles. But that sparks another question…

A fair amount of my Z-wave devices are not the Z-wave plus. They have been reliable, and I haven’t noticed anything negative about them.

But the reason I bring this up is, as far as price, the first generation, or pre-plus versions, they can often be had for a bargain. And, again, so far I’ve not experienced any down side.

So, what is your opinion on the previous generation Z-wave devices?

Personally, if I’m buying new devices, I would buy zwave plus with S2 security.

Z wave plus was a huge feature advance Over the older generations in several ways. Range, power utilization, and explorer frames which allow devices to be paired in place. All things an end-user will notice And benefit from when setting up a device. :sunglasses:

Additionally, association changed significantly with Z wave plus and you can’t even make associations with some of the older devices And keep the zwave plus advantages.

S2 is important because only S2 devices can repeat S2 messages.

I don’t think you need the new series 700 devices unless they have specific features that you are willing to pay for. They do have even longer range and even better power management, but it’s not as much of a comparative advantage as Z wave plus versus zwave classic.

I’m fine with keeping any zwave Classic devices you already have, But if buying new, zwave plus is definitely worth the usual price differential.

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Just for clarification…

I doubt if you can even buy a first generation Z wave device anymore.

“Z wave classic“ refers to the third and fourth generation, and there are still some of those made and quite a few retailers that still have older stock.

“Z wave plus“ was the fancy marketing name for the fifth generation, which was based on the series 500 chip. As mentioned above, this was a huge leap forward relative to classic.

“Z wave plus V2” is the marketing name for the newest generation, based on the series 700 chip. We are just starting to see some of those come on the market. Its biggest advantages will come once “zwave long range“ is released, but there aren’t any products on the market using that yet. And you’re going to need a series 700 hub to take advantage of the technical features, which SmartThings doesn’t offer yet. It will have better battery life for an individual device, but otherwise my own feeling is that most people will be best off waiting until they have a Series 700 hub before they start buying any end devices just because they’re series 700.

Zwave has always intended to be backwards compatible, and it still says it is, but you should be aware that association and encrypted repeating May require that each device on a hop be at the same level in order to take advantage of the advanced features.

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Considering that, I think I may still collect some legacy Z-wave, and keep them for an independent network.

Great info!

Yes, i had some doubts on the description… and attempted to compensate with “pre-plus”.

But thanks for that, as well.

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With zwave classic, many devices will have to be paired right next to the hub, then moved to their desired location, and then you run a zwave repair to fix the neighbor tables.

With Z wave plus and above, most devices except locks can be paired in place. that’s really nice for things like light switches and in wall receptacles. It’s just less convenient for devices like battery powered sensors and plug-in pocket sockets.

Plus if the range is short enough that you have to add extra repeaters in order to cover the same square footage, you end up losing a lot of the cost advantage.

And if you have to replace batteries more often, same thing.

So just something to be aware of.

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Very few zigbee plugs actually support power monitoring. The Smartthings (now aeotec) plug is one of the few that does.

Real-time power monitoring Just isn’t a good match for mesh networks. It’s like too frequent polling: you can crater your network quality just because of all the reports coming in. ( at one point one of the action tiles developers said that about 90% of the traffic they were seeing was energy reporting. :disappointed_relieved:)

When I need real time energy reporting, I use a Wi-Fi device.

True that JD! I had to put a hack into HousePanel to only send power and energy updates every 5 minutes because the native reporting was happening every few seconds and that triggered a message push to the panel.

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I have my zwave energy meter sending updates every 5 seconds with no problems. I have the zwave plugs reporting too.

I wouldn’t buy a wifi device, they’re too finicky and usually closed apis

They definitely used to be, but at least the ones which are also HomeKit certified now seem to be very reliable and often have multiple integrations.

In particular, I have had very good luck with the Meross devices for about two years now. :sunglasses:

But I agree, certainly there are a lot of junk devices out there, so you do have to be careful.

Wifi is appealing to me for the transmission distance. I’ll keep in mind the Meross.

I’m really curious on powering devices remotely. Zigbee seems to have more low power options, and nearly plug and play with available solar power options. But that’s going off topic…

I think the Wifi integrations will be fun.

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