gifts under $50

These $8 Plugs Turn Any Home Into a Smart House

When did everyone decide their house had to be “smart”? That’s a rhetorical question, meant to never be answered — but I remember exactly when I began to covet the concept of a smart house. It was pretty much when they were announced. Never mind that I don’t live in a house. In my mind, I would never manually turn on (or turn off) anything ever again; my plants would always be watered; my fridge would tell me when I was about to run out of eggs; my dishes would clean themselves, like we were part of the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Sure, only a few of those things can happen with advanced smart-house technology. But now that we’re a few years past the concept’s origin, there are cheaper ways to achieve the more reasonable “smart” functions (sorry, dishes). They’re called Smart Plugs, and for $15 apiece, you can sync your outlets with your Wi-Fi and thus control them with your phone. I purchased a few on a late-night, stoned Amazon binge buy, expecting them to eventually disappear into my “tech junk” drawer with all of the obsolete cords and plugs I hold on to “just in case.” But when they arrived, I learned that a bunch of the items on my “smart house” bucket list could easily be achieved.

All of my lamps can now be turned on and off with a swipe — I even set timers so that they turn on automatically, both to avoid arriving home to a dark house and to give the appearance that someone’s home even when no one is. I’ll switch on my air conditioner while out and about, as to hit that sweet 69 degrees before I even step inside. Or let’s say you have a slow cooker you need to turn on at a certain time to get dinner happening before you arrive home. That can happen! Maybe you leave the house terrified that you left a curling iron plugged in, or the iron on. A Smart Plug could eliminate that fear. Let’s say you’re the kind of person who falls asleep with “everything” on. Smart Plugs can shut those things off for you, no problem. Anything you can imagine plugging in and turning on can be controlled with an app.

Get a few as cheap gifts or stocking stuffers for anyone who’d appreciate convenience (that’s just anyone). That’s one small step for extremely lazy people, a giant leap for mankind.

Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini Outlet With Energy Monitoring (4 Pack)

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

These $15 Plugs Turn Any Home Into a Smart House