For all of those wanting to give an impression that someone is always at home, especially at times while being on vacation, or perhaps for those who wish to come down in the kitchen in the morning to a ready coffee, the TP-Link plug HS110 may be the preferred solution. The plug is a fairly small device, being 2.6” wide, 3” deep and 3.9” high, but offers a huge array of every-day comfort by offering the option to:
- Remotely control all devices connected to the TP-Link smart plug wherever you are, via the free “Kasa” app on your smartphone.
- Schedule the plug to power electronics on and off automatically.
- Monitor and analyze any device’s real-time and historical energy consumption.
- Turn on/off your devices at various times, giving the appearance that someone is always at home.
- Use Amazon Echo Voice Control (sold separately) to voice control all devices connected to the TP-Link plug.
Getting started – Package and setup
The package looks as a smartphone box with a general description of the TP-Link plug inside. Basically, you can find everything you need inside and the Quick Start guide will show you how to complete the installation in few steps. It’s pretty easy.
To install and configure the smart plug you will need a smartphone or a tablet (works with both, Android or iOS). You then need to install the Kasa app, downloadable via TP-Link website or Play Store. Upon entering Kasa, just connect to your Wi-Fi network. Try to remember to use 2.4GHz connection, because the TP-Link plug doesn’t work at 5GHz. Just plug the device into an outlet and get going.
When you log into Kasa, you’ll see a simple menu and few settings functions (the option to set power schedule, check wattage or power usage of the devices connected, for example). Simply go through the menu and the settings and you’ll easily figure out how to use it.
TP-Link plug Pros
Once you start using options like scheduling and remote controlling a device, you may even forget that you’re using the smart plug, but this little helper will continue to turn on/off your appliances as scheduled. This way, you can set your toaster and coffeemaker to turn on at 7.30 in the morning and have your breakfast ready while you’re taking a shower. If you’re a bit on the lazier side like me, you’ll enjoy this even more!
With Kasa, you can switch the HS110 plug on/off, and see the current energy consumption. It is very easy to use and the user interface is practical. This way, you can know at any time how much energy a specific home appliance consumes and find the most effective way to use it. For example, if you live in a small apartment in a cold part of the country, the TP-Link plug will show you which heating device works best for your place, while using less energy.
Since the plug tracks the device’s power consumption, it gives you the option to analyze the device’s real-time and historical power consumption, by including summaries for the week and for the month. This type of comprehensive analysis means that you can find the best way to use your home appliances, while cutting on your bills. You can buy several TP-Link plugs, or buy one and move it around the devices you wish to monitor. This makes the HS110 a valuable tool for monitoring energy usage.
And I can’t stress this enough – when you cut on your bills it means that you use less energy, and using less energy means that you’re being kinder to the environment.
While in the settings menu, you can set a specific on and off schedule for the device, program the “away mode” to randomly switch on/off your device, thus showing the potential burglars that the house is not empty. In case you plan to take weekend trip soon, you may want to consider this option. If you also use Echo/Alexa, you can set up the device for voice remote control and have even more fun.
The current price is around $40 and it’s not really cheap, however if compared with some of the other similar products, with the TP-Link plug you won’t need a hub, which is a dramatic initial price drop. Since some of the budget products do not offer the option of energy monitoring, maybe the price of the plug is not so high after all.
Once the smart plug is connected to your wifi, it works seamlessly without a hub. You can easily access and control the connected devices, or even give a name for each plug, while combining few smart plugs into one group. Furthermore, you can choose an icon to represent a certain device (lamp, coffee-maker, slow-cooker) or take a photo of the device and use it as an icon.
If you want to go the extra mile, note that the TP-Link smart plug works with Amazon Echo (Alexa). Once you connect the device with your network, just ask Alexa to discover new devices. You can then continue to control each device by voice. If you or someone in the household has a difficulty finding the way around smartphone apps, this voice control option is ideal.
If you have an internet connection, you can control your devices remotely via Kasa, regardless of your location. Despite making your house safer in this manner, you can also come home to a ready dinner right after work. You can for example pre-prepare the dinner and just set your oven to turn on an hour or so prior you getting home. If you’re running on a tight weekly schedule, this will help you save an hour each day. Or, in a different scenario, if you perhaps forgot to turn off your stove in the morning, you can do so while driving to work. No stress whatsoever.
The TP-Link plug and the Kasa app are both carefully designed and made simple to use. Regardless of your age or technical knowledge, you can install it in minutes and learn how to use it fast. You will find all options for scheduling, setting time zones and away mode pretty helpful and convenient.
While using the plug (and seeing some of the reviews as well), I must say that there are perhaps few shortcomings connected with this product. For example, one setback is that the plug works only on a 2.4GHz wireless network. For some users this may show as an issue.
On top of that, some users reported issues with regards to compatibility. It seems that the TP-Link plug does not work with all products, since this is mainly done through IFTTT.
Further on, the plug has just one outlet, so if you wish to control several devices at the same time, you will have to plug in an extension cord. Now, this is great for controlling two devices in the same room, but imagine how crowded it would be if you have all of those extension cords lying around. And yes, prior to finding the best way, you’ll need to move things around and test the functionality. So, if you’re patient and handy you can try this, but if you solely focus on immediate practical results then don’t go down that road.
It is true that the HS110 smart plug is decently small, but if you find yourself in a situation with two outlets, you will see the difficulty or impossibility of using other slightly larger plugs in the other outlet. Additionally, you’ll have to make peace with the fact that the TP-Link plug will stick out of the wall more than a regular plug, simply because it needs to be plugged in the front of the outlet.
By the overall experience, I must conclude that the TP-Link plug is fairly small and really handy device. It’s a great way to measure and analyze your home’s energy consumption, thus finding ways to cut on your costs. It’s also pretty cool that you can control your house appliances remotely, like from the office, from the mall, or even from another country simply by using the Kasa app. This way your home will never look empty and the unwanted visitors will be deterred from their shady plans.
This is also the case with the away mode, where you can set specific schedules for your appliances to turn on and off. It might be in cases when you’re away at work, on a holiday or a weekend trip. As long as you have internet connection, you can re-set the schedules or continue to manually use the app.
The TP-Link plug is a high quality and well-functioning device, compatible with most of the appliances. You only need a smartphone or a tablet to use it. Up until now, no negative event occurred. It’s true, the plug is not cheap when you first look at the price, however when you consider the functionality and the benefits, you’ll understand the overall value.
We have also reviewed a smart bulb from TP-Link. You can find our opinion on that from here: Smart Led TP-Link Bulb LB120 Review
Read next: Best Smart Thermometer Review