Recently I reviewed the TP-Link HS200 Smart Light Switch, which I found to be a pretty great product (check out what I said here). While these switches are fantastic for overhead lights and lamps already on a switch-controlled circuit, what about that lamp in the corner? You know, the one that makes you walk over and flip the switch the old-fashioned way. Well, it’s 2020 and we don’t need to do that anymore. That’s why the TP-Link WiFi Plug Mini exists.
Like the Smart Light Switch, the TP-Link Wi-fi Plug Mini operates hub-free over Wi-Fi in connection with the Kasa app (available at your favorite app store). Features like daily scheduling, timers, “away mode” and runtime statistics are all handled here, as well as the ability to create groups with multiple plugs and switches (e.g., the living room lights). When I went to do the setup, I had no problems and even found I could enable Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.
This powerful little plug does a great job of making anything in your life smarter. The only limit is your imagination. Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but you get the point. To test this, I figured I would embark on a series of tests only someone with far too much time on his hands (and a product review to write) could ever come up with.
First off, I made my MaxxDry Heavy-Duty Boot, Shoe and Glove Dryer smart — and my Cosori tea kettle, my coffee maker, and several lamps. Practically speaking, the boot dryer didn’t work well, but that’s more a shortcoming of my dryer than anything else. Unfortunately, it uses a timer switch (limited to 90 minutes) that runs even when the power is cut off — I imagine this is a safety feature. A similar statement could be made for the teapot. It automatically turns off after boiling, so I needed to remember to turn it back on.
Personally, I found that the Plug Mini worked best when paired with my coffee maker. I’m a simple man, preferring my basic Mr. Coffee to the fancier programmable coffee machines — you know, the ones that can also do your taxes. Because of the simple scheduling feature in the Kasa app, my coffee is always piping hot at the right time every morning, even when we “spring forward” for daylight savings.
The Plug Mini does well not to block other outlets above or below it. My gripe is that the entire assembly sticks out pretty far from the wall. One product that seems to have solved this is their two-outlet model, but I have not tested this yet.
For $15, the TP-Link Wi-fi Plug Mini has a nice “bang for the buck.” The ability to control room lighting with your phone is an innovation I’m no longer sure I could live without. The outlet itself has a manual power on/off button for those occasions where the Internet goes out, but let’s face it — if the Internet does go out, I’m going back to bed. Forget the smart home.