smart sockets vs smart bulbs – introduction

smart bulbs and sockets have select uses.

caption: tp-link bulbs and sockets connect to your wifi and work without the need for another box or hub.

A smart socket adds a little on/off cleverness to a table lamp, electric heater or the printer upstairs that takes five minutes before it’s warm and useful. You might use a smart socket to control a light where there’s an inaccessible socket – behind a kitchen cupboard or in a ceiling void. I have a smart socket that monitors energy use on an immersion heater as well as set its heating times. Smart sockets aren’t useful on washing machines, computers, TVs and devices that power up but do nothing or go into standby. You’d probably want control of an air conditioner or a dehumidifier but I can’t imagine how a smart socket could help with that.

Smart bulbs provide nice lighting effects and your light can turn off on a schedule or because you passed a sensor or because you left the sandwich toaster on. You can dim or brighten the room when the TV is on or off. There’s a fun phone app that’ll flash lights in time with music or adjust them to the colours on a TV.

Smart bulbs need to be in the right place – if that’s a fixed light fitting, the wall switch renders the lamp inaccessible and pointless. Smart bulbs are useful in a table lamp or outdoor light if you disable (or glue gun) the switch.

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