Ever forget whether you turned off or unplugged your curling iron and had it nag at you? It’s a common occurrence in my household, but it’s a problem you can easily solve with a cheap smart plug.
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Maybe for you, it’s not the curling iron that you keep forgetting to turn off. Perhaps it’s your iron, space heater, or just a simple fan. Leaving appliances and devices turned on and left unattended wastes electricity, but more importantly, it can be dangerous.
Luckily, with a smart plug, this doesn’t have to be a big problem. You can use it to turn the device off remotely (like after you leave for work), or you can set a timer or a schedule to turn the smart plug off after a certain amount of time.
Which Smart Plug to Use
While most smart plugs do the same thing, they’re not all created equal. The good news is that it doesn’t matter too much which kind of smart plug to use for something like this.
You could use just any cheap smart plug, like this Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug from TP-Link. You can usually get it for around $20, but we’ve seen it for as little as $15 on sale.
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However, a smart plug with energy monitoring might be worth looking into as well. These let you set parameters based on whether or not electricity is flowing through the smart plug, which can be a great feature for problems like this.
The Belkin WeMo Insight, for instance, lets you set up alerts if the smart plug’s power usage goes over a certain wattage during a certain time. From there, you can go into the app and turn off the smart plug. This is great for space heaters that you might have forgotten to turn off earlier.
Keep in mind, though, that not every smart plug with energy monitoring lets you set these kinds of parameters. Smart plugs like Kasa and those from Eufy only let you see how much energy they’re using, but won’t let you customize settings around that energy usage.
Setting a Timer or Schedule
After you get your smart plug set up, you’ll need to set a timer or a schedule for it so that it automatically turns itself off at a predetermined time.
Pretty much every smart plug on the market lets you set timers or schedules, and we’ve covered how to do it on the WeMo models. Whatever device you use, you can usually find these options in the settings for the app or possibly on a dedicated tab somewhere on the main screen. For WeMo plugs, it’s the “Rules” tab at the bottom. For TP-Link Kasa and Eufy plugs, there are dedicated buttons for it when you select a plug from the main screen.
Setting a schedule is probably the best way to go since you can set it up for only certain days (or every day) and have it run automatically, whereas you’d have to start a timer every single time manually. But a timer can still be useful for those odd times that a regular schedule wouldn’t cover.