SmartThings Community

Smart Plugs— what’s your favorite? (2019)

I returned my ADT/ST hub and am waiting for my ST gen 3 hub to arrive. I plan on using my Iris v2 smart plugs but will need to replace some of my v1 plugs. What’s your favorite SmartThings compatible plug?

In the forum, we usually use the term “pocketsocket” for the plug-in kind to distinguish them from in wall outlets or micros, since different manufactures use different terms. :sunglasses:

Different ones have different features and very different prices, and so they will work for different households.

You can see the comparison of some of the features in the device class features FAQ (the topic title is a clickable link)

As repeaters

Pocketsockets are very popular repeaters Since you can easily put them pretty much anywhere. Remember that zwave repeats only for zwave and zigbee repeats only for zigbee and you need a repeater about every 40 feet or so for zigbee and about every 75 feet or so for Z wave plus.

The iris 3210 smart plug was unusual in that it was a zigbee on/off plug that also had a Z wave repeater. But most pocketsockets are one protocol or the other.

People often ask if the device will still repeat even if it is turned off, and the answer is yes. :sunglasses:

If you’re going to put one near a zwave lock, make sure that it supports “beaming.“ most models made after 2017 will, but if it’s a very inexpensive device, just check to be sure.

https://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Beaming

Energy monitoring

Although energy monitoring is a popular feature for pocketsockets, it’s really not a good match to a mesh protocol like zwave or zigbee. These protocols are intended for tiny messages sent infrequently, like a light switch that is used two or three times a day. If it’s OK if you are truly using these for energy monitoring and you’re only checking them every hour or so.

But as soon as you start checking them every five minutes or every minute or, heaven help us, even more frequently, you increase the traffic on your mesh network by literally hundreds of times. This condition causes other messages to not be able to get through and adds lag to your entire setup. :disappointed_relieved:

Seriously, if you want to crater your entire zwave network, put two aeotec energy monitoring pocketsockets in the same room. They will try to use each other as repeaters and if you have them sending back reports on energy usage every minute so you will get them ping-ponging back-and-forth. :scream:

Instead, if you absolutely must have near real time energy reporting, use a Wi-Fi pocketsocket for this instead.

WiFi pocketsockets

Wi-Fi pocket sockets, particularly those imported from China for use with voice assistants, are frequently really cheap and, as just mentioned, are better for real time energy monitoring. But they also often lack safety certifications, Wi-Fi inherently uses more energy than zigbee or zwave, and many home routers can only handle 30 Wi-Fi devices total including all of your phones, tablets, game players, etc. So for most uses it’s better to use a Z wave or ZIgbee pocketsocket.

If you just want a couple for near real-time energy monitoring, no problem. Although I would recommend getting one with either a UL or Intertek ETL safety Mark.

Also, if you’re concerned about privacy, do not use any device that requires a Chinese server for its cloud or a Chinese app to set it up.

New Chinese Law Allows Govt to Legally Hack any Internet Op Inside China (including IOT clouds)

Inexpensive zigbee pocketsocket

Often people are looking for an inexpensive zigbee pocketsocket to act as a repeater to improve performance of their zigbee battery operated sensors.

There didn’t used to be a lot of these, but now Ikea has added some in their Tradfri line which are a simple on/off device and quite inexpensive. $9.99 in the US and £9.99 in the UK. They are also available in other European countries with the appropriate local socket style. They work very well as zigbee repeaters with smartthings, and even work well with Xioami sensors, which is unusual. The IKEA smart bulbs and pocketsockets work well with smartthings. The handheld buttons and remotes only have a partial integration at this time.

The initial reviews on these devices were low because people were expecting them to also work with HomeKit like the smart bulbs do. But looked at just as a zigbee device, they seem to be fine.

Again, there are lots of other brands to choose from which will have more features or at least two sockets, But if you are looking for a pocketsocket primarily because you want a zigbee repeater, this is a definite candidate.

Another good place to look for less expensive zigbee pocket sockets is on the list of echo plus compatible devices that have “smart setup“. Amazon keeps a list of these which you should be able to get to from the product description page for the echo plus. But those are still all likely to cost more than the IKEA one.

Two independently controlled sockets?

If you want two independently controlled sockets, there are Only a few choices.

The most popular is probably the new Zooz Zen25 design, but you will need a special device type handler in order to get the independent control.

Read the Specs Carefully

A couple of safety notes to be aware of.

  1. never plug a device with a motor like a blender or a vacuum cleaner or a fan into a pocketsocket dimmer. Most manufacturers will call their devices “appliance modules“ if they can handle motors.

  2. even if a pocketsocket says it’s for appliances, read the specs carefully. US code in most places requires that an in wall outlet be able to handle up to 15 A. But many pocketsockets can only handle up to 10 A. Take this limit seriously. :fire::rotating_light::fire_engine:

  3. I don’t know of any pocketsockets that can handle up to 20 A, Which is something you might need for a refrigerator or a window air-conditioner. Again, take this limit seriously. There are some in wall micros and in wall outlets that can handle this higher limit.

Many smart home manufacturers sell primarily to the European market where appliances like washing machines use much less energy. So even if a pocketsocket description says it’s for washing machines and fans, read the specs.

And again, different devices have different features, so it just depends what you like best. :sunglasses:

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Thanks JD, Samsung should pay you for the work you do here! :+1:

I notice that some of these pocketsockets require an extra step (handlers or whatever) to work with ST. Is it possible that the ongoing changes with the ST platform could make these no longer compatible? I really want to keep things as simple as possible and avoid buying something that may stop working (I already have Iris v1 devices that are now obsolete).

It’s possible, smartthings has not yet released the details of Z wave or zigbee device type handlers for the new platform. You should always be able to just turn them on and off, but some of the advanced features might not be available.

(and thanks for the shout, but really at this point the only thing I know are hardware specifications for the independently certified devices. I haven’t been able to use the app by myself for over a year since it is no longer VoiceOver compatible and I am really far behind as far as creating rules and other app features. :disappointed_relieved:

As an engineer, I like device specifications and protocol comparisons which most people find incredibly boring. So I tend to be one of the few who writes about that stuff in detail, which makes me stand out. But I can’t be all that helpful these days compared to the folks who keep up with the logic side. )

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Anyone have experience with the Peanut Smart Plug? They appear to also function as a zigbee repeater. I don’t live very close to an Ikea or I’d pick up some of their Tradfri plugs.

Yes, a few people have
https://community.smartthings.com/search?q=Peanut

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Oh crap. . . I’ve turned into one of those people who doesn’t use the search function. My bad! :blush:

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Lately, I’ve been using many of the cheap Tuya Wifi ones. Flash them OTA with Tasmota and you’re good to go.

These, for example.

I had a few various WiFi smartplugs. They are all gone now except one, and that’s because when I bought the unit it was the only one that fit the physical space it’s in… and it’s not a crucial thing, so I operate it with a simulated plug and IFTTT.

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My favorite are the Tradfri from Ikea. They’ve been really reliable and work really well as zigbee repeaters for all of my devices, including xiaomi and aqara as mentioned above. As a bonus they’re cheaper than any non-wifi option I’ve found. The only downside I’ve noticed is the relays are slightly louder than my other pocket sockets when opening and closing.

My closest Ikea is a couple hours away, so I bought online and had them shipped to my house. Shipping for 4 Tradfri pocket sockets and 2 light bulbs was only $9, and took less than a week.

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I have a peanut plug in our bedroom that our heated mattress pad is plugged into. I also have a Wink fan ceiling fan controller and a Keen vent that use the peanut plug as a repeater. It’s been working perfectly since I installed it (guessing 6-8 months ago). I am using a stock generic DH and am not concerned about the power monitoring function of the plug that, at the time I purchased mine, required a firmware update and a custom DH.

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As I think I’ve said before in the Peanut thread, I agree, the Peanuts are cheap, work well and for me at least, they handle repeating very well. I had one Zigbee sensor in a remote location that always had trouble staying connected. I plugged a Peanut in nearby and not had a problem since.

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Outlet, pocket socket, what ever the name, I have tried a few.

The IRIS gen2 which looks like a Centralite pairs really easily, and works very well.

The Smartthings unit is a piece of cake to pair and works perfect. Everything smartthings branded that I’ve tried is so far perfect.

The Aeon smart switch 6 was a real hit andf miss to pair, and when I did get it to pair is was REALLY slow to react to commands like a minute or more. I am going to try one with the brand new app today, but if it’s an issue, then the three I bought are going back to Amazon.

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I don’t understand how/why I’d use a wifi plug with a ST hub. :confused:

I have 3 of these and they do work well. I wish I had more but all my others are gen 1 which are apparently now useless. :frowning_face:

Why? Because they are a lot cheaper.

How? Check out my device handlers.

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They only seem cheaper.
The amount of work in getting them to function with ST offsets that cost savings.

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Just past week I used multiple WIFI plugs and a combo of simulated switches/IFTTT/Webcore for vacation lighting and it worked flawlessly. These were originally used for indoor and outdoor Christmas lighting. I plan to buy a few more of the WIFI pocketsockets, so I have an option for vacation lighting and such for every room in the house. For less than $10 each, these are really cheap and can be used for lots of different applications. I do not see the need to buy a ZigBee or a Z-Wave pocketsocket unless you need to extend your signal. If I need something permanent, I will absolutely use in-wall switches and plugs.

Can you please share the process to flash these with Tasmota ?

N/m, I see your GitHub link :slight_smile: