Technology

Smart plugs are the holiday upgrade you need

Smart plugs are the holiday upgrade you need

Kasa smart outdoor smart plug to power holiday decorations.
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Whether you’re setting up a spooky Halloween display 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 different solutions for holiday lighting and accessories. Mechanical timers, digital timers, dawn-to-dusk sensors, timers with dusk sensors that turn the lights on for X number of hours and then turn off, you name it.

And while all of these various timers and tools worked well enough for many tasks, they all had a number of drawbacks. What disadvantages? If you’re specifically concerned with how your holiday lighting and accessories are configured (and how you control them), it’s a long list.

Long enough that it eventually pushed me toward a complete switch to smart plugs. In fact, between smart plugs and smart lightsyou can cover almost any holiday decoration and lighting need.

So what’s wrong with traditional timers and plugs? Mechanical timers are reset if you lose power. Mechanical and digital timers are a pain to sync if that’s important to you. Many timers only have 2 prongs, which precludes their use for any holiday decorations with a grounded pin. There are very few traditional timers that also have remote control via a radio remote control.

As a result, you’re stuck either just letting the timer run its course, not using the timer, but using a plug with a handheld remote, or crawling around under trees or behind decorations turning things off if you want to turn around. the lights go out temporarily.

On top of that, you can’t easily set scenes or control your decorations. Whatever “scene” you come up with fiddling with buttons and dials at the start of the season is the scene you’re stuck with unless you go out in the cold and struggle with all the timers again.

Smart plugs not only solve each of those problems, but introduce more flexibility and capabilities beyond what traditional timers are even capable of. In short, it just doesn’t make sense to buy traditional timers anymore.

As of this writing in October 2022, you can buy two packs of traditional digital timers for $18 or you can buy two packs of Kasa Smart Plugs for $18. Why pay the same amount for less functionality? (By the way, if you’re buying Kasa Smart Plugs, get the 4-pack, it’s the best deal.)

Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug

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

The same applies to external timers. You can pick up a digital timer with two outputs for $24 or you can download Kasa’s Smart Outlet with Two Outdoor Outlets for $25. Again, given the flexibility you get by upgrading to smart sockets, unless you had an urgent need to just use an offline analog solution, it just doesn’t make sense to use the old technology.

Take advantage of the best smart sockets on holidays

While you could just use the app to set the timers and call it good, that’s not really taking full advantage of the flexibility that smart plugs offer.

Clearly, I’m an advocate for them, so let me walk you through some of the things you should do to get the most out of smart plugs during the holidays.

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 an overall smoother experience with fewer hassles.

Furthermore, you will be able to use the company’s app independently of your smart home platform and, in the case of Kasa, completely independently without even a smart home platform. The app is just so slick.

Take advantage of advanced triggers

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

Example of a pre-dusk timer set up in Google Home.

But you can also adjust it in ways 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 connect smart sockets to external sensors such as cameras or motion detectors. Maybe not as useful for Christmas, but fun for automating Halloween decorations to work on a jump scare or two.

Create scenes and groups for every occasion

Just like with other smart home devices, you can group smart plugs into scenes. This makes it easy to group decorations, both inside and out, so you can adjust exactly how much holiday cheer you give or what stays for what part of the day.

For example, I usually have four active “scene” layers for any given holiday. I have an exterior lighting scene, a window lighting scene, an interior lighting scene, and then an additional scene, or set of scenes, for the most active elements reserved for the party – the fog machine is for Halloween and Halloween parties, for example, and not activate 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 specific verbal triggers for things.

Of course, you can just stick to the basics like “Alexa, turn off the Christmas tree” to turn off the plug for the Christmas tree or “Hey Google, turn on the decorations” to turn on all the plugs in your holiday decorations.

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

But you can make verbal triggers whatever you want, which gives you a lot of leeway. So in my house, if you want to shut down every Christmas decoration inside and out, you can say, “Hey Google, Christmas is canceled.”

It’s not necessarily a difficult 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).

Best Smart Plugs 2022



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


Wyze Smart Plug


Wyze Outdoor Smart Plug


Best Amazon Alexa Smart Plug

The Amazon Smart Plug, for home automation, works with Alexa – a certified human device


The best smart plug for Google Assistant

Volt Smart Plug


The best Apple HomeKit Smart Plug

Wemo Smart Plug (Easy Setup Smart Home Smart Plug, Remote Control Lights & Devices with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit) (Pack of 1)





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