Easy to install. Small form factor. HomeKit enabled. Supports multiple voice command services. Works with popular home automation hubs.
Lacks power usage reporting. Doesn't support IFTTT.
- Bottom Line
The iHome iSP100 SmartPlug is an outdoor smart switch that connects to your home Wi-Fi and works with a number of popular home automation platforms.
The iHome iSP100 SmartPlug ($39.99) offers a relatively affordable way to smarten up ordinary outdoor devices such as lights, pool pumps, and other exterior appliances. It connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network, and supports Apple's HomeKit platform, which means you can control it with Siri voice commands. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, and can be incorporated into your Nest, SmartThings, or Wink smart home automation ecosystem. It doesn't support If This Then That (IFTTT) or provide power usage statistics, but it's still our Editors' Choice for smart outdoor power outlets.
Design and Features
Designed for outdoor use, the iSP100 has a NEMA 3R rating for protection against dirt, dust, and rain. The black rectangular enclosure has a three-prong plug attached to a 6-inch cord on one end and a three-prong outlet on the other end. On the left side of the device you'll find an on/off button, a power indicator, and a Wi-Fi indicator that flashes green when the plug is looking for a network, turns solid green when connected, and flashes red when it is disconnected.
At 4.0 by 1.7 by 1.7 inches (HWD), the iSP100 is considerably smaller than the iDevices outdoor switch (6.0 by 2.8 by 1.9 inches), but the iDevices switch has two outlets. That said, the iSP100 is only $39.99 compared with the $79.95 iDevices switch.
The iSP100 is controlled using an Android or iOS app and supports Apple's HomeKit platform. The iOS app opens to a home screen that lists all of the rooms in your HomeKit house, as well as all existing HomeKit Devices, Zones, and Scenes. The Android app is similar but lists Devices and Rules.
You can add the smart plug to an existing room or create a new one. You can also add it to an existing Scene or create a new one. Tapping the device name turns the plug on and off, and tapping the exclamation point icon takes you to an Edit Device screen where you can name the plug, assign it to a room, update the firmware, and create Rules to have it turn on and off at specific times of the day and days of the week.
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There's a Power State History tab that shows you when the plug has been turned on and off, but it doesn't offer the power usage and cost reporting that you get with the iDevices plug and the Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug. The gear icon at the bottom of the screen takes you to a Settings screen where you can connect to third-party devices including Nest products, Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, and SmartThings and Wink home automation hubs. You can use a SmartThings or Wink hub to have the plug work with other smart home devices, and connect it to your Nest account to have it follow your Nest Home and Away rules.
Installation and Performance
To install the SmartPlug I plugged it into an outlet and the Wi-Fi indicator began blinking immediately. I downloaded the app, created an account, and tapped Add Device at the bottom of the home screen. I selected iHome SmartPlug from the list and followed the instructions to reset the plug by holding down the on/off button for 12 seconds. I hit Next and waited a few seconds for the app to find the plug. Once discovered, I entered the HomeKit code, and within another few seconds the setup was completed. I then moved the plug outside and used it to control my Christmas lights.
The SmartPlug performed flawlessly. It always reacted quickly to on and off commands using the app, and followed my Rule to have my lights come on a 4:35 every afternoon and turn off at 11:30 at night. Alexa and Siri voice commands to turn the lights on and off also worked perfectly. I had no network connectivity issues, despite placing the plug outside around 30 feet from my router.
Whether you're lighting up the exterior of your home or running a pool or spa pump, the iHome iSP100 SmartPlug lets you turn outdoor devices on and off using your phone, and create schedules to have them turn on and off automatically. It's very easy to install and works with a well-designed app, and it can be controlled using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri voice commands. Although it doesn't support IFTTT, you can make it work with other smart home devices using a SmartThings or Wink hub, and it's HomeKit compatible. Power usage reports would be a welcome feature, but that doesn't prevent the iSP100 from earning our Editors' Choice for smart outdoor power outlets.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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