6 On Your Side, Consumer Confidence: Use smart light bulbs or smart plugs

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(ABC 6 News) – Syed Abbas has been using smart bulbs and plugs for a few years.

“When I leave home I can just check my app to know that, ok, all the lights are turned off and I’m not using any energy that I don’t need,” Abbas said.

Both smart bulbs and plugs can turn any lamp into a smart lamp that you can control from anywhere using an app, or a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Assistant.

But how do you know if bulbs or plugs are best for your home?

“Smart bulbs are a better choice for lamps that have a lamp shade because the bulbs themselves are kind of ugly looking. Bulbs are also a great choice for fixtures that can’t be plugged in such as overhead light fixtures. If you want lightning that can change color or even color temperature from warm to cool then you would also want a smart bulb,” Dan Wroclawski from Consumer Reports said.

After evaluating nearly, a dozen smart bulbs, Dan says these models from TP-Link Kasa Smart and Cree are great budget options.

If you want to dip more than your toe into the smart home trend, smart plugs offer a lot of options.

“With smart plugs you can automate way more than just lighting. You can use them to control any appliance in your home whether it’s a fan or even a coffee maker. They’re also really great for fire safety for devices like space heaters, hair straighteners or hair dryers. If you forget to turn them off, you can do it remotely from your phone even if you’re not home,” Wroclawski said.

CR says this smart plug from GE was one of the easiest to set up and works with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

The TP-Link Kasa Smart plug is also easy to set up and use and it works with Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung assistants.