Are Smart Plugs Safe on a Power Strip?


are smart plugs safe on a power strip buyers guide

There have been plenty of scary stories about electrical issues, especially when it comes to a power strip and other plug-ins; these types of situations are what makes us wonder if we are safe with our electronic devices—such as smart plugs—when we use them in our homes. 

Are smart plugs safe on a power strip? Smart plugs can be safe to use on a power strip as long as you are not plugging in an electrical device that has a wattage too high to be supported by both the plug and the power strip. 

To ensure you are using your smart plug safely, check the wattage of both your power strip and the smart plug. Anything that you plug into your smart plug while it’s connected to the power strip should not exceed the maximum wattage.

How to Tell if You Have Appropriate Wattage 

The number one way to tell if you are using the appropriate wattage or if you are using too much power to be supported by your plug or power strip is by knowing the wattage that they can withstand. This information can be found on your smart plug and power strip’s packaging or manual that came with the products. 

Alternatively, you can look for the brand of your power strip or smart plug online; most electrical and smart plug manufactures will have a section detailing the wattage requirements for their products. 

How to Avoid Using Too Much Wattage

how to avoid using too much wattage smart plug strip

Because smart plugs are made to be smarter, they also tend to be safer to use and operate. They can also withstand a lot more than a normal plug would be able to. This means you can use more devices, less power, less wattage, and stress less about if you are within the appropriate wattage use with your power strip. 

Smart plugs and power strips can also be safer because smart plugs tend to be bulkier and cover up more of the extension cord sockets, which is a helpful reminder to limit the number of devices that are used with one power strip. 

The following are some ways to make sure you don’t use too much current on your power strip:

  1. Know the power of your power strip.
  2. Know the power that comes from your smart plug. 
  3. Don’t plug in too many things in the same extension cord.
  4. Turn off or unplug what you aren’t using.
  5. Don’t plug-in power strips to other power strips.
  6. Don’t plug in multiple things on one circuit.
  7. Turn off the power strip when it is not in use and turn off all devices
  8. Plug in power strips to your wall outlets to help balance the current

What Happens When You Exceed Wattage?

If you go over the appropriate wattage that a power strip can handle, it’s possible that the following may occur:

  1. Blow a fuse or trip the breaker
  2. Failure of anything plugged into the power strip
  3. Draining of electronics’ batteries
  4. Blow an electrical circuit
  5. Electrical shock
  6. Power shortage
  7. Small electrical explosion
  8. Fire
  9. Electronic malfunction
  10. Melting and or burning of the surface area

Also, note that it is possible that nothing will happen immediately if you go over the wattage that a smart plug can handle, but that doesn’t mean with time or with the continuous use of a smart plug that something won’t happen.

A sign that you are over the max wattage is if your plug, power cord, or outlet continues to trip the breaker, and your power goes out. Additionally, if the plastic of the plugin begins to melt or has burn marks around the outlets, you are using too much power. 

It’s best to unplug a device to lower the number of watts and prevent any potential danger. Shutting off plugs and using power strips to help balance the energy used are also good ways to help prevent electrical problems.

A large sum of brands will give you the option to purchase a warranty on their products, usually two years to ensure that if the product you bought breaks within that time frame of the warranty, they will replace them for free. This is usually because they can guarantee the product will last until the warranty time is over. 

In other words, after a certain amount of time, products are more likely to malfunction or break; this is when we should be more cautious of malfunction and/or consider updating plugs and extension cords.

Purchasing Smart Plugs with Appropriate Wattages

buying smart plug with appropriate wattage
source: VOCOlinc

When considering buying a smart plug, keep in mind the type of devices you want to use it with and how high of a charge they are going to take. You will want a smart plug that is able to handle the amount of power you are going to use in the first place. For example, a space heater uses about 1500 watts while a majority of smart plugs have a max of 1800 watts.

The following are a few high-rated smart plug options on Amazon that I recommend and are able to handle high wattages:

  • TOPGREENER Smart Plug
    • Connects to Wi-Fi and mobile devices via an app
    • Energy Monitoring feature
    • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • VOCOlinc Smart Plug
    • Connects to Wi-Fi and mobile devices via an app
    • Compatible with HomeKit (iOS 12+), Alexa, and Google Assistant
  • Teckin Smart Plug
    • Compatible with Google Home and Alexa
    • Timer Functionality

The Alternative: Smart Power Strips

Smart plug power strips can be a great addition to your home. Although they tend to be more expensive than purchasing a regular power strip or extension cord, with time, you end up putting money back in your wallet with the amount you save on electricity.

How Smart Power Strips Work

A smart plug and everyday power strip will continue to pull power even when all of your devices are turned off; this is referred to as vampire load. With a smart power strip, however, vampire load does not happen because the device automatically shuts off the power for you. 

As a result, when the smart power strip turns off, you will not have lingering power running through the cord, which can save you money on your next electric bill.

In general, the main benefit of using a smart power strip is that you will not have to use a separate smart plug to plug devices into it. All the smart outlets you need are already there. Another benefit of smart power strips is that they can also be controlled via an app on your phone, so you can have greater control over when it is turned on or off to power your electronics.

Popular Smart Power Strip Options

popular smart strip power options teckin
source: Teckin

If you are on the market for a smart power strip to replace a smart plug and traditional strip combination, the following are a few highly-rated options that I personally recommend and can be found on Amazon:

Conclusion

Even things that are completely safe have their limitations. The majority of house fires are started when a wall outlet, power strip, or their attachments are being overused, overpowered, are outdated, or misused. When used properly, smart plugs are a great way to keep your house safer and smarter.

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