When it comes to upgrading your home with smart tech, it's easy to overlook the humble power outlet. By replacing your traditional outlets with smart in-wall outlets, you can enjoy greater control over your electronics along with an x-ray view of your energy usage.
While smart plugs are a quicker alternative to gaining smart control over devices, smart outlets offer a much more permanent solution.
This is important for Zigbee and Z-Wave smart homes, as in-wall outlets are the perfect repeaters, to extend the mesh network to all corners of a property.
I’ve recently installed some smart Wi-Fi outlets in my home theater to allow me to complete a “shutdown routine” for my sound equipment and consoles.
In this guide, I talk through some important things to consider before deciding on which outlet to go with.
Top Wi-Fi Picks
Top Z-Wave Picks
Top Zigbee Picks
What are Smart In-Wall Outlets?
Smart outlets, also known as smart receptacles, are electrical outlets that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone, tablet, or voice commands via a smart home hub or voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
They typically have built-in Wi-Fi or other wireless communication protocols, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, enabling them to connect to your home's smart network. They can be used to automate various devices in your home, like lamps, fans, or any plugged-in appliance, allowing you to set schedules, create personalized scenes, and control them remotely.
Examples of smart in-wall outlets include Kasa Smart Plug KP200, Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Outlet (D215R-2RW), and UltraPro In-Wall Smart Outlet.
Are there any Matter or Thread-based smart in-wall outlets?
Currently, there are no Matter or Thread-based smart in-wall outlets available in the market. So, you would need to use a Thread-enabled smart plug like the Eve Smart Plug to gain smart control over your existing outlets.
As the popularity of Thread and the Matter standard is on the rise, more devices supporting these technologies will be made available in the future.
Considerations when choosing a smart in-wall outlet
Here are some of the things I considered when selecting a smart receptacle for my home.
Number of Outlets you can Smart Control
While most smart receptacles allow for two devices to be plugged in, not all of them allow smart control over both outlets.
My top pick, the Kasa Smart Plug KP200, supports both while the UltraPro only provides one smart outlet and one “always on” (AKA dumb!) outlet.
Communication Protocol & Hub Compatability
When choosing a smart in-wall outlet, the communication protocol is a key consideration. There are three main protocols: Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave.
Wi-Fi outlets generally don't require a hub and connect directly to your home network, providing seamless integration with smartphone apps and voice assistants. Zigbee and Z-Wave outlets typically need a hub or gateway to connect and interact with your smart home ecosystem.
It’s also important to consider if you plan on using this with a voice assistant such as Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, as not all smart outlets work with all voice assistants.
For example, the Kasa Smart Plug KP200 works with Alexa, and Google Assistant but not Siri.
Energy Monitoring Capabilities
Opting for a smart in-wall outlet with energy monitoring features can provide valuable insights into your home's electricity usage.
These outlets, such as the Sinopé Smart Outlet, can help homeowners save energy and money in the long term by providing real-time data and usage patterns.
Circuit Rating / Breaker Size
The amperage rating of an outlet determines the maximum electrical current it can safely handle. Most residential outlets are rated for 15 or 20 amps. It's crucial to choose a smart in-wall outlet that matches the amperage of the existing wiring and circuit breaker in your home to prevent overloading and potential electrical hazards.
All of the smart outlets on this list are designed for 15-amp circuits. This is typically suitable for general household use, such as lighting, small appliances, and electronics.
A 20-amp outlet, on the other hand, can handle higher loads and is commonly found in kitchens, laundry rooms, or garages, where more powerful appliances are used.
I was only able to find one 20-amp smart outlet available which is the Legrand Radiant Smart Outlet with Netatmo. However, the product doesn’t have great reviews so I cannot recommend it.
Also, it's worth noting that all smart outlets generally require a neutral wire.
Electrical Box Depths
Smart in-wall outlets may require deeper electrical boxes due to their larger size and additional components.
Before purchasing a smart outlet, compare its depth requirements with your existing electrical boxes.
If the boxes aren't deep enough, you may need to replace them or use box extenders.
Safety Features and Tamper Resistance
Safety is a top priority when selecting smart in-wall outlets, particularly if you have children in your home.
Tamper-resistant outlets are designed with built-in safety mechanisms, such as spring-loaded shutters, which only open when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both slots.
This helps prevent children from inserting objects like paperclips or keys into a single slot, reducing the risk of electrical shock and accidents.
One example of a smart in-wall outlet with tamper-resistant features is the Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 15A Outlet.
When choosing a smart in-wall outlet, you should consider safety certifications from recognized organizations like UL, ETL, FCC, and CE (In Europe).
These certifications ensure the product meets industry safety standards, providing peace of mind and confidence in the outlet's safety, quality, and performance, while reducing the risk of electrical hazards.
I personally wouldn’t have an outlet installed without the necessary certifications as it’s just not worth the risk.
Professional Installation by a Licenced Electrician
While some smart in-wall outlets can be installed by a knowledgeable DIY enthusiast, I highly recommended using a professional licensed electrician for installation. This ensures the outlet is installed correctly, safely, and in accordance with local electrical codes and regulations.
Licensed electricians have the necessary training, experience, and expertise to handle any unexpected issues or complications that may arise during the installation process.
While this adds to the cost, it gives peace of mind knowing that your home's electrical system remains safe, and the smart outlet will function correctly.
Top Wi-Fi Picks
This Kasa Smart WiFi in-wall outlet by TP-Link is tamper-resistant and allows users to individually control up to two connected devices using their smartphone or voice assistant
- Set schedules and timers for each device
- Voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant
- Tamper-resistant design
The Kasa Smart Plug KP200 has an easy installation process with its snap-on design and supports schedules and timers for each device, along with an away mode to improve home security.
The device does not require a hub and is certified by ETL for safety standards. You can group smart devices together for unified control with the Kasa Smart app.
The device works with a secured 2.4GHz wireless network, does not require a separate hub, and is compatible with voice assistants such as Alexa and Google.
An issue with the KP200, along with most other smart outlets, is the existing electrical box may not be deep enough, which can complicate the installation process. Additionally, weak Wi-Fi connectivity has been reported in some instances, causing limitations in effectively controlling connected devices.
Also, there can be issues with the faceplate's ability to stay in place on textured walls due to its snap-on design. A more secure, screw-based system might be better to solve this problem.
- Works with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT
- No hub required
- Easy installation and setup
- Individual control of each outlet
- Can turn off indicator lights
- 15 Amp rating supports various appliances
- Reliable and compatible with smart home setups
- The bulky design may require deeper electrical boxes for installation
- 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal must be strong for optimal functionality
- No Homekit / Siri Support
- No 20A version is available for appliances requiring higher amperage
- A neutral wire is required for installation
- Some customers reported weak Wi-Fi connections
- Faceplate issues with textured walls
- Works primarily with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi systems
The Leviton Decora Smart Outlet (2nd Gen) can be controlled through the Leviton app, schedules, and voice control with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
- Schedule lamps and connected devices to turn on/off at specific times or based on sunrise/sunset.
- Auto-shutoff feature as a countdown timer to automatically turn items off after a pre-set time duration.
- Home vs away mode to randomize your home’s lighting to improve home security
The Leviton Decora Smart Outlet (2nd Gen) has a number of nice features. The auto-shutoff feature acts as a countdown timer to automatically turn items off after a pre-set time duration
The vacation mode feature helps to give the illusion that your home is occupied when you’re away which can help deter intruders.
With its manual push-button on/off control, you can still use the outlet, when you’re internet or Wi-Fi is down. And with the scheduling feature, you can easily set up devices or appliances to turn on or off at specific times or even based on sunrise/sunset.
It requires a neutral wire and works with Apple HomeKit/Siri and Alexa.
There is some negative feedback on the product, mainly concerning difficulties with setting up the My Leviton App and the Homekit setup process.
Some users find it frustrating to scan QR codes and locate devices during the setup. Moreover, a significant limitation includes only having one of the two sockets as smart, with the bottom one remaining always on.
- No hub is required for easy setup and control
- Scheduling, auto-shutoff, and vacation mode features
- Voice control compatibility with HomeKit / Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant
- Reliable and maintains time even when losing internet connection
- Can turn on devices remotely
- Only the top plug is smart; the bottom plug is always on
- Some reported a difficult setup with the My Leviton app
The UltraPro Wi-Fi In-Wall Smart Receptacle is a versatile smart outlet that is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, enabling convenient voice commands without requiring a hub
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi compatible with the latest routers
- Control lights, fans, and plug-in devices
Two grounded tamper-resistant power sources
- Screw terminals for easy connection of line, neutral, and ground wires
The UltraPro app, available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play, simplifies network connection and supports full customization based on times, location, and other factors.
It features two tamper-resistant grounded power sources, one Wi-Fi-controlled outlet, and one always-on outlet. The white faceplate fits rocker-style wall plates for a modern appearance and screw terminals allow quick and confident connection of hot, neutral, and ground wires.
- Two grounded power sources (one Wi-Fi-controlled outlet and one always-on outlet)
- The easy-to-use app is available on both Apple App Store and Google Play.
- The tamper-resistant feature ensures safety for children and pets.
- Voice command compatibility without needing a hub.
- Scheduling and automations for full customization
- Rocker-style wallplates are not included.
- No Siri Support
- Only one outlet of the two is actually smart
With the Amazon Basics Smart In-Wall Outlet, you can turn on/off multiple devices with the Alexa app
- Can be controlled by voice using Alexa-enabled devices
- Allows for scheduling and routine automation
- Two separate outlets for controlling multiple devices
The Amazon Basics Smart In-Wall Outlet offers users an easy and innovative way to control their devices throughout their homes. With its 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with Alexa-enabled devices, this in-wall outlet makes it possible to manage your devices through voice control and routine automation.
Some points to note though. The large size of the outlet may not fit comfortably in all wall boxes, and it lacks side-wire connection options. Additionally, some people have reported connectivity problems, which may lead to the product being less responsive at times.
- Easy to install and set up with Alexa
- Affordable smart home solution
- Can control devices individually or in groups
- No hub required for use
- Works well for controlling lamps and decorative lights
- Some compatibility issues with older houses and outlet boxes
- May not fit in standard single-gang boxes due to the size
- No integration with Google Home or Homekit
- Limited to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks
- A neutral wire is required for installation
The GE myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Outlet enables wireless control of plug-in lamps and small appliances.
- The top outlet remains on while the bottom outlet is Wi-Fi controlled
- No hub is required and works with Alexa and Google Home Assistant
- Set daily or weekly schedules
The GE myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Outlet is a simple device that allows you to control your devices through voice commands or via your mobile device.
The top outlet remains permanently on while the bottom outlet is Wi-Fi-controlled, and the outlet requires no hub to function.
The product has a two-year limited warranty and is easy to install and use with its space-saving screw terminals. The UL-listed device is compatible with voice commands from Alexa and Google Home Assistant for hands-free control.
Additional features include setting daily or weekly schedules, manual on/off control with a push-button, automatic adjustment based on local sunrise/sunset times, and a countdown timer feature.
Some users have reported difficulties when trying to connect the device to their Wi-Fi network, particularly those with dual-band routers. Despite being listed as compatible with Alexa and Google Home Assistant, several users have had issues with the receptacle not working well with Alexa.
- Easy installation and setup
- Seamlessly works with Google Assistant
- Convenient control of lamps and appliances
- The app allows easy schedule customization
- Offers remote on/off control via app or voice
- UL listed
- Supports daily or weekly schedules
- Adjusts to local sunrise/sunset times
- Countdown timer feature available
- 2-year limited warranty
- The second outlet is always on and not controllable by Wi-Fi.
- Some users experienced difficulty with the Wi-Fi connection
- Does not work well with Alexa for some users
- Clunky app and installation for some
The Geeni Smart Wall Outlet offers the ability to control anything from anywhere using your smartphone.
- Voice commands with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Automate daily schedules so your wall outlets turn on/off automatically when you need them to.
- Customize timers to conserve energy and only use the power you need.
With the Geeni Smart Wall Outlets, you can easily control devices remotely with your smartphone, or by using voice commands through Alexa or Google Assistant. You can also automate daily schedules to have wall outlets automatically turn on/off according to your needs. The product is easy to install and is compatible with various smart home apps while offering the ability to control both outlets independently.
A few users have experienced installation challenges due to it being too large for specific electrical boxes, or poor screw quality hampering secure wire attachments.
- Easy to use and install
- Compatible with smart voice hubs
- Affordable alternative to more expensive brands
- Works with Alexa and Google Home
- Can control both plugs individually
- No hub is required; connects to Wi-Fi
- The app allows scheduling and timer functions
- Can share access with multiple users
- Issues with provided screws during installation
- Some users reported poor connectivity with multiple attempts needed for app connection
- Requires manual reset after power outages
- Difficult fit in some outlet boxes due to size
- Non-UL listed (States it has ETL & FCC Certification)
Top Z-Wave Picks
The Enbrighten Smart Receptacle allows you to control appliances or lamps via your Z-Wave hub
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant (needs a Z-Wave certified hub)
- One outlet is always on for traditional use, the other is Z-Wave controlled
- Tamper-resistant outlets prevent foreign objects from being inserted
The Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Outlet is compatible with popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, easily integrating with your existing smart home ecosystem through a Z-Wave certified hub.
The in-wall installation features two outlets one that provides traditional functionality and another that is Z-Wave controlled, allowing wireless scheduling and operation from mobile devices.
With tamper-resistant outlets, this device is safe for use in homes with children and pets and is suitable for controlling various types of light sources and devices.
Many users appreciate its easy installation, responsive performance, and compatibility with a range of smart home hubs.
Generally speaking, the device works well with multiple smart home hubs, such as Samsung SmartThings, Hubitat Elevation, and Wink.
Initial pairing with smart home hubs can be challenging and time-consuming for some users while others might be disappointed with the fact that only one of the two outlets is controllable, while the other remains a standard, non-controllable outlet.
- Easy installation
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- One Z-Wave controlled outlet and one always-on outlet
- Tamper-resistant outlets provide increased safety
- Seamless integration with multiple Z-Wave certified hubs
- Allows remote control via smartphone and voice commands
- Customizable scheduling, alerts, and scenes
- Increased Z-Wave range (150ft.)
- Only one socket is smart
- No power consumption monitoring
- Faceplate not interchangeable; white only
- Can be challenging to pair with certain hubs
- Does not include a faceplate or additional accessories in the package
The Bryant Z-Wave Smart Outlet allows the smart control of a single outlet via a compatible Z-Wave hub
- Remote controlled with Android and iOS mobile devices
- Simple setup pairs with compatible Z-Wave Plus hubs
- One Z-Wave controlled outlet (marked, bottom), one always hot pass-through outlet (top)
The Bryant Electric IDEVZ08W is a Z-Wave enabled tamper resistant receptacle that allows for control of a single (bottom) outlet along with one always-on.
It's compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home via a hub, making it a highly versatile addition to your smart home ecosystem. Additionally, the outlet can be remotely controlled through Android and iOS mobile devices for ease of use.
People have found it to seamlessly integrate with existing smart home systems, such as Home Assistant. This has allowed them to effectively connect their Z-Wave controller to previously incompatible outlets and devices.
The setup process for this smart outlet is quite simple, as it easily pairs with compatible Z-Wave Plus hubs. It features one Z-Wave-controlled outlet on the bottom–ideal for connecting your smart devices–while the top outlet remains on, providing versatility for your power needs.
The tamper-resistant design ensures that users can confidently incorporate the outlet into their homes without risking any unwanted tampering.
With a range of 150 feet, this outlet provides reliable connectivity for various room sizes and layouts.
- Works well with Home Assistant
- Easy integration with a Z-Wave network
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
- Remote controlled with Android and iOS devices
- Simple setup
- Tamper-resistant design
- Requires neutral wire
- Only bottom outlet is Z-Wave controlled
- 150ft range might be limiting for some
Top Zigbee Picks
The Enbrighten Zigbee Smart Outlet provides one always-on outlet and one smart outlet.
- Dual Grounded Outlets
- Remote and manual operation
- Zigbee Certified
The Enbrighten Zigbee Smart Outlet is a high-quality receptacle that offers numerous features and benefits. This outlet comes with one Zigbee-controlled outlet and another always-on outlet, enabling remote and manual operation.
The receptacle comes with a space-saving screw terminal and requires a neutral wire for installation. The device is Zigbee Certified and acts as a mesh network repeater for device-to-device interoperability.
The Enbrighten Zigbee Smart Outlet Receptacle is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, through a compatible Zigbee hub. The product works well with various smart home systems, such as Hubitat, Amazon Echo 4, and the SmartThings Hub.
This product also comes with a 5-year limited warranty which is more that most on this list.
However, it's worth noting that some customers have reported challenges and drawbacks with this product. It does not work directly with the Philips Hue Zigbee hub.
Users have also reported challenges with the installation due to the short ground screw while others were disappointed with the lack of energy monitoring features and having only one controllable outlet.
- Zigbee control of one outlet
- Generally speaking, it is an easy installation
- Compatible with various devices and hubs including SmartThings and Amazon Echo
- Tamper-resistant outlets for safety
- One always-on outlet
- Manual control option with ON/OFF button
- Does not work with Philips Hue
- Buzzing noise reported by some users
- The large unit size makes installation challenging in some cases
- Only one outlet is controllable
- No energy monitoring
Reduce power consumption and bills by turning off electronic devices and tracking energy usage with the Neviweb app
- Never forget small household appliances anymore, thanks to the ability to set a timer to turn off devices after a delay.
- Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Neviweb, SmartThings, and Hubitat (hub required) for varied features.
- Save energy and reduce electricity bills by controlling energy consumption and avoiding phantom power.
The Sinopé smart in-wall outlet allows you to control a wide variety of small appliances and decorative lights using your phone or voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, and Hubitat.
You can set timers and schedules to turn off your devices, thereby reducing your energy consumption and avoiding phantom power.
The Neviweb app and GT130 hub are required to use this product's exceptional features such as automations, scenes, geofencing, and energy reports.
This device supports wall mount installation and connectivity protocol Zigbee.
It is certified by CSA and UL and has a capacity of 15 Amps and a maximum power of 0.5 Horsepower.
However, it is vital to note that some users encounter issues with the installation process, specifically related to the ground screw. The gap for the ground screw may not accommodate the proper wire size for all homes, necessitating adjustments to make it work correctly.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the Sinope Wall outlet does not recall its previous state following a power outage, which could pose inconveniences for some users.
- Excellent ZigBee functionality and strong signal
- Compatible with Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Amazon Alexa
- Easy to install and configure
- Ideal for controlling small appliances and decorative lights
- Energy consumption monitoring
- Real-time energy reports and savings with the Neviweb app and GT130 hub
- Ground screw gap too small for 12-gage wire
- Ground screw requires modification
- The outlet does not remember the last state after a power outage
- A separate hub is required for full features and app control
As I mentioned, I recently installed some smart outlets in my home theatre. I recorded a video for our Youtube channel, of the unboxing, installation, and setup process which you can check out below.
What is the difference between a smart outlet and a smart plug
A smart outlet is a permanent fixture that replaces a standard electrical outlet and needs to be hardwired into your home's electrical system.
On the other hand, a smart plug is a portable device that fits into an existing outlet and provides smart control for any plugged-in device.
While both offer remote control and scheduling capabilities, smart in-wall outlets integrate seamlessly into your home's design, without any extra hardware sticking out of the wall.
In contrast, smart plugs can be easily moved and installed without any wiring or electrical knowledge.
Do smart in-wall outlets require a hub?
Smart in-wall outlets use different communication protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. Wi-Fi outlets generally don't require a hub, while Zigbee and Z-Wave outlets generally do.
If you already have a hub or gateway that supports Zigbee or Z-Wave, it may make sense to choose outlets that use these protocols as you’ll end up with a more reliable mesh network.
As you can see smart in-wall outlets offer a seamless way to integrate smart home automation into your home's design. They allow convenient control of plugged-in devices through your smartphone, voice assistant, or scheduled routines.
My main recommended smart outlet is the Kasa Smart Plug KP200 while the Leviton DW15S-1BZ is also worth a look.